Ultan Dillane To Launch Book Of Inspiring Stories Of People Who Have Made Kerry Home

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Domnick Walsh www.dwalshphoto.ie

Mary Carroll, Susan McElligott and Sinead Kelleher who compiled ‘Behind The Face’. Photo by Domnick Walsh

THE remarkable and inspiring true life stories of 15 international people who have made Kerry their home have been told in a new book, Behind the Face, which will be launched next Friday, December 2 in Siamsa Tire, Tralee at 6pm.

Tralee man and Irish rugby international, Ultan Dillane, will launch the book, which makes a unique and impactful statement about the diversity of the new Kerry and helps us to go behind what we see, and look into the lives of the people we pass on the street, and challenge any possible stereotypes we may have.

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John Ross Jewellers


‘Behind the Face’, which was supported by Kerry County Council’s Community Support Fund and NEWKD through SICAP funds, tells the stories of people like Ahmed Lulu who came here from Palestine to escape Hamas and a life of war and terror; Eddie Ong came from Malaysia to follow his dream of cooking and learning about new foods; Galina Cotter came to Kerry for love and now has two children and runs a business with her husband, and Hashim Al Hadeedy came to escape fear and terror from Isis in his home county of Iraq.

All these stories and more are contained in ‘Behind the Face’ which is hoped will help the public understand that Kerry’s new residents all have their own reasons for coming to the county.

For whatever reason and, regardless of where they are from, wherever they come, they all share the fact that they have been uprooted and planted in a new place, with new cultures, customs and systems to adjust to.

Their stories are of love and loss, bravery and hope but most importantly they tell us the story ‘behind the face’ – the stories of Kerry’s newest residents.

The book was compiled by Mary Carroll, Sinead Kelleher and Susan McElligott. Mary is the co-ordinator of Tralee International Resource which helps support Kerry’s new international community.

Sinead Kelleher is a journalist with Kerry’s Eye and believes that Kerry should open its arms to its new residents.  “We want this book to tell the story of people who have made Kerry their home,” says Sinead.

Susan McElligott is a counsellor who works with international people on a daily basis.  She is a US citizen who now lives in Ireland.  She is one of 15 people who shares her story in the new book.

“People’s stories are their identities and we want to share them so that past and future generations will understand where they came from,” she said.

Speaking about the Book, Mary said; “We all are different and yet the same.  Some may be like us and others may be vastly different. We hope this book will allow you to think twice when you pass someone on the street and wonder what that person’s life has been like. We hope this book will help to connect the people of Kerry.”

‘Behind the Face’ will be launched this Friday, December 2, at Siamsa Tire at 6pm by Tralee’s  Ultan Dillane.

The Irish Rugby International was originally born in Paris to an Irish mother and a father from the Ivory Coast, but grew up in Tralee.

MC for the event is Radio Kerry’s Deirdre Walsh and author and columnist Billy Keane, who penned the foreword, for the book will also be in attendance.

The book is available from TIRC – 0667127918 – and costs €10 with all proceed going to support the work TIRC do on promoting integration.  Watch the Facebook page www.facebook.com/InternationalpeopleinKerry/  for more information.


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