A SECOND generation Irishman with relatives in Glasgow and Aberdeen is aiming to bring Irish legends to life via a new children’s book entitled Lardoolin: A Magical Irish Fairy Tale about a Boy and his Dog.
The story is set during the time of the Great Hunger and tells the tale of how a boy and a dog he discovers (above)—along with five orphaned children—bring about a magical event that ends the hunger in their town.
Nottingham-based Jim Landers, the author—whose mother and father hail from Tipperary and Galway respectively—penned the tale during lockdown between the months of March and July in the Premier County’s Clogheen and drew inspiration for the characters and setting from his family past and present.
“We have a dog, a bearded collie on who we based our illustrations for the story,” Jim said. “It’s amazing what long dogs walks and quality reflection time can do for the imagination.
“‘Lardoolin—as he was referred to—was my great, great grandfather and the town undertaker during the Great Hunger. A phrase referring to him at the time was ‘Lardoolins yellow cart or van.’ He must have painted his horse or donkey drawn cart/hearse yellow for some reason. Reigh Cemetery that was used during the Great Hunger is still there and was used for mass burials. The character Ma’ is based on my grandmother Margaret Landers, née Grey.”
The book is Jim’s first as an author, a profession he switched to after nearly two decades working in the healthcare sector. He plans to solidify this career change by developing the Lardoolin adventure via sequels and has even planned a special edition, which is set to launch in the next couple of months.
Jim was keen to give readers of The Irish Voice a fuller synopsis of the story and so wrote: “The year is 1845 and Ireland is now in the grips of the Great Hunger.
Tirfothuinn, an ancient and mystical land ‘under the waves’ that protects the Emerald Isle responds. Three special fairies are sent on a mission to save the dying fairy tree in a small village, which will, in turn, restore the people and their land to health. The fairies represent, hope, happiness and luck.
“However, there is an evil witch who haunts a local Lough who will oppose their plan and who is responsible for cursing the crops to fail.
“The fairies will need the help of five children, but all the children must believe in fairies if they are to break the evil curse of the ancient Irish Witch, Petticoat Loose.
“The fairies choose a boy called Lardoolin and a wonderful sheepdog called Reigh, to make the plan happen as well as five children from the orphanage outside the village, but only three of children believe in fairies. Can the other children be convinced?
“Read this magical story to find out how Lardoolin, his mother Ma’ and Reigh the sheepdog help the fairies and the children on their adventure and special mission.
“There is a magical pocket watch, special herbal dog treats made by Ma’ and a powerful magical poem, all of which will be important to defeating the witch.
Will they succeed defeating the witch and restoring life to the fairy tree, but moreover, can they restore happiness and health back to the people of the village?”
Lardoolin: A Magical Irish Fairytale About a Boy and his Dog is available in both Kindle and paperback versions via amazon, simply click here to purchase a copy