Archive for December, 2011

Billy Browns Road

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

There is a rail line running out of Heuston Station in Dublin, it’s a shunting line, a line to get carriages and trucks out-of-the-way and to make up trains. I wouldn’t imagine that a lot of the people working in Heuston know why it’s called Billy Browns Road but it’s named after my father in-law.

Billy Brown, (or Pop as he was known to us), worked in Heuston station for 45 years, imagine that, 45 years. He started as a porter and worked his way up to Senior Inspector, spending all the years in between working seven days a week, a stint of seven years working nights and only in the months coming up to retirement taking Sunday’s off.

He worked all those years to support his family, to make sure they got an education and along with Mary his wife, to raise a family of four sons and one daughter that any man could be proud of. Pop was one of those people I’ve mentioned before, one of the heroes of this country who help to build it from the ground up. Not necessarily one who spilled blood for his country, but one who spilled plenty of sweat and tears for it, working every hour, obeying the rules, not complaining and just getting on with it. He liked a few pints and apart from that, he never asked for or expected anything from anyone. The one thing I never heard him do in the 21 years I knew though was swear, it was quite amazing really, especially these days, but he never did, no matter what. “A bird by his Song and a man by his Tongue”, he would say. I wish I could follow his example but alas…

After he retired, we would often go down for Sunday dinner and I would be told to meet him in his local for a pint before hand. Now I’m not one for drinking during the day and if I had more than two, I’d be falling asleep soon after dinner. It took me awhile to figure out why he would be quite insistent that I meet him for a pint but after a time I reckoned I had figured it out. I think because my dad had died when I was so young, that he felt he had to be a surrogate father. He would ask me how things were, if I was alright for money, if the job was going ok. He would tell me stories about his life, his job, what he believed and didn’t believe, he was trying to give me a hand along the road. I’m ashamed now, but I didn’t appreciate what he was trying to do at the time. Growing up without a strong male influence made me kind of pig-headed and I thought that I could manage perfectly well acting on my own advice. That’s nonsense of course and as I get older I realise that.

What he was trying to for me, was what he did for his own kids, to give me a guiding hand. He’s gone now and I’m sorry I didn’t thank him but I love him for it, where ever he is now, I hope he knows that. I hope he also knows that I miss him and that some Sundays there’s nothing more I would rather do than to have a pint with him.


The Crahan

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

A post from a while back, hope you enjoy 🙂

The Crahan

Pyjama legs stuck to me, rolling on the floor crying, head pounding where I’d banged it.  The whispers; just whispers all around and nowhere, fading away, into the shadows.


I remember when I was five years old, sitting in my Grandmothers bed, her drinking a glass of Guinness, me dipping my finger in the head, bitter, sour.  I would sit with her for hours, her telling me stories for the fairies and the fair folk.  My granddad would come home from work, smelling of wood and brylcreem.  He would take his dinner and sit beside the bed, food on tray and we would watch the news, magnifying screen in front of the PYE cabinet telly, black and white pictures yearning to be colour and almost making it.

My dad would come home too and they would lift granny up the stairs for her bath, I would watch as her polio twisted legs would flop, granny barking orders but always thankful.

7 O’clock; nearly time for bed and granny smelling of 4711 and baby powder would tell me my story.  Often it was of the Crahan;….preparing me.   Looking back, I would never tell my children that story but then maybe I should; perhaps she knew she needed to tell me that I needed to know.

The Crahan, if you don’t know are the cast aways from the fair folk, they took the side of the evil one in the great battle for souls before the world awoke.  They served his evil purpose but became even too much for him.  He too cast them away and they found no place in either the dark or the light, always living in the grey, so many shades of grey.

Casting out

The Crahan have been mostly forgotten about, we prefer to think of the little people as happy, fair, singing, beautiful and not as vicious, snarling, ravenous creatures.  A few people remember them, a few people have “the fear” as it’s sometimes known.  The people with the “the fear” are the unluckiest of all.  They come from families or have learned from others who keep the secret of what the Crahan really are.  My grandmother had “the fear”, I think she knew I did too, but she had to bring it too the forefront.

At the moment of death, the soul leaves the body; waiting for the soul, can be either a dark angel or a light angel to take that soul to it’s eternal reward.  Sometimes both angels appear and battle for the soul.  Always are the Crahan, waiting in the shadows whispering, mouths dripping, licking lips with bile and acid spit.  Sometimes neither angel arrives on time and the soul is left to be devoured by the Crahan, torn, ripped, shredded, devoured by these slobbering creatures, the soul lost forever, feedstuff for the scavengers of eternity.

Souls are the Crahans food, their only food, their own immortal beings have been damned to the shadows, they seek out the dying, snarling at their bedsides, always hunting, always hungry.

My grandmother told me these things and taught me how to listen and how to feel “the fear”.  To overcome the fright and fight for time for angels dark and light to rescue souls from the nothingness.  “Nothing” she told me “is worse than nothingness, the soul, good or bad, deserves a place go, punishment or reward is a better fate than the Crahan”

“The Fear”, oh yeah, that’s a feeling, a sense when they are near, you hear the whispering, evil beyond evil, the grinding of razor teeth, the drip of spit; you see a sharpness in the shadows, a huddling mass broken with a ping/a flash of malice but mostly that whisper, a piercing sound, not a whistle, something older, if your not careful, something maddening.


The nurse picked me up,

“Jesus John, what happened ya?”

“Just a nightmare” I said.

“Do you normally walk in your sleep” she asked


She led me back to bed and I asked about Mr Peters.

“Ah he’s gone, the poor auld divil…” she said, “…but sure he looks happy now, no pain”

“Get yourself back to sleep now John, you’ll be getting out in the morning, bet you’re glad all those tests are clear…nothing to worry about after all…night night John”

I smiled.  That had been a hard one, if the angel hadn’t shown up when he did….I wouldn’t have been able to hold them off for very much longer.


I don’t know how long more I can do this, it’s not that I don’t want to, I’ve known all my life, well at least since I was five, that I had to do it, but I’m just getting older and there aren’t many of us left…….that’s why I’m telling you all of this.  By reading this, I’ve given you the secret, if you have “the fear” within you, you will now realise it.  You see, I need someone to help me fight, I’ll teach you all you need to know.  I need someone to make sure they don’t get my soul, they will come after it.  After all that I have denied them, they will.


Souls and stuff have always fascinated me, do they exist, I don’t know, but here’s the story of one man who fights for them, in an unusual way, most definitely.  The bit at the end, where you’ve been suckered into fighting along side our hero, that occurred to me a few years ago when I got one of those stupid and annoying chain letters, full of the usual crap and dire warnings about not breaking the chain, after I’d ripped it up a thrown it in the bin, the notion came to me that wouldn’t it be funny if by reading something, you had entered into a contract of sorts, but you didn’t find out till you’d finished reading.  Interesting idea, anyway thank you as always for reading my little pieces of nonsense….oh and by the way….listen out for those whispers……