‘Dear Balbriggan’ – local creative’s touching love letter to his home town!

by Rose Barrett
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December 15 will see the launch of an extraordinary publication, ‘Dear Balbriggan’, a 144-page love letter compiled by local 21-year-old creative, Mathew Kelly. 

Motivated by a desire to connect with other creative people, illustrator, designer and writer Kelly, from Clonard Court, received funding through Fingal County Council’s Our Balbriggan Placemaking Fund for the inspirational publication. 

The fund was established to make Balbriggan a better place to live, work, visit and do business and the novel anthology to be launched at Our Balbriggan Hub at Georges Square on Thursday, December 15, is set to further boost Balbriggan’s growing reputation as a centre for the arts. 

The event will kick-off a weekend of cultural happenings in Balbriggan with the full programme of events to be revealed shortly. Kelly’s fascinating anthology will be launched to an attendance of many artists and creatives who actually feature in the publication which will be available free all on the night. 

‘Dear Balbriggan’ will feature creative writing, as well as poetry, art and illustration, photography, recipes and crafts regaling the artist’s home town. 

Matthew Kelly, passionately positive about his home place, and anxious to promote it in the best possible light, has produced ‘Dear Balbriggan’ a fascinating anthology which highlights Balbriggan’s creative talent.

Kelly, deeply passionate about his home place and anxious to promote it in the best possible light, works with Thérapie Clinic, one of Europe’s leading medical aesthetic clinics, and has been commissioned for projects by Fingal County Council and the Mansion House. 

He has seen his work showcased several times in national print and digital publications, as well as at the Fingal Poetry Festival and in Mental Health Ireland’s Thrive campaign. He is currently working on his first book, ‘Porter Loves Cleo.’ 

Matthew, a past-pupil of Ardgillan College and former student at the National College of Art and Design, set out to create an anthology in the style of one of the world’s great magazines. 

“I wanted to produce something in the style of the New Yorker magazine with essays, fiction, illustrations, and poetry,” said Kelly. 

“And I know I am very lucky to do the work I do. So if I can do the right thing for my home place, why would I not do it? 

“I felt it could be a vehicle to connect with creative people in the area and highlight the artistic side of Balbriggan. There is a lot of creative talent here, it is important to shine a spotlight on it and ‘Dear Balbriggan’ allowed me connect further with it.” 

Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said he was delighted to see a young person passionate about Balbriggan promote the town in such a positive way. 

“’Dear Balbriggan’ is a remarkable document and I warmly compliment Matthew on the passion and skill he has shown in putting it together,” said Cllr Mahony. 

John Quinlivan, Director of Services, Economic, Enterprise, Tourism & Cultural Development at Fingal County Council, said the authority’s Our Balbriggan Placemaking Fund had been put to excellent use. 

“Matthew’s initiative, ‘Dear Balbriggan’, highlights the town’s myriad of creative talent and Fingal County Council is delighted to have been of assistance in its production.” 

‘Dear Balbriggan’ will be launched at Our Balbriggan Hub at Georges Square on Thursday, December 15.

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