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All systems go as Laois author gears up for launch of first ever children’s book

It is all systems go as a Laois author gears up to launch his first ever children’s book on Friday morning.

‘The Last Beekeeper’ by Johnny Renko, the pseudonym for journalist and former Senator, John Whelan will be launched by the Minister for Heritage, Mr Malcolm Noonan.

The launch will take place at 11am in Butler House Gardens and Orangerie in Kilkenny and is open to the public.

The book explores the challenges around climate change which are posed today and poised to confront future generations.

Speaking ahead of its release, author Whelan explains where the inspiration for his book came from.

He said: “When I was dispatched to report on what was happening in Rosenallis in the Slieve Bloom mountains in 1993 when thousands of colourful Rainbow People converged on the townland of Ballyhuppahaun little did I realise the profound and abiding impact it would have on me.

“This is the story I have always been meaning to tell, firstly for my children and now as it turns out for my grandchildren, thirty years on. The Rainbow People were intriguing in so many ways.

“I was fascinated by the resourcefulness and ingenuity. They were way before their time in terms of eco-living, conservation, leave no trace, carbon footprint and so many of the issues which have since become mainstream and part of our daily dialogue.

“I was fascinated in the Slieve Blooms back then and a year later when I travelled to join them in Slovenia, how thousands of strangers, from so many nationalities, could live on the side of a mountain, respect the landscape, share resources and look out for each other while in perfect harmony with nature.

“I always felt it would be fantastic if we could learn from them, apply this approach and scale it up across society in general, it would help solve many of the issues around waste, pollution and the threat to our environment and biodiversity that we now face.

“While I have been meaning to write this story for years, the timing has never felt so apt as it’s never been more topical.

“The story is written to suit the oral tradition of Irish storytelling, ó ghlúin go glúin, and yet the theme is universal; what sort of a world are we handing over to our children, grandchildren, and future generations.”

The Last Beekeeper is now available from All Books, Lyster Square, Portlaoise; Nook and Cranny, Main Street, Portlaoise; Anthology, Abbeyleix; Midland Books, High Street, Tullamore and Barker & Jones Naas and selected bookshops nationwide and online from www.thelastbeekeeper.ie

SEE ALSO – Remembering Ballyhupahaun’s Rainbow people of 1993

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