Pat McCabe on “probably one of the great missed opportunities in Ireland”…

Keith Duggan with a great interview with Pat McCabe, author of The Butcher Boy
, and founder of the Flat Lake Festival (check out the Radio Butty blog) and an exponent of Patrick Kavannagh’s ideas around the conjunction of the parochial with the universal. It’s worth reading it all, but this bit is worth quoting:

…the thing I notice is that Clones is a real Protestant town,” he says. “It wasn’t the ascendancy, it was the middle-class merchant Protestantism I was familiar with – the solicitors, the butchers, that sort of thing. It was probably coming to an end when I was growing up, but you could still feel a real sense of order. And it was probably one of the great missed opportunities in Ireland, the fusion of Catholic and Protestant, in that the Protestant natural sense of order and civic duty would have been a good mix. I often think the artistic process is like that: a good editor, which is the Protestant side of your mind, and then this mad lunatic going around setting fire to things, which is the Catholic side, the imagination.