Well, Issue #1 of Éirways magazine is back from the printers. It’s a thrill to have it and to hold it after all the work that went into getting it made! I thought this might be a good moment to share my Editor’s Letter from inside of Issue #1, to give an idea of what makes up our premier issue, as well as to shed a little light on why we’ve done this, and why we’ve chosen print as the medium for Éirways. So here it is:
Welcome to the premier issue of Éirways.
Éirways is a print-only magazine about Ireland, its culture, and its people at home and around the world. Our goal is to create a magazine that broadens perspectives for those who live in Ireland, those who leave Ireland, and those who love Ireland.
We have chosen to do this through print, a medium which some have already declared to be moribund. But we have been inspired by a new wave of independent magazine publishers around the world, who work hard to prove that the breath of print can do more than fog a mirror. Print can be the vehicle by which we retake for ourselves the quiet contemplation and pure enjoyment of learning about the world around us.
We are bombarded and overwhelmed with electronic ‘content’. It is fleeting, fast-moving, and ultimately transient. How calming and pleasant it is to handle a beautiful magazine: media that we choose to welcome into our lives. We can handle it, touch it, feel it, smell it. When the latest website has receded into the digital din, a magazine is always right there where you last put it down.
Each issue of Éirways will be built around profiles of people: who they are, what they do, and how they feel about it. In this issue, we hear from 86-year-old Kevin Henry about his working life, and from Shaun Dunne, sixty years younger, who has engaged artistically with the subject of emigration. Mary Plunkett celebrates the printed word and image through her artistry with the letterpress. Nicholas Carolan speaks with us from the Irish Traditional Music Archive.
The first artist to be featured in the pages of Éirways is Micheal Madigan, who paints richly-colored images of his memories of travel and the past. We are committed also to printing the best in new writing. Herein, we feature new poetry from acclaimed poet Terence Winch, a darkly vibrant short story of the Dublin suburbs from Kevin Curran, and a thoughtful essay from Dublin novelist and essayist Rob Doyle.
We are grateful to veteran journalist Charles M. Madigan for his article on a fascinating exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Charles joins poet Terence Winch and photographer Earl Richardson on our panel of Advisors – friends and guides who have helped to hone how we’ve approached the content of this first issue of Éirways.
What you are now holding in your hands is the result of months of planning, talking, travelling, reading, writing, editing, and designing. Words stand in equal company with stunning images that bring the subjects and people we feature to vivid life.
We sincerely hope that you enjoy this and future issues of Éirways. We will always strive to make it a worthy addition to the great Irish – and human – heritage of the written and the printed word.
Kieran O’Hare, with Kevin O’Brien