Two years in Ireland, shrunken teat on the chest of the cold Atlantic. Land of crut. And the drunk falling screaming into the ditches at night, blowing shrill whistles across the fields and brown buggered bogs. Out there they watch between the nettles, counting the blades of grass, waiting for each other to die, with the eyes of cows and the brains of snakes. Monsters growling from their chains and wailing in the dark pits at night. And me. I think I am their father. Roaming the laneways, giving comfort, telling them to lead better lives, and not to let the children see the bull serving the cow. I anoint their silver streams, sing laments from the round towers. I bring seed from Iowa and reblood their pastures. I am. I know I am Custodian of the Book of Kells. Ringer of the Great Bell, Lord King of Tara, “Prince of the West and Heir to the Arran Islands.” I tell you, you silly bunch of bastards, that I’m the father who sweetens the hay and lays the moist earth potash to the roots and story teller of all the mouths. I’m out of the Viking ships. I am the fertilizer of royalty everywhere. And Tinker King who dances the goat dance on the Sugar Loaf and fox-trots in the streets of Chirciveen. Sebastian, the eternal tourist, Dangerfield.
— J. P. Donleavy