Thursday 17 October 2019

Dowtcha boy! Roy Keane, and other reasons Cork is better than Dublin


Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders'. The actor is the coolest of Cork cool
Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in 'Peaky Blinders'. The actor is the coolest of Cork cool
After Eileen Walsh’s stint in Channel 4's hit show, 'Catastrophe', visits to Cork doubled
Actress Fiona Shaw, star of 'Killing Eve' and 'Fleabag', has managed to keep hold of her native accent - she grew up in Montenotte

Pat Fitzpatrick compares his native city to the capital in a new book, '101 Reasons Why Cork is Better than Dublin'. In this exclusive excerpt, he looks at six of the classiest people on Leeside

Roy Keane

Cork in a nutshell - standing up in a team meeting at work and telling your boss to "Stick it up your  bollocks". The truth is Cork will always beat Dublin, because it gave the world Roy Keane. Bono is the most famous living Dublin person, and the only way he could top Roy is in a song contest. (This probably isn't true either, but as we say in Cork, it's nice to be nice.)

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Roy is so cool, the only thing Dublin people can do in response is to form a queue to ghostwrite his autobiography.

Here is a man who walked away from the Irish camp in Saipan in 2002, so we could fool ourselves into thinking that if he'd stayed, we could have won the World Cup. He never gets enough credit for that.

Roy Keane also inspired a song by Morrissey, Roy's Keen, back when Morrissey was cool. Morrissey could have chosen to write a song about his distant relative, Dublin's Robbie Keane (who knew!), but he didn't. He chose Roy.

Fiona Shaw

Actress Fiona Shaw, star of 'Killing Eve' and 'Fleabag', has managed to keep hold of her native accent - she grew up in Montenotte

Now that's what you call acting aristocracy. Here you have a star of Harry Potter, Fleabag, True Blood, My Left Foot and Killing Eve, with a richly resonant voice that has made her one of the most sought-after stage actresses in the world. If she was from Dublin, she'd have her own chair on The Late Late.

But Fiona Shaw is originally from Cork, now living in London. She has managed to hold on to her native accent, unlike some other Irish actresses we could mention. This is admirable, given that anyone who doesn't drop their Cork accent in London is sentencing themselves to twenty years of "You what, mate?"

Shaw is actually a stage name, and she is better known as Fiona Wilson on Leeside, where her father was a highly regarded surgeon in Montenotte. Anyone who knows Posh Cork will tell you that most professionals from Montenotte would be devastated that their daughter 'only' managed to become a world-famous actress. ("Wouldn't it be more in her line to become a dentist.") However, her parents loved the arts - their home was a venue for poetry readings and music recitals, so they must have been dead proud of their daughter. Just as Cork is.

Cillian Murphy

The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Batman Begins, Inception, 28 Days Later, I don't need to go on. But it's his Thomas Shelby in Peaky Blinders that has everyone talking. Some say they can't believe how convincing he is, playing the part of a Birmingham gangster. Come on - they needed an actor to play a cranky, chip-on-both-shoulders guy from a second city with a funny-sing song accent - like, that is actually a step-by-step guide to building your own Corkman.

Maybe if he appeared on Graham Norton once a month with a brand new nose, we'd appreciate Cillian Murphy for the A-list actor that he actually is. But he refuses to play the fame game, preferring to DJ at the Skibbereen Arts Festival than make a clown of himself on a couch.

Colin Farrell or Brendan Gleeson & Sons just can't match that kind of cool. People who know Murphy say he is incredibly sound, which is devastating for those of us hoping he'd be a langer so we needn't feel so bad about ourselves.

Cillian Murphy even makes the odd mistake, just to show he's human. The main one is of course moving from London to Dublin a couple of years back, when he could have chosen Cork. This came as a crushing blow on Leeside and, to be honest, we're still trying to pretend it didn't happen.


Eileen Walsh

After Eileen Walsh’s stint in Channel 4's hit show, 'Catastrophe', visits to Cork doubled

This legend of a Cork actress has shown her serious side in Eden and The Magdalene Sisters. She also made us laugh in Pure Mule, which is quite an achievement, because there's nothing funny about a midlands accent. But it's her more recent appearances in Catastrophe that really caught the eye. It was confusing for Cork people to watch the Channel 4 show at first, because Sharon Horgan is amazing in it, even though she's only from Meath. (The grudge from the 1988 All-Ireland final is actually alive and well and living in Cork.)

Eileen Walsh stars as Horgan's friend, over on a visit from Ireland to London. Her hilarious character, Kate, pretty much doubled the number of visitors to Leeside - people flew in from all corners to see if everyone in Cork takes ecstasy and leaves their husband to go and live with some randomer on a boat. (That does sound very Douglas Road, now that you mention it.)

As if that wasn't enough, Eileen then popped up on Sky's hit, Patrick Melrose, and made Benedict Cumberbatch look average. Beat that, you Dublin actors.


Jack Lynch

Brian Boru got a bridge across the Lee named after him, without ever once captaining Cork or saving the country from civil war in the early 1970s. So a mere bridge was never going to be enough for Jack Lynch, which is why they named a tunnel after him.

(A council official at the time listed two reasons they went for a tunnel instead of a bridge. 1: It's the more expensive option. 2: Dublin doesn't have a tunnel. If that story isn't true, it should be.)

The Dublin Taoisigh are no match for Jack. You couldn't name a tunnel after Bertie Ahern, because the internet would break with all the jokes about dig-outs. The only thing Bertie managed to get named after him, the Bertie Bowl, didn't even get built.

I won't pull a cheap shot and claim that Charlie Haughey was from Dublin. As he pointed out himself, he was actually born in Castlebar, and whatever else you might think about Charlie, he was always a man who liked to tell the truth.

The only Taoiseach who can compare to Jack is Leo Varadkar. Like Jack, he did everything in his power to help his native county win a ton of All-Ireland championships by diverting 90pc of national tax revenues to Dublin GAA. Seriously Dubs, give that man a tunnel!


Eliza Lynch

I'm not saying the capital doesn't produce famous women. It's just that Dublin never gave the world a woman who went on to become the unofficial queen of Paraguay. (Or official, for that matter, it's not like Paraguay was ever ruled by a Queen Howyiz.)

If Eliza Lynch had been from Dublin, there'd probably be a Luas line named after her. But she was from Charleville in Co Cork, so you've probably never heard of her, and neither had I until I started researching the book. She was born there in 1833 and moved to France with her family where she was tricked into marrying a French army officer at the age of sixteen. (And you thought you lived a crazy life because you smoked half a joint when you went to Cape Cod on a J-1.)

Eliza fled and ended up marrying a billionaire who later became president of Paraguay. Score! Despised by the local elite, she was popular with the common people and entertained them with parties that went on for months. Anyone who reckons this is an exaggeration has never been to a wedding in Charleville. She died in Paris in 1886. Fair play.

'101 Reasons Why Cork is Better than Dublin' by Pat Fitzpatrick is available now in bookshops nationwide and online, RRP €6.99

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