Guest Blogger: What on earth made you do it? by Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy was born in Killarney where he spent his first three years before his family was deported to Dublin, the Strumpet City. Growing up in the verdant braes of Templeogue, Peter was schooled by the De La Salle brothers in Churchtown where he played rugby for ‘The Wine and Gold’. He also played football (soccer) in secret!
After that, he graduated and studied the Humanities in Grogan’s under the guidance of Scot’s corner and the bar staff; Paddy, Tommy and Sean.
Murphy financed his education by working summers on the buildings sites of London in such places as Cricklewood, Camden Town and Kilburn.
Murphy also tramped the roads of Europe playing music and living without a care in the world. But his move to Canada changed all of that. He only came over for awhile – thirty years ago.
He took a day job and played music in the bars at night until the demands of family life intervened.
Having raised his children and packed them off to University, Murphy answered the long ignored internal voice and began to write.
He has no plans to make plans for the future and is happy to let things unfold as they do anyway.
LAGAN LOVE is his first novel.
You can visit his website at www.peterdamienmurphy.com or his blog at www.peterdamienmurphy.blogspot.com. Connect with him at Twitter at www.twitter.com/PeeloMurphy and Facebook at www.facebook.com/LaganLove.
About Lagan Love
If you know something about passion, and desire, and giving everything to live your dreams then leave your world behind for a while. Come with Janice to Dublin, in the mid nineteen-eighties when a better future beckoned and the past was restless, whispering in the shadows for the Old Ways. Janice has grown tired of her sheltered existence in Toronto and when Aidan leads her through the veils of the Celtic Twilight, she doesn’t hesitate. In their love, Aidan, Dublin’s rising poet, sees a chance for redemption and Janice sees a chance for recognition. Sinead tells her that it is all nonsense as she keeps her head down and her eyes fixed on her own prize – a place in Ireland’s prospering future. She used to go out with Aidan, before he met Janice, so there is little she can say. And besides, she has enough to do as her parents are torn apart by the rumours of church scandals. But after a few nights in Grogan’s, where Dublin’s bohemians gather, or a day in Clonmacnoise among the ruins of Celtic Crosses, it won’t matter as the ghosts of Aidan’s mythologies take form and prey on the friends until everything is at risk. Lagan Love is a sensuous story of Love, Lust and Loss that will bring into question the cost we pay for our dreams.
What on earth made you do it?
By Peter Murphy
My mother, who is no longer with us, would often run her hands through her hair and ask with emphasised exaggeration: ‘What on earth made you do it?’
It was the standard response when she confronted each one of her 6 sons on their latest bout with stupidity. Sometimes it was forgetting some vital provision from the shop; or a school assignment; or getting caught in the neighbours orchard; or taking a mitch (unauthorised absence) from school ; or the prize winner – forgetting to tell her that there was a dead eel in the pockets of the pants she was hand washing.
As the youngest I learned to borrow from my brothers responses but my mother had the type of eyes that could see all the way down to the core of your soul so lying was useless.
She would have liked my novel LAGAN LOVE but she would have sniffed with disdain at the sexuality and the cruder language. ‘What on earth made you want to go and write something like that?’ she would ask if she could.
The reasons are very clear in my mind. I wanted to capture something I believed was about to become extinct – pre Celtic-Tiger Dublin. You see I grew up there and while many of us have strong affinities with our home towns, Dublin is a city like no other. It was never really an Irish city; founded by the Vikings and home to the Norman invaders before it became the Provincial Capital of British rule. But all of that just made it more interesting. Full of larger than life characters that have elbowed their way onto the pages of some of the great literary works of the pantheon of Irish writers, Dublin was the high protein diet for anybody who wanted to write about life as it really was. Sure you can set your historical romance there but you can set those anywhere.You see Dublin is where the human soul has been sculpted by the winds and tides of fate.Misshapen and deformed to where beauty and ugliness conjoin the soul of Dublin will always be like a siren’s song for me.
I realised all of this years ago when I spent my evenings, and sometimes mornings, and afternoons, in Grogan’s of South William Street. You see it was where the remnants of Irish Literati gathered under the gentle and caring gaze of Paddy O’Brian – a publican of the finest order – and Tommy Smith who still runs the place. Conversation was the currency of the place that had no television nor live music though the on occasion a preferred customer might get a few bars out before the dish cloth came flying out from behind the bar. My good friend Emmanuel even got to play guitar there one quiet afternoon but the place was all about talking or sitting quietly – if that was what you preferred.
That was where the seeds were sown, fluttered down into my fertile mind from the lofty draughts of the banter of the brilliant. Politics, Mythology and Literary Classics were all blended with a generous dollop of good old personal gossip. It was the music of life and I was hooked.
As the Tiger approached, it seemed that all of that might be forgotten as everyone got ready to reinvent themselves in the New and Improved Ireland and I wanted to ensure that they, the voices of Grogan’s would never be forgotten. So if my mother was to ask I would have to say I was trying to capture a picture of a dying culture.
‘You could have done it without all the sex and scandal and bad language,’ she would argue with a flick of her head.
I could but that would not have done the place justice. That, you see, was why I had to write LAGAN LOVE.