Author Leslie McKeague presents a copy of his book 'Bailieborough, A Pictorial Past' to Lord Eames who was special guest at the offical launch in the Bailieborough Business Centre last week.

'Bailieborough, A Pictorial Past' delights residents

'Memory' was the prevalent theme at the launch of 'Bailieborough, A Pictorial Past' in Bailieborough Business Centre last Friday evening, when an audience of hundreds was present for the official launch eloquently performed by retired Primate of All Ireland and Archbishop of Armagh, Lord Robin Eames. The launch of local builder Leslie McKeague's book was the second event to mark 400 years since the arrival of William Bailie to what was then Tonergie. Peadar Reynolds, chair of Bailieborough Development Association (BDA), was MC for the launch, funded by Peace III in association with Cavan County Council. As well as being "quiet and unassuming", Leslie is an active director of the BDA and "a driving force behind the 400 anniversary celebrations", said Mr. Reynolds, listing Leslie's interests in vintage cars, motorbikes, local history and involvement in the work of the Presbyterian church and charities such as the shoebox appeal. Noting that he, as "a Leitrim Catholic" was MC, with the retired Primate of All Ireland launching the book, Mr. Reynolds said the cross-community representation "symbolises what it's all about". Mr. Reynolds described Leslie's work as "a magnificent book" and praised his "brave decision to put himself out there and publish". Lord Eames spoke of the "great honour" of being back in Bailieborough to launch Leslie's book, having been in the town twice previously, for a graduation at Bailieborough Community School and for a wedding. "It's a case of down memory lane in many ways," said Lord Eames, noting the relevance of memories in Leslie's book. Lord Eames, who has had a significant role in the peace process, spoke of the power of memories, both positive and negative. "Ireland is a place of memories," he said, adding that as we move into times of reconciliation and understanding, "memories can be a springboard to a better future". Describing the book as "fascinating", Lord Eames commented that, "Leslie has done an excellent job". Photos in 'Bailieborough, A Pictorial Past' are divided into eight chapters: Street Scenes And Buildings, Shopkeepers And Shops, Religion And Education, People, Organisations And Events, Sport, and Industry And Farming. Two further sections are titled Poetry And Song and Authors With A Bailieborough Connection. "It's not just about things; it's about people; it's about characters and events, things that moulded the Bailieborough you know today... "Thank you, Leslie, for giving us a glimpse of how it used to be," concluded Lord Eames. Leslie expressed his delight that Lord Eames accepted his invitation and said it was appropriate given that the launch is Peace III funded. The period of waiting to collect his books the previous day was "similar to the lead-up of the birth of a baby", joked Leslie. He thanked all who had helped the book become a reality, those who helped with the launch, Lord Eames, and his wife and children. He also made presentations to people representing various organisations. Chair of Cavan County Council, Winston Bennett, congratulated Leslie on recording the memories of Bailieborough - "a town rich in beauty, stories and history". • The book is on sale at outlets in Bailieborough and from the author.