Where Finbarre fought, monsters learned - Cork's Patron Saint now a comic book hero

First it was Spiderman, then Batman and Superman. But, surprisingly, the latest addition to comic book superheroes is the Patron Saint of Cork — St Finbarre.

'Troubled Waters', by Keith Kennedy

Troubled Waters, which will shortly be launched at Waterstones, is the brainchild of part-time teacher Keith Kennedy.

He said that, long before the superheroes of the Marvel comics, saints were the heroes of the 6th century so he decided to tell the story of Finbarre’s legendary battle with the river dragon, Lua.

Keith, who lives in Kilmichael and teaches at St John’s College, said that, in the 6th century, the vast majority of people were illiterate and so stories at the time about the Cork saint would have been presented to the public in picture form.

“I grew out of comics when I was young,” he said. “But I wanted a project to do and wanted to be creative. I read a lot of stories about the River Lee and then I started working on this historical/mythological story, giving it my own embellishments.”

The result is 16 pages of action about St Finbarre (c560-620ad) set in beautiful Gougane Barra, the Inchigeela lakes and all along the River Lee.

Keith hopes it will be the first of many comics to come, in which he will feature illustrations of stories on the myth, legend, and history of different parts of the River Lee all the way from its source in Gougane Barra to Cork city.

Also included in the soon-to-be-released comic will be a four-page pullout story set in modern-day Cork called Rat in the Grain.

“It’s about a young woman and her bittersweet life in the city,” said Keith. “Niall Best, a writer who works on the Cork Horror Comic submitted the story to me and I did the art work.”

Keith is now looking for more writers to submit short stories like this which he will illustrate and hopefully turn into more comic pullouts.

The comic will be available shortly in Waterstones, Vibes and Scribes, and some shops along the Lee Valley.

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