SPECIAL GUEST AT FLARES UP LAUNCH
Jeremy Irons Special Guest at Flares Up Book Launch
Flares Up: A Story Bigger than the Atlantic had a suitably impressive book launch on 8 September at Dublin’s oldest book store, Hodges Figgis, where the special guest was actor Jeremy Irons.
Irons, who wrote the foreword, spoke about how he first met author Niamh McAnally on the set of the film The Mission. The event was hosted by comedian and podcaster Jarlath Regan and other attendees included Rory Cowan (Rory) and Eilish O'Carroll (Winnie) from Mrs Browns Boys, singer-songwriter Paul Brady, adventurer-explorer Rory Golden (who had just returned from diving to the Titanic for the third time), performer Aonghus McAnally and director Aonghus Óg McAnally.
About the Book
Flares Up charts the experiences of former firefighter and brain haemorrhage survivor Paul Hopkins and 65-year-old entrepreneur Phil Pugh, who vowed to cross the Atlantic in a fourth-hand 20ft wooden boat – a challenge usually reserved for younger, fitter people. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is known as the world’s toughest row for good reason. In fact, more people have been to space than have rowed the Atlantic.
Financial and physical setbacks caused years of delays to their challenge and put a strain on both their marriages, but finally, on 12 December 2019, they set off from the Canary Islands. Violent storms, 30ft waves and equipment failure left both men seasick, dehydrated and sleep-deprived. Alone on the ocean, they were forced to examine their lives and confront their demons. Was the decision to undertake this challenge brave, selfish or simply foolish? After 70 gruelling days at sea, they crossed the finish line, two changed men. But would either of their wives be there to greet them?
Niamh McAnally, a former TV director and seafarer herself, felt compelled to tell Paul and Phil’s story after photographing their elation as they crossed the finish line.