|Church of the Nativity of Our Lady, Naul.|
Later than intended, I set off from Drogheda along the R108, the old road to Dublin, along which James II came with his defeated army in the aftermath of the Battle of the Boyne. About 16kms later I arrived in Naul (known locally as the Naul), where I called into Killian’s Bar for something to drink, but also because I had to try to make at least one telephone call, to a long-lost cousin in County Tipperary who had been in contact by email. This was the context in which I was lucky enough to meet some of Killian’s Bar’s extraordinarily friendly clientele. First I was spontaneously lent a mobile by authentic Naul person ‘David’ (some of the others were ‘blow-ins’ – ie people who’d ‘blown in’ from elsewhere), in order to phone my cousin and leave him a message. Then I was told not to pay for the glass of squash I’d asked for. Then David offered me a place to stay, in a cabin with a made-up bed in his garden… I was bought a pint of a certain well known variety of stout… presented with a fantastic complimentary plate of chicken sandwiches… bought a second pint… and given 50 euros for Mary’s Meals by someone with whom I’d been discussing St Rita of Cascia and the trials of giving up smoking. The almost overpowering sense that Christmas had come early was reinforced a) by the sight of twinkly lights illuminating a tree on the street when we came out of the pub, and b) by a bowl of Christmas pudding – which had been made earlier that day – that I was presented with by David’s wife when we got back to their house! Some of these people found themselves with copies of Child 31 in their DVD collections, and I also gave a cuddly toy Father Christmas (ie St Nicholas of Mira, obviously) to David and his wife, which seemed to be popular with the baby granddaughter they were looking after at the time.
|St Nicholas of Mira|
 The defeat inflicted by the army of William of Orange on that of the deposed James II led the latter to go into exile, never to return.