THE Last of the Light, a new book from Kilkee writer Marc Ó Riain is set to be launched on August 28.
It’s a collection of memories, short stories and images from the Loop Head peninsula.
An electrician by training, Marc holds an MA in Writing from NUI Galway and told The Champion,
“I’ve been scribbling away for years. I’ve a facebook page called An Idler on the Loop and for years I’d have been posting on that, observations on the Loop Head peninsula, ramblings, talking about different places and locations.”
The book includes images and various forms of creative writing, according to Marc.
“It has five short stories in it, all populated with characters from the Loop Head peninsula or based in the area or about the area, they’re all flavoured with the Loop Head peninsula.
“There are meditations on the Loop Head peninsula, there’s a handful of those peppered throughout it, with colour photographs, there’s about 28 colour photographs in it, imagery from Loop Head. There are some of what I call prose poems as well.”
The book is written in memory of his late brother, Emmett ‘Hopper’ Ryan, a well known character of Loop Head.
“Beneath all the stories it can be kind of read as a commemorative piece as well for a brother, he was a local fisherman.
“There’s kind of a tone of remembrance throughout it, he’d have been very much associated with the Loop Head peninsula.
“It’s called the Last of the Light and in a way it’s like capturing the last of his light throughout the peninsula.”
He feels the book can be read in various ways. “It can be read as a coffee table book that someone dips in and out of and just reads a piece here and there. It can be read as a narrative that goes from the beginning to the end, and there’s the tone of commemorating someone lost throughout it.
“You can just read the short stories and get a taste of the Loop from someone from the Loop and steeped in the Loop.”
Writing was in his blood to some extent, and while Marc was an enthusiast for many years, when the recession arrived a number of years ago he began to take it more seriously.
“My mother would have encouraged me, she was a very witty kind of writer, she’d have had letters and poems and things read on the Gay Byrne show.
“I would have been self employed for years, I’m an electrician by training and when the crash came I went back to college and got into a masters programme in NUI Galway.”
He says that local poet Thomas Lynch was very encouraging to him, as were novellist Mike McCormack and Galway poet Eva Burke.
Some of Marc’s work can be seen on his Facebook page, An Idler on the Loop, while he says he does most of his writing in the winter.
“I enjoy the place in the summer time and the writing is mostly a winter occupation.”
He says that The Last of the Light is very much a local book and he hopes it will be read by locals. “It’s about the Loop and hopefully it’ll have a lot of support locally. It’s the first of a kind really, in the area, of the area, by someone from the area, with local imagery. It’s very specific to the Loop.”
Marc has had his writing published in the Sunday Tribune, Southword, The Galway Review, and the 2014 anthology Abandoned Darlings.
His fiction has been shortlisted for a Hennessy New Irish Writing Award and his poetry for the Gregory O’Donoghue International. He has also taught creative writing throughout West Clare.
Councillor Cillian Murphy will launch the book at the Diamond Rocks Cafe, at 7.30pm on August 26.
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.