Sunday 19 November 2017

My Heroes

Con Houlihan
Con Houlihan

Con Houlihan

I remember it well, the day that the Parish Priest came to the school and asked us all what we hoped to be when we grew up. We were all about eight years of age. We had a wide array of ambitions. A few lads were going on to be priests, a few would be doctors. One lad was going to be a sailor -- and so on . . .

My turn came. "I'm going to be a bandit." The priest smiled. "Do you know what that word means?" "I do father." "Tell us." "A bandit is a good man. He robs banks and trains. He robs banks because they are bad. They put people out of their houses. And he robs trains because the railways put people out of their land." The good man shook his head: "Where did you hear all this?'' I read about it in books." He gave up.

By now you will have gathered that I was an avid reader of fiction about The Old West. This was during a golden era in Gaelic Football in Kerry -- but my heroes were such men as Jesse James and his brother Frank. They were born in California about 1840. Their father was a clergyman; their mother was a teacher. You couldn't say that they came from an impoverished background. And they got a good education.

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