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Dyslexic-friendly book written about The Burren

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Shane Casey has released a new dyslexic-friendly book about the Burren called ‘The Calf and the Cuckoo.’ All proceeds generated will go towards the local educational charity of Burrenbeo Trust.

Mr. Casey explores the unique farming heritage of the Burren, shaped through the first-hand experience of a local farmer. Shane draws inspiration from his own knowledge of the Burren, having grown up on his family’s farm in Fanore, Co. Clare. It is here that the story is set, between Blackhead mountain and the Caher valley.

The story begins at Blackhead, when Sarah, a young shorthorn calf, is born. Shortly after, she moves across to the Caher Valley where she has a chance encounter with a cuckoo. The cuckoo, Colin, has come all the way from Southern Africa to see the Burren flowers at Blackhead. But Sarah has never heard of them.

On the parallels between Shane’s world and that of his new novel, he posits, “‘Sarah’s farmer plays a secondary character in the story, but we find out in the end that his role is the most important for safeguarding the Burren as we know it. His way of life is shared by farmers across the Burren, including my own family. And there are parts of the story that many farmers will relate to, that maybe others have never experienced, such as the sweet smell when you open up a good bale of hay.”

The Calf and the Cuckoo contains a dyslexic-friendly design and layout. illustrated by renowned wildlife artist Gordon D’Arcy, Shane alludes to a number of small changes that have facilitated this dyslexic friendly design. “We use a combination of special dyslexia font, colour schemes, and layout to make it easier for children with dyslexia to read,” he states.

Adding, “Little things, like avoiding a double space after a full stop, prevents white lightening on the page. Or left-aligning the text instead of justifying it, makes it easier to see where the sentence ends and is less daunting for a young reader than a block of text.”

Pick up a copy of The Calf and the Cuckoo for €14 on

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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