Return to Crossmacglynn

Tonight the Pensive Quill carries the next two chapters of Thomas "Dixie" Elliott's satirical story, Crossmacglynn.

Thomas "Dixie" Elliott

Chapter 5

Did we forget about poor old Godfrey Templeton whilst we wasted the last while listening to the dogmatic shit that poured from the mouth of the Reverend Reginald? Well if truth be told, we did indeed. Surely Godfrey has bled to death by now, you may well ask? Well, not exactly. If you remember he was wearing a bullet proof vest which took the full force of Granny MacGlynn’s shotgun blast. Thanks to the sharp shooting of Tomas MacGlynn, aged 7 and a bit, he had lost half his ear and if you can bleed to death from a severed ear then Godfrey was in bloody trouble so to speak.

Anyway he had managed to get to his feet and stagger away up the road hoping a passing army foot patrol would come across him before the IRA did. Three miles he went before he remembered that the army didn’t patrol these roads on foot. They flew in by helicopter, landed in a field, jumped out, hid in the bushes for a hour then fucked off again by helicopter. These were dangerous parts given that even the children and grannies were in the IRA, the dogs in the street knew that and they too were given to attacking and tearing the arses off Her Majesty’s armed forces. So Godfrey took to the fields in search of a helicopter. He kept close to the hedgerows just in case one happened to come, because he knew they’d open fire if they saw anyone looking like a terrorist or an Irish farmer in a field. His plan was to let the copter land and when the troops got out he’d shout in his finest Eton accent, “I say chaps over here!”

The blood was pouring from Godfrey’s ear, making him weaker. He stumbled and then fell through a hedge ending up in a ditch on the other side. He crawled to a old gnarled hawthorn bush and dragged himself under it to rest up a while.

Although he wasn’t yet dead, Godfrey’s body was the subject of the meeting in the Bomb Inn. Big Dan Mor was telling those in attendance that dead bodies just don’t get up and walk away. Some idiot made a comment about zombies and Big Dan Mor had to be held back from killing him.

“Danny Boy!” This was Granny MacGlynn’s pet name for her son Big Dan Mor. “I hear you lot went and lost the Brit I kilt!”

She was shouting from the back room where she did her mangling. In case you don’t know, a mangle’s a machine for squeezing water out of wet clothes.

“You get that body back here afore some one else takes the credit for killin’ him.”

“Right, Ma, I will, don’t you worry yourself about it!”

Big Dan Mor was just about to continue when he heard the voice of his ole Da, Gypo McGlynn speaking very loudly on the phone in the lounge.

“Is that Inspector Simpson of the RUC? I’ve some information for him.”

“Jeeze, Da, are you toutin’ again?”

“I’m no tout, you inconsiderate wee shit, I’m phoning a man about a sheep dog!”

“We haven’t got feckin’ sheep Da! We own a feckin’ bar!”

“Hello Inspector, I’ll have tay whisper, the feckers might hear me!” Old Gypo shouted down the phone. “Do you have that sheep dog?”

There was a pause then he continued shouting. “What do you mean, what am I talking about? That’s the feckin’ new password!”

Now before we go any further, I must tell you that Old Gypo, who was in his eighties, was not only an informer, he was an informer who was hard of hearing and didn’t realise he was shouting all the time. Of course his handler usually had to shout back down the phone at him, therefore everyone knew he was touting anyway.

Old Gypo first met Granny, who was called Nora Lynch, when he was young Daithi, his real name, in the 30s. She was a big ugly brute of a woman even in those days. Big Dan Mor obviously took his looks and personality from her.

Gypo Daithi MacGlynn, the only informer in his family, which had a Republican history going back to the days of the United Irishmen, first started informing on his classmates to the teacher at school. And manys a time he told the local landlord that his father was poaching on his land and more often than not he informed on his brother, a cattle and sheep smuggler, to the custom’s men. He took his nickname Gypo from a famous Irish informer in the movies, Gypo Nolan. It’s said that he gave himself the nickname.

His own wife Nora, now Granny, MacGlynn spent over ten years in jail because he informed on her various times over the years. And Big Dan Mor’s wife Bridget was serving eighteen years in jail because Gypo had informed on her as she was transporting a landmine in a pram near the border.

I bet you’re saying to yourself, why hasn’t anyone shot the touting old fart before now? Two women kept that from happening. His own mother, who wouldn’t let any of her IRA sons harm a hair on his head being as he was the youngest, and his wife Nora, now Granny. She spent over ten years in jail because of him but because she was such an ugly brute of a woman, no one else would marry her. As you might have guessed, Old Gypo also had very bad eyesight as well.

“My wife shot an undercover boyo dead right here in the bar!” Continued Old Gypo. “She blew him right out through the windy!”

Big Dan Mor was in a right panic. “Get all that stuff out of here feckin’ sharpish!”

Everyone started taking rifles and rocket launchers and bomb making equipment from every nook and cranny in the bar. They were running here and there like headless chickens while Old Gypo touted on them over the phone.

Big Dan Mor ordered Red Sean MacGlynn and a few other men to take a couple of weapons and go and look for the body before someone else claimed it. He told them to get it back even if it meant starting a feud.

Godfrey Templeton was still under the hawthorn bush. He had torn a strip from the bottom of his shirt and was using it to stem the flow of blood from his ear.

“That’s a terrible cut to the head you have there,” said a voice behind him.

Templeton’s hand shot to his leg and he pulled an knife which he had concealed down his boot. In one swift movement he spun round to face the speaker. And he nearly shit himself.

“A fakin’ leprechaun!” He gasped as he gaped at the little man sitting cross-legged beside him under the hawthorn bush. “You are taking the fakin’ piss, aren’t you?”

The little man had a shoe wedged between his legs and was tapping away on the sole with a tiny hammer. He had several nails in his teeth which he removed and hammered expertly into the sole as he spoke.

“Is that an upper class English accent I hear?” He asked still tapping.

“Why of course it is!” Godfrey Templeton seemed outraged to be even asked such a question. Even more outraged he was, in that a bloody leprechaun was asking it.

“Eton educated and Sandhurst trained, my family has a history going back to the Charge of the Light Brigade.”

The leprechaun looked over the rim of his wire-rimmed spectacles at Godfrey, much in the way a teacher would at an errant pupil.

“Fook but you’re a terrible liar,” said the leprechaun.

“I jolly well resent that!”

“Resent all you want, you were hardly educated at all, never mind at Eton and they wouldn’t let you into Sandhurst to clean out the bogs! As for the Charge of the fooking Light Brigade, I doubt you even seen the bloody film.”

Godfrey opened his mouth to reply but the leprechaun merely pointed his hammer at him and continued.

“Godfrey Templeton. Now where the fook did you get a name like that out off? You fooking fantasist!”

“Wha-what do you mean?”

“Aha! The old upper class accent has certainly changed hasn’t it, Harry, me boyo?”

Godfrey turned away from the leprechaun and put his hands over his ears. “I’m not fakin’ hearing this! I’m not talking to a fakin’ leprechaun!”

“You fooking bloody well are, Harry Jones from Toxteth in Liverpool. Private fooking Harry Jones!”

“How the fake do you know that you little faker?”

“Because my good man, I happen to be a fooking leprechaun. And leprechauns know everything.”

“Godfrey Templeton, the lying bastard. This means I’ll have to change the name of the main character half way through the story. As long as you remember that
Godfrey Templeton is now Harry Jones you’ll not go far wrong.”

Harry Jones thought about what he’d say next as the leprechaun went back to tapping nails into the sole of the shoe. Tap, tap, tap….

“You don’t do three wishes do you?” He blurted out.

“Fook off!” Tap, tap, tap…

“Eh what?”

Tap, tap, tap…

“I said fook off you British bastard!” Tap, tap, tap…. “Three wishes indeed, this is not Darby O’ fooking Gill and the Little People, you know!”

Tap, tap, tap….

Chapter 6

Right Reverend Reg McClure was sitting on the toilet talking to the camera.

“I came under attack from about fifty IRA Fenian scum,” he stated. “Me and my cameraman Greg, managed to escape by the skin of our teeth.”

Greg’s face was screwed up in disgust. “Could we not film this after you’ve had a bowel movement Reg?”

“I have to get this out while it’s still fresh in my head,” said Reg.

“I take it you’re not referring to bowel movements,” replied Greg, his face a sight to behold.

Reg moved from the toilet to his desk and started over again. He had told Greg to wipe the bowel movement part from the tape. It wouldn’t do to be filmed with one’s arse on the toilet. Talking shit would be one form of abuse thrown at him.

He sat on the edge of the desk and began again. HM the Queen was hanging on the wall behind him looking over his right shoulder. The Reverend Ian looked over his right shoulder.

“I came under attack from about a hundred IRA Fenian scum….”

And so he continued, emphasising his own incredible bravery in the face of overwhelming odds. Blah-de-blah.

“Would ye listen to him waffling away, sure he’s doin’ me head in so he is.”

“Eh?…………..Is that you Cross MacGlynn?”

“Sure don’t you know it’s me, aren’t you narrating the story?”

“I am indeed but I wish you wouldn’t keep creeping up on me like that!”

“I’m a ghost that’s what we do!”

“Why aren’t you haunting the old ruined castle or something?”

“Because if I was you’d have just mentioned me at the start of the story and then forgotten about me. So I’ll just haunt the whole fecking story if you don’t mind.”

Reg looked at Greg. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what?”

“The whisporin‘.”

“Whispering? I heard nothing Reg.”

“Are you sure? I heared it clear as day.”

“Do you think it’s the IRA eavesdropping?”

“The IRA indeed, I’ve a good mind to appear and scare the shit out of them!”

“Do you mind? You’re ruining a good story here.”

“There I heard it again!”


“Just now. Didn’t you hear it?”

“I can’t hear anything Reg.”

“Don’t call me a liar Greg. I most definitely heard whisporin‘.”

“I’m not calling you a liar, it’s just that I don’t hear whispering.”

“This is not the first time this has been done you know.”

“What do you mean?”

“The narrator conversing with a character in a story.”

“It isn’t?”

“Nope! Sure didn’t Spike Milligan do it in Puckoon?”

“I didn’t know that!”

“I heard it this time Reg. It could be the IRA out to kill us!”

“The moor-doorin’ scum will not moor-door may. A loyal son of Ulster will not give in to the threat of IRA violence.”

Suddenly there was a noise at the front door. Reg pushed Greg to the floor, leapt over him and ran out the back door. Screaming in terror Greg got to his feet as swiftly as a cat who had just sat on a hot poker and followed Reg who was screaming “Moor-door! Moor-door!” as he fled down the road.

“Hi Dad!” It was Reginald Junior and not IRA moor-doorers. “I’ve something to tell you.”

Reginald Junior looked round him puzzled, the camera was sitting on the table where Greg had left it. He noticed that the back door was open and went out to look in the back garden.

“Where’s Dad and Greg got to?” he wondered out loud. “it’s not like them to leave the camera behind.”

He went back in and closed the door behind him. “I suppose it was a stupid idea anyway. I could just see the look on Dad’s face when I told him I was gay.”

“That wee bigot Reg is a right eejit, isn’t he?”

“Would you fuck off and let me narrate this story?”

“Jeeze! There’s no need to be uppity!”

“I hear whispering. Is that you Dad?”

Chapter 7

The Right Reverent Reg’s opposite number on the Catholic side of the fence was the Parish Priest Father Dermot O’Toole. A big brute of a man reared in the country by a God-fearing mother and a father who feared his wife more than God. All in all a fearful family. Father O’Toole tried to put the fear of God into his congregation, if indeed his congregation actually turned up at Mass to have God’s fear instilled in them. The problem with this parish priest was that he often took to condemning the violent ways of his flock which was a bit like condemning all dogs for being barking mad. Which indeed dogs are. Isn’t that how they make their living by barking madly at things?

I’m not saying that the people of Ballycrossmacglynn are mad dogs. Most are indeed mad and yes more than most are violent, but like dogs barking, violence against the British Empire comes naturally to them.

The little parish church and graveyard stands just outside the town on a hill with a forest behind it which shelters the church from the winds which usually blow down from the mountain to shake the barley and other Republican crops. Generations of Ballycrossmacglynn folk rest in peace in that graveyard and I’m sure that before the year was out that others would be joining them one way or the other.

People make a good living out of graveyards, undertakers, gravediggers and priests and Father O’Toole usually had a good attendance at the funerals, whereas they tended to avoid mass. Being as he was a man to condemn violence, especially when anyone turned up to listen to him, he often used the fact that people had no choice but to turn up at funerals, weddings and baptisms to condemn their violent ways.

He once condemned IRA violence at the funeral of a saintly old nun called Sister Aloysius. He said that while she had gone to her eternal reward in Heaven that the IRA would burn in hell and be tortured by the devil himself for their evil violent ways which had resulted in the sudden death of Sister Aloysius after a long illness at the age of 94. The wedding mass often included an attack on the IRA and a child couldn’t come into this world without Father O’Toole pouring scorn on the IRA as he poured the holy water on the child’s head.

Besides being Parish Priest, Father O’Toole was a regular at the Bomb Inn mainly because the only other bar in the area had been blown up so many times nothing remained but the cellar. Big Dan Mor’s ole Da Gypo had informed the RUC that his son had blown up the bar because it had served the Brits, but in fact the only Brits had been two tourists from Australia which has a Union Jack on its flag so, according to Big Dan Mor, that made them Brits. Competition had nothing to do with it, he claimed. Anyway nothing could be proved.

Father O’Toole sat at the end of the bar most days minding his own business and supping the Black Stuff with a few halves of Big Dan Mor’s poteen. He had been told by the bar owning OC that if he mentioned violence and condemned it in his bar he would be barred for life then shot dead.

“I wouldn’t go into your chapel with an armalite singing rebel songs so I don’t want you coming in here being a priest and preaching,” he had said.

Father O’Toole was the only hurling man in the bar, the rest were football supporters, mostly Man United or Liverpool. Big Dan Mor, being a true Gael, supported Celtic. The Parish Priest’s love of hurling had more to do with the hurley stick he usually carried about with him than actually knowing anything about the sport. In fact he never played the game in his life and knew fuck all about it, but he did train the Ballycrossmacglynn under eight hurling team for a season during which they lost every match they played. The young players were so traumatised they took up cricket instead. Father O’Toole kept one of their hurley sticks as a memento of his time in management and often used it to fend off the barking mad dogs of the town, as well as his former players who often gave him verbal abuse that included the words 'useless ole cunt'.

“Where is all this going?

“Is that you again?”

“Aye, it’s me Cross MacGlynn. Where is all this going?”

“Well if you had waited I was about to say that Father O’Toole hid a dark secret.”

“He knew feck all about Hurling? You already said that!”

“I know I did, but if you shut to fuck up I’ll tell you!”

“Oh and what’ll you do if I don’t shut to feck up?”

“I’ll write you out of the story.”

“You can’t write me out of anything I’m a ghost, you fecking clampet! I have to be exorcised or something!”

“Then I’ll get a Priest to exorcise you out of the story.”

“Who. Father O’Toole? He couldn’t do ten press ups!!”

“Mmm. Right!”

Father O’Toole hid a dark secret; his mother the God fearing woman that she was, abandoned him outside a church with a note attached to his body. He was 28 at the time and the note read,
’Please take my son for the priesthood as I’ve had him from childhood through to adulthood and he’s always been a useless son to me and his useless father. He’s eaten me out of house and home and the fridge as well. The useless cretin can’t find employment because there’s no work testing beds or sofas and that’s all he’s good for.
Yours Faithfully Mrs O’Toole.’

So Dermot O’Toole was sent off to Maynooth for his Catholic indoctrination believing it meant he was training to be a doctor who treated only Catholics.

Imagine his surprise when he left the seminary still not knowing the difference between an angina attack and the need to fart. He did wonder why he had to wear black clothes and a dog collar but it only dawned on him that he was a priest when he had to give the last rites to an old lady who had died waiting outside the confession box for three days. The then parish priest, Father McGinty, gave him a right bollocking for not attending to his priestly duties even though he himself hadn’t thought to ask the old lady why she was sitting outside a confession box for three days. He thought because she was sitting outside Father O’Toole’s confession box that it was his job to hear her confession and paid her no heed.
Father O’Toole grew really pissed off with religion at this point and became an atheist. That was after he strangled Father McGinty to death and buried his body in the crypt of the church. He had finally taken enough bollocking from pious Catholics like his mother and Father McGinty and snapped. He buried the old lady with the priest and spread a rumour that they were lovers and had run away together. Being a priest no one doubted his word and no further questions were asked.

Even though he had become an atheist, Father O’Toole realised that the prospects of getting a job in other lines of work were unlikely being as he was useless at anything else so he remained a priest. It mattered not that he was also useless at saying mass because the people of Ballycrossmacglynn rarely attended mass anyway and knew no different.

“Well feck me that’s one hell of a dark secret. A murdering atheist of a priest who condemns violence every chance he gets.”

“It’s all a front to cover up his evil deeds.”

“Mmm, I do suppose that hypocrisy is part and parcel of religion.”

“You’ll never get into Heaven with an attitude like that.”

“Why the feck do you think I’m wandering round here as a lost fecking soul?”

“Because you’re an angry bastard who swears a lot?”

“You fecking swear too, you gobshite!”

“You have me fucking swearing. Sticking your fucking nose into every other paragraph I write!”

“Feck Off!”

“No, you fuck off!”



“Who’s this then?”

“How the feck do I know?”

“It’s me.”



“Spike fecking who?”

“Spike fucking Milligan that’s who.”

“You’re dead.”

“I know.”

“And I’m fecking dead too.”

“Who are you?”

“Cross MacGlynn that’s who,”

“Spike Milligan what the fuck are you doing in my narrative?”

“I’m here to tell you that you are a copy-cating bastard. Why? Because you stole my talking to the author thing straight from under my nose….You bastard!”

“Holy fuck I’ve now got two ghosts trying to wreck my book…..Right that’s it!….No more talking to the author thing….Now fuck off!”

“Cross MacGlynn.”

“Yes, Spike?”

“We know when we’re not wanted.”

“You two can fuck off!”

“We’re fucking off!”

To be continued...


  1. A Chara,

    I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Tommy Elliot, nor do I know Crossmaglen very well but I do know Puckoon is a way over on the Sligo border and that the Queen of the Gypsies once had a caravan, smugglin butter in them there parts.

    If you listen very closely, besides Spike's ghost, you'll hear Maggie's whisper "Don't cross me agen" as this story unfolds. Still for lovers of the aesthetic, the main characters do have balls though, don't they ?

    Saoirse !

    boru clarke

  2. Some excellent turns of the phrase in this part, like the republican crops and others :-)

  3. Dixie thats me converted back to religon from now on I,m a lapsed atheist,my kind of priest is fr Dermie.keep er lit mate,

  4. Dixie,
    you have a very real talent for this.
    Loved the bit about Godfrey being Harry.