Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

‘Stories in Sound – Pen Pals’ – local man features in BBC Radio documentary

In 2015, Proinsias O’Coinn from Mullaghbawn, made a radio programme entitled ‘Lacrimosa’ about his search for a work of art that could bring him to tears. 

One of the reasons the Mullaghbawn man believes he found it difficult to cry, was that, as a gay man, he had always struggled to accept who he really was. A month after the documentary was broadcast, Proinsias received an email from a woman called Donna who wanted to tell him about the work of art that made her cry – a sculpture by Ossip Zadkine called The Destroyed City, commemorating the bombing of Rotterdam in World War Two.

Donna and Proinsias began writing to each other and discovered they actually had a lot in common. Donna understood Proinsias’ struggle with his sexuality, as her daughter is gay. However there was something else too – they both had the same type of cancer. But whilst Proinsias found out he had cancer after his tumour had been removed, Donna was not so fortunate, with her diagnosis terminal.

Proinsias knew he had to meet Donna and visit the sculpture with her. Maybe, it would be the work of art that would finally bring him to tears. More importantly, he wanted to meet his new pen pal.  The story of their unique friendship and meeting is told in the upcoming BBC Radio Ulster documentary, ‘Stories in Sound – Pen Pals’, which airs on Sunday 30 December at 12.30pm.