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Brian Boru. Legendary hero and last High King of Ireland. Killed. 1014 ad. at the battle of Clontarf, Dublin. His(?) harp and the Book of Kells can be seen in Trinity College Library, Dublin.

Also (if interested!) see ‘Psst-anyone want to buy a wall’. AAD. feb 26th

Here I am , out of hospital and back in the land of the living, escaping from the wife and mistress and sitting, with dog, quietly in the warmth of a Wexford pub with a newspaper , hot meat pie and a glass of famous Irish Guinness to hand and thinking that life is not so bad after all ,when a hand the size of a shovel grabs my shoulder and a voice in my ear says “ Thomas ye little devil, where ye bin ?” It’s Mickey Finn. He’s a knockout local builder and all-round good sort. “ Hi Mickey”, I reply, what are you doing here during working hours. “Looking for you” says Mickey, “I’ve got a bit of old wall on the back of my truck that you will certainly want to buy. Covered in graffiti , I’ve painted out the crude bits ‘cos I know you don’t like that stuff and I’m sure its by that artist vandal you were talking about last time you were in here, Hilly or Ditchy or something ”. Banksy, I said, “Yea, him as well”, say’s Mickey .

Perhaps I should explain. This is the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th ,the time when every year a very large proportion of the Irish population up sticks and leaves the country. The senior politicians going to court favour in the USA, all first class travel at the expense of the Irish taxpayer and the lesser mortals heading for Cheltenham, England, for the horse racing and one race in particular ‘ The Cheltenham Gold Cup’. Now I don’t understand this annual mass migration but please trust me, it happens, and the Irish literally bet millions on the Cheltenham races hence Mickey wanting to sell me a bit of wall to raise capital for his journey. Mickey is always trying to sell me something.

Trying to change the subject ,I ask Mickey if he has any good racing tips this year. “ Shergar” he says looking at my meat pie. “Don’t you ever read that newspaper Thomas? All steak pies must now contain 99% horse meat, it’s the new EU regulations. We’re all good Germans now , sorry I mean Europeans” . My dog looks up longingly at my racehorse meat pie.

Not much call for old walls Mickey I say. Starving artists tend to get very intense about these things you know. “How about a desk then” says Mickey “ I know you buy lots of those” and pulling a photo from his pocket he shows me a picture of an old 1930’s school desk. “ Got the full history he says. At this very desk King Brian Boru sat writing the Book of Kells and playing his harp when that English ****** Oliver Cromwell burst in and shot him . Look you can see the pellet holes and blood stains. It must be worth a fortune ,Thomas “. That’s woodworm and red ink I say. “ It’s Brian Boru’s desk”, says Mickey,” Honestly, would I ever fib to you ? Passed down through the ages from generation to generation of Finns, this desk is pure Irish history. Very collectable.” ( Mickey once kissed the Blarney Stone).

I buy Mickey a pint and try to tell him that even if I bought his desk I still could not use his story because its total nonsense and its not factual . “ So what?”, says Mickey. “You’re an antique dealer and when did facts ever bother any antique dealer, any time and anywhere in the world,? After all you should never let a few facts get in the way of a good story”. ‘Mark Twain’, I say. “Who’s he?” asks Mickey.

I continue to explain to Mickey that without genuine provenance and hard proven facts I am in danger of becoming one of the foolish characters I’m told I write about. “ Who says that ?” asks Mickey rising to my defence. An intense American fellow who says he’s a semi-retired starving artist, thinks Banksy’s graffiti is brilliant, and got very uptight after my last post on ADD, I tell him.

“ Never take yourself seriously ‘cos it’s a fact that nobody else will.” say’s Mickey “Maybe that’s why he’s starving”. Mickey looked down and grinned. “ You’re not starving Tom, neither am I and your dog’s just eaten your meat pie so she’s not starving either. So tell me now Thomas, who’s the most foolish character in this story ? “ Good question I reply.

I buy Mickey yet another pint for the craic and his common sense. “ Tell me more about Brian Boru’s desk”, I ask. “Do you have his typewriter as well, the one he was writing the Book of Kells on when he was shot at by Oliver Cromwell ? Now that really would be worth a few bob…………..”