Irish emigrant James Sheils, who grew up in Kilcurry before emigrating to Boston in 1987, returned home just in time for The Gathering earlier this month.
“I grew up in Kilcurry and attended the De La Salle and University College Galway before emigrating in 1987 to Boston”, James told the Democrat.
“I have visited home regularly over the years but I am currently on a year long sabbatical and am spending three months of that time in Ireland visiting with and supporting family, after the effects of the recession.
James is also taking this time to concentrate on a life long interest in writing and is working on a few projects including a book.
He most recently wrote a poem entitled ‘The Gathering for Alva’ for his grand-niece.
“I wrote a piece for the Christening of my grand-niece in Carlingford.
“The event was coupled with an event for the Gathering with family and friends both local and from Galway and invitees returning from abroad.
“The response to my delivery of this poem at the event was very strong and some of the authors and musicians at the event advised me to pursue publication.”
James, who is a business development executive has always been interested in writing but has never really pursued this passion and this is his first personal project.
“I have never actively pursued publication in any fashion but I have received such great support and encouragement from family, friends and other writers to do just that.
“I have also attended the Dundalk Writers Group a few times and shared some work with them.
“They have been great and have given me so many ideas.
“I have also spoken to the DkIT writer in residence Ferdia MacAnna andalthough it was very briefly over the phone, I still appreciated it.
“I had about ten ideas before I came home and went to the writers group and now I have a thousand ideas to work through!
“It’s been fantastic and such a whirlwind experience.
“I realise now it’s something I should have done a long time ago.
“I’m really enjoying having time off work, it’s been a nice to have some downtime to myself and dedicate myself fully to writing.
The Democrat spoke to James just before he headed off on his travels again and he is currently travelling around Australia and Central American and looking for further inspiration.
Turn to page 23 of the Democrat to read James’s poem ‘The Gathering for Alva’, which he wrote for his grand-niece at the beginning of March.