Wednesday 19 June 2019

Madness by royal decree


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured in Trinity College after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture: Gerry Mooney
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, pictured in Trinity College after their visit to the book of Kells. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Young people reading this will find it hard to believe, but there was a time in this country when the sun used to shine all the time. We had no water back then, but we didn't mind. Because we had beer and cider and gin and tonics in large fishbowls with small gardens in them.

We drank them sitting outside, drinking fast in case they evaporated in the heat. Then the sun stopped and we still had no water. We didn't like that.

No water was a fair trade off for the sunshine, but no sunshine and no water just wasn't fair.

By the time the sun stopped shining all the time, it was too late for us. That summer of 2018 had already degenerated into madness. We had become foolish and giddy from it. We became obsessed with a bunch of young boys in a cave on the other side of the world. How would they get out, we wondered? We all knew the geography of the cave. We knew the pinch points. Then they got out and it was like Diana. We all felt vaguely embarrassed for getting so worked up about it.

But we were addicted to madness then. So we lighted on two minor royals coming. But not just any royals. He was the Ed Sheeran of the royal family and she had been in a TV show that none of us had ever seen. We even had a garden party. Irish people weren't really sure how to have a garden party. To us a garden party means shorts and a T-shirt and a few beers and someone sweating over a barbecue.

But this was different. It was posh. So everyone dressed like they were going to a summer wedding. And we sent Bod and Amy as our emissaries to meet them. We figured Bod and Amy would know how to behave. Amy had even been to a royal wedding. On her own. No one else in Ireland would have the confidence to go to a wedding on their own. We let some ordinary people in to meet them as well, and that proved to be a mistake. Catherine Noone enlisted Meghan to the Repeal the Eighth cause. Before swiftly apologising. The royals looked on at us bemused, as we showed them the traditional game we played with sticks and balls. You wonder if they regarded us as if we were the kind of tribespeople in grass skirts Harry's dad used to meet.

In order to get over how supplicant we had been to their royals, we felt the need to look down on the British a bit more, for our self-respect you understand. So we were condescending about their football dream, and their man in a waistcoat, the closest they have to a leader, who made them feel the closest they have felt to confident in a while.

And then we watched, half appalled, half delighted in our superiority, as a giant inflatable baby floated over from America to add to their air of chaos.

And all that madness happened before the Super 8s had even started.

Sunday Independent

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