The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

dances with wolves

An Autumn evening some years ago.
Strolling through the town of Newbridge.
A figure approaches.
It is a man who styles himself Father Ruairi O'Domhnaill.
At the time this occurred he had a small acquaintanceship with me.
Enough of an acquaintanceship for him to confide in an off moment that he came from a family which enjoyed links to the upper echelons of the IRA.
Enough of an acquaintanceship thereby to scare the bejabers out of me.
But a small enough acquaintanceship too.
Someone had told me that Ruairi O'Domhnaill himself was a linear descendent of Padraig Pearse who led the 1916 Rising.
He can't be that linear since Pearse had no known issue. (Aside from All Out War With Britain.)
But possibly linear-ish.
In my short acquaintanceship with him, I had endeavoured to respect Ruairi O'Domhnaill even though I wouldn't touch his politics with a forty foot barge pole.
So this day he approached me and wanted to talk.
He said: "James, I've discovered something very interesting about Cromwell. After his massacres in Ireland in the 17th century he was recalled to Britain to explain the immense loss of civilian life before the House of Parliament. He told parliament: What do you want me to do? When I surround a house in that beknighted country, the people emerge and charge my soldiers holding nothing in their hands but their Rosary beads. How exactly to you expect me to fight people like that?"
I listened to the Padre's words and thought about them.
"It's beautiful," I said. "It's very beautiful. But it sounds like internet tosh to me. Too good to be true. It's just too perfect that a man like Cromwell would pay us this tribute. I would suggest you don't use it in a sermon unless you can confirm he really said it."
"I'm very close to confirming it," answered the priest.
"Unless you get proper verficiation," I persisted, "don't use it. The Catholic Church does not need to proceed on the basis of any lie. There was and is enough heroism in the Christian faith without us having to make it up."
That very evening I wandered into Newbridge Church.
Father O'Domhnaill came out to say mass.
The mass was beautiful as it always is, regardless of who says it or attends it, because God is there.
Then it was time for the sermon.
With a glance in my direction and a hurriedly averted gaze, and looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, O'Domhnaill began.
"After the massacre at Drogheda, the English General Oliver Cromwell was summoned back to parliament to explain his bloodletting..."


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