The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, August 26, 2006

right here right now

We've had more reports this week of lights in the sky.
Ron Beufort who lives a few miles outside Kilcullen rang me on the mobile phone on Thursday evening.
He said: "James I know what those lights are."
At the time he phoned, I was in the middle of a script conference with Giovanna, the producer of Vampires Of Dublin.
We were in the Dublin offices of our film company.
That is to say we were seated at the window table just inside the door of Starbucks Cafe on Dame Street.
I said: "What's going on Ron?"
He said: "I am driving over the Curragh and I can see a light exactly like I saw before. Just one. It's over the military base. James, they're flares."
On hearing this statement I felt a momentary disappointment. I suppose for all my journalistic poses, I'd been hoping for a more mystery laden explanation.
I said: What part of the sky is it in?"
He said: "It's in the west."
So a different patch of sky to the previous sightings.
I said: "Is it moving Ron?"
He said: "It is but only a little."
I asked him to get in touch if he saw anything more, and he rang off.
The next day there were a series of calls from members of the public to the radio station which operates in this region. Several callers thought they had seen UFO's.
Now here's the thing gentle readers.
Because some of what is being reported is explicable, does not mean all of what we've seen is the same thing.
My cards on the table.
I don't believe in aliens.
I do wish the lights were from God.
But these are not journalistic viewpoints.
They're personal ones.
My journalistic analysis is this...
The original sightings of lights in the sky to the east of Kilcullen at 2.20am on June 23rd and 11pm on July 25th have yet to be explained.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A BIT IRISH (by Medbh Gillard and James Healy)

one perfect evening in the middle of summer

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

tilting at windmills

Emerging from the Stephens Green Centre I behold an anti war protest at the head of Grafton Street.
The protest consists of a burly silver haired chap with a handlebar moustache, accompanied by two teenage girls giving out leaflets. They are standing around a table.
Some passers by stop to sign their petition.
The protestors have placards which read: "Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
The noble Heelers halts.
Something is wrong with this picture.
I weigh up the odds. I am far too good looking to be brawling with peace protestors on a Dublin street.
Handlebar lets a roar.
"Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
Without further thought, I let a roar myself.
"Stop the bombing of Israel."
Right at this moment when I want myself to sound most impressive, my voice comes out sounding like Shaggy from Scooby Doo.
Also at precisely this moment I lose the ability to pronounce the word Israel.
I say it: "Is-rah-el," sort of like an old Testament Shaggy might have said it in a 2000 year old episode of Scooby Doo.
Handlebar, to his enormous credit, looks a tad nervous.
He is silent for a moment.
"Stop the bombing of Lebanon," even louder than before.
And from me...
"Stop the bombing of Is-rah-el," just as loud.
This time I sound like Mini Mouse.
There is another awkward silence.
I decide to call the honours even and walk off down the street.
Something good, something honest has happened here.
I am momentarily proud of my country.
In Dublin anyone can still say what they like on the public streets. My heart lifts with the savour of freedom.
I have no ill will towards Handlebar.
Oddly enough in my journalistic life all my best friends have been communists, or socialists, or what we might call fringe elements.
I have found them to be the only ones who really believe in anything.
And as I reach the Laura Ashley cafe half way down Grafton Street, I hear distant but defiant amid the bustle of afternoon: "Stop the bombing of Lebanon."
I leave him the last word.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

coming home

I step in the front door.
It is late at the Chateau de Healy.
I hesitate.
The hall is in shadows.
From the dining room, faint and fantastical, I can hear the Dad in converse with Sky Sports.
All else is quiet.
I savour the stillness.
A strange enchantment is at work. Years drift by on the midnight air. The past, the present, the future come together.
Ordinary things become heavenly things.
I have stepped out of time.
The spell mesmerises me.
The spell is broken by a sudden cry of "b-st-rd" from the Mammy's room followed by numerous other dilatory imprecations from the same quarters and a final flourish of "that f---ing dog."
Paddy Pup gallops from the bedroom.
"You're on your own dog," I inform him as he races past me through the hall, and on up the stairs.
As he passes I see he has a handkerchief in his mouth.
Though momentarily in fear of his life, I swear the brute is smiling.
He loves handkerchiefs.
I close the front door behind me, and switch on the light.
"I live in a zoo," I muse gently.
And I am smiling.

Monday, August 21, 2006

driving miss laure

Driving with my pal Laure Heysch through the countryside around Kilcullen.
Laure is an interpreter at the European parliament. She taught me French about ten years ago and never quite managed to shake me off.
As we drive, all these years later, I'm still trying to get a free French lesson out of her.
"What's the French for seal, Laure?" I ask.
"Phocque," sez Laure.
"No way," sez I.
"Way," sez Laure.
"The little sea animals that look like dogs. You call them phocques?"
"We do."
I laugh with more delight than strictly speaking is appropriate.
"It sounds just like..."
"Yes," sez Laure.
We drive on.
"Phocque," I roar suddenly as a boy racer in a battered 1970s Ford Capri, pulls out of a side road in front of us. "The little phocquer nearly phocquin killed us."
Laure looks at me suspiciously.
"James are you going to keep this up for long?" she wonders.
"Laure old chum," I reply in a rush of candour, "I don't think I'm ever going to be able to stop."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

from my window