I knew there’d be trouble. There were rumblings about the committee being divided over “the artistic direction” for a while. But we didn’t think it would come to this.

I blame the working from home. There’s a few people came back to Kilsudgeon that would have shaken the dust of the place off their sandals long ago. But then with the fibre broadband and the pandemic and yer wan from Cheap Irish Houses finding Sodsy Murphy’s old cottage on the market for 90 thousand. Shur we were overrun.

Digital nomads, they call themselves. One of them was even in the paper talking about how she could run her online second-hand fashion business remotely. “Even from sleepy Kilsudgeon.”

Sleepy Kilsudgeon wasn’t too happy about that but no one was saying a bit. But then these returnees started getting involved. Everyone was delighted at first. We were always stuck for people for committees around here. And the ones who’d like it were the greatest time wasters you could meet. The type who love meetings. And they’d bring up something that had nothing to do with anything. I remember we had a meeting over the types of flowers that would go into the hanging baskets at the old phonebox and someone started going on about offshore wind turbines.

St Patrick’s Day parade

But when people get involved, they tend to have opinions and this new breed of Kilsudgeonite had opinions about the St Patrick’s Day parade. Dinny Sheehan was the man who ran it all the time. Whatever way he managed it, no matter what the year, he’d have it up and running. Kilsudgeon wouldn’t have the world’s biggest parade. They’re not going to show it on RTÉ next to New York or Chicago. The first float one year was Tom Buckley’s Waste Services driving a septic tank cleaner. “A float for the floaters,” says Denis.

There’s a teacher in Kilsudgeon primary school then who’s FIERCE political. He’ll always have some sort of a float about whatever’d be in the news. There was an anti-Irish Water one. Patsy Duggan the independent TD dressed as a boxer in a ring giving a knock-out blow to Ben Hughes dressed as a water meter. Another time he had all the children dressed in sombreros and Donald Trump trying to stop them going over a wall. He was all set to have Greta Thunberg chasing a cow last year until Freya my niece sent him a photo of him doing the Green Schools thing with “This You?” written on it and he backed down.

Creative types

Well, this year anyway it was to be all about energy prices. Floats with people robbing tomatoes and coal and the whole lot. Dinny had the whole thing sorted. But these creative types on wcommittee said that we should be focusing on advertising Kilsudgeon as the gateway to Ireland’s Historic Heartlands. A mecca for inward investment. They had all sorts of corporate sponsors lined up. ZoneBox- some sort of computer crowd- were going to pay for the whole thing. And they wouldn’t be associated with some of the “controversy” that Dinny and the teacher lined up.

Someone said something at a meeting and didn’t Dinny walk out?! “Ye can do yere own effing reimagining,” is what he roared at them.

And that’s why we had two parades. Trad music and robbers stealing gas drums on one, “Kilsudgeon Global village” on the other.

And they weren’t joking about the “artistic direction”. The two parades went in two actual different directions. It was only with the intervention of Father Donnegan that they managed to get them to agree to start the parade in two different places and join up then in front of the viewing platform.

The whole thing was passed off as “Old Kilsudgeon meets New”. But I can tell you for a fact there was ructions before, during and after.

I met Dinny afterwards.

“Were you upset?” I asked him.

“Yerra no,” he says. “I like the fight.”

Whatever floats your boat I suppose.

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