Buncrana man Mark Cullen, well known for his talent in animation, film and computer games, will soon launch ‘The Glashedy Giant,’ which was inspired by his five-year-old son, Lemmy.
Glashedy Island, as many will know, is the immediately recognisable, uninhabited, island just off the Inishowen coast.
The giant himself, who joins Lemmy on his travels around the peninsula, lives in Blanket Nook - a real place just below Burt Castle and the reason he’s called the Glashedy Giant is all revealed in the book.
While the story will very much appeal to children, there is also much included for adults, after Mark enlisted the help of local historian John McCarron.
John has written historical snippets of each of the 10 are which the Giant and Lemmy visit, including Grianan of Aileach, Stroove Beach and Greencastle.
Mark, who lectures in animation, film and drawing at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, is a strong supporter of local enterprise and his local community.
He told the Journal how he wants ‘The Glashedy Giant’ to help promote the wonderful sights and locations Inishowen and its community have to offer.
As someone who has been involved in animation and film all his life, Mark quipped how it ‘makes sense to write a book at some point in your life!’
When he became a father, he would draw pictures for his little boy and wanted to include him in his latest creation. “I would draw pictures to put in his lunch box or make wee cards and then I decided that I’d like to put him into a book. He’s the inspiration.
“The book itself will keep the attention of the children and I hope they really like it. But it will also appeal to adults and that’s what I really wanted. John did a great job writing the short histories of each place. It’s a tour of Inishowen. I’m hoping that when people are visiting Inishowen and want to go somewhere like Grianan of Aileach, they’ll be able to say to their children: ‘This is where the giant did such and such a thing.’ And the adults will be able to learn a bit of history about it as well.”
When writing and animating the book, Mark wanted to make sure he ‘tied it into community and all that craic’ and this is also one of the reasons why he has self-published it.
He will launch the book at two local Christmas Craft Fayres in Buncrana in the next few weeks, so that it will also help support local enterprise.
“I’m involved with Artlink in Dunree - I do voluntary work there and will keep the launch with them. They’re doing a stall at a Christmas Fayre, as are Roddens bar in Buncrana, so I’m going to have the books for sale at those. I might do an official launch then, sometime in the future, with Artlink. I would prefer to work with local enterprise as the book isn’t really about making money; it’s more about community and promoting the area.
“If some local shops want to sell it as well, that would be no problem. But, I really want to keep it as hands on as possible, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to self publish. All of that - the community-based approach and being hands-on etc, is very much how I live my life!”
Mark is full of praise for the snippets of local history created by John and told how even locals, who think the know all there is to know about Inishowen, could learn something. He is ‘delighted’ with the support for the book so far, with requests for copies coming in from as far away as Australia.
“I only got around to finishing the last image around two weeks ago. The book was illustrated during lockdown, with Lemmy as my inspiration and Rebecca, his mum, also supported me to get it done. I’m delighted with the support I’ve had since I announced it. I was thinking that, if it does well, you could maybe have the giant visit other places in Donegal too.”
Artlink will have a table at the St Mary’s Hall Christmas Craft Fayre in Buncrana on November 28 and December 4, 11 and 18. The fayre in Roddens will be on December 10, 11 and 12. The book will be available from December 10 in both locations.