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Connacht Tribune

Perseverance pays off for kids’ author Patricia

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Patricia Forde pictured in Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop with her latest children’s book, Bumpfizzle the Best on Planet Earth. Photos: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle – The hilarious alien Bumpfizzle is Patricia Forde’s latest creation. Praised at home and in the USA, she’s now signed to a top UK publisher. She tells JUDY MURPHY it all began with her mother.

From the moment Patricia (Trish) Forde was able to read, which happened before she went to school – thanks to her mother Detta, who taught Trish and her siblings to read using the Irish Independent – the child had her head stuck in a book.

“My mother says she never saw the top of my head until I turned 14,” recalls Trish with a laugh. The inveterate reader went on to become a children’s author and now, three decades after her first book was published by local company Salmon Press, Trish has signed a deal with Penguin Random House Children’s section. It will see two of her illustrated children’s books being published by its Puffin imprint in the UK.

The former teacher and Artistic Director of Galway Arts Festival was born in Castlegar and moved to Galway City’s Market Street when she was 10. She has been writing all her life, even while working as a primary teacher and later as Artistic Director of Galway Arts Festival. The fluent Irish speaker then went on to write scripts for Ros na Rún and other TV dramas, in Irish and English. But children’s books are her first love and she has authored many, in Irish and English, with picture books being a particular passion.

The latest is Bumpfizzle the Best on Planet Earth, with illustrations by award-winning artist Elína Braslina. Published in Ireland by Little Island, it’s the hilarious story of a youngster who explains that he’s an alien on a mission to earth from Planet Plonk. Bumpfizzle is obliged to give regular reports to his Great Master on Planet Plonk and these are laugh-out-loud, as he documents life with his earthling family.

This fabulous creation, who’s trying to make sense of life on earth, was inspired by a voice Trish heard one day.

“I just heard this voice in my head saying ‘what to do, what to do?’ and got this idea of a family who has an alien living with them. He’s looking at the family baby trying to work out what it is,” she explains. Trish captures his confusion perfectly – one of Bumpfizzle’s observations about the baby is that ‘it leaks from both ends’.

Half way through writing the book, Trish had a dilemma. “Was Bumpfizzle an alien or simply a jealous older child?” With that in mind, she had “a delicate balancing act” to complete it and not lose the magic.

She succeeded and, ultimately, it’s up to the reader to decide whether Bumpfizzle is of this earth or not. In either case, he’s wonderful.

“It amazes me how your head works,” she says about how inspiration can strike. “For me it’s a pool of words that I hear in my head, or a voice, as it was with this book.”

For Trish, writing Bumpfizzle was the perfect light relief following her previous, more serious novel, The Wordsmith (also Little Island).

Written for young adults, it’s set post-apocalyptic location, Ark, where a despotic ruler, John Noa, has restricted people’s vocabulary to 500 words on the basis that words are destructive. Its heroine is Letta, a wordsmith’s apprentice whose job to give people the limited words they need. As the plot unfolds, Letta realises that Noa’s ultimate aim is to totally rid Ark of its language and therefore its culture and she must act.

Published in the USA as The List, it struck a chord in the Trump era, where language has become so debased.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Clifden break new ground with a five-star final show

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Clifden's Gearoid King, who has Michael O'Toole in support, breaking out of defence against St Ronan's of Roscommon during Saturday's Connacht Club Junior Football Final at Hyde Park. Photos: Bernie O'Farrell.

Clifden 1-16

St Ronan’s 0-10

John McIntyre at Hyde Park

A lot can change in one year. Just ask the mould-breaking Clifden junior Gaelic footballers for confirmation.

In the space of 12 months, Galway’s most westerly Gaelic football bastion has gone from fighting relegation to being crowned Connacht champions.

It’s some turnaround in fortunes by any standards, and Clifden are not finished yet with an All-Ireland Club semi-final to look forward to in early January.

Having taken out highly-rated Islandeady of Mayo in the semi-final, suddenly the burden of favouritism for provincial glory fell on Clifden’s shoulders, but they made light of this new-found status at Hyde Park on Saturday.

Coming up against St Ronan’s of Roscommon – a club which was fighting for survival itself just five years ago – in the Connacht final, a progressive Clifden outfit carried too much firepower and quality for opponents who are based close to the Sligo border.

Having suffered defeat in the club’s two previous provincial final appearances – in 2006 and 2015 – Clifden were determined to make it third-time lucky and the fact their supporters rarely had cause for concern underlines how much they were in control.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

An Spidéal raise their game after being hit by black card

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Kinvara full forward Joshua O’Connor is challenged by Liam Ó Fatharta and Eoin Ó Conghaile of An Spidéal during Saturday's County U19 B Football Final at Tuam Stadium. Photos: Iain McDonald.

An Spidéal 1-10

Kinvara 1-6

Eanna O’Reilly at Tuam Stadium

AN Spidéal claimed the county under 19 B football title on Saturday following an entertaining contest with North board winners Kinvara at Tuam Stadium.

The Connemara side were deserving winners on the day as they played the superior football for long spells. Nevertheless, they were well tested by a hard working Kinvara side, who produced a strong third quarter performance and took the lead in the 43rd minute.

An Spidéal weathered the storm however, to take control of the contest in the final quarter, scoring the final five points of the game to deservedly take the title.They displayed a greater ability to generate scores from play, which made all the difference in the end. An Spidéal’s tallied 1-6 from open play, while Kinvara were held to 0-3 by comparison.

Both sides deserve credit for serving up an entertaining spectacle in tricky conditions at Tuam Stadium. Kinvara played against the wind in the opening half but made a bright start when Oisín Ivers pointed from the right corner.

An Spidéal replied with their first score, which proved to be a major one. A strong run from Liam Ó Conghaile saw him break through Kinvara’s defence before firing a shot to the bottom corner past Shaun Philips.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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Country Living

A glimpse back to darker days when we turned on each other

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A photo taken in happier pre-civil war times on October 27, 1921, at the wedding of Kevin O’Higgins (centre) to Birdie Cole (centre front). O’Higgins is flanked to his right by Eamon de Valera and on his left by Rory O’Connor, the latter to be executed just over a year later on the orders of O’Higgins. Photo: Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of my regrets in childhood and younger life was that I never really got to know my ageing father. There was a rural way of life back through the 20th century where older farmers tended to marry younger women, one of the consequences being that by the time the youngest of the children had reached teenage years, their father would have slipped into old age.

It wasn’t all bad though and as a child, I’d hear first-hand stories of what times were like during The Troubles from the War of Independence through to the Civil War. My father wouldn’t always talk about it that often, but here and there, he’d mention tales of hiding behind walls when they’d hear the sound of Crossley Tenders – lightweight lorries which carried parties of Black-and-Tans across the country to ‘put manners’ on the restless natives.

Tales of guns and ambushes were quite frightening but also somewhat alluring yarns for a young lad of 11 or 12 summers as here and there, my father would mention that what followed on after the hated Black-and-Tans was even worse. He would recount tales from the Civil War and how even the closest of families were torn apart, depending on whether they were pro-Treaty or not.

He would point to a spot on a field where IRA members fired shots at the Free State-controlled railway station in Ballyglunin, or maybe a house where two brothers fought on opposite sides during the Civil War. As years passed, and elderly parents moved on, talks of the Tans and the Treaty faded, but of late with the 100th anniversary of so many awful events in 1922 now being recalled, curiosity again took hold.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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