Call from Edinburgh left me distracted

Since the long gone time of my ancestor Stuttering Mickie, who had the power to billet rats on farms which were not his own, and Lepping Larry, about whose morals even I cannot speak in a family newspaper today, there is a slew of hard evidence that all the MacConnell clan are as cracked as a cheap boarding house egg.
Call from Edinburgh left me distracted

As a neighbour of ours called Cutler stated long ago, we tend to march to our own drumbeat. I freely confess to that pure truth.

On the other hand, there are occasional brief flickers of kinda psychic stuff, and I encountered one of those during a telephone call from brother Cathal in Edinburgh a half-hour ago.

“Cormac”, says Cathal,”I have been reading the news from Ireland over here for the past week since the referendum, and I have to warn you to be awful careful for the rest of this year because, it is clear to me, you are in a bad place altogether”.

“How do you come to that conclusion?”

“If the papers here are telling the truth, then you are in a bad place, because you are not amongst the powerful influential folk over there, with prestige and influence and real power at the top of the tree, because there is no way that you can pretend you are gay, because you are a father, a grandfather, and, dammit, you married a woman years ago, God rest her, became a widower, and married yourself again to another woman.

“According to what I am reading here about the ongoing celebrations after the vote, anybody who is anybody in the Republic is coming out as being gay one way or another, Government ministers and former ministers and other politicians of all shades, and hugely popular media people, and showbiz stars, even judges and bankers and the Rose of Tralee. You and the likes of you are out of step. It is time to shut your mouth, brother, and keep your head down till things settle a bit. You probably shouldn’t be seen outdoors too often with the wife, at least to the end of June, in my view”.

And he went on in that vein for a good while. I should say that Cathal, a founder member of the famed folk band, The Boys Of The Lough, has travelled all around the world for 40 years, has played his music, as a living legend, literally everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Carnegie Hall and, whilst he definitely marches to a different drum, he has picked up a lot of wisdom along the way, and I do heed his advice, as often as not.

He shocked me a bit with that call. I sat silently for a while after the call ended. The pure truth, yet again.

Seeking some kind of comfort, I called younger brother Mickie MacConnell, the songwriter in Listowel and, dammit again, Mickie refused to talk about anything other than his big night 48 hours earlier in — where else — Ballybunion, which hosted a huge gay bachelor festival for aeons up to a few years ago. Ahead of the times, for sure.

And Mickie was saying they had a really gay night (in the original usage of the word!) in McMunns in Ballybunion, when Tony McMunn officially launched a new CD by Mickie and his musical partner Wayne Taran from Mississippi, entitled “Live ’n Pickin”, and Mickie only wished to talk about that event during Writers’ Week, rather than about any social problems of mine. Accordingly, the call was brief.

Distracted, a bit distressed, I automatically dialled the landline in Dublin of the brother Sean, who could always be counted upon to give wise counsel in hard times.

It was only when his voice sounded on the messaging service that, incredibly, it struck me that lovely Sean departed from us suddenly a year ago, God rest him, and is now happily existing in an eternal dimension far above the reach of mortal referenda. That was a shock.

Still, as I said above, this clan marches to its own drumbeat. I felt that he was somewhere close to me as I wrote, laughing at me, and sure then I was totally OK again.

And that too is the pure truth...

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