In 2014, I clawed my way through an ocean of cobwebs and drew back the rusted bolts fettering my imagination. I expected bright lights to illuminate the world beyond, revealing a kaleidoscope of colourful adventures for me to write. I didn’t anticipate lying prostrate after being bashed by the door swinging open. Had I an opportunity to relive that moment, I would have crawled between the legs of my assailant and stolen a single glimpse of what lay beyond. A study in greys is how an artist would describe the creature looming over me. Wild, penetrating eyes of palest blue peered at me from above his grizzled beard. I thought I must have cracked my skull. I closed my eyes and counted to ten — ten being a solid, reliable number. If I continued on to twenty, maybe the priest’s collar wrapping his neck would have transformed into a clowns bow-tie and the greys to vibrant primaries.
‘Come,’ he said.
Not that choice was mine to make — not then, not now. All had irrevocably changed. I’m a puppet with a pen and a keyboard, dangling beneath the strings he pulls.
Father James P Brennan yanked me to my feet and dragged me through the door into a pub.
‘Lavelle! Where the feck are ya hiding.’ The world shook when his fist slammed down on the counter. ‘Pull a pint for me, and one for my literary friend.’
Father Mc Gargles – available using the link below.
A stolen trout. An unusual confession. A dead greyhound on a skateboard. Vengeance. A sex scandal. Rumours of a demon and an erotic book.
From his seat of power in the back room of Lavelle’s pub, Father James Brennan plans revenge. Here, in total secrecy, accomplices are recruited and the scheming begins. But no one can predict the hilarious results that draw the priest into the most unlikely situations and culminate in conflict with the See of Rome.
In the Shadow of the Judas Tree. – Due for publication in June 2016.
Love maketh the man, forbidden love maketh the priest.
Aged twenty-five, Father James Brennan falls in love with an unmarried mother. His superior, Father Michael Sweeney, is a bully. A tale of love, deceit and the abuse of power.
‘Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me’
We must never forget.
Interview with Father Brennan – Jeez, he’s one awkward customer! This ‘discussion’ took place in Lavelle’s bar and left me with a monumental hangover.
When did you first realise you had a vocation for the priesthood?
What bloody vocation? Do you have a name, or will I just call you rat-face?
You are obviously a man who enjoys a drink or two (or three or four even!). I know from experience that booze was frowned upon at the seminary; how did you get round this problem? (I used to hide mine on top of a wardrobe – but Father Jackson eventually found it!)
Ha! Darius suits you. So you’re a failed priest as well as a useless reporter. We have much in common. I don’t enjoy drink, nor do I condone over indulgence. Do ya want a half-one while your pint settles? Sean, two large Jameson, hold the water. If I were a betting man, I’d wager a tenner that Father Jackson drank all contraband. Are you on? (ED – you got that right in one! Mind you, he died of alcoholic poisoning!)
You spend a lot of time in Lavelle’s bar. Tell us a little more about the owner.
Sean was a spotty altar boy when I arrived in this parish. His father ran the pub then. Fine men both, but to keep them at heel, I usually refer to them as gobshites. I’ve commissioned my good friend, Otter, to pen the story of my early days in Castlebridge. ‘In the Shadow of the Judas Tree.’ If you want the answers to the three questions you have posed, you will have to buy the prequel to Father McGargles when it is published in June. Sláinte. Pay the feckin’ barman, Darius. (ED – It is on my bucket list and I look forward to reading it)
Fishing plays a great part in your life. Do you prefer fishing for souls or salmon and trout?
Jesus, but you’re great craic. Did ya find them questions written on a betting slip, stuck to a hedgehog’s arse, while the poor creature was sunning himself at the Galway races? I fish for fish – full stop. Souls are an overrated quarry and taste awful with chips.
How do you reconcile the devious tricks you played on Jimmy Egan, your angling opponent, with the fact that you are a priest and as such should resist the temptations of ‘one-upmanship’?
One-upmanship is quite possibly the only sin I’ve never committed. When Jimmy Egan’s son stole that trout his father became fair game. Liam O’Brien thought they could outwit me. My Achilles heel is I cannot resist a challenge, nor can I ignore the opportunity to educate gobshites. Consider yourself educated. One-upmanship, my arse. Who gave you that idea? I’ll skin the bastard.
Talking of Jimmy – he’s rich, lives in a big house. What are your views on the amassing of fortunes (Don’t mention the huge wealth available to the Church of Rome though or we’ll get into trouble!)
Same as my views on fly fisherman with a dozen rods and a zillion flies. Pointless. I suppose you’ve heard this quote from the gospel. “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Common sense.
By the way, I accept donations on www.fatherbrennan.com AND I’ve read the gospel. There’s nothing there that says St. Peter doesn’t take bribes — is there? HA!
Would you like to be more than a priest in the Catholic Church? Any thoughts of progressing to Bishop or even Cardinal? Pope maybe? Before you answer, please remember that Pope Francis follows this blog! (Bless you Pope Francis – that’s my place in heaven reserved!)
I’ve a friend in Rome who thinks I’ll become Pope – the first Irish Pope. Another, who’s a religious history fanatic, believes I’m the second son. The one I trust most, peers at me each morning from the mirror through bloodshot eyes, and says, ‘Good morning, James Brennan, patron saint of Gobshites.’ Feckin’ Nora, that makes me narcissistic. Everyone is entitled to one flaw.
In conclusion – imagine you’ve got six months to live and a genie (sorry – Angel) appears and offers you three last wishes – what would they be? (remember your boss, the Pope is reading this!)
Sean, Darius has been reading the Dummies Guide to journalism. What sort of eejit would ask a question like that? (ED – this one)
I’d wish my tablet stored a list of the winners of every horse race in Ireland since 1982.
For my second, I’d wish to go back to 1982 with my tablet.
For my third, I’d wish to hold Summer once more. To feel her lips upon mine. The rise and fall of her breasts … Feck off, and leave me alone. (ED – Who will rid me of this unruly priest?)