New Graphic Novel Launched in Kilkenny City

Paul Collins founder Ballywire Media and creator of Maeve of Connacht with Ceara Doocey of MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre

Appearances by the hugely talented Lady Desart Choir as well as performances from Dancewise and the River Nore Music Academy weren’t the only notable aspects of St. Patrick’s weekend 2024 at Kilkenny’s MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre.

The many visitors to one of the South East’s top retail locations couldn’t miss the striking imagery of ancient Irish warrior Queen Maeve of Connacht who also made an appearance at the centre for the formal launch of a new graphic novel re-imagining her story.

The concept is the brainchild of Ballywire Media, a social media content business, established in 2007 by former Today FM journalist and Tipp native Paul Collins, and callers to the stand heard not only about the backround to the new book but also could experience Maeve’s world for themselves with a specially created VR headset app featuring original Irish poetry and song.

13 year old Cillian Murray, son of Ballycallan residents Tommy and Linda Murray was the first in Ireland to see the inside of Maeve’s Throne Room.

According to co-author and Ballywire CEO Paul Collins the reaction from the people of Kilkenny was overwhelming.

“We chose Kilkenny for the first appearance of Maeve and her world because of the city’s renowned appreciation for artistic and historic endeavours and couldn’t have been more pleased with the reaction to our Maeve who’s message to the world is: ‘Question and Be Brave. Find Your Inner Warrior Find your inner Maeve.’

Paul’s late mother Moira was born and raised at the foot of Knocknarea mountain in Sligo and after hearing about Maeve since his childhood days at Easter and on summer holidays decided to re-imagine her story after the pandemic.

“I don’t know if it was a prompt from my late mother or the spirit of Maeve or the Universe or a mixture of all three, but when I visited the historic mountain in Sligo where Maeve is apparently buried I got an incredible urge to look into the Maeve story. I discovered that the first ever colour depiction of the great woman in Ireland’s history was commissioned by then US President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907.’

‘Fast forward to today and we have a A Destiny Unfolds, a 60 page graphic novel illustrated by hugely talented Thurles native Jennifer Ryan Kelly with a brilliant script by Suzanne Stapleton and beautifully printed by Anglo Printers in County Louth. We take up the story when Maeve turns 18 and her father has a birthday surprise for her. Not the nice kind though!’

‘We hope this will be the first of many instalments of Maeves adventures as she traverses to the ancient land of Aeroo a new celtic universe featuring many legends known the world over.’

Paul is also introducing a live show featuring the story at the Yeats Gallery in Sligo next month at the start of a month long exhibition sharing the creative journey of Ballywire’s Maeve of Connacht and looking at the role of Irish women in society today through the eyes of Maeve.

‘We have already had inquiries about our Maeve from Australia and the US so it’s really gratifying to see how she is resonating’ says Paul. ‘I’m very proud of her. She’s like the daughter I never had and I am very thankful to the people of Kilkenny who welcomed her with open arms on her first appearance outside of my front room. I especially want to thank MacDonagh Junction centre manager Andrew Diggins , assistant centre manager Donna Byrne along with Laura Delaney in customer services department for their support of this artistic project in both allowing us to pop up at the centre but also for giving us such a prominent position. Customer service colleague Ceara Doocey could not have done any more for us either and it’s easy to see why the centre is thriving with such a dynamic team driving it on.’

Maeve of Connacht, A Destiny Unfolds goes on sale on April 2nd for 12 euro plus postage at

13 year old Cillian Murray, Ballycallan, the first in Ireland to see inside Maeve’s Throne Room.
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