He challenged me to a duel: Vintage Vincent Browne is absolute gold

Vincent Browne is a national treasure. Whether he’s leading the charge on to other people’s property or telling his guest to shut up, he’s an icon.

He challenged me to a duel: Vintage Vincent Browne is absolute gold

He has, after all, been doing this for a very long time - as this classic article from 14 years ago demonstrates.

The piece, from The Irish Timesarchive, was tweeted by foreign affairs correspondent Ruadhán Mac Cormaic. It’s an interview with author Ulick O’Connor, and opens in spectacular fashion.

"It was not my idea to interview Ulick O’Connor," Browne begins promisingly.

"Since the mid-1960s, we have had unfriendly relations. These date from an incident at his home late one night, where I was believed to have broken a pane of glass in his doorway (actually, I did, but I was provoked by his brother, Donough, your honour).

"Later, there was another incident in the old Hibernian Hotel on Dawson Street in which we came to blows. Ulick rang up afterwards and challenged me to a duel in the Phoenix Park."

As if life-and-death duels were not enough to tee up the actual interview - which follows later on O’Connor’s new book, ’A Cavalier Irishman’ - Browne then decides to cover the time he proclaimed RTÉ should ban his subject from the airwaves.

Not forgetting, of course, the time in McGrattans when "I tried to persuade the Supreme Court judge to hit Ulick. I thought it would be interesting but, regrettably, this did not happen."

Regrettably indeed, but the publication of this column remains a spectacular use of newsprint.

The tweet clocked up several hundred retweets from Mac Cormaic’s account before being picked up by pop culture character (and Irish Times columnist) Ross O’Carroll Kelly last night, who called it "possibly the greatest intro to an interview piece ever written."

You can read the full version of the interview - including the actual content about the book - in The Irish Timesarchive, though you may need a subscription in some cases.

HT: breakingnews.ie

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