Currach Press, €25
One of the most fundamental ways human beings define ourselves is through where we are from. In Ireland, because of our strong ties to the land and because of our history of emigration, the town, village or county that we associate ourselves with is more than just a mere case of geography, it is at the very essence of the person we become.
In 'I Am of Kerry', a fund-raiser for the Kerry Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Valerie O'Sullivan presents the reasons, in words and pictures, why the county known as the Kingdom plays such a pivotal role in so many lives.
All Irish people know that Kerry is one of Ireland's most picturesque counties, with a strong Gaelic tradition, but what a lot of us have no experience of is the hold Kerry has over its people (native or otherwise). 'I Am of Kerry' shows how men and women, ordinary and extraordinary, all share this same passion for the county. From the household names of Dara Ó Cinneide to Brendan Kennelly to the more locally known Lora Gordon and Patrick Curran, these people are all 'of Kerry'.
Those who have contributed to this project all reveal a deep and lasting love for Kerry. They express it in so many different ways - through memories, poetry, opinions, story, and yet they all perfectly sum up what it means to them.
O'Sullivan is a successful award-winning photographer and it is her black and white portraits of the contributors that really make this book come alive. The landscape and features of the Kingdom provide the perfect setting for each picture and portray the sense of place that is at the heart of this book.
For the Kerry native or those who find their spiritual home there, this book is a must-have but for those who have ever questioned the magic of the Kingdom, it is a true eye-opener and testament to the power this county holds over its people. 'I Am of Kerry' would make a wonderful gift, at the same time supporting a worthy cause. As a Kilkenny woman, I am only envious that there is no such book for my county.