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, May 15, 2010


footballers cheer a score
pat carroll shoots rabbits in the gloom
children steal crab apples
and farmer byrne calls the cattle home
perhaps this chaotic place
is not kilcullen in the present time
but a dusty frontier town
at the heart of ancient palestine
the sounds dissolve
into a muted half felt bliss
fluted by fond memory
and a strange provincial holiness

Friday, May 14, 2010

heelers purgatorio

Evening in the heartland of South Kildare.
The town of Kilcullen basks in the dusk.
Voices merry with rumbustion rise from the local theatre and drift along the riverside.
Rehearsals are underway for the forthcoming production of Poets In Paradise.
My classic play is being produced to raise doubloons for a charity run by O'Donoghue of the River.
Some of the charity's acolytes are due to spend the Summer building houses up the Zambezi.
Due to a series of unfortunate events, the noble Heelers himself is directing the production.
Not the least of the problems arising from this scenario, is that I am now directing an actor called Maurice O'Mahoney who was formerly my school teacher in Fourth Class.
It's very hard to give orders to your old school teacher.
And it's very easy for the school teacher to ignore any orders I do give.
"Maurice," sez me painedly when some directorial intervention becomes regrettably necessary. "When you deliver that line about buying stamps, try to savour it. Deliver it slowly, don't throw it away."
There was a pregnant pause.
Maurice pondered silently on what I'd just said.
Then he shook his head.
"No," quoth he. "I prefer to do it the way I've always done it."
Ah yes.
That old gag.
I took Maurice to one side.
"Is it impossible for Irish actors to take direction from someone who won't have tantrums with them?" I enquired.
"What do you mean?" wondered Maurice innocently.
Cecil B De Heelers took a deep breath.
"I mean it just seems to me as if Irish actors refuse to obey anyone who speaks to them reasonably and in a kindly manner. It seems as though if a director doesn't shout and rant and rave, that Irish actors just presume he's not worth listening to. It's as though Irish actors interpret civility as weakness. Is that what I'm dealing with here?"
"What are you on about?" quoth Maurice quothily.
"Have you ever taken direction from a director who didn't yell at you like a psycho?" I challenged.
Maurice weighed my question.
"Well," said he, "John Martin never indulges in that sort of behaviour. And he's perfectly able to direct without any histrionics or intimidation."
My eyes glazed over.
"John Martin is a Brigadier General in the Irish army," I stated with near cosmic exasperation. "He's the fourth best man in the country at giving orders. He's commanded a UN battle group in bandit country.There's only three people in the Republic of Ireland who are better at telling people what they want done and being absolutely sure that it will be done. You might think he's not intimidating you, but in fact that's exactly what he's doing. He doesn't shout. But you're still obeying him because you're afraid."
Maurice looked at me pityingly.
"Not at all," he expostulated. "People take direction from him out of respect for his experience and ability and track record. There's a certain credibility there."
My handsome preraphaelite features went momentarily gothic.
"Maurice old bean," I said softly, "you cannot begin to know how insulting your last statement is."

an open letter to Father John Looby editor of the Jesuit magazine The Messenger

Dear Father Looby.
Enjoyed your editorial in the May edition of The Messenger.
I was a bit nonplussed to see an Imprimi Potest from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on your magazine.
Is the approval of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin really necessary for what you write?
Does anyone seriously think Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is an appropriate arbiter of Catholicity?
My own assessment of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is quite critical.
I find his behaviour in the last six months deeply disquieting.
I think it is clear that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, for motives of his own, has attempted to remove a generation of Bishops from office through the simple expedient of arbitrarily ascribing guilt to them and then denying them the right to speak in defence of themselves.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin began ascribing limitless guilt to Bishops and denying them a right to speak for themselves, after the publication of feminist atheist Judge Yvonne Murphy's delusional report into the Catholic Church's management of old child abuse cases.
Many of us were already quite familiar with the cases in her report as accounts of them had been recycled through the anti Catholic media in one form or another for over thirty years.
At the same time the anti Catholic Irish Times, Independent Newspapers and RTE, had simply chosen to ignore the 99.99 percent of sex abuse cases arising in sports clubs, State run homes, Doctor Barnardo's orphanages, and family households, all at the hands of non Christians.
They didn't tell a single lie.
They just ignored 99.99 percent of the truth.
Sex abuse victims are important.
But to The Irish Times, Independent Newspapers and RTE, some sex abuse victims are more important than others.
Particularly the 0.01 percent of victims who could be used by the atheistic media to contrive a new persecution of the Catholic Church.
According to Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, any Bishop so much as mentioned by Yvonne Murphy in her report, would have to resign immediately.
This was a grotesque power play on the part of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
Nothing more.
Nothing less.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's acceptance of the blanket ascription of guilt by innuendo towards Bishops who had served the people of Ireland for a lifetime, and who now were being targeted in their old age by an out of control liberal atheistic Judiciary and Media intent on dechristianising Ireland, this trahesion of the Bishops by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin I say, was blatent, deceitful and evil.
The standard of guilt contrived by Yvonne Murphy for use against Bishops, was not to be applied to any other sector of Irish society.
So the sectors of society in which the vast majority of child abuse cases occurred and are occurring, namely the Health Board sector, the schools sector, the sports and recreation sector, and the family home sector, these zones of rampant sexual abuse, these malign dungeons of our society where children continue to be tortured, violated and murdered, at a rate never before seen in this country, these offal ridden palaces of pious State sector satanism, these were not to be touched at all by Yvonne Murphy's new standard of guilt.
Only the Catholic Church was to be tarred and feathered with Yvonne Murphy's liberal atheistic brush.
The Bishops were being vilified.
Vilified by decree.
And Archbishop Diarmuid Martin was a part of this campaign of vilification from the start.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's every utterance about his brother Bishops was designed to deprive them of their most basic rights under the law.
If Archbishop Diarmuid Martin prevailed there would in fact be no law.
Anyone mentioned in a Judicial report could be ruined overnight.
Tyranny is arbitrary.
This whole show trial, a show trial without any of the appurtenances of a real trial except for the pronouncement of the sentences of guilt via Yvonne Murphy and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, this travesty of a mockery of a sham of a trial, this my friend, was truly vile.
It is less than a year since Archbishop Diarmuid Martin leapt into action with media press releases designed to force the resignation of Bishops mentioned in feminist Judge Yvonne Murphy's deeply manipulative, hugely dishonest, crassly dishonorable, report.
Yvonne Murphy's report retrospectively contrived, constructed and ascribed guilt to Bishops for their attempts to handle old sex abuse cases discreetly.
Yvonne Murphy invented her own notions of guilt, applied them haphazardly to Bishops, and failed to apply them to any other sector of society.
Hitler always said if you're going to tell a lie, tell a big one.
This whole media campaign against the Catholic Church, with Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Yvonne Murphy cheerleading all the way, was one Big White Shining Lie.
This invention of a new type of guilt, that is to say guilt for not doing what Yvonne Murphy or Archbishop Diarmuid Martin says should have been done, allows for the arbitrary persecution of anybody Yvonne Murphy, or Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, wishes to ruin.
I tell you they are seeking to destroy the church.
But they won't stop with the church.
Let me be clear.
In my view Yvonne Murphy and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's media campaign against the Bishops has been nothing less than a persecution of the church.
That's all it is.
That's all it was.
That's all it ever will be.
It's not murder exactly.
But it's close.
It's the murder of reputations.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin arranged a kangaroo court sitting with the Supreme Pontiff in Rome a few months ago.
Irish Bishops were summoned to attend a meeting at which Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and his allies in the liberal media sought to engineer their humiliation.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin failed in this attempt only because Cardinal Sean Brady finally jumped ship and refused to back him at the last minute.
Previously Cardinal Brady appeared to be supporting Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's manoeuvreings.
I think perhaps Cardinal Brady had an attack of conscience.
What happened next is instructive.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin stormed out of the meeting he had himself convened.
He rushed back to Ireland to begin a media spin operation against the Bishops.
The same Bishops he had promised before the Pope, to support.
This was worse than arrogance.
This was malign.
And worse was to come.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's media allies now began a campaign against Cardinal Sean Brady.
They sought to label Cardinal Brady a concealer of child abuse.
The media campaign against Cardinal Brady was deceitful, cynical and foul.
Twas the vengeance of the little yellow god.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin would let nothing stand in his way.
Another reputation murdered.
Leaving the way clear for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin to move from Number Two in the Irish Catholic Church hierarchy to presumptive Number One.
And now this week Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has launched yet another media blitzkrieg against his perceived enemies in the church.
In a mendacious statement delivered to a meeting of the Knights of Columbanus, and repeated live on the national broadcaster RTE, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin claimed that "dark forces" within the Catholic Church were conspiring to conceal child abuse.
It was a smear.
A smear of anyone who dared to express even the mildest reservations about the behaviour of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
While being eulogised on RTE, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's mendacious smear received simultaneous laudatory front page coverage on the anti Catholic newspapers The Irish Times and The Irish Independent.
Aside from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, no other prelate in the history of the Catholic Church has received such favourable coverage from our virulently viciously anti Catholic media groups.
The reason Archbishop Diarmuid Martin receives such adulatory coverage from the liberal whore masters of The Irish Times, Independent Newspapers and RTE, is that he is one of them.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is a part of their conspiracy.
A part of their persecution.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is an infiltrating liberal atheistic progressive intent on remaking the Irish Catholic Church in his own image.
I ask you to remember the fact that during the Cold War, the Soviet Union, infiltrated communist agents into Catholic Churches all across Europe.
One such infiltrator a few months ago almost became head of the Catholic Church in Poland but was unmasked a day before his inauguration.
Do we seriously think it can't happen here?
It has happened.
It has happened before our very eyes.
It is happening now.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's blatent spiteful malignancy in trying to destroy the legacy, witness and reputation, of an entire generation of Irish Christians make no sense in any other context, except as the work of a leftist infiltrator.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's latest egregious falsehoods about dark forces seeking to undermine the church are a classic piece of Marxian class conflict agit prop.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin's machiavellian ambitions to hijack our ancient and true religion, now threaten a schism within the Irish Catholic Church.
I note that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is a brother of the atheistic, pro Soviet former political editor of The Irish Times, Seamus Martin.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin looks like a Soviet spy, he walks like a Soviet spy, he quacks like a Soviet spy, and he's the brother of a Soviet spy.

By demonising those of us who have become rightly and justly concerned about his alliance with Independent Newspapers, The Irish Times, RTE and Judge Yvonne Murphy, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is seeking to devolve limitless power into his own hands.
I put it to you.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is himself the proxy infiltrator for dark forces in Irish society, to wit elements of the Judiciary, the media, politicians and wholly unaccountable Civil Service elites, who have long sought to eviscerate Catholicism from the life of the nation.
Father Looby there was a time when the Jesuits were willing to risk their lives so that the Catholic faith might not be erased from the hearts and minds and souls of Europe and the world.
Is that time really so long past?
James Healy

Thursday, May 13, 2010

sky spirits

Squadron of angels flying over kilcullen after mass for Uncle Joe.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

memories of uncle joe

It was some lost night in the 1970's.
Uncle Joe arrived in from the pub to Sunnyside, my grandfather's house where he'd brought his family from America for their Summer holidays.
He sat in an armchair and began holding forth in the most erudite terms about the 17th century English diarist Samuel Pepys.

He pronounced the name Pepys as Pee Pees.
Presently Grandad turned and said to no one in particular: "He's langers."
The Mammy who was fascinated by the Pepys talk, decided to contribute a comment of her own.

She knew nothing about Samuel Pepys except how to pronounce his name.
"Joe," she said, "you're calling him Samuel Pee Pees. I think his name is pronounced Samuel Peeps."
Uncle Joe favoured her with a gentle smile.
"Oh I don't think so Lilian," he said kindly.
Three months later he phoned from America and asked to speak to the Mammy.
"Lilian," he said, "I checked it out. You were right about Samuel Peeps."

Every Summer he and his wife Eileen moved heaven and earth to bring their family from Boston to Ireland for a holiday.

It was the Summer of 1977.
I was bullying some of Uncle Joe's kids.
He took me to one side and said something gentle but firm.
Something like: "You really don't want to be doing that."
He was right.
I didn't.
And I stopped.

He told a joke once about a woman's shirt falling off in church.
The priest roared at the congregation: If anyone looks at her he will be struck blind."
And an old guy clapped a hand over his right eye and turned around to look at the woman anyway saying: "I'll chance one eye Father."

He sometimes recited a humorous poem called Casey At The Bat.

Every Summer of childhood they'd arrive into our lives like lightning from 3000 miles away bringing with them a touch of glamour, excitement, and the exotic. The Americans! Uncle Joe, Aunty Eileen, Pauline, Joe, Marie and Annie. Names that would be forever imbued with a touch of magic. Names to conjure with.

We were driving down the fields with Grandad in the old Volkswagen.
Uncle Joe turned to me.
"Jamie," he said, "isn't this just like driving across the African veldt!"

It was 1993.
I was staying for a few months at Uncle Joe's house in Boston.
All Summer long he told me about a horse he'd bought.
The horse was called Dithyramb.
"How did you pick the name?" I wondered.
"A dithyramb is an ecstatic invocatory song in praise of the ancient Greek god Dionysus," said Uncle Joe as if no further explanation was necessary.
The horse had problems with his joints.
"I've devised a plan with his trainer," Uncle Joe told me confidently. "We're going to keep him suspended off the ground in a harness for a few months to give the joints time to heal."
I thought this was the craziest thing I'd ever heard.
In my circles, that horse would have been an ex horse as soon as the first joint went ping.
To me the whole suspension in harness idea seemed like throwing good money after bad.
For the next few years it became a regular event in my life to receive photos in the post from Uncle Joe, showing himself in the winners enclosure at various race tracks with a horse called Dithyramb.
I think the beast won ten races with prize money in the region of 30 grand every time.

When his daughter Pauline moved to Ireland to live, he told her: "Never lose your principles."

Sometimes Uncle Joe had a stammer.
Sometimes he didn't.
It never stopped him smoking big cigars.

He once gave me a book of Gerald Manley Hopkins poems.
Presenting the book to me, he recited from memory with serene fervour:

"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes its self; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: For that I came.

I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is -
Christ. For Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces."

He was a librarian.

In retirement he toured Greece, Italy, and Germany, took a trip across America by train, and attended his daughter Pauline's wedding on the Irish speaking Aran island.

There were always horses.
After Dithyramb, I remember Mister Goodie.
I have a photo of Mister Goodie winning a race in 2004.
Then there was Henry R.
I have a photo of Henry R winning in June 2007.
The photos of Uncle Joe and his horses remind me to believe in things.

A few days ago, just before he died, I chanced upon a book he'd sent to Ireland one Christmas as a gift for my sister.
The book was a collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway.
On the inside flap Uncle Joe had left a note saying: "My favourite racing short story is on page 189."
I turned to that page.
The story was called My Old Man.
It was about a jockey who had a son called Joe.
Father and son travelled in carefreedom around Europe for race meetings, making a living as best they could.
It ended with a death.

Uncle Joe, I praise God for the gift of you.
The field is won.

In the winners enclosure at Suffolk Downs, June 2007.

Monday, May 10, 2010

And Now This (by Irina Kuksova)

His Holiness meets His Healyness.