‘An Irishman’s house is his coffin’

Eammon Fitzgerald, finds the only way he can to bid farewell to the paradoxical character that was Charlie Haughey. Who better to turn to than Joyce:

His last lie on the earth in his box. When you think of them all it does seem a waste of wood. All gnawed through. They could invent a handsome bier with a kind of panel sliding let it down that way. Ay but they might object to be buried out of another fellow’s. They’re so particular. Lay me in my native earth. Bit of clay from the holy land. Only a mother and deadborn child ever buried in the one coffin. I see what it means. I see. To protect him as long as possible even in the earth. The Irishman’s house is his coffin. Enbalming in catacombs, mummies, the same idea.


  • Rory

    Well thank you for that, Mick.

    I was ignorant of Mr Fitzgerald’s very existence before you introduced him. I see that he is a lazy fellow who would be opinionated if he had the wit or application. Did you think that he searched out that quotation all by himself and that therefore you rewarded him by placing his effort on exhibit in order to encourage further effort?

    I just bet you did, you old softie. Isn’t that sweet? I bet you would make a good primary school teacher.

  • Mick Fealty

    Go to bed Rory!

  • Crataegus

    We could try Tibetan Sky-Burials May need to introduce a few vultures but circling overhead they would add to a walk in the Mournes.

  • Rory: Come on. Haughey had his finger on the pulse of Ireland. Remember the show ITV(?) did on him and he good humouredly spoofs he is descended from the ancient kings.
    Graveyards are a recurring motif in Ireland and Dignam was buried in Glasnevin where Parnell lies. Haughey was very familiar with Ulysses and there is no doubt he choreographed much of his final farewell. Choosing Donnycarney was a master counter stroke.
    Both Haughey and Joyce had a keen appreciation of Irish humour and I often recall and pass off as my own wit Joyce’s list of the greatest Irishmen of all time which, even thinking of it, puts me in fits of laughter.
    Well done Mick for this.
    On a related and very shameful manner: I watched the guard of honour and colour party with my usual trepidation. The Free State Army Collins founded could not march in step then and still cannot march in step. Although this was an improvement on the Kevin Barry fiasco, could the British, who are so good at this sort of thing, teach the Free Staters how to do it?
    The US military also make the mistake, imho, of having all the services represented, thus destroying the symmetry. It would be best to have the Marines pass the stiff to the navy, on to the Coast Guard and then to the Air Force. Though it was appropriate pride of place for Charlie was given to the Navy as the Squire was that way inclined.
    In the end Rory: we’ll rise and folow Charlie.

  • Rory

    I was making no comment on Haughey, Taigs, in fact I have been lambasted hitherto for my remarks on his legacy, on other threads over the last few days, which in the main were ones of appreciation – especially for his part in the (albeit unsuccessful) attempt to supply arms for defence of the beleagured people of the North. At least for kindling the hope that someone cared he did us a service for which act his memory will always have a fond place in our hearts.

    I was poking fun at Eamonn Fitzgerald, whoever he might be. Clearly Mick was not amused. So I’ve wound up upsetting Mick and confusing you. Perhaps Mick was right, I should have gone to bed earlier. It’s always that “I’ll just have one last wee drop before retiring” that does it every time. There should be a law against it.

  • aquifer

    The worms march in, the worms march out, they go in thin and they come out stout.

  • The worms march in, the worms march out, they go in thin and they come out stout Speaking of worms, the Sunday Independnet feasted on Mr Haughey today. Their main crib is the entire world did not turn up to see him off, But if all North Dublin had have descended on Donnycarney Church, the xry would have been they were all conned. Conor MI5 O’Brien, the tax cheat, who was dumped out of office by North Dublin voters, also had his say: some bs about Sinn Fein being Haughey personified. (His best gig ever was on the Late Late when Des Wilson made a total idioot of him – though I don’t condone priests picking on idiots like the Cruiser normally)
    Henry Kelly, who broke the story that the late Liam Lawlor was well known in the brothels of Prague, also got into the act. This time, he was in a bar in early 1970s’ London when he was told Haughey was going to gun run to the IRA. Oh! And Haughey never gave him an interview. Life is so hard for hacks.

  • Realist

    Don’t you realise that Haughey was no more a nationalist than Cruise O’Brien? Every position he ever took was for what was in it for himself. As he previously showed with marrying the Taoiseach’s daughter and budget items that would be linked to his name, ‘Nationalism’ in 1969 was a good bet to enhance his profile in what he thought was going to be a popular cause into the 1970’s. Didn’t work out that way and he was quick to drop it (betraying the other Arms Trial defendeants). He did pretend to be pro-‘nationalist’ again in 82-87 but when he got back into power again did nothing. He was for the ‘peace process’ insofar as he could gain anything from it but the agenda for this was being set by people other than Haughey (i.e. Adams, Hume, and the British government).
    The way to understand Haughey is to see that everything he did was done for himself – too bad if you got in the way (e.g. his wife, Lenihan, Jack Lynch, the ‘little people’ aka as taxpayers, AIB, … the list just goes on).

  • Realist: If that is addressed to me, yes I know Haughey’s short comings. Most probably both he and Gibbons perjured themselves at the Arms Trial. He didn’t do that off his own back. Blaney as an undoubted nationalist, Kevin Boland was a lightweight (pop executed IRA chappies).

    I am listening to an English guy being laughed off RTE Radio about Charlie. The main difference is Charlie did good, often with a populist touch and on the cheap (free travel is the best example: little real cost, good move, same with the tax eexemptions for artists and tac cheats like the Cruiser). His enemies had very little talent and Liam Cosgrave said that first.

  • Crateagus


    I agree.

    For me there are many sons of Ireland who deserve commemoration and Haughey just isn’t one of them. His flaws were many and the more important because he held high office. THe example he set typified that of many of the get rich quick in Ireland at that time.

    At what level does respect become hypocracy? In Ireland hypocrisy comes easy, like the climate it seems to be in the very nature of the place.

  • Rory


    If that is the same Henry Kelly who was former Northern editor of the Irish Times – until a scandal, involving an incident in a male urinal (quaintly known as a “cottage”), occassioned his giving up the noble cause of Irish investigative journalism for the even loftier calling of English television game show host – then I rather suspect he may not personally have encountered Liam Lawlor in a Prague brothel. Mr Kelly’s favoured haunts for occassions sportif are said to require an altogether different internal decor.

    No wonder Haughey might have felt nervous about having a private discussion with him.

  • Rory: Nothing about these journalists would shock me. If Kelly enjoys giving blow jobs in Belfast urinals that is his business (and whoever is at the other end of the gloryhole). But it should cuae one not to moralize too much. His Observer peice doing a hatchet job on ex hurling star Liam Lawlor should have got him sacked. But the Observer did have the Cruiser as Editor in Chief.

    As regards Charlie: wtf did he have a %$^* like Terry Keane for a mistress? At least Parnell and Dev had class that way.

    It will be a very long time before blogs even put a dent into the cosy cartel that is the Irish (and British) media

  • http://tinyurl.com/lb2vg

    The hard line Economist gives it verdict on Charlie The Boss Haughey. History will be kind to us all.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Who was Dev’s bit on the side then, Taigs?

  • Rory

    “Dev’s bit on the side”? Good God! The mind boggles.

    What next – Mother Teresa in a “roasting” orgy with Leeds United?

    This is all too much for a faint-heart like me.I’m going on a spiritual retreat.

  • I’ll be telling all in my new book on Dev which also shows he was an MI5 plant, who was a also compromised by the KGB at a vulnerable time in his life. I would challenge Dev to a public debate on this but I doubt he has the balls to show up.

    Suffice it to say I feel sorry for Genevieve having that mad Limerick/NY man chasing after her in the Vice Regal Lodge in THOSE clothes.

    Kitty Kiernan is in the clear. She had a sorry life after The Big Fella ate lead. Made a change for him I guess.

    The Henry Kelly bit is interesting. I assume he was the receptor btw.