An Guaire 2020-2021 is Gort’s biyearly magazine, which this year puts a strong emphasis on how the town has responded to the Covid-19 crisis.
In 1978, Fr. Enda Glynn decided that the South-Galway town required its own magazine. At that time, production led to a thin copy produced four times per year. Since then, production has been scaled back to a single issue every two years. This year’s edition spans a total of 68 pages, featuring the latest developments within the town, a traditional down memory lane feature and an expansion into surrounding towns and villages.
Editor, Tonii Kelly, hopes to give locals a glimpse into their recent past, whilst also keeping a pulse on the long-term issues within the town.
The name of the magazine comes from the Irish name for Gort, ‘Gort Inse Guaire’ which translates to ‘The field of the island of Guaire.’ “King Guaire had a place here, and that’s where our name comes from,” Tonii informs.
This year, staff and production has been greatly curtailed and Tonii has both produced and edited the magazine alone. A blow-in to the town, Tonii spent 36 years in production in The Miami Herald, eventually settling in Gort after marrying a local man. “Since 2018 I decided to go and build it myself. Brian Brennan does all the footwork in locating names for photographs. All the other members of staff work to source stories and funnel them my way. I get a great chance to work with young authors. I really appreciate that. There is a great tradition of literature in this area and it continues with younger folks today. Some of our writers that send us stories are well established in their voice and some of the younger ones need encouragement to strengthen their views. It’s a joy to be able to help.”
This year, readers can expect to find out more on the Gort River Walk, the Town Hall and renovation on the Market Square. Operating bi-annually, Tonii asserts that the publication must investigate the more salient issues around the town. Tonii’s favourite piece and a must read in her opinion, is a four-page feature on the children’s burial ground.
In addition, she states, “Guaire was always about Gort. Now we are looking at edging our way carefully out of the town limits. This includes what you can find over two kilometres out, reactions, looking back and changes that are currently happening within the town.” On the historical element, Tonii affirms that history can be lost in a generation. It’s easy to lose sense of the past with the influx of modern media, she feels. It is important to keep history alive by bringing it forward. “That is our guiding push here in Guaire Magazine,” Tonii states.
On the importance of supporting the local production, Tonii deliberates, “This magazine is a reminder for people about the close links between person and community. It’s especially important for the older generations who have managed to save a copy of almost every issue. In effect, it’s a time capsule. I try to capture the flavour of a year as momentous as this one because it will be hard to express to future generations.”
Continuing, Tonii concludes with, “Most of the volunteers here, like myself, are blow-ins and we see what there is here and what’s missing outside. I’m the PRO for the Burren Lowlands. They are in the process of a redesign of the Gort Square. In my view, between that, the Town Square and the Gort River Walk, Gort is not letting any time waste. We are in a downturn now, but the bottom line is, as soon as the doors reopen, Gort is ready to put her best foot forward.”
Guaire 2020-2021 is available for purchase in Gort, Labane, Cloon and Kinvara for a price of €5. This edition also incorporates scannable QR codes that lead to websites with matched funding.