Legends and Folktales of The Celtic Tiger
Donal Horgan (Copyright Donal Horgan 1999)
Tom Flynn has left his hillside farm in rural Ireland and settled for an uneasy retirement in suburban Dublin with his daughter Helen, her husband Paul and their two young children, Keith and Trevor. Paul is the assistant marketing manager with Dic Dat International, a leading multinational and Helen is a teacher. Balancing careers, childminders and a hundred other demands, the couple lead a frenetic existence, further complicated by the presence of Helen's father in the household. Missing from the set but not from Tom's mind frame is his only son, Dermot, who continues to pursue a new life in the United States.
Tom Flynn is no kindly, grey-haired geriatric waiting to die. Although now in his seventies, he remains alert and fit discoursing at will over the broad canvass of his life and times. Although physically located in suburban Dublin, Tom remains rooted to his hillside farm and the constellation of petty jealousies and fierce pride revolving around it. A man more accustomed to the spartan comforts of another era, he looks askance at a new Ireland with its self-congratulatory sense of over indulgence.
Set within commuting distance of the M50 and a world removed from Tom Flynn's Ireland, this is an exploration of The Celtic Tiger as seen through the eyes of a 73 year old man. More importantly, it is a look at success and its cost to one man.
Lean and alert. Although now 73 years of age, he remains agile for his years. On first appearances, a man not given to sentiment or nostalgia. Very much a strong character and even now in old age his presence dominates the set. Long since a widower used to frugal comforts and hardship, he continues to fight out old border disputes with neighbours most notably, Din Connor, for whom he reserves the greatest contempt. Tom Flynn is a man who has made immense personal sacrifices for his children so that they would be educated. The irony is that he has unwittingly ensured that they will leave behind the world of Ballinclare. He continues to harbour delusions that his son Dermot will abandon a promising academic career in the US in order to farm his 35 acre farm. Feels a victim of his own success.
Tom's daughter. Now married and living in suburban Dublin. Attempting to combine her duties as daughter, wife, mother and teacher in a hectic life. Very much being rolled along by events, clutching successively at binge eating, soap operas and dieting in order to cope.
The driving force behind the Celtic Tiger? Sees himself very much as the essence of the modern Irish man. Makes no effort to understand the world Tom Flynn came from. Under the impression that Tom is starting to suffer from some form of dementia. A shallow character, more pre-occupied with the status his house, car and job can offer him.
It is early morning. The stage lighting reveals a man sitting by a fireside. It is reminiscent of a country kitchen. Later in the scene, we become aware that in actual fact we are in a modern suburban kitchen/living space complete with designer pine furniture. We also become aware that the fireside is in actual fact a coal-effect fire.
A clock ticks slowly. The solitary figure of Tom Flynn rises to his feet and speaks.
Tom:It's never too early to get up. Especially when
there's 12 cows to be milked.
Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew. Was there ever a man before to win 35 acres of land from sheer mountain? These hands have broken and toiled for 73 years and do you know - to spite them I'd do it all over again. Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew.
(Sudden explosion of radios, T.V.'s. Lights go up to reveal the bigger picture of Tom Flynn sitting in a modern suburban kitchen. Helen, in dressing gown, hurries on still dazed with sleep)
Helen: Morning Dad!
(turning as if calling upstairs)
Hey kids, come on get moving it's 7 o' clock. And Keith make
sure you put on the new Benetton pullover that mummy left out
(after a pause)
OK, wear your Teletubbies jumper but just for today.
(still dazed with sleep, commences to sing)
Teletubbies ..... say hello.....oh .... when are those boys going to actually sleep for a full night?
Paul:(enters in shirt)
Ah Christ Helen! It's 7 o'clock. What happened to that clock radio again?
Helen: (Again calling upstairs)
Keith dear, tell your brother Trevor to get up now!
Keith, I said ...... ah never mind - I'll do it myself.
(raising voice on presumption Tom is deaf)
I said good morning Grandad! A great day for the farm eh? You know - driving the tractor, that sort of thing.
Not a bad morning - if you'd be left to enjoy it.
Paul:(produces dictaphone and begins to talk)
Dic Dat International - mapping the future........nah....sounds too corny.
(talking to Tom)
It's D-Day today grandad. I'm doing a presentation for the board. It's my first real chance of promotion. Ya, I can see it now on the office door... Paul Hanley, Marketing Manager of Dic Dat International. Hope Conroy, the old fox likes my presentation, otherwise I'll be driving that Nissan Primera for the next 30 years.
(speaking into dictaphone again)
Dic Dat International - Directing the future ..... nah ... not sexy enough...
Helen, have you seen my green tie anywhere? You know the Mount Juliet one - old Conroy always was a sucker for golf...
Helen:(Helen re-enters dressed, continuing to talk to children in adjoining room)
What do you mean - you want Honeyloops, why can't you have Weetabix like your brother?
OK, OK, Paul will you get Honeyloops for Trevor?
Paul:Helen, my Mount Juliet tie?
Helen:It's in the second drawer in the spare room.
(Paul, with box of cereals makes for door)
Oh and change the video - Keith wants the Ninja Turtles, he says Barney is for kids.
Paul:For Christ sake, he's only 5. That's the problem with the world today - kids, they're all spoilt rotten. I mean who cares whether it's Barney or the Ninja Turtles. They should be damn glad to have a roof over their heads.... little punks.
Helen: Paul, just change it...
Tom:"My two girls have two sites near the
road and my boy John have a job with the Council", says Din
Connor, proud as a cock. God, that'll be a good shovel wasted
for 40 years says I. Have I told you about my own two, says I?
My girl Helen is teaching in Dublin and my boy, Dermot, has a
big job in America teaching in Harvard. Not that you or anyone
belonged to you is ever likely to hear of the place.
"And all the same", Din Connor replies, "isn't it a pity there isn't one of them to give you a cup of tea at your own fireside in Ballinclare".
Helen: Dad, you don't have to keep telling the same stories over and over. Why don't you watch Breakfast Television like everybody else, that would cheer you up.
Paul:(Paul re-enters, talking into dictaphone)
Dic Dat International - a vision for the future. I think that's a winner grandad.
(consciously raising voice)
I said I think that's a....
Tom:I heard you the first time.
Paul:Helen, it's 7.20 and the M50's a mess again. Horses
on the road at Clondalkin. That's the problem with this country
grandad... too many Cowboys and Indians on the motorways......
Helen, will you fix this tie?
Helen: (Talking to children in adjoining room)
Come on kids, hurry up. We're leaving in 15 minutes.
Paul:Helen, my tie....
I thought you said you were wearing the green tie.
Paul:I wore that at Peter Taylor's presentation.
Couldn't have old Conroy thinking that his new marketing manager has only one tie...eh?
Helen: (Calling to children in adjoining room)
Come on kids.... Mummy's got to go to school.
Keith, you're not allowed stuff honeyloops up your little brother's nose. Or into his ears either....
Paul:I'm going to have to fly. I'll catch breakfast
Helen, my briefcase. Where's my briefcase?
Helen: In the sitting room. And clean Trevor's nose too.
(Paul exits in search of briefcase)
Tom:Would you tell one of those young lads to throw another sod of turf on the fire?
Helen: Keith dear, will you turn up grandad's coal-effect
fire? Keith, I said turn up grandad's fire...
Oh forget it, I'll do it myself.
Paul:(Paul re-enters with briefcase)
I've got to fly dear. Kissy! Kissy!
(Kisses Helen, moves to door and turns)
Wish me luck with the presentation!
I'll be home at around 5. Bye sugarlump!
Tom:Kissy! Kissy! Sugarlump!
What kind of an ainniseoir is he? Of course, what would you expect from a commercial traveller?
Helen: Dad, Paul is not a commercial traveller. He's
an assistant marketing manager with Dic Dat International.
Tom:Wouldn't you always know the breed of a commercial traveller?
Helen: (Looking to adjoining room)
Come on kids! Mummy is having her black coffee and her four grapes just like the NewYou Diet said and then she's leaving. ....
Trevor, that's a lampshade not a hat. Take it off right now!
(eating grapes one by one)
27 calories and look what mummy has to look forward to for lunch ...... an apple and seven raisins...uh, I can hardly wait!
Tom:Commercial travellers were always great men for shiny shoes and fast talk. Pulling the wool over the common peoples eyes and selling them things they never needed or wanted. Didn't one of them manage to sell Din Connor a washing machine once?
Helen: Dad, I've already told you. Paul is an assistant marketing manager and he's really a very caring person. And besides, your precious son Dermot hasn't bothered to come back from America to look after you just yet.
Tom:That boy will get sense yet, mark my words.
Helen:(Talking to adjoining room)
Mummy is getting her keys and going to the car.
Trevor, no you can't take that lampshade to the childminders. And no, take it off your little brother's head right now.
Now Dad, I've left some food in the fridge for you. And remember
to take your vitamins.
Oh, by the way, I've checked and the Golden Oldies Drop In Hour is on today.
Tom:Golden Oldies! I'd sooner go to a Home for the Bewildered than be seen carrying on with that lot. No hillfarmer from Ballinclare was ever seen at one of those get-ups. Give me a spade and a ditch to clear any day of the week.
Helen: OK kids that's it. Everybody in the car - we're leaving. Keith, Trevor make sure you have your coats.
Keith, Trevor, I said we're leaving.....
Well, think it over. It's on in the Community Centre at 11
I've got to fly. See you at 4 Dad.
(Helen exits and noise suddenly ceases. Lights go down once again to show solitary figure of Tom Flynn at fireside. Clock ticks in background.)
Tom:Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew. Was there ever a man before to win 35 acres of land from sheer mountain?
I was never a big man but I was wiry. I'd stay the course with
any man in a field, a bog or a mountain and twas through sheer
grit that I'd stay with them. I never let one of them get the
better of me and they knew it too. Slackers and lay abouts, that's
all they ever were.
I remember in nineteen hundred and forty seven the day Jim the Smith threw down the challenge to four of us at the forge. Ten shillings to the man who can make the bandle of a wheel says Jim!
Tim Murphy said he had to go and look at a lame cow. Pat Foley said he had to go to confession and Din Connor scratched his head and looked at me.
Stand back out of my way, says I, and let me through. Well for the next hour the sparks flew and the sweat poured out of me. And I hammered and I beat the metal red hot until it glowed like the bandle of a wheel and then I plunged it into the cold water and purged it and the forge hissed and filled with steam. Din Connor scratched his head and said he had never seen anything like it before. Jim the Smith said nothing but started rooting in his pocket for a ten shilling note.
I did it because I had a pair of eyes in me and I always made it my business to see how these things were done. No man in Ballinclare or beyond was ever foolish enough to throw out a wager like it again while I was around. They talked about that day in the parish for years after.
Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew.
(Looking at clock)
10 o clock in the morning. I wonder did Din Connor get that gate into the low meadow fixed yet? Of course not - he wouldn't be a Connor if he did. Din Connor, pig lazy and stupid into the bargain.
If you met that stump of a fool Connor,..... that half gom,
that confounded mi-adh and oinseach ..... if you met him of a
fine summer's morning he'd be humming and hawing and scratching
his arse saying "God, Tom Flynn, but what will we do without
a drop of rain at all". If you met him that same evening
and it was pouring rain he'd have changed his tune to: "God,
Tom Flynn, but won't the countryside be ruined with all this water".
An infernal whinger and good-for-nothing begrudger like all the
What a pity God wasted good farm land on fools.
But he was always well able to blow. "My two girls have
two sites near the road and my boy John have a job with the Council".
God, that'll be a good shovel wasted for 40 years, says I. Have
I told you about my own two,? My girl Helen is teaching in Dublin
and my boy, Dermot, has a big job in America. Would you believe
he's teaching in Harvard, not that you or anyone belonged to you
is ever likely to darken the door, says I.
"And all the same", Din Connor comes back, "isn't it a pity there isn't one of them to give you a cup of tea at your own fireside in Ballinclare".
For a stupid man, he always knew where to aim a blow.
(End scene 1. All lights go down.)
4 pm that same day. All lights go up as Helen and children arrive home. There is a sudden explosion of sound as we are again bombarded with TV's, radios etc. Helen is struggling to carry a new microwave from the car.
Helen: We're home!
(struggling trying to carry large box of groceries)
Trevor - will you close the door after mummy. Trevor! Oh forget
These groceries weigh a ton!
Keith - will you close the door for mummy like a good boy? Keith I said close the door for your mother you little ungrateful brat. OK, I'll do it myself since that's the way it generally is around here.
(finally manages to get box over to counter)
Hi Dad! We're home!
Tom:There's some post there for you. I think that diet
crowd are checking up on you.
Helen: (to adjoining room, while opening letter)
Kids turn down that video, mummy is trying to relax after a day with 5th class - you know the class that gave Mrs Rogers a nervous breakdown and caused poor Mr Maguire to wrap both himself and his car around a telegraph pole.
This is brilliant! The NewYou Diet says that I can now increase my daily calorie intake. You know what this means dad - I can now have two cups of black coffee and 12 grapes for breakfast!
Tom:Was it worth the price of a stamp telling anyone that?
Helen: (to adjoining room)
Kids, I said turn it down now. Trevor, give me that remote control.
Tom:It seems like a lot of bother for those grapes.
Helen: (to adjoining room)
Trevor, it's Keith's turn. Turn it down, mummy wants to watch her favourite programme out here and she can't do it with those wretched Teletubbies blaring.
Oh no - just when I wanted to see if Craig would propose to Carrington.
(annoyed, picks up phone while continuing to watch TV)
Dermot! How thoughtful of you to ring while the whole world
waits to see if Craig proposes to Carrington. Oh, you've had a
hard day. How terrible! I'm just looking after your father, my
husband Paul and our two children as well as trying to teach 30
Oh you just rang to say that you came across an EU report which shows that EU farm holdings of 35 acres or less are no longer viable. How meaningful, I mean, how thoughtful of you!
Dad, did you know that your son Dermot has just discovered that EU farm holdings of 35 acres or less are no longer viable?
Tom:That's all very well but what about Din Connor. He's eying up my land like an undertaker at one of those old folks outings. Tell him that.
Helen: Listen Dermot, I really don't have the time to tease out the finer points of EU policy right now. How about you coming home and looking after your father for a change.
(slams down phone and turns up TV)
Helen: (phone rings again, Helen picks up annoyed)
What do you want now Dermot?
Oh it's you Paul. What do you mean: am I going to ask you about how your presentation went. You know that Craig is about to propose to Carrington on TV. You've had a round of golf with Conroy and Peter Taylor and you're stuck in traffic on the M50. How terrible! Now would you like to hear about my day?
I didn't think so. Ya, see you later.
(puts down phone and continues watching TV)
That's the one thing I hate about Paul - he's so wrapped up with his own career. He never gets around to asking me about school. It's just non stop Conroy this, Peter Taylor that.
Tom:A tasty man could make a living from 35 acres. If he was thrifty and minded his business.
Helen:(getting up, finding Blackforest Gateau and
speaking to adjoining room)
Trevor, I've already told you, turn that noise down. Mummy is trying to watch her programme.
What do you mean, what is mummy doing with a Blackforest Gateau? She's going to eat it because she deserves it - all 4,000 calories of it.
(returns to place, watches TV and begins to eat)
Tom:I said a tasty man could make a living from 35 acres if he put his mind to it.
Helen:(annoyed at being disturbed once again)
Dad, lets get real here. Your son Dermot has a fellowship in Harvard. He is not going to throw all of that up for some miserable life on a wet hillside in Ballinclare.
Tom:But won't he have 35 acres of land to his back. Land that I sweated and toiled over every day for close on 70 years.
Helen: Dermot is not interested in 35 acres of land in Ballinclare or anywhere else for that matter. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to see the part where Craig proposes to Carrington.
Tom:You're just like your mother - the Lord have mercy on her - the same sentimental carry on. The Kellys were always great people for figarios. Will I ever forget the morning I was walking to the Church to marry your mother. Passing down Kelly's house what did I see only her two sisters staring out from behind fancy lace curtains and their faces painted with rouge of all things. Not for them the sceon and drive for work of the Flynns, rooting and harrowing for every bit here and there. No, as long as they had twopence in their pocket they were as happy as beggars and to hell with tomorrow. Yes, the Kellys were a very sentimental people, childish even.
Paul:(Paul enters with briefcase and flowers)
Traffic on that M50 was a real mess again.
(seeing air of indifference)
Well, is anyone going to ask me about the presentation?
Helen: Your day! Who the hell ever asks about my day? What about Paul Sweeney that little creep who sits...
Twelve red roses........I know they're your favourites.
Helen: Oh Paul, how sweet. I'm sorry for shouting at you.
Paul:You deserve them, every single one of them.
(looking around for children, opens briefcase and takes
out toy squeaking duck)
Where are those devils?
(squeaking toy duck)
You can imagine the reaction when I opened my briefcase to start my presentation "Dic Dat International - a Vision for the Future" and out popped this duck. Peter Taylor, the jerk, nearly wet himself laughing. Still old Conroy was impressed. Why else would he have asked me on that fourball.
OK kids, who planted the rubber duck in daddy's briefcase?
(exits to sittingroom)
Tom:12 red roses - did anyone ever hear the like of it.
Helen:(to adjoining room)
Kids dinner is ready in 15 minutes ....... or whenever Craig finally gets the bottle to propose to Carrington.
Great day for farming Grandad!
I said it's a great day for farming Grandad!
Tom:I heard you the first time.
Helen: (handing bowl to Paul, while continuing to
Paul will you feed this Barney Pasta to Trevor.
Paul:That's the thing about children, eh grandad, they bring out the child in you.
(exits with bowl)
Tom:Is there any end to the get-up of that man?
Paul:(Paul suddenly re-enters with bowl)
Don't give me that crap! Eat your Barney Pasta when you're told. That's the trouble with the world today, grandad, children won't do what their parents tell them anymore.
Tom:For once, I'm inclined to agree with you.
Paul:Helen, I try to feed Trevor with a bowl of Barney Pasta and what happens - he wants Ninja Turtle Pasta. I've tried telling him that it's all the same, just different shapes but he won't listen. Now he's gone ballistic. What's that kid going to be like when he turns 6?
(puts bowl on table and begins swinging imaginary golf club)
You know I knew I should have worn that green Mount Juliet tie. After the presentation, Conroy turned to me and said: "Time for a fourball, Paul?" You should have seen me Helen, par on every hole on the back nine. Peter Taylor came home in 12 over - couldn't have happened to a nicer guy! Still the presentation went well although that nerd Frank Benson gave me a hard time over our five year sales projections. How the hell am I supposed to predict the value of the Yen in five years time?
Helen: (Momentarily breaking off from watching TV)
Paul dear, dinner will be ready in 15 minutes or whenever I can find the English instructions for the new microwave. By the way, it's your favourite .... Chicken Tikka Masala a la Marks and Spensers.
Ah Helen, I thought I told you..... old Conroy thought it would be a good idea if the fourball went out for a meal later. You know old Conroy ..... a sticker for team building and that sort of thing....
Here I am slaving for you and your kids and now you tell me that after your exhausting round of golf you and your buddies are heading out for a night on the town. You can stuff your red roses Paul Hanley!
Paul:But Helen, the promotion.
Helen:The promotion, the presentation, Conroy, Peter
Taylor, Frank Benson..... I've had them all up to here.
When did you last ask about Peter Sweeney, that little creep with the acne who keeps interrupting my class?
Paul:But I'm doing this for us Helen.
Helen:Playing golf, eating out every night - you're doing it for you!
Paul:(trying to regain composure)
Helen, do you realise what Frank Benson said to me today on the fourth driveway? He had just hit a lousy 7 iron into the rough as it so happens and he chirped over to me: "Eh, Paul, what this I hear about a three bed semi in Springvale Close only making £170,000. The house two doors up from us made £200,000 last week." "Actually Frank," I said "we're in Springvale Drive and we're not overlooked." Up yours Benson!
That's why I want this promotion for us. You see Helen, one day Frank Benson will be on his knees begging me for his job. And as for that twirp Peter Taylor, he'll wish he had never been born.
(suddenly spotting stain on shirt)
Oh no, my shirt! Helen I've got a Barney Pasta stain on my shirt. I'm meeting Conroy at 7. Helen, my good shirt....
Tom:He's got the cut of a commercial traveller alright. A creamery manager - now that's a real job but a commercial traveller is nothing more than a water bailiff wearing a good pair of shoes.
Helen: (putting roses into vase)
Nothing changes around here. Not you, not him. Not even those blasted Teletubbies.
(to adjoining room)
Kids, keep it down in there. Trevor, you stop trying to push Keith off the couch right now.
Paul:(Paul returns wearing new shirt)
Lucky you ironed this one for me last night Helen. Ah .... look at the time already.... I've got to go Helen. Ah .... don't wait up for me.
(blowing kiss from door)
(turning to Tom and speaking with raised voice)
Great weather for farming, eh Grandad!
Helen: (dismissively throwing flowers into bin)
The little rat. And I bet he bought the roses in a petrol station too.
(to kids in adjoining room)
Kids, I said keep it down in there. I'm trying to hear myself think out here.
Tom:I remember in nineteen hundred and forty seven the
day Jim the Smith threw down the challenge to four of us at the
forge. Ten shillings to the man who can make the bandle of a wheel
Tim Murphy said he had to go and look at a lame cow. Pat Foley said he had to go to confession and Din Connor scratched his head and looked at me.
Helen: Oh Dad, give us a break from that story. You're living in Springvale Drive now not in Ballinclare. I mean why can't you be like all the other senior citizens and go to the Golden Oldies Hour. Just think about it - Bingo, Old Time Waltzing, Stamp Collecting. It could be a whole new beginning for you - anything but sitting there every day going on about Jim the Smith and his wretched wheel.
Tom:Because I'm Tom Flynn, the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew.
Helen: Ballinclare! What did that place ever do for
us? You and your feuds with Din Connor over what - rights of way,
fences, dogs and buckets.
What a pity mam didn't get the chance to live a real life with central heating and shopping centres instead of freezing all her life in that house. And what was it all for?
Tom:You needn't speak ill of the dead. Your mother was a fine woman. It's just that she never had a mind for work like the Flynns.
Helen: That explains why Dermot wants to leave Harvard to return to your precious Ballinclare. The sooner you accept that Dermot has no intention of coming back the better.
Tom:Dermot is a wayward lad but he'll come right in the end. Why wouldn't he with 35 acres of land to his back?
Helen: 35 acres of misery. That was the sum total of
life in Ballinclare. Oh ..... this is useless. I'm going to have
an early night.
Trevor! Keith! Time for bed.
Tom:Isn't it about time those two young lads learned to handle a yard brush?
Helen: Let's hope they'll never have to use a yard brush.
(speaking to children)
Trevor, Keith, Mummy says it's time for bed. Come on, up stairs. Yes you can bring the Teletubbies and even the Ninja Turtles.
Don't stay up too late dad. I'll see you in the morning.
11.30 pm that same evening. Lights come up showing Tom Flynn alone by the fireside in kitchen. A clock can be heard ticking in the background.
Tom:12 red roses - what could you do with 12 red roses, I ask you. Could you feed them to a calf? Would they be suitable bedding for a beast? Not likely.
Was there ever a man like Tom Flynn in Ballinclare, they used say. Was there ever the like of him in any parish in Ireland?- such was the sceon on him for money that he'd have a piece of rope tying his coat instead of a belt. Imagine that, they used to say. Why waste good money on a belt is what I say.
I was always a man of frugal habits. I remember days in the
bog and the way the likes of Din Connor would be stuffing his
mouth like a savage in the jungles of Borneo. Well, if I had two
sandwiches what would I do only eat one and put the other one
back making sure no one saw me.
Why? Because a little sacrifice never hurt anyone and every twopence saved was another twopence towards their education. And what was it for in the end - a girl that's gone soft in the head with grandeur and a boy tramping America.
Paul:(Paul re-enters, looking slightly inebriated)
You won't believe what happened to me on the M50 tonight grandad? A Fiat Uno tried to overtake me. That's the problem with this country grandad, Fiat Unos trying to overtake Nissan Primeras. 1 litre cars just don't know their place in society anymore.
(cheerfully calling upstairs)
I'm home dear!
You old cow!
(opens bottle of whiskey and pours himself a drink)
So grandad, do want to hear about my promotion? I was just finishing desert, a bloody good TiraMisu as it so happens and Frank Benson conveniently goes for a leak. Conroy turns to me and says: Ok Paul, it's time to play hard ball about this promotion. Your presentation this morning was first class but HeadOffice wants Benson to get the promotion this time. However, because you're a bloody good team player I want you stay onside with Dic Dat.
A team player with Dic Dat? I'd prefer to be playing left corner forward with Millwall than play on one of Jack Conroy's mythical Dic Dat United teams.
I nearly threw up my TiraMisu on the spot. What's more I nearly
threw up my Medallions of Pork served with a red wine sauce, not
to mention that excellent seafood symphony that I had for starters.
Dic Dat International - a vision for the future......
Tom:I remember in nineteen hundred and forty seven the day Jim the Smith threw down the challenge to four of us at the forge.
Paul:Ah shit, not the one about the wheel again.
Tom:Ten shillings to the man who can make the bandle of a wheel says Jim! Tim Murphy said he had to go and look at a lame cow. Pat Foley said he had to go to confession and Din Connor scratched his head and looked at me.
Stand back out of my way, says I, and let me through. Well for the next hour the sparks flew and the sweat poured out of me. And I hammered and I beat the metal red hot until it glowed like the bandle of a wheel and then I plunged it into the cold water and the forge hissed and filled with steam. Din Connor scratched his head and said he had never seen anything like it before. Jim the Smith said nothing but started rooting in his pocked for a ten shilling note.
Paul:(Taking another drink)
Benson, the little creep, was in on it all the time. The promotion was all a charade, a matter of going through the motions. Just like Benson going for a leak at just the right time so that old Jack Conroy could let me down gently. Well, they didn't fool me.
Tom:I did it because I had a pair of eyes in me and I always made it my business to see how these things were done. No man was ever foolish enough to throw out a wager like it again while I was around. They talked about that day in the parish for years after.
Paul:I should have gutted that little snipe Frank Benson years ago. That's my problem grandad, I'm too nice for my own good.
Tom:Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest, the toughest man Ballinclare ever knew.
Paul:Will that be my epitaph - He drove a Nissan Primera.
(taking another drink)
Over my dead body.
I'll show Conroy with his crappy Dic Dat United. Yea, maybe it's time I started sounding out the opposition. They could do with hearing a few of Conroy's little secrets... eh?
Tom:Did you ever hear of Scairbhin na gCuach?
Metal Head, Boyzone, ... nah, I never heard of them.
(distracted, takes out dictaphone)
Memo: tell Frank Benson to take a long walk on a short pier.
(tries to contain mock laughter)
Tom:Scairbhin na gCuach is the sort of May day when you think summer has well and truly arrived and before you know it you get a cold biting wind from the north reminding you that things are never what they seem. It's the last flicker of winter, searching for a victim among the lame and delicate, among the young and the old. It's what's on any man's mind when he reaches my age and he begins to wonder what his life has come to.
Paul:I'm sure it's a lovely story grandad but I've got to be up and on that M50 by 7.15 tomorrow morning.
(moving to leave)
Yah, another dawn approaches and the great world of movers and shakers awaits my arrival.
Just you watch your back Frank Benson because I've marked your card. Three bed semi's in Springvale Close only making £170,000 - I'll show you you little git ......
Tom:I was never a man given to sentimentality but I did have my simple pleasures. After I reclaimed the top meadow, the very meadow that I dragged every stone and briar out of with my bare hands, I often remember how of a summer morning if I was sure Din Connor wasn't looking, I'd take off my shoes and walk the dew grass in my bare feet. The feeling of it was only divine and all the more when you'd think about the thrift and industry that went into the making of that same field.
I do often think that industry is a form of poetry. Is there anything more perfect than a job well done? A hard and honest day's work done well is as satisfying to the soul as any good sonnet.
Yes, the simple pleasures in life like the sight of a scrape of wool caught in a briar in a ditch; or like the look of the top meadow as you'd turn in the gate; or like the frozen crunch of a ditch on a hard frosty morning.......
Memories .... too many many memories for an old grey head to hold. If only that son of mine would get sense and stop his gallivanting around America making a show of me. If only ..... I could go to my grave a happy man in the graveyard above in Ballinclare. And mark my words, I'd be the thriftiest, the most honest, the most hardworking corpse in a graveyard full of schemers and vagabonds. If only....
There's two cars in Connors yard tonight and a good fire in
the hearth. And not a trace of a Flynn in Ballinclare. Do you
know, for a stupid man, didn't Din Connor get on very well.
"And all the same", Din Connor would always come back like a little terrier pup snapping at your heels, "isn't it a pity there isn't one of them to give you a cup of tea at your own fireside in Ballinclare".
Tom Flynn - the hardest, the wiriest ...... the saddest man Ballinclare ever knew.