Learning about gays in the bad old days in Ireland ahead of the Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival


I kicked him accurately into the groin just before he reached me, dropped my jotter with its precious interview within and fled for my life down the stairs and away.

I did not sleep a wink that night considering the enormity of my crime.

I had no story the Herald could use, I had kicked a great star in the balls and was fairly certain I would lose my precious job when I confessed to my editor the next morning.
I had no idea then there were men who preferred young virgin boys to women you see. It was a different and innocent era.

I confessed fully to Paddy O'Hare. I did not weep but I came close. I told the whole truth.

Instead of sacking me he gave me a clap on the back, told me that I was learning about life and would make a good reporter yet and, dramatically, he gave me an extra one pound note along with my two pound wage that Friday.

And the visiting star did not get any mention at all in theFermanagh Herald that week. His behavior, of course, was not common or typical but, for many years, it tainted my perception of homosexuality.  I suppose that is understandable enough.

I have long since recovered fully from the shock and, hopefully, have a more mature and tolerantly understanding head upon me today than the one that sallied forth for that first interview.