Mario grew up in Fair Green in Kildare town in the 1960s. He played football with the Towers, hurling with St Brigid’s and was a member of the Athletics Club. His brother Paschal left Ireland in the late 1980s for work in America, where he still lives. Mario is married to Colette Broughall of Mooretown and they have three kids, Eve, Jack and Rachel.
WHAT IS YOUR FIRST KILDARE MEMORY?
Some of the earliest memories involve the neighbours, open doors and family get-togethers in the house, a half-door and an outside toilet. Pure terror as you were left inside the old Presentation yard on those first
days of school and the glorious markets on the Square.
WHAT'S YOUR IDEAL DAY SPENT IN THE COUNTY?
Quite often these days I travel with the kids to the different playgrounds, woods and walks — a favourite being the Linear Park in Newbridge; or a simple thing like a visit to our library in Kildare town or the Odeon cinema in Whitewater.
I like to shut down and spend time with the kids.
If we get out at all, then the Silken Thomas and Harte’s in Kildare — love them both.
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WORK IN THE KILDARE LIBRARY ARTS SERVICE, AND YOUR LATEST BOOK?
I was in charge of Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives since 2002, but will now be taking over more of an admin role as a Senior Executive Librarian. We have a great service in County Kildare, and it is improving all the time.
While I have been involved as author or contributor with almost 30 publications, I am most proud of the four children’s books I created with illustrator David Butler. These were based on visits with children in schools in Kildare, Listowel and Roscommon. Our first and latest were published with the marvellous St Brigid’s Primary school in Kildare town, and are adventure stories incorporating the magical history of Kildare through the ages, with the fantasies of the kids thrown in.
Do Fish Wear Pyjamas? was published in 2011.
The latest book, Ghosts from The Other Realm, features local personalities as well as the Black Abbey, National Stud and Kildare Castle, to name a few of the local places.
I am helping piece together a centenary history of Cill Dara Golf Club for 2020, a murder mystery for adults based in Kildare Town and a new interpretation of the Civil War Executions in the Curragh in 1922. So the next person who says there is nothing to do in Kildare (town or county), tell them to get out and explore. There is a world of nature, history and other heritage on your doorstep. Meanma agus Misneach — Spirit and Courage — are the words emblazoned on the crest of Co Kildare. That we may continue to possess both.
Read also: See more Kildare stories