FUNNIES: Is this story for real? Fr.Kev tells us how this story came about :-)
Dear One and All,
I have had many emails asking me if this story about the Village called Finuge is true, partially true, or fiction? Tonight, I am going to answer your questions. Well for starters, you would have noticed that the story is told by who? That’s right, you got it…..Fr Comagh Brannach! Who is he? Comagh is my preferred spelling of Kevin, and Brannach, believe it or not, means…yes, you got it! Walsh!
Well in Chapter one, I mentioned that my Dad’s ( Harry Kevin Walsh) immediate ancestors came from County Kerry, Finuge. Alot of our history has been lost, due to the Potato Famine and the Republican uprising. All we know is that our ancestors were in the thick of it, and they were also freedom fighters. Having had a deep interest in my half Irish heritage, and the other half is English…so apart from that making more sense to you about my personality and background, I have over the years listened, and lived with many Irish priests here in Australia and in England. That may sound strange to you, but there are many priests from Northern Ireland in the UK, and I have met a number of Irish Passionist Priests over the years who have come to Australia. However, the one man that has shared more than you can imagine with me about County Kerry, was the late Fr.John Stack, the Parish Priest of Miranda in the 70’s and 80’s. He came from a little small village not far from Ballybunion Beach called, Ardfert. In the early 80’s I was ‘on loan’ to the Archdiocese of Sydney, and I was assistant priest to Fr.Stack for 2 years. During that time, I had a ‘hands on’ education into Irish Histroy, humour and culture. It was a wonderful time to hear the oral tradition of the place where my ancestors came from, and I know it, because it is in my blood!
Many of the events in this Novel are the result of funny situations which I have seen over the last 38 years as a priest. There is also what I would call a ‘catholic Irish culture’ which is so easy to tap into, but it can take awhile to find the right key for the lock. There is also a catholic priest culture, which is world wide. The Australian Catholic clerical culture owes much of it’s origin to the Irish priests which were sent to the Great South Land on mission. So, we Aussie priests have inherited a culture from the priesthood, and then if one is lucky to have Irish ancestors, one has a double wammy!
The final aspect is that of story telling. I have always been amazed by story tellers, especially the Mission Priests which used to come to our Parishes in the 50’s and 60’s to give the parish a shot in the spiritual arm! Then in the 70’s and 80’s I too, joined the ranks of the Mission Fathers, and I loved it!
To conclude, I love story telling! For those of you who know me, you can see what I am talking about. I love using word pictures, I also like using life-experiences, where people can understand what I am talking about because they can identify with it. It is therefore my aim, that for you who read this story, that with your culture; no matter what it is, you can easily pick up the thread of the humour, because I feel that this humour is world-wide!
Next week, I will continue with the Novel, and post a new chapter every two weeks. I do hope that you enjoy this story as it unfolds, because I can easily slip into it to continue where I left off.
Cheers, Fr. Kev