This is a project from my archives, but it’s one I am very proud of. Back in August 2010 I was contacted by Johnny and Teresa McKeagney of Tempo, Co. Fermanagh with a view to design a book to bring together Johnny’s fascination and love of local history and forklore. “It started in the 1970s, when Johnny decided to start documenting the local abandoned farmsteads and outhouses. He’d stroll out and sketch the dimensions.” “Johnny quickly learned a few rules of thumb. If a house had an iron roof, then it would have had a thatched roof in earlier days. If there was no roof, he’d search for a discarded piece of slate nearby. It took hours to figure out how the house might have looked in its prime and sketch it with the original roof.” “With no formal art training, Johnny was encouraged to continue his recordings by Mr Leslie Stewart, who taught art at the Technical College.”
This book is marvellous, and has travelled all round the world, with copies of ‘In The Ould Ago’ displayed in top North American university libraries including Harvard, Notre Dame, Library of Congress in Washington, UCLA, Boston College and New York Public Libraries. Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall have also been presented with a copy on a visit to Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
It was a privilege to have been able to design the publication, and to have had the opportunity to get to know Johnny and Teresa McKeagney.