THIS is the second year that me, the skinhead and his Daddy went down to Bodenstown for the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration. It has turned into an annual Father’s Day outing where we both see our Da’s.
Bodenstown was always my favourite march and the only Sinn Fein one I have twice returned to. After the Shinnerbot article during the year, I was a bit hesitant of going but then I remembered that Shinnerbots are arm chair republicans and wouldn’t see me there, so I left my crash helmet at home.
The weather was beautiful as always and this year Sallins had become a Wolfe Tone festival complete with fair ground rides and goldfish. I later learned it was paid for by Kildare Council. Austerity indeed.
We watched a solitary Garda almost get run over about five times by drivers who had failed to see the diversion signs. Some tutted and looked annoyed at the road being closed for the march.
A man wearing a frilly long sleeve shirt and a costume asked the skinhead the way to the cemetery. We later realised it was Wolfe Tone himself, on the way to read his speech.
We got chatting to a woman at the side of the road as we watched the parade go by. She was sound. But a bit of a name dropper, asking if we knew such and such from Belfast and enquiring as to how Gerry Kelly was. Admittedly I didn’t care for his general well-being but said he must be very busy this time of year with North Belfast always being a hotspot for trouble.
The woman pointed to a man across the road. He was elderly and had just exited a big Mitsubishi jeep with Sinn Fein sun visors, a no water charges poster and a Free Gaza window sticker in the front window. It’s a wonder he could see there were that many causes on display.
She told me he had driven from Limerick and had slept in his vehicle over night, just to get a good vantage point. Madness I thought. But like my family, the man and woman were die-hard Sinn Fein supporters. They see Gerry Adams as god like. This was reinforced when He left the crowd and came over to speak to the woman.
They were on first name terms and He invited her to walk with Him the rest of the way. She declined and He went on his way. The woman seemed embarrassed but delighted at the invitation and talked to another bystander about ‘how many a weaker man would have caved a long time ago’, referring to the numerous allegations Gerry Adams has faced and walked away from these past couple of years.
Mary Lou was introduced as a great Irish woman similar to Markevicz and Mary Anne McCracken. It resulted in me eye rolling a bit because realistically, she’s not. The speech was light on 1798 comparisons but heavy on Sinn Fein’s policies.