The first ever children’s book about Fr Willie Doyle SJ, has just been published to coincide with the centenary of his death, at the third battle of Ypres on August 16th 1917. The author, Carmel Uí Cheallaigh says it is suitable for reading ages 6 – 9 years and ideal for classroom use also. It explores how this young boy from Dublin became of hero of the First World War. And even though it’s aimed at a young readership, according to one adult reader, “It captures the heart of who Fr Willie Doyle was better than a learned tome! At just 1500 words, this book is a great introduction to his life and is an ideal Christmas gift.”
The book is written in fictional style, with short chapters, simple language, and charming illustrations by Jimmy Burns, “so it offers huge potential for inter-generational discussion,” according to the author. It also features maps of Dalkey and Ypres and tributes from his army colleagues.
Willie Doyle lived a life of great generosity, kindness, courage and holiness. The book illustrates this with stories about him from the time he was a young boy in Dalkey, to spells teaching in Belvedere and Clongowes. It covers his ordination as a Jesuit priest in Milltown Park, and the ultimate sacrifice he made as chaplain to the Irish battalions on the battlefield of World War 1 in Belgium.
Carmel believes that Fr Doyle, one hundred years on, is more relevant than ever because of his example and values. “He reached across the divide, socially and religiously, and was admired by anyone he came into contact with, always remembered for his compassion and cheerful disposition.
The book finishes with an inspirational quote from Fr Doyle, his words as pertinent today as they were back then.
This is Carmel Uí Cheallaigh’s fifth children’s book and as always, there’s a Gaelic translation available.
For further information and more stories about Fr Willie Doyle you can visit her website.
The book is available online now costing €5.95 + postage and is also inVeritas bookshops.