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Pierse & Waters: New partnership takes wing on one engaging note

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John Waters, Robert Pierse and Jeremy Murphy at the night of conversation marking the publication of Robert Pierse’s new memoirs, Under the Bed

John Waters, Robert Pierse and Jeremy Murphy at the night of conversation marking the publication of Robert Pierse’s new memoirs, Under the Bed

John Waters, Robert Pierse and Jeremy Murphy at the night of conversation marking the publication of Robert Pierse’s new memoirs, Under the Bed

He founded what is the biggest legal partnership in the county, but now as a newly-fledged memoirist might have hit on a promising partnership of a different kind.

It certainly made for a riveting night's debate at least, as Robert Pierse took part in a wide-ranging conversation with John Waters in Cork's Imperial Hotel - ably moderated by Listowel writer Jeremy Murphy.

Both known for what is now deemed to be a conversative viewpoint, they each surprised some of their audience with their take on a variety of issues. Not least that Robert Pierse is an avowed Greta Thunberg fan!

The debate was framed by the recently-published Under the Bed. It's a collection of writings by Robert arising from an episode in which he was stormbound on an island off Belize with little opportunity for anything other than contemplation.

"The conversation between Robert and John Waters was everything I hoped it would. I knew John Waters would be the perfect 'conversation partner' for Robert. I was intrigued by John's view that the book captured what was special about rural Ireland, and Robert's stories about the 'min with the caps', and their unique sense of humour and worldview, illustrated this for everyone present," Jeremy Murphy told The Kerryman.

The book also shed key light on a gargantuan Irish figure, Jeremy said: "The night also helped me understand how important the Michael Collins material in Under the Bed was. The book contains a detailed account of the burning of Woodfield House, the Collins homestead in West Cork. Robert's mother Mary, Michael Collins' eldest nice, was in Woodfield when it was burned down by the Black and Tans and Sir Arthur Percival. She describes, in her personal testimony (re-produced in Under the Bed), Michael's reaction, how he seethed with rage.

"I asked John Waters, the following day, did he think Robert was right to include so much about Collins, and John thought he was. John felt the burning of the house was a seminal event in Collins' life. He suggested to me that the anger and rage Collins felt over the arson, could help explain the later brutality of the IRA."

Though the subject matter was often heavy, the night was defined by a great sense of fun too, Jeremy added.

Kerryman