Offaly town remembers shoe factory past in new book

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Offaly town remembers shoe factory past in new book

Offaly town remembers shoe factory past in new book

Creative Edenderry, a community arts group, has announced that its project "Shoes of Edenderry" will be launched to the public from March 19-21st, St Patrick's Day weekend.

Despite Covid restrictions, the group has put together an exciting series of virtual events. This outdoor exhibition includes a virtual book launch, the unveiling of an outdoor photographic mural on the old Tesco site's facade, and the display of a glass sculpture in the library window.

The events will start with a book launch on March 19 at 8pm. The book's title is Shoes of Edenderry, Stories and Memories inspired by the Shoe Factory Era and edited by Marian O'Donoghue and Mary Hickey.

The book launch will be hosted as a Facebook live event with the authors' reading extracts from their stories.

Spanning more than five decades, the Edenderry Shoe Company and its staff occupied a central role in the town's life. Shoes of Edenderry, Stories and Memories inspired by the Shoe Factory Era offers a glimpse into the working conditions, the sense of
pride and place and the fostering of community spirit that shaped many aspects of the town.

The book is beautifully designed and printed by Brosna Press and will be for sale in the local shops in the Edenderry catchment area from Saturday, March 20. There is a limited edition published, so buy your copy before they sell out.

Also, a photographic mural will go on display. Veronica Nicholson set about gathering photographs and stories from local people about a pair of shoes that had a special meaning to them. Veronica received inspiration for this project through conversations with Nesrin Elazaly about diversity and inclusion, and along with Eithne Quinn, they came up with the idea of
creating the project around the slogan, "You cannot judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

Veronica, a photographer, initially hoped to take the photographs herself, but Covid had other ideas. Undeterred, they set up a Facebook and Instagram page. Soon, the photographs and stories came in. The Photographic Mural will be on Edenderry's main thoroughfare, JKL Street, at the old Tesco site and visible to the public from March 18.

Following the shoe theme from Creative Edenderry's Culture Night Project, September 2020, local Glass Artist Michelle O'Donnell of Glasshammer Studios designed a Glass Sculpture. This sculpture and the accompanying artist statement will hang in the Library window on JKL street.

The shoes used to form the sculpture's theme and mould are Jumping Jacks designed and manufactured in Edenderry Shoe Factory in the 1970- 80s. They were lent to the group by their owner and the author of one of the book's stories. The baby shoes Jumping Jacks and some of the ladies shoe styles designed and manufactured in the former Shoe Factory also feature in the photographic mural at the old Tesco site on JKL street.

Creative Edenderry's book, Shoes of Edenderry, Stories and Memories inspired by The Shoe Factory Era, will be on sale from March 20 in local shops in the Edenderry area for €10.

Everybody can also view the varied range of photographs and stories submitted to Creative Edenderry by people connected
to Edenderry and any further information on their projects on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

This project is funded by Offaly County Council Arts Office, Creative Ireland and IPB Galway 2020