Home News Community In Pictures: Laois libraries welcome a very special Dublin dragon

In Pictures: Laois libraries welcome a very special Dublin dragon

Mystical dragon ‘Gringer the Whinger’ has had a massive impression on the children of Laois as he made a very magical visits to Holy Family NS, Portarlington library and Mountrath library in recent weeks.

Gringer the Winger is a naughty and irritating dragon who visits a family when things are becoming tense or disagreeable. With his whingy voice and cheeky criticisms, he commands Mammy’s attention and stretches her patience to the limit, much to the delight of the children and exasperation of their weary daddy.

Laois was chosen as the place for Gringer’s first ever visit to Irish libraries it was in Portarlington and Mountrath tha the cheeky dragon was brought to life.

There’s no need to worry if you missed out on seeing Gringer the Whinger though, and he will be reappearing in Portlaoise library on Wednesday, July 25.

Author Jane Landy says that Gringer the Whinger came into life on a wet and dreary February evening in London.

A child’s creation

“My husband David had kindly agreed to mind the baby while Aisling, our three-year old and I went to a dragon-making workshop at Bethnal Green library. A magnificent creature of papier maché with long crinkly crepe paper hair was duly created.

“Inevitably the artistic endeavour took its toll and on the way home, tiredness set in and a major bout of whinging took place. Feeling somewhat weary myself, I picked up the newly made dragon and whinged back and continued to whinge back,” said Jane.

She added: “It was the most annoying kind of whinging but had an instant effect on the grumpy three-year old who fell silent and started to grin. She asked the whinging dragon what his name was. ‘Gringer the Whinger,’ was his reply.”

Jane says that Gringer the Whinger continued to live with her family long after the evnts of the fateful day.

“The original papier maché creation disintegrated before long but it didn’t matter. Gringer and his dreary voice lived on, following us on our move from East London back to Ireland.

“As our girls grew older and were joined by two brothers and a gang of cousins, Gringer would appear at mealtimes, in traffic jams, on planes and in a host of trying situations. He said the sorts of things that I would never have dared say to my own mother and thankfully my children never said to me. He was unspeakably demanding and beyond cheeky,” said Jane.

Jane’s children have grown up now, but his voice and escapades remain is still etched in their memory.

“Last year, after ten years of editing schoolbooks in my garden shed, I wondered if Gringer might be persuaded to make a reappearance in a different guise. I dusted off the verses I had written about him years before and at the suggestion of my friend Niamh Sharkey consulted the website of Illustrators Ireland,” said Jane.

Illustrator Sheena Dempsey then brought Gringer to the page and the book was created.

“Somehow, and we really don’t know how, Sheena, without ever meeting Gringer or the rest of us, has managed to recreate him and the domestic chaos of a young family, just perfectly. She has brought the dragon’s character to life with all his annoying but funny whinginess, in the most amazing way,” praised Jane.

Gringer the Whinger is now on sale in All Books and News, Portlaoise.

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Siún Lennon joined LaoisToday in a full-time capacity after studying Journalism and New Media in the University of Limerick. She hails from Rosenallis and her interests vary from news, sports and politics.