One book will hold a lifetime’s interest in folklore for one man when it is finally published next week.

Johnny McKeagney from Tempo, is known far and wide for being a local historian but his meticulous methods in sourcing material and displaying it is unlike anything seen before. Not only has he interviewed people and taken notes but he has also sketched and drawn the images conveyed to him.

The final result is a volume of 200 A3 pages bound in a hard back called “In the Ould Ago.” The book is being officially launched at Enniskillen Castle Museum next Friday afternoon, October 22 and again on Sunday, October 24 in Tempo Community Centre.

The book has been a labour of love for Johnny who has been ably supported by his wife, Teresa and his five sons and one daughter. They have all came together to enable him to publish the book which will be available to buy not only locally but also worldwide through the internet. The website is and it has already attracted interest from Fermanagh and Irish exiles, especially in the United States.

Johnny who has been involved in business in Tempo for much of his life, running a grocery store as well as a funeral undertaking business has a unique way of gathering the information.

“The old men used to come into the shop and tell me stories and I would take them down on a biscuit bag. I was in the shop for 50 years and whether I was selling coal or burying the dead, these stories were in my head all the time. I loved writing things down and I loved going through Fermanagh and Tyrone and anywhere I got a story I would turn it into a drawing,” he explained.

Johnny knew parts of Tyrone as well as Fermanagh as he worked in a general store at Mountjoy outside Omagh for a number of years before setting up shop in Tempo following his marriage to Teresa.

“I think this is unique, recording folklore history through illustrations,” he says.

Johnny has dedicated the book to his wife, Teresa, on their 45th wedding anniversary at the end of September. Their five sons, John and Gabriel in America; Ruari who runs the shop in Tempo; Donal, an engineer in Galway and Paul, working in computers in Dublin and their daughter, Aileen, who lives near Tempo, have all supported the venture and are actively involved in its promotion.

Forewords to the book have been written by three people whose lives have centred on folklore and rural traditions. David Shaw-Smith, who created the TV series, “Hands” about craftspeople, said Irish people have always had a great interest in and respect for their heritage and a fascination with their history.” He described Johnny McKeagney in this way; “McKeagney is truly a living, walking-talking history book, unassuming and charming - an archivist and artist down to his toenails.” Criostoir Mac Carthaigh, Archivist at the National Folklore Collection at UCD said about Johnny, “The skills of craftsmman, draughtsman and artist which he combines are used to great effect in the richly-detailed and frequently humorous tapestries he has drawn. They form a unique and invaluable pictorial record of Fermanagh’s hidden past.” Finally, Margaret Gallagher, one of Fermanagh’s best known local historians said, “This publication is yet another example of the multitude of stories that Johnny has unearthed in his many travels. His capacity to research diligently, listen attentively and record accurately ensures that his work is of the highest calibre.” The book is divided into various chapters covering Craftsmen, Focus on Tempo, Townlands and Out and About in Fermanagh.