Monday, May 06, 2013

The Friendly Reaper


I was browsing in my local library the other day when the above volume caught my eye. It was big; it was thick; and the pages had that golden edging that you frequently get on bibles in church. What, I wondered, was it?


On closer inspection it had the intriguing title "Éire mar ba mhian le Domhnall Ó Lubhlaí" or, I suppose, "The Ireland Danny Lovely would like to see". Danny has long been known in Irish language circles for his Irish language colleges (Coláiste na bhFiann), a sort of Irish language bootcamp, and for his espousal of the "Modh Díreach" or the Direct Method of language teaching which avoids use of the mother tongue as opposed to the Translation Method which doesn't.

So I decided to have a look see.

I had to prise some of the pages apart to separate their gold edging, which suggested that I may have been the first person to actually look through all the pages.

It is an odd book in many ways. It is big at over a thousand thick A4 size pages. It is very heavy and it is not clear that the binding will withstand the intensive use that is meant to be made of the book in teaching the language. It has no ISBN number and no address is given for the publisher. In fact Google can't find the publisher whose name is listed as "Foilsitheoirí an Aithréimithe".

While I personally favour the Direct Method and realise that this requires a fair amount of illustration in the book, I really thought the layout (including multiple giant fonts) and language conjured up the image of a disturbed and obsessional mind.


Of course, I may be reading this book (published in 2011) with an unfair degree of retrospection, because allegations which were floating around some years ago have now resurfaced in the public domain, and a full scale Garda review is now under way into Danny's alleged sexual abuse of young persons over many years.


The above is one of the many colour illustrations in the book. At least it grabs your attention. Whether it is also autobiographical is a matter that the author is no longer in a position to clarify.


A certain inconsistency in his view of women is manifested in the above illustration, one of many low grade black and white drawings in the book. While the "girl" is purported on one page to be nice and on another to be beautiful, my own view is that she is neither and is very reminiscent of the Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson) or even a once upon a time lady from Corca Dorcha.


Cailín deas crúite na bó is all very well but the image suffers from the retrospection I mentioned above.


This purports to be a "person" taking an oath to make us free. The author's view of person in this context is clearly a military person, not surprising given the author's own background.


Click for larger image

God knows how many young boys may have been abused over the years. The extract above is from Danny's introduction to the book where he reminisces on events and amusing incidents creating a sort of family album in words. I'm sure many of those mentioned in this introduction won't thank him for it. The above extract refers to Liam Ó Maolaodha, and I have no hesitation in reproducing it as Liam has come forward with allegations against Danny.


And finally, above, what might have been the end of the story were it not for the benign intervention of the Grim Reaper. Danny died in March 2013.

All the illustrations are from the book

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