Annie O’Donoghue has released her first poetry collection at the age of 80.

The new book entitled ‘Memories of Rathmullan’ has just been launched in time for Christmas and will make the perfect gift for Rathmullan natives home or away.

A collection of lovely, nostalgic poems about the seaside village, ‘Memories of Rathmullan’ was written by Annie O’Donoghue (nee Toye), who with sister Bessie, were fondly known as ‘The Twin Toyes’.

Annie left Rathmullan for London with Bessie, and their best friend Mary Sheridan, in 1957, and after meeting and marrying her late husband Michael O’Donoghue, she settled in Montenotte, Cork where they brought up their six sons.

But her heart always remained in Rathmullan.

Annie O’Donoghue – author of Memories of Rathmullan

Although she returned every year on holiday and is still a regular visitor to her home town, Annie made up all these poems ‘in her head’ as her own way of feeling close to Rathmullan, when she was away.

The poems featured in ‘Memories of Rathmullan’, were Annie’s way of reminiscing about her childhood, and they also recount visits back to Rathmullan, where she grew up in the Market Square with parents Cassie and Barney, sisters Sally, Kathleen and Bessie, and brothers Paddy, Brian and Anthony.

Bessie Toye, Pat Healey, Annie Toye & Mary Sheridan – Best Pals Growing Up In Rathmullan

From Joe Kelly’s Car, The Hut, St Joseph’s Church to the Rathmullan Donkey, Winnie and Bridget Deeney and Dick and Nelly Skuse, all the great characters from bygone years are remembered in Annie’s poems.

Over the years, she would recite them to her children ‘The Cork Boys’ – Luke, Sean, Brian, Fergus, Mike and Paul, as well entertaining all her nieces and nephews, when the whole family reunited at ‘Granny and Granda’s’ for the summer holidays in Rathmullan.

Annie’s niece Katrina Tasker (twin Bessie’s daughter) decided to make it her mission to get the poems down on paper, and with the help of Annie and Áine Ní Dhuibhne, the book was compiled.

Memories of Rathmullan by Annie O’Donoghue

“Over the years, Aunty Annie had contributed a few poems to books produced by the Rathmullan and District Society, but I knew there were so many more there inside her head,” said Katrina.

“With the help of Áine, my Uncle Tony in Letterkenny and Alfie McCollum, we added lots of great old photographs that were used to illustrate the poems – it was a real labour of love for me, especially as I discovered photographs of my grandparents and their kids from over 85 years ago.

Katrina adds: “What was really lovely, was to find pictures of Aunty Annie and mammy’s big brother, our Uncle Paddy, who had died when he was only 18. It was long before we were all born, but we were always told about him – he was great fun, always singing and playing music.”

Now aged 80, Annie and her twin sister Bessie, are blessed to still have their big brother Tony (83) and big sister Kathleen (92) with them, so ‘Memories of Rathmullan’ will be an extra special Christmas present for them all this year.

‘Memories of Rathmullan’ is available to buy, priced 10 euros, from the Post Office, Carberry’s Shop and the White Harte in Rathmullan.