Essence of Clontarf gets king-size role
‘Vinny, we’ve been thinking about the key roles in our Battle of Clontarf reconstruction and feel you’re the ideal candidate to play the role of Brian Boru’
Brian Boru about to be put to the sword.
If the numbers were down on the blood-thirsty hordes of a thousand years ago, Vinny Fitzpatrick was impressed by the turnout as the great, and not so great, shuffled into the parochial hall at the rear of St Gabriel’s Church on Sunday evening.
“What Bohs could have done with a gate like this against Rovers on Friday night,” mused the corpulent bus driver as huge numbers of Clontarf tribesmen and women filed into the musty hall.
It was over 45 years since Vinny had first crossed the dark doors of the ‘proke’ as a roly-poly member of the local cub scouts, but he knew its nooks and crannies like the back of his hairy hand.
He could still recall the exact corner, near the toilets, where he’d once dared to grope Imelda ‘The Ice Maiden’ Downing at a disco in the 70s, only to receive a knee in the goolies for his troubles.
Clearly, the advance notice, the posters, leaflet drops, emails and coverage in the Clontarf Courier had done the trick, as had the promise of complimentary refreshments, which was always guaranteed to rope in a few hangers on.
Even so, what mattered most was every dog and divil from Fairview Bridge to Dollymount Strand knew about the ‘Millennium Meeting – A Chronicle of 1,000 years of Clontarf’ and were intrigued at what was planned.
On the platform at one end of the parochial hall sat the ‘Millennium Committee’, a cross-section of Clontarf’s pillars of society.
As he wolfed down a very fine Bakewell tart, Vinny recognised a few of the heads.
There was Charlie St John Vernon, wealthy local landowner and a Foley’s regular, Fr Leo ‘Noisy’ Lavelle, the local parish priest, Grace Cadwalder of the Clontarf Warblers, and Tommy Moloney, a decent skin independent councillor from Black Banks.
It was Noisy who called the meeting to attention, or at least tried to. Because he spoke in a whisper, no one could hear a word Noisy said. After a bit, Charlie Vernon took the microphone and assumed charge, rolling his r’s to twee-mendous effect.
“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your pwesence this evening. As you know, 2014 marks the millennium of the Battle of Clontawf, the most famous affway on Irish soil.
“And we’d like to celebwate the occasion with a sewees of events, including a wee-cwee-ation of the battle, on Dollymount Stwand.
“Before anyone volunteers, take note that this will weequire a huge commitment from the pwincipals involved, namely Bwian Bowoo, Sitwic, and Bwodir who slays Bwian.
“The owiginal battle was fought on Apwil twenty twee. We have the go-ahead from the City Council, thanks to Tommy here, to wee-cwee-ate the battle on Easter Sunday next, April twenty.
“Building up to the battle, we will have a Festival of medieval events and exhibitions, including the pwesence for the week of a genuine Viking Long Ship which will be sailing all the way from Twondheim to Clontawf.
“This Millennium week will put Clontawf on the map and we need your help to make it a success,” finished Charlie, to thunderous applause.
From the rear of the hall, where he had polished off his second almond slice, Vinny kept one or two thoughts to himself. It wouldn’t do, he knew, to rain on Charlie’s parade by pointing out that the bloodiest conflicts in the Battle of Clontarf actually took place on Richmond Road in Drumcondra and at Cross Guns Bridge in Phibsboro.