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Irish Eyes

By Mattie Lennon


Ciaran McCann is a Dublin bus driver. He studied engineering for five years and spent a further four years in University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. He is a published novelist, has been married for eighteen years, lives on Dublin's southside and owns a happy cat. He drives the number 14 bus.

Dr. Joseph Carlton lives in a plush residence on Aylesbury Road in fashionable Dublin 4. He is tanned, educated and women find him irresistible. He drives a Nissan Maxima and shares his plush abode with a Great Dane called Jet.

Jet, like most servile inhabitants of Ballsbridge does not appreciate his Master's lifestyle. Neither was he impressed when he took first prize at last year's Saint Patrick's Day Dog Show at the Royal Dublin Society. And the good Doctor's choice of kennel name, "Shakespeare's Mercedes" didn't appeal to his canine sensitivity. In his stream of (dog) conscienceless he refers to Dr. Carlton by names taken from a list of descriptions of the lower anatomy.

Mattie Morcam is a bus driver in Dublin. His parents have been separated for a number of years. He finishes almost every sentence with "but..." and refers to that tasty crackling snack, made famous by Mr.Tayto, a " a packet o' cripps." As a youngster he "went to the pitchers in Fizzzburrow". His tattooed knuckles don't look any more out of place than the used condoms and graffiti, which adorn the multi-storey flat complex, where he lives.

Through a bizarre set of circumstances and unlikely situations, in both their places of employment, Mattie Morcam and Doctor Carlton, who had each often wondered what it was like on the other side of the tracks, succeed in swapping identities.

The sophisticated Joseph spends a number of days driving a bus while Mattie prescribes capsules with unpronounceable names for old ladies with psychological abnormalities, in Saint Bernadette's, an up-marker Psychiatric Hospital on Dublin's north side.

It has been said that we are all ignorant, but of different things. Well, while Mattie is not overly familiar with the finer points of the Hippocratic Oath Dr. Carlton isn't all that fluent in the lingo of the housewives of Dublin 11.

His rounded vowels cause raised eyebrows among the marginilised going to collect the "labour" and Mattie prescribes suppositories for depression.

When a Chief Surgeon, in Theatre said, "I feel we can now safely remove the Sternum Retractor. Would you agree, Doctor." Mattie didn't have an answer. But he was only slightly less nonplussed than Dr. Carlton when a denim-clad peroxide blonde in her fifties asked, "What's wrong wit' yer mouth son? yer talkin' funny" Both survive without detection until they revert to their relevant roles.

In the above catalogue of characters there is one who is not fictitious. It is Ciaran McCann. The others people (and "dog") the pages of his novel "Open Day At The Asylum."

"Open Day at the Asylum" took four years to write and has just appeared on the shelves to very favourable reviews. Is there any more favourable comparison than that used by Lady Renie in the Belfast People: "McCann's superb mastery over Stream of Consciousness techniques heralds the greatest Wizard of Wordplay since Joyce."

Speaking of which, I didn't finish Ulysses but I burned the midnight oil to devour Ciaran's outstanding debut novel. And I don't think that even Roddy Doyle would dare to suggest that Ciaran McCann, "could have done with a good editor."

Critic, Anne McRicen says that the author, "......runs his readers through the full spectrum of sentiment. Undulating emotional peaks and troughs. From buttock clenching tension to thigh slapping hysteria. From violent drama to the passions of romance." If you didn’t let your maiden aunt see “Lady Chatterly’s Lover” or “The Ginger Man” I would advise you to keep “Open Day At The asylum” under lock and key as well.

"Open Day At the Asylum" is published by Lisieux Publishing Ltd. Manchester and is available from the author
Ciaran McCann
10 Llewellyn Grove
Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
at the modest price of €10 (including postage).

You can contact Ciaran at:

Click on author's byline for bio.


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