This week, I chatted with authors Sarah Cassidy and Kunak McGann about their most recent book, Ah … That’s Gas! – The ads, fads and mad happenings that swept the Irish nation. I wanted to know about their favourite ads and fads as well as the ones they had never heard of before writing this book together!
Sarah and I had such a good time wandering down memory lane while writing this book, re-visiting favourite feelgood moments from our own childhoods as well as those from more recent times. There are so many events and experiences that we have shared as a nation, they give us a collective memory and a sense of who we are and where we come from, and it was a real joy to put those down in a book. Here are my three favourites.
I can still remember the rush of watching Riverdance for the first time. From those first haunting vocals from Anúna to the gazelle-like Jean Butler in the first solo dance, then Michael Flatley bounding onto stage with his bouffant hair and batwing-sleeve shirt, and Irish dancers flooding the stage in synchronised beats. Who knew Irish dancing could actually be cool?? Our hearts were full.
It is an undeniable fact that Ireland has the best butter in the world. It’s always been a prime export for us and Kerrygold were tapping into that with these crossover ads featuring our French friends. Made before anyone really knew the phrase ‘lactose intolerant’ and possibly the most iconic Irish ads of all time. Surely I’m not the only person who still walks into a room and asks ‘Zere is sumzing I can ‘elp?’.
Continue reading “Ah … That’s Gas!”
As Christmas fast approaches, I had a chat with the wonderful Sarah and Kunak about their latest book, The A to Z of an Irish Christmas.
Why did you decide to write this book?
Sarah: We wrote this book because we both LOVE Christmas and we thought we’d spread some Christmas cheer. We didn’t know at the time that there would be a pandemic, then there was one and I just think that this is a lovely book for people who are stressed or away from home. So, it’s a little bit of an Irish Christmas for them.
Kunak: Sarah and I are both nuts for nostalgia. And the nostalgia doesn’t get much more feel-good than when it’s Christmas nostalgia. And nobody does Christmas better than the Irish. We have taken all the best bits of Christmas, and then added our own little touches to make it unique – like the Barry’s Tea ad, the Late Late Toy Show, the smoked salmon and the spiced beef. We have the Arnotts Santa and the Brown Thomas window, the Christmas Day swim in freezing waters, and the Wren Boys on Stephen’s Day. From the first bars of ‘Fairytale of New York’ in early December right up to Women’s Christmas on the 6th January, we’ve got it all sorted.
What do you love about Christmas?
Sarah: My favourite thing about Christmas is watching Christmas movies! My all time favourite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life and then Home Alone and Elf. It wouldn’t be Christmas if you didn’t watch them. I also love getting a real tree and putting it up. This year, I’m looking forward to having Christmas with my kids.
Kunak: To this day, I can still remember the absolute joy and excitement of waking up on Christmas morning, moving my foot under the duvet and hearing the rustle of the wrapped presents that Santa had left there. That moment, for me, was the pinnacle of all the pre-Christmas build-up, and was also filled with all the potential of the day ahead, full of present-opening and new toys and selection boxes. Does life get better than that? And writing this book with Sarah was about capturing that sheer joy and hoping that we can spread it to others – particularly this year, when we can all do with a lift in our spirits. Continue reading “The Magic of an Irish Christmas”
The dynamic author duo, Sarah Cassidy and Kunak McGann, answered my quick fire questions this week on the making of the hilarious and unbelievably accurate The A to Z of Being Irish.
What inspired you to write this book?
The idea for the A–Z came from a conversation about what makes us uniquely Irish. We wanted a book to reflect both the Ireland we grew up in and the Ireland of today: everything from the Angelus to Zig and Zag, really! We thought a dictionary style would work really well, and so The A to Z of Being Irish was born. That’s when the real problems began! For some letters we had no trouble coming up with subjects (B, C and T were full to the brim), but there’s no denying that X, V and Z caused us a few sleepless nights!
How did you decide what to include?
There was A LOT of discussion about which entries made the grade. We aimed to cover a range of topics from all areas of Irish life, everything from what we like to eat (anyone for a black pudding sandwich washed down with a glass of red lemonade?), to how we speak and what we wear.
Continue reading “The Making of The A to Z of Being Irish”
We’ve just received the artwork in from Greg Massardier for our forthcoming panda cub The Train Driver by first time author Kunak McGann and we can’t wait to get feedback from booksellers about it! The lively graphics bring the text to life and we know that young readers are going to love them.
Continue reading “Another gorgeous Panda Cub”