Kevin Barry and Cork City

This morning.

Writer Kevin Barry on Cork in the current issue of Granta:

If cities are sexed, as Jan Morris believes, then Cork is a male place. Personified further, I would cast him as low-sized, disputatious and stoutly built, a hard-to-knock-over type. He has a haughty demeanour that’s perhaps not entirely earned but he can also, in a kinder light, seem princely.

He is certainly melancholic. He is given to surreal flights and to an antic humour and he is blessed with pleasingly musical speech patterns. He is careful with money. He is in most leanings a liberal. He is fairly cool, usually quite relaxed, and head over heels in love with himself….

….There is a sense when you’re in Cork that the rest of the world is receding. Oh it’s still out there, somewhere, in the noiseless distance, but after a while it fades from view, and it has no more than the wispy quality of a rumour. When you walk across Patrick’s Bridge and the north side of the city lofts itself handsomely into being before you, it is hard to shake the sensation that you’re at the centre of the universe.”

Otis Blue writes:

All that and the U20 All-Ireland hurling title too!


The Raingod’s Green, Dark as Passion (Kevin Barry, Granta)

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41 thoughts on “Barry Town

      1. Fergalito

        Too true OB – found Galway a very transient place. Stay there too long and everyone you used to hang out will have moved on and if you’re not a forward thinking fellow you could find yourself left behind to wash the pots, draw the dole and smoke the doobies.

        The craic is only ever in one place at a particular time before it moves elsewhere. A wise man told me that.

        Kevin Barry a fabulous writer, especially of the short story. He’s written a few exceptional ones. Great auld energy, vibrancy and colour brought to the rural Irish experience.

        1. Otis Blue

          I always thought of Galway as the setting for City of Bohane rather than Cork. But, as he puts it, it does make sense.

          A few years back there was talk of a movie but there appears to be precious little progress. Would love to see it happen.

          1. Fergalito

            Dark Lies the Island wasn’t a bad movie, it didn’t reflect much on the content of the short story collection but it was okay.

            He’s got a lot of stories and novels that would translate very well to the cinema screen in the right hands.

  1. bertie blenkinsop

    If Cork is a man, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
    It would ride itself if it could turn around quickly enough.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Ah look, just trying to make conversation. Still though, it’s not a great reflection of local Cork businesses that the Cork GAA couldn’t get sponsorship from a local Cork business.

      2. V AKA Frilly Keane

        It’s actually – by way of repaying the FAI’s cheeky upfronts back to Sports Direct for breeches
        Tax payers money

        Thanks everyone

        BTW. Delighted to see the Kilkennioiots are taking their baten badly
        Sour pusses

  2. V AKA Frilly Keane

    Ah shur’
    More of it

    A man claiming the greatest place on earth has be a man

    Cause like it is the greatest – so this buck says cause it’s the greatest Cork has to be a man.

    Seriously boys – this sort of public demonstration of your inadequacy and insecurity isn’t going to do yere love lives any good at all

    Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still sleep with ye n’ stuff

    But yer inferiority complex is a bitta’ve passion killer

    Like there’s enough Beauties amongst ye
    To keep ye relevant to us
    No need to claim the greatest place on the planet is one of the boys and yere all just like Cork
    Tis a pretty desperate attempt to give off the macho vibes of accomplishment, style, swagger, brilliance, taste, cultured, good looking
    And all that other sex on legs stuff

    Hon’ Cork
    You’re no one’s fool girl
    Least of a lad who looks like he’s from Meath

    1. Bertie blenkinsop

      Just to be clear…
      I don’t think I’m wonderful because I’m a man and I’m from Dublin.
      I just happen to a wonderful man from Dublin.

        1. Bertie blenkinsop

          Easy tiger, I’m not scared of feet, I just think they’re awful and best avoided.
          Kinda like Deirdre O’Kane

  3. V AKA Frilly Keane

    Ah for Jaysus sake

    I’ve just googled this Barry lad

    He’s from Limerick

    He’s obviously got the scutters already

    The Shannonsiders should just painting tyres and old Cortinas
    And lashing a few flags around Kilbeheny

      1. Fergalito

        I thought it was fabulous Papi, sceptical beforehand about the whole premise but he pulled it off to great effect. Cornelius was a great character, love the part where he dresses Lennon up to masquerade as his cousin Ken.

          1. Fergalito

            I really enjoyed the music of Bohane, the dialogue and invented patois very well done. Had always thought it was set in a futuristic Limerick but there you go.

            If you haven’t already another collection of short stories by Mayo man Colin Barrett worth the price of admission – Young Skins. Stinging Fly gave both Barry and Barrett their support, they produce an excellent periodical if that’s yer bag. Money well spent.

          2. Otis Blue

            City of Bohane was great. Interesting that you mention music as I found it a ‘noisy’ book. I heard it as much as read it.

            Thanks for the heads up on Young Skins. It has been sitting alongside Barry’s That Old Country Music in an ever expanding pile of yet-to-read books.

            Barry and his his wife publish a great anthology every year called Winter Papers. Worth picking up, if you see it.

            Here’s a great interview in which, amongst many subjects, he talks of the challenges of being a ginger goth.


          3. Papi

            I’ll check those out, sounds good. Try “A fraction of the whole” by Steven Toltz if you like the off centre kind of humour. Very good.

    1. DaithiG

      That’s a fantastic short. That whole book had me laughing. The one with the two auld Biddys trying to kidnap a child was just the type of dark humour I need.

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