Castlebar International Song Contest book scoops prize

Posted in Connect on December 19, 2018.


A BOOK on the Castlebar International Song Contest claimed second place in the history section of the prestigious Listowel Writers Week Festival in Kerry recently. Written by a former director of the contest, Paddy McGuinness, the book won praise for its meticulous recording of detail and for its professional design and layout. The sponsor of the prize, Mr Karl Nilsson, said it was ‘a most interesting book which my wife and I

enjoyed greatly. It was so interesting to learn how a relatively small town on the extreme western fringe of Europe could become the mecca for songwriters from all over the world for one week every year’.

The book is likely to be on many people lists as an ideal gift this Christmas and the author will be signing copies of the book in Castle Book Shop, Castlebar from 11am to 4pm on Saturday next, December 22.

In a review of the book, well-known Castlebar teacher Tony Deffely is fulsome in his praise.

“Paddy McGuinness, himself a former Director of the Castlebar Song Contest, has used his pivotal stature to place on record, not only his own recollections, but to stimulate and revive those of a great many of the participants.

“Posed photographs of coiffed ladies attired in trendy fashion and men in staid dickie-bows cover the pages – side by side with reproduced copies of memorabilia. They make a fascinating study of those who were involved and committed to the initiative, and, for the political voyeur, those contemporaries who were not.

“But, for me, it is the casual recall of qualitative anecdotes surrounding the contest that enlivens the book’s penetration of real life. “This book does not reincarnate the song contest. But it illustrates what it was all about. I can only hope that it may encourage others in some future time to set aside the fearful brake of cynical perfectionism and take the can do, courageous and sweaty risks that make uncertain life the adventure that can sometimes, but not always, illuminate our lives,” wrote Mr Deffley.

The Mayo News, 18th December 2018

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