Clonmel children's book illustrator Róisín Hahessy prepares for launch of her first Irish book

Eamonn Wynne

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Eamonn Wynne

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ewynne@nationalist.ie

Róisín Hahessy

Children's book illustrator Róisín Hahessy, whose first Irish publication Beag Bídeach will be launched next month in Galway and Clonmel

A Brazil-based Clonmel woman who has been working as a children's book illustrator for the past year will have her first Irish publication launched next month. 

The Irish language book Beag Bídeach has been published by Futa Fata in Galway, written by Sadhbh Devlin and illustrated by Róisín Hahessy, who is originally from Cherrymount in Clonmel.

Beag Bídeach will be launched in Galway on November 25, followed by a Clonmel launch in the library on Thursday morning, November 29 for local schoolchildren.   

Daughter of Anthony and Breda Hahessy, Róisín Hahessy attended school at the Sisters of Charity and Loreto, before completing a one-year FETAC art portfolio course at the Central Technical Institute.

She then attended a Computer and Classical Animation course in Ballyfermot, Dublin, from which she graduated in 2006 with a higher national diploma.

Róisín was interested in art from an early age, attending weekly classes with the South Tipperary Art Group (STAG) from the age of 9 until she was 18.

"I loved these classes so much and from a young age I was exposed to many different art mediums", she told The Nationalist from Brazil, where she lives with her husband Felipe in the city of Joinville, in the southern state of Santa Catarina.

"I was always mostly interested in drawing and I used to especially love the STAG classes when the weather was a bit milder and we would go around Clonmel drawing the local scenery", she says.

She hasn't forgotten the solid grounding in art that she received from STAG, and was delighted to participate in the group's 50th anniversary exhibition in the County Museum with her short animated film ‘Which Way’.

Róisín worked in the graphics department of TV3 from 2008 until 2015. She worked across all the live shows, creating graphics and opening titles, including the animated opening titles for shows such as the station's Christmas Toy Show, The Lazy Chef and Snaptastic, presented by comedian Jason Byrne.

She met her Brazilian husband Felipe while living in Dublin and the couple moved to Brazil three years ago.

"This change in lifestyle gave me more time to focus on drawing, which I really love", she says. 

"I began by teaching myself digital art, as I believed it would be a good way of getting a good professional portfolio together. I practised every day and worked on many small projects, using social media to advertise and promote my work.

"I really wanted to illustrate children’s books, so I researched publishing companies and illustration agencies and I was so happy when The Bright Agency in London offered to represent me in August last year".

Since then she has worked on a number of children’s books with publishers in London, the United States and more recently Futa Fata, an award-winning publisher based in Spiddal, Co. Galway. 

They mainly publish for children as Gaeilge, producing original books by Irish authors and illustrators and Irish editions of popular children’s books by renowned authors such as Jeff Kinney, David Walliams, Julia Donaldson and Oliver Jeffers.

Róisín will return home next month for the Irish launches of Beag Bídeach, which has been brought to the international stage of the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany this weekend.

Beag Bídeach is available in all good bookshops nationwide and online at www.futafata.ie.

Róisín Hahessy, who has been described as "incredibly talented" by Beag Bídeach author Sadhbh Devlin, keeps a portfolio of her work on www.rosha.ie.