Sunday, March 31, 2013

Fasten your Seatbelt

This is the Kincora Boys Home in Belfast. In the 1980s it was exposed as a centre for paedophile activity and some staff were tried and imprisoned.

In the light of what is now coming out all over the UK and the Channel Islands about the extent to which this type of activity was covered up, the inquiry into Kincora has been reopened. It remains to be seen whether this will lead to the unmasking of the many powerful and famous people, both from north and south of the border, who are alleged to have availed of its services.

This is Kincora in Abbeyquarter, Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo. A different Kincora entirely and one of very happy memories. It's just that the re-emergence of the name Kincora, and the bay windows, reminded me of some youthful adventures in my father's home town.

The house was a child's paradise. At least, one room of it was. And that is where my older cousins' toys were kept. They had gone off to become priests and I had the run of their toyboxes, full of model soldiers and the like.

What comes to mind every bit as much as the toys was the day I took the small tricycle out onto the steep hill road outside the house.

I leapt up on the tricycle and went shooting down the hill. It was only then that I found out the tricycle had no brakes. And at the bottom of the hill was the main road which could have any class of a vehicle trundling or speeding along it.

What was I to do?

I was quickly gaining speed and had got beyond the point of putting my foot into the spokes - that would have taken me straight to the moon, or beyond, and left me permanently toeless. And even if there was no traffic on the main road when I hit it, my speed by then would have ensured a serious injury.

There was only one thing to do. There was a long high bank along the right hand side of the road.

In the flash that it took for this looming disaster to hit me, I turned the wheel and crashed into the bank. I emerged battered but not broken.

The real mystery is how a child who could make an intelligent, dangerous, but necessary decision in a flash, turned into today's ditherer and procrastinator.

One for my psychiatrist, perhaps? Or will I just wait till I finally get to the other side, if there is one?

Kincora, the steep hill road, and the disappeared bank.

Update 6/9/2013

And just in case you thought I was imagining the bank, today my cousin Carmel produced a photo of herself and myself sitting on it at around the time I'm talking about and in the company of the two family dogs.