Gerard Siggins series of books, Rugby Spirit, are proving very popular with students in Elements and Rudiments for a number of reasons: rugby, boarding school, historical figures and the supernatural. The language is accessible and they are relatively short and so particularly appealing for the more reluctant readers.
Yesterday (Tuesday 14th March), the students met Siggins in the James Joyce Library, where he revealed the background to his book series. ‘Write about what you know’ was what Ger was told as a child by his inspirational primary school teacher and he has applied this sound advice to his writing ever since.
Lansdowne Road rugby ground was his playground as a child – a time when security guards not to mention health and safety did not feature! His interest in history also became source material for his books. The ghost – the element of novelty in such a series – is that of Brian Hanrahan, who died of injuries sustained during a scrum at a game in Lansdowne, at a time when the laws of the game were quite different to now.
Hanrahan was truly a Lansdowne fatality, but it’s only one. Throughout the series he mentors the young Eoin Madden as he progresses through his first couple of years at boarding school where he is introduced to the game and a number of interesting figures from the past, such as Dave Gallaher from Ramelton, Co. Donegal, who was the original All Black captain.
Siggins has captured the world of school rugby in his series while also introducing readers to interesting men of the past, some perhaps better known than others but all fascinating.
And he has certainly created a fan base in Clongowes.
Jane O’Loughlin, Librarian