Finnegans Wake

As the sun shines on a new day, a new Saint Patrick’s day at that, the curious tale of Tim Finnegan makes its way into the conversations of church goers, and pub crawlers alike. On this day some ninety years ago Tim Finnegan set out from his modest home on Watling Street in Dublin to go and tear down some old bricks, and put up some new ones, at work. As Tim was walking down the road he saw a kitten stuck in a drain pipe that he then took the time to rescue. Tim’s friend Paddy Magee, who saw Tim reaching down into the drain pipe as he was walking the opposite way, stopped and greeted his friend, “Tim my boy, what are ye doin’ down there?” When Tim heard his friend he stood up, smiled, handed Paddy a kitten, and with a beautiful brogue, both rich and sweet, said, “I was grabbin’ this little fella sure, what’d ye think I was doin’? Here watch after him for me, I forgot somethin’ at home.”

Tim hustled off back towards his house leaving Paddy standing there perplexed while looking down at the kitten Tim had handed him. ‘What a gentle man, but mighty odd,’ Paddy thought to himself as he saw Tim emerge from his home carrying his hod. “Have ye still got me little friend there Paddy, I don’t suppose I’ll be takin’ him to work, why don’t you put him in me house for me will ye, the Mrs. will watch after him.” said Tim. Paddy replied, “sure Tim, but do you think ye should be goin’ to work today? I can tell ye had more than a drop of whiskey with your breakfast this mornin’, you don’t want to get fired now do ye?” Tim replied, “not go to work, ye takin’ the piss? Do you really want me to fired?” With that Tim said goodbye and set off to work, again.

By the time Tim got to the jobsite his head felt heavy, but he climbed the ladder towards the fourteenth floor anyway to go clear some bricks. Half way up his heavy head started to make him shake, which caused him to fall from the ladder and break his skull. His friends then carried his corpse home to hold a wake. They rolled him up in a nice clean sheet, and laid him out upon the bed, placed a bucket of whiskey at his feet, and a bottle of porter at his head. A few hours later the house was full of Tim’s friends and family when Mrs. Finnegan served lunch, first tea and cake, then pipes, tobacco and whiskey punch.

After a while Biddy O’Brien began to cry, “such a nice clean corpse did you ever see? Ah Tim mavourneen why did ye die”? When Paddy Magee heard that, Tim’s close friend who knew his sins well, he said to Biddy, “hold your gob!”  Then Maggie O’Connor took up the job of trying to silence Biddy, before she said something that may have really upset Mrs. Finnegan, “oh Biddy,” says she, “you’re wrong I’m sure.” Angry and mournful, Biddy punched Maggie in the mouth which left her sprawling on the floor. It was then that a civil war erupted, it was woman to woman and man to man, eventually even shillelagh’s were being used as the ruckus escalated. Just as things started to really get out of control someone threw a whiskey bottle, which nearly hit Mickey Maloney who ducked his head when the bottle flew at him.

Fortunately for Mickey the bottle missed him by an inch and fell onto the bed, which then scattered the liquor all over Tim. The fighting stopped when the crowd saw what had happened, they then decided to clean Tim off. But as they were first straightening themselves up a voice from the crowd shouted, “be gob he revives, see how he rises!” Everyone looked on with awe as Tim sat up and said, “whirlin’ your whisky round like blazes, Thanum o’n Dhoul, do ye think I’m dead!” Tim continued, “If you’re going to be throwin’ away whiskey like that, make sure it’s Canadian!” To that Tim’s friend Paddy shouted back, “ah but Timmy, if it wasn’t Irish whiskey you’d still be dead!” Everyone then wiped their tears, put away their shillelagh’s, and had lots of fun at Finnegan’s wake, as they celebrated a happy Saint Patrick’s day.