Cormac, a truly noble name by any measure

King Cormac of Cashel Ornate window at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

We menfolk struggling along the road of life under the weight of the name Cormac are a very small sept indeed for reasons unknown to me, writes Cormac MacConnell.

There are hundreds and thousands of Patricks out there — many of them prominent and powerful; just as many named Seamus or Joseph or Eamon or Tom or suchlike but we Cormacs, for all my lifetime, have been as scarce as hens’ teeth on the currently sodden soil of the Emerald Isle.

Knowing and regretting that reality, decades ago, I applied the name Cormac to the second of my three fine sons in an effort to redress the situation.

The project, sadly, did not succeed at all. Very much to my regret the Cormac Óg was nicknamed Scobie before he was four years old and Scobie he has remained ever since. It breaks my heart but that is the pure truth yet again.

Against that social background, and reluctantly accepting the reality that almost all the other Cormacs I have encountered down the years have either been in the dock in forbidding Courthouses or in their coffins in candlelit country parlours, it was initially with great and unrestrained joy I learned this week that a Cormac has just been appointed as the editor of a leading national Sunday newspaper.

We Cormacs, normally, even in this inky industry, have always until now been the common or garden hacks deployed by editors bearing totally different Christian names. That, certainly, has been my longtime reality.

Sadly, when I dissected the weekend news about the elevation of a Cormac to an editorial chair at last, I learned that the Cormac concerned has been appo- inted Editor of the leading Sunday broadsheet which I have come to call the Sunday Supermarketeer rather than it’s given name because, in all fairness, two-thirds of it every Sunday is composed of garish full-coloured pages of desperately hungry adverts for the hotly aggressive supermarket chains.

You have to flip through five or six of them tempting you with special offers for cheap nappies and sausages and seedless grapes and ‘Red Biddy’ category wines to ferret out any real news at all.

That, I suppose, is a publishing reality in this modern media world where the digital pressures are enormous, but that reality is maybe unduly highlighted in the Sunday Supermarketeer now edited by a Cormac of our small sept.

I wish him well, of course, but I do not envy him the demanding role he has taken over either.

It is accordingly with great regret that I have to mention a major error in the first issue for which Cormac bears responsibility. I discovered it behind the supermarket advertising pages and it was a story which said quite emphatically that the poteen industry is dead in rural Ireland.

I went to the cupboard and confess here and now to drinking my final shot of my magnificent 1914 Lettermullen Purple Nun poteen in order to recover from the impact of that totally erroneous report. And that again is the pure and powerful truth.

Editor Cormac can I inform you here and now that your staff may be excellently accurate in reporting on the events of the Pale region, notably the happenings in fashion and showbiz and cafe circles, and which notable was dining where, and which upmarket romance is over, and what Sinn Féin is doing wrong, but you need to urgently study the accuracy of reports dealing with the realities in the so-called ‘Hidden Ireland’ which, in the end, is the real and important Ireland which will decide whether or not you fail or succeed in your new hot seat.

Take it from a wise old rural-based namesake that beyond any reasonable doubt, if you are in the know, the poteen industry is NOT dead and gone. And that, thank all the gods that matter, is indeed the pure truth still.

Because you are a namesake and a member of a small sept I promise that if you need any guidance and support in relation to ‘Hidden Ireland’ stories for the next six months then I will be happy to provide that assistance free gratis during that period as one Cormac to another.

There are only a few of us in it and we need to look after each other in a sharply-fanged world dominated by Paddies and men called Seamus and Fionnán and Mick.

Good luck for now...


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