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Author’s ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ grabbing attention

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Galway author Emma Comerford shines a provocative and entertaining light on the sometimes erratic psyche of the modern-day Irish woman in her just-published book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’.

A guaranteed laugh-out-loud read, the book is comprised of astute wit and razor-sharp observation, as well as colloquial use of self-deprecation and satire.

Emma, a native of Luimnagh, on the shores of Lough Corrib in Corrandulla is daughter to a published author, playwright and retired solicitor Henry Comerford. Books, she says, were an integral part of her childhood. “I come from a real literary family. So from the age of dot, if you expressed an interest in anything – there were like ten books beside your bed.”

A colourful character by nature, Emma is friendly, personable and well travelled. But writing didn’t come instantaneously for the Galway girl who gained experience and insight working as a motorbike courier, fruit-picker, welder and building surveyor in different locations all over the world before settling down in the IT industry. The experience of travel would later prove a valuable source of inspiration for the fledgling author.

Emma observed behavioural differences as distinctly Irish on a backpacking trip, mingling with backpackers from various countries. Commenting on the demeanour of the Irish abroad she says: “We had to befriend everybody in the bar, buy them all drinks, give them cigarettes (we were backpackers, we had no money), then bring them all back to the hostel and do the Siege of Ennis”.

Cognisant of ritual practices, a moment of self-realization ensued. “None of the Italian girls did this, it was just the Irish girls – we’re just that little bit different.”

The inspiration to write first came to Emma after reading Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Be a Woman’. “After reading it I was going – somebody should write a book like that about Irish women”.  Ideas, she said, presented themselves “almost like sketches”.

“When I started writing, there was loads of material. I think because I travelled a lot and lived in different countries – there was loads to write about and compare to”.

Emma took the plunge to write her first few pages. “I wrote four pages and sent it to Conor Montague [Galway playwright of Who Needs Enemies?]. Conor came back with eight pages of commentary. The first line was “This is really good; you should keep going with this”. That was really encouraging” she says.

Her debut book, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is described as a part Exposé, part how-to guide, which pledges to impart information to the reader on:

■ How to perform the ‘walk of shame’ with utmost dignity and deal with the ensuing catholic guilt
■ How many people you can tell when you are sworn to secrecy
■ Coping with the consequences of an out-of-control hen party
■ Acquiring assertive school gate etiquette
■ Overcoming your zumba/pilates/book club antagonists
■ How alcohol-dependent you and your friends really are
Satire is used in exploring common traits amongst Irish women.The book suggests mná na hÉireann have a genetic aversion to compliments and will react in one of three ways:
■ Rebuff the compliment by belittling the item under discussion, e.g. ‘Oh, this old rag? I’ve had it for years’ or ‘Thanks, Penneys’ best’.
■ Immediately draw attention to a perceived failing: ‘Yes but have you seen the size of my arse?’ or ‘Look! I have psoriasis all over my elbows’.
■ Parry the compliment with a return compliment, thereby making them feel uncomfortable. Better still, introduce a bit of paranoia into the equation.

It is said the Irish will forgive a great many things, but having no sense of humour is considered a “cardinal sin”. Irish women love to laugh and admire people who make them laugh.

Other topics tackled in the book include: Obsession with death; Catholic Guilt; Begrudgery; Superstitions; the desire to maintain a savage level of craic; and Gossiping.

Irish Bitches Be Crazy puts forth the notion that Irish women are unique due to combined psychological, environmental and sociological factors. “Catholic guilt, heavy drinking and sewing classes produce a definitive type of girl,” it reads.

‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ depicts “The journey of Irish women from Peig Sayers to Miriam O Callaghan” presenting a satirical account on the evolution from genetically challenged (due to “years of inbreeding”) basket weavers of yesteryear to the newfound glamazons (with “paid-for-good-looks”) of today.

Says Emma: “I found that most of the traits attributed to Irish females are, in fact, true. Rather than debunking the myths, I have extended them . . . xpounding many of the old chestnuts and proposing some new theories”.

The attention-grabbing title ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ was inspired by a young male work colleague of Emma’s who used to utter the phrase ‘Bitches Be Crazy’, which has crept into modern vernacular.

Feminist theory will argue it is offensive to women on two accounts; firstly the use of the word “bitch” and secondly the use of the word “crazy”.

But Emma – an Irish woman who considers herself a feminist – insists it is not intended to be offensive.

The aforementioned traits and clichéd stereotypes are an exaggeration in jest and not to be mistaken as a character assassination on all Irish women, she says. “It’s not meant to be offensive, it’s meant to be light hearted . . . I’m laughing at myself,” she pointedly remarks.

The brash title has worked in her favour thus far, grabbing the attention of Commissioning Editor for New Island – the publishing house who ultimately published her book.

Overall, ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ endeavours to make people laugh. And in keeping with The Galway Comedy Festival which runs this week, the book launch will took place on Wednesday, in Massimo.

■ ‘Irish Bitches Be Crazy’ is available to purchase now at €9.99.

Connacht Tribune

Galway historian’s 14 new books bring running total to 70!

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Steve Dolan.

There may be a book in everyone – but producing 18 of them for publication in one week is taking it to a different level. And yet that’s what Galway historian Steve Dolan has done for Heritage Week. . . adding 18 books this year to bring him up to 70 over the last seven years – and he’s firmly committed to hitting one hundred.

By day – and given the workload, increasingly by night – he is the chief executive of Galway Rural Development (GRD), but the Carrabane resident has had a lifelong passion for history. And that’s what he turns to as a form of relaxation which peaks at this time every year.

Not alone that; he already has the first five of next year’s publications completed – and he’s only starting!

This year’s booklets are all on the theme of Gaelic Games and every one of them is in aid of a different community group or charity. Theoretically, they are limited editions, but – given his own love of the subject matter – he won’t see anyone who shares that passion miss out.

While all eighteen new publications share that GAA theme, the diversity of subject matter within that is breath-taking – and an incredible achievement in terms of the workload and production.

From the story of the county title that Liam Mellows were robbed of in 1942 to the contribution of An Cath Gaedhealach to Galway GAA in 1947/48 or Galway’s 1923 and 1925 All-Ireland victories to sport in County Galway during the revolutionary years; the books are as much about social history as about sport.

See the full list of publications in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

And if they are of interest to you, you can contact Steve at sdolan@grd.ie to buy them.

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Connacht Tribune

Why did Galway suffer just half as many Covid deaths as Mayo?

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Galway and Mayo, two neighbouring counties, have had hugely contrasting experiences with Covid-19-related deaths.

Analysis of the latest figures reveals that Mayo’s Covid mortality rate is more than double that of Galway’s.

The disparity has prompted a Galway West TD to call for an investigation to see what caused the disparity.

Fresh data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC) shows that Covid deaths in Galway have topped the 250 milestone.

Up to the end of July, HSPC has been notified of some 251 Covid deaths in Galway since the Pandemic was declared in 2020.

This gives a mortality rate of 97.3 per 100,000 population, which is the second lowest of any county in the Republic after Sligo.

During the same timeframe, neighbouring Mayo notified 296 Covid deaths, which gives a mortality rate of 226.8 per 100,000.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hurling legend’s distillery plans for heart of Conamara

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Joe Connolly....Conamara vision.

Plans have been lodged to build a multi-million euro whiskey distillery on the Conamara coastline – the brainchild of Galway hurling legend Joe Connolly and his family.

And if it gets the green light, it will square a circle that has its roots firmly in the same Conamara soil – where both of the All-Ireland-winning Galway captain’s grandfathers were renowned distillers too . . . only of the illegal variety.

The plans for the Cnoc Buí Whiskey Distillery & Heritage Centre outside Carna – lodged by Údarás na Gaeltachta on behalf of Drioglann Iarthar na Gaillimhe Teoranta – describe a facility that will provide a first-class visitor experience and greatly enhance the local area’s tourism offering.

Once complete, Cnoc Buí will comprise the distillery itself, bonded warehousing, a bottling hall and tasting bar – as well as the heritage centre, shop and café.

That will create over 30 jobs in the first five years, with the heritage centre alone aiming to attract 16,000 visitors in the first year of operation – rising to at least 52,000 by year five in Iorras Aithneach, an area blighted by unemployment and emigration.

On top of that, their own economic analysis envisages the creation of another 130 jobs in the Carna/Cill Chiarain area – in leisure, hospitality and accommodation on foot of that significant increase in visitor numbers.

The Connollys see Cnoc Buí as ‘an asset which will enrich the entire community’.

“It will enhance the local tourism product and serve as a focal point for both the local community and visitors,” said Cnoc Buí director Barry Connolly.

“The building has been carefully designed to reflect the beauty of its surroundings, because we want our distillery to be an attractive hub, with its Visitors’ Centre and Tasting Bar. It will provide employment, draw in tourists and add value to other business in the area,” he added.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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