Friday 19 January 2018

Frank Coughlan: Cork's exalted sense of itself is a delusion grounded in desperation

Sporting heroes Ronan O’Gara (left) and Roy Keane
Sporting heroes Ronan O’Gara (left) and Roy Keane

Frank Coughlan

LET me declare an interest. I am from there. I was born and raised in Cork city and was fed three times a day – and more when the occasion demanded it.

By the time I reached the age of reason – seven according to the 'one true church', but I have my doubts – I was convinced that I was from a very special place. Not just any old special place, but a holy ground like no other. You know the stuff. The Rebel County. The Real Capital and, long after Jack Lynch had retired to leafy Rathgar, even Cork blueshirts still genuflected in his presence and referred to him as The Real Taoiseach.

I had a dear uncle who was a devout, daily mass-going Catholic. But his faith was badly shaken when John Paul II parked his Popemobile in Limerick for that famous 1979 gig and sprinkled Cork with holy water from a distance. Infallible, my arse.

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