I see someone called Carl Mullan in the news. Never heard of him before.
But in 1949, in Lansdowne Road I saw Ireland’s first Grand Slam winning
Captain,Carl Mullen playing, and I seem to remember him with his shorts pulled down
and mooning at the Bay.
I forget what position he played. He may have been a fly- half,an Amateur who mimicked his
professional career, during which he delivered some 50,000 newborn babies, who fully -grown,
might have filled the stadium to capacity.
I remember when one could legally buy alcoholic beverages in but two Dublin venues on
St Patrick’s Day. On the South Side in the RDS in Ballsbridge at a Dog Show. Brendan Behan
wrote a column in the Irish Press about it.
On the Northside at Baldoyle Races. There on a cold rainy St Patrick’s Day 1960 I drank with
friends in a tent and neither saw nor nor heard an equine quadruped during that afternoon.
Restrictions on Sunday opening and St Patrick’s Day were removed the following year.
In the morning of 17th March 1961 I was a member of an FCA Colour Guard at Mass in
the Church of the Assumption in Howth.
In the afternoon I was part of the three man Colour Party leading the Dublin Parade, my rifle
at the slope, a cork on the point of my Bayonet, beside Lt. Larry (“The Clocker”) O’Connor who
carried the Tricolour, and my fellow Corporal, Ignatius (“Sonny”) KInsella.
Bing Crosby used sing a song with the lines –
“The owner told Clarence the Clocker
The Clocker told Jockey Magee,
The Clocker, of Course
Passed it on to the Horse.
And the Horse told me.”
The song was released in 1949 and was a favourite on Radio Eireann
Apparently there was some dispute with the record producers about the time
the record was made. And so copies are unobtainable. And ALEXA has not
heard of it.
In the aftermath of the Irish triumphs at Cheltenham I thought the story of
the Clocker may join your streams of consciousness.
For good measure I was at the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final in 1961 the last
Time Dublin featured in that game. And the Dubs came within 1 point of drawing
with Tipperary, whose record in that competition was then only second to Cork.
Speaking of St Patrick’s Day Parades, New York’s dates back to the days before its
liberation from the British Yoke.
Irishmen in the British Army started it.
In 2004, at my son’s suggestion we both flew to New York, my only crossing of the
Atlantic, for 5 days. We stayed in a hotel beside the Plaza and immediately across
from Central Park. I fell in love with the city and we walked for miles and miles, south to
the Battery and across Brooklyn Bridge, to the UN and many landmarks. We went to the
Public Library on 5th Avenue where I looked up the Obituary in THE TIMES of London
for John Devoy. The paper described him as the most dangerous Irish enemy of British
power since Wolfe Tone. I understand that my maternal grandfather was a cousin of Devoy.
but how close I don’t know.
The New York Parade is magnificent. For a city renowned for its adoration of the Almighty
Dollar, it is an anomaly.
For business interests have no part in it. Public Services, Trade Unions ,Churches, Schools, all
the human activities despised by banks and bankers and self seekers are involved.
The Subway Union, whose founders included Mike Quill, the Kerry Republican, who fled
Ireland when his comrades were being hunted by the vengeful victors of the “Civil War”
was commemorated by a banner on the Parade,
The Rev Dr Martin Luther King Junior said of Mike Quill :-
“A fighter for decent things all his life, Irish Independence, Labour Organisation and racial equality.
He spent his life ripping the chains of bondage off his fellow man. When the totality of a man’s life is consumed with enriching the lives of others, this is a man the ages will remember.This is a man who has passed on but has not died.”
The 1961 St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin was a tacky, tawdry, gombeen commercial affair. But it had its compensations. For the Colour Party was welcomed to its organisers’ HQ by Stephen’s Green where we were plied with free booze for a couple of hours.
It was a very different era and RTE did not transmit its first television programme until the penultimate day of 1961.
Nevertheless Ireland was not the joyless dystopia you might imagine from reading the ravings of Fintan O’Toole and others of that ilk.
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