Moments in Motion - Tommy’s ‘rants’ raises €1,000 for the capuchin centre

By Hayden Moore

A local man has turned a series of tongue-in-cheek rants and short stories inspired by life events that happened to him over his 73 years into a book, with all of proceeds going to a homeless charity.

Moments in Motion has 37 short stories, and with the limited run costing just €10 each, Tommy Kenny managed to raise €1,000 for The Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People.

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Tommy Kenny with copies of his book Moments in Motion

Tommy, a retired catering manager who lives in Ballyboden with his wife Pauline, had every single copy of his self-published book sell out in less than a week. He caught up with The Echo this week to tell us all about it.

When you were writing the book did you know you were going to donate all the proceeds to the Capuchin Day Centre (For Homeless People)?

It was the overall plan to give the money to charity, I was originally going to give it to St Vincent DePaul, but then I realised that they actually receive funding from the Government, whereas Capuchin Day Centre doesn’t – all the money they get is raised. I admire Brother Kevin Crowley a lot too, the work he has put in is amazing – I was there giving them the money, but that’s just one day of the year, they have to find funding for the other 364.

Have you got a connection with The Capuchin Day Centre?

I don’t necessarily, but I was down in the centre the other week, giving in the money that I got from the book and I tell you, there is some serious poverty in Dublin – it’s so sad and upsetting. But they do a wonderful job there, the place is so pristine, and they do the best with what they have to help those who are homeless.

What is Moments in Motion?

It’s basically the rants of an old man. It’s a fictional book, but it brings in some facts too so it would be based a lot on real-life stories – just with a twist on them.

What kinds of stories are in the book?

There’s a letter to God part in it where I get to go up and have a personal interview with the big man. I get to ask him a few questions – I get to go home in the end of course. There’s another story about a cashmere jumper – the only cashmere jumper I’ve ever owned, mind you – that my late brother-in-law gave me. And then there’s one like the Creaky Old Bones story, which is where I sue a pillow in the court of law for the injuries. I’ve had a few people tell me that it’s an easy read. It is, because people can just dip in and out whenever they feel like – it’s not one big story, there are 37 different short stories, so you don’t have to keep following it from start to finish.

Because it was only a limited run of 100 books for this purpose, have you any plans to release more?

I always planned on just doing a limited run, but I very easily could have doubled it if I had known how popular it was going to be – all the books were gone in five to six days.

You self-published the book?

Yeah, I did, and it was great because I didn’t have to worry about deadlines or agendas and it was casual. I just took my time. I went around to a few printers and I wasn’t quite getting what I wanted from it and then I went into this place in Harold’s Cross, Doggett Printers, and we just hit it off. He did a fantastic job with the book.

Did it cost you much to self-publish?

It evened out. You won’t believe me when I say this, but the very week I gave the money in, I got two decent wins in the bookies, so the book ended up only costing me about €170.

No way, so you ended up winning over €800?

Yeah, I only play small strokes and that week it all just sort of came together, it was one of those things where it all just clicked.

I tell you, there must have been somebody looking down on me saying “somebody give that poor f***er a handout”. But see I just wanted to do something to help the homeless, and it all worked out because from the sale of the book I was able to give €1,000.

Can we expect a sequel?

Well, two stories are already done. I actually started writing another one the other night about when I was in school – this just popped into my head and I had to write it down.

It was 1956, so I was about eight at the time and I walked into Mr Tubridy’s class. Up on the blackboard, he had written 2026 in white chalk. And now we’re so close to that year…

I know, it’s unbelievable. So, anyway, I ended up on Mars in the end. But whether or not I’ll live long enough to finish the book is another thing – because I have COPD.

Are you a writer by trade?

No, I was in the catering business, I’m retired now. I had a few newsagents in the 80s as well, but they went bankrupt.

I’d say I spent most of my life in catering, I was more in management, but I would have done 90 per cent of the cooking in some places.

But look, I’m 73 now, and I feel every day of it.

I remember when I was your age and I ended up working in Mr Spud over in the Five Lamps – one of the first chippers in Dublin after Wimpy’s – on the day of my birthday.

My mam had bought me a watch in Weirs on Grafton Street, and her and my sister came over to give it to me while I was in work – all she cared about was saying that she bought it in Weirs, she must have said Weirs like five times.

Actually, the owner of Mr Spud, Shay O’Byrne, was somebody who would have looked after the homeless – he was one of the first people I saw doing that.

After lunch and after we closed, everybody on the street would get free food that was left over.

That is something that would have inspired me for sure.

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