It’s far from Grecian urns and gargoyles the original Land League was born, but its modern-day equivalent seemed right at home among the ornate security gates of the country’s most exclusive address.
“Are you giving guided tours?” asked a woman who stopped to politely inquire about the gathering outside solicitor Brian O’Donnell’s magnificent abode overlooking Killiney Bay.
In a way, the answer was yes, because the story of bankrupt O’Donnell’s attempts to keep Gorse Hill for his grown-up children is a four-year journey through the courts that has had as many twists and turns as the roads around which the wealthy weave their mansions and tennis courts here, next door to the likes of Van Morrison and Bono.
The latest twist came early yesterday morning when, in anticipation of a visit by the receiver, Mr O’Donnell called the New Land League and barricaded himself in.
Barricade may be too wild a description, as there were no crudely erected barriers of plywood, chicken wire, and broken chairs — simply a car parked across the gates.
However, as the car was a 15-year-old Volkswagen Bora in fading red with a missing wheel trim in a land where Range Rovers, Mercs, and Beamers, are a condition of residency, it could be classed as a radical act.
That was as revolutionary as the day got, however: The receiver stayed away, Mr O’Donnell’s son went to court with an application to stop the house being taken into possession, the judge went off to think about it overnight, and Mr O’Donnell himself stayed indoors without so much as a single bar of We Shall Overcome to be heard emanating from within.
“You’re making it quite hard to get through,” said a woman with wonderful diction but not so wonderful driving skills as she inched her gas guzzler past the assembled media on the narrow road that in rural Ireland would accommodate two passing tractors and a Honda 50 but in Killiney is designated one-way.
Three more straight-from-showroom models slowed behind her with a mix of puzzled and vexed faces behind the wheels.
“This is what’s called a posh traffic jam,” one wit observed. That was nonsense, of course — they don’t have jam here, they have conserve.
Whether Brian O’Donnell’s offspring will be able to continue dipping their silver spoons in it is something they’ll know at 2pm today.
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