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Orpen Press | Blog

A Fresh Voice in Irish Non-Fiction

  • Launch of 'The Real Mum's Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood'

    The Real Mum’s Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood by Jen Hogan

    The Real Mum’s Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood by Jen Hogan, author and mother of seven, was officially launched in Hodges Figgis last week. Many of Jen’s family, friends and followers came to celebrate the publication of her first book.

    The talented and very amusing Brenda Donohue, RTÉ, officially launched the book with a speech that went down a treat. You could see the parents in the room reminiscing on the joys and challenges of parenthood as Brenda talked about many aspects of Jen’s book and her own personal parenting experiences as a mother of three.

    After The Real Mum’s Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood was officially launched and the speeches came to a close, guests enjoyed a refreshing glass of wine and got their personal copy of Jen’s book signed by the woman herself. The very impressive sales of the book on the night set The Real Mum’s Guide to (Surviving) Parenthood to Number 1 in Hodges Figgis!

    The eldest of Jen’s seven children – Chloe, Adam, Jamie and Luke – were more than supportive of their mother’s accomplishments. All four children has a smile that reflected their pride.

    Before the launch came to an end, Jen was interviewed by Brenda Donohue for a follow up edition of her programme, Like Family, which Jen appeared on last year.

  • Specific Learning Difficulties by Rita Treacy (Dyslexia Unravelled: An Irish Guide to a Global Problem)

    Recently, in my private practice, I had the huge privilege of meeting and assessing one of the most inspirational and resilient people that I have ever met. Paul is a man in his forties and it was the first time that he had been formally assessed for literacy—reading and spelling—difficulties. As it turned out, he had been dealing with the negative impact arising from having literacy difficulties all his life.

    Paul didn’t come from an academic background and education was not a priority in his family. He struggled from the outset at school and was an early school leaver: leaving school without any qualifications whatsoever to take up a menial job. As good fortune would have it, he was taken ‘under the wing’ of a professional co-worker in the place he was employed. This person recognised that he did have potential and encouraged him to go back to school as a mature student and sit his leaving certificate. This he did (studying in the evening and working during the day) and the outcome was that he obtained a good leaving certificate result. Paul didn’t stop there, over the next ten years he applied for and successfully completed third level university diploma, degree and master’s courses (in his chosen career) obtaining no less than a 1.1 or distinction in each. He is now in full time employment.

    Unfortunately, the fairytale ends there. Paul has struggled with the literacy demands and the social aspects of his work and feels marginalised.  In reality, it has been his ‘presenting’ difficulties that have led to him being misunderstood. Paul is a very bright, private man, preferring to stay ‘under the radar’ and, where possible, keep a low profile. Because of his language and auditory processing difficulties (which means despite having normal hearing there is a difficulty accurately perceiving or remembering what is heard), when he is in groups or noisy places, he retreats and engages in quiet or solitary pursuits thus avoiding normal socialising activities. With his visual perceptual difficulties (which means despite having normal sight, there are difficulties accurately perceiving what is seen), it takes him much longer to visually process information and as a result this means that work tasks become difficult and onerous.

    From clinical experience, I was able to assess very quickly that Paul had significant specific difficulties with language, learning, auditory and visual processing, none of which had ever been identified or treated. Since my initial meeting with Paul and following onward referrals for further multidisciplinary assessments, ‘Paul’ now has a diagnosis of a specific learning difficulty / dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and a visual processing disorder and is now undergoing corrective treatment for all of those symptoms. The good news is, rather than being overwhelmed by these multiple clinical findings, Paul is quite relieved and he is looking forward to the potential life changes expected from these courses of action.  He is looking forward to having a more balanced and integrated perspective of the world.

    Paul’s tenacity is exceptional but his difficulties are not unique. His quest for answers makes him ask the right questions that others don’t know to ask.  The answers to his questions give him the information needed to take on the recommended therapies that others don’t know to access.

    All the way through Paul’s developmental, medical, educational and social history, there were obvious signs or alerts to indicate that there were difficulties—if only someone on his journey had the knowledge or skill to recognise them.

    Working with people like Paul is 'why I do what I do' and it’s the reason I wrote my book entitled Dyslexia Unravelled – an Irish guide to a global problem. My ambition is to begin the process of equipping parents, teachers and other professionals with the knowledge to observe, recognise and act on the overt and sometimes covert signs indicating a problem and in so doing prevent people from a lifetime of unnecessary misery and exclusion.

    Rita Treacy.

    Consulting Speech & Language Therapist & Dyslexia Specialist

    Director:          WordsWorth Learning Limited

    Tel:                   00353 (0) 1 2780886

    Mobile:            00353 (0) 86 6010144







    *In order to maintain anonymity, the persons identity has been fully protected. 



  • A review of 648 Billion Sunrises: A Geological Miscellany of Ireland

    Kavanagh, Emmanuel. Proceedings of the Open University Geological Society. Volume 3, 2017.

    Some readers of this review will have met Dr Patrick Roycroft at the OUGS Ireland Branch visit to the UCD Mineral Collection in November 2016. For those who are less familiar with Patrick, he is a geologist with a PhD from University College Dublin and is currently working on a project to curate and research the aforementioned UCD Mineral Collection with the help of the National Museum of Ireland. He is ex-president of the Irish Geological Association and an editor with the geological journal Elements. He has also been involved with Ingenious Ireland, creators of the excellent Dublin Rocks! audio-guide tour of Dublin, which I recommend. His book 648 Billion Sunrises: A Geological Miscellany of Ireland was published in November 2015, and is aimed at the layperson with an interest in geology, but not necessarily in any particular academic studies in the area. At 194 pages, it is a general introduction to the geology of Ireland, which covers the broad geological history of the island as well as dispelling some myths — for example that misguided belief held by some that the Sugar Loaf Mountain in Wicklow is an extinct volcano rather than what it really is, primarily composed of quartzite.

    The book is written in a light-hearted and easy-to-understand way, and is full of anecdotes, which help to make each subject more interesting. Regarding the Sugar Loaf Mountain example, he also explains what exactly a ‘sugar loaf’ is and why a mountain should be given such a name. The book is divided into short sections, each self-contained and covering a separate topic, which makes it easy to dip in and out of the book at leisure. As well as focusing on a few of the more famous features of Irish geology, he also conducts a county-by-county geological review of the island, identifying for each a separate county rock, mineral and fossil — a great way to review the geological variety contained in such a small part of the world.

    Finally, the historical context behind geological findings, the socio-economic impact of local geological resources and the genealogy of the people behind the development of geoscience in Ireland are touched on in the book, making it much more than a general review of Ireland’s geology, but also an insight into its history and the role geology has played in Irish society. The many anecdotes and simple way of explaining concepts and features by such an authoritative scholar make it likely that even someone already familiar with our island’s geology will discover something new or learn more about a topic they thought they already understood fully. The book contains the latest geological findings, including unpublished and original research, meaning that it is also an excellent way of keeping up with the latest developments in Irish geology. Finally, references are provided for anyone interested in looking deeper into any topic touched on in the book. Overall I feel it is an excellent read and an important addition to the library of anyone interested in the geology of Ireland.

    By Emmanuel Kavanagh, BSc Hons Natural Sciences (Open).

  • Care of Leadership: A practice for developing leadership effectiveness

    I am a human development consultant working with individuals, teams and organisations to realise their dreams and goals. My training programmes and coaching act as catalysts in awakening people’s potential and moving them forward in the direction of their growth. Before setting up my consultancy in 2001 I held quality managerial roles in the pharmaceutical, medical device and allied sectors for 20 years.

    Continue reading
  • Keeping Your Child Safe on Social Media: Five Easy Steps

    Working as a psychotherapist for many years has resulted in my keen awareness for the tsunami of serious incidents that are occurring for young people on social media. Not only do these incidents cause devastation and distress for the young people involved but it is devastating too, for their families, as the consequences can be shocking and dangerous. Continue reading

  • Anne McCormack's book launch

    Last night Anne McCormack launched her first book Keeping Your Child Safe on Social Media: Five Easy Steps. The launch was held in Hodges Figgis bookshop, where many family, friends and parents showed their support for safer social media.

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  • Hello!

    Orpen Press publishes informative, practical and relevant Irish non-fiction, focused on what affects people's lives in Ireland now. The subject matter of our books ranges from the political to the personal.

    We look for proposals that suit our current list, and from those with a profile in their specific area. We do accept submissions from previously unpublished authors, but we ask that you follow our submission guidelines when submitting proposals.

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