Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 24 February, 2024
Ben Dunne back in the days of his 'Buy Right' stores. Now he's more concerned about what's going on in the men's department of his gyms... Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Column Cardinal Rules - on hairdryers, Big Ben Dunne and the Titanic 'industry'

This week, the (not) primate of All Ireland recalls the terrible events after Ardfillan won the county final: ““The whole team went into the dressing room, roaring and shouting like apes. Then they put on all the hair dryers…”

THIS WEEK SOME people complained they were all “Titaniced” out of it. Meanwhile, we continued in our own stoic way dealing the week’s events…


The Titanic hype has reached fever pitch in the house. By which I mean Fr Lawlor won’t stop talking about it. He has already paraded his matchstick scale model of the Titanic around the common room, complete with Styrofoam iceberg.

Fr Ryan can’t deal with the Styrofoam iceberg. “It sets my teeth on edge,” he whines. Fr Lawlor crashes his model into the iceberg for effect. Fr Ryan runs from the room with his hands over his ears.


Peace has settled on the house, as Fr Lawlor has gone to see the 3D version of Titanic in the local cinema.

The peace is broken when Fr O’Neill discovers that Fr Mullen spoke to Michael Lowry after the findings of the Moriarty Tribunal were published. Fr Mullen denies any wrongdoing.

“It was all fairly harmless. We talked about crisps. He likes smoky bacon,” says a defensive Fr Mullen.

“Hmm, a simple man with simple tastes,” says Fr Ryan.

“Not unlike those plain decent folk who elected him I suppose,” ponders Fr Caffrey.


To Cobh, where we experience the modesty and restraint of the Titanic commemoration. The solemn mood is only slightly marred by Fr Lawlor’s captain’s cap.

Meanwhile, Fr Ryan refuses to leave the minibus because he has spotted a large Styrofoam iceberg in the harbour. (“Aaagh. My teeth. My teeth.”)

In a local perfume shop we marvel at the memorabilia. The lady in charge shows Fr Lawlor a commemorative bar of soap, complete with a little iceberg, and people in the water screaming.

“It’s very tasteful,” says Fr Lawlor.

“And sure won’t we do what we can to commemorate those poor souls?” says the lady.

Fr Lawlor is overcome with emotion and can only nod.

“That’ll be ten euro so,” she smiles.


Ben Dunne is in the news. It appears that he is banning hair dryers in the male dressing rooms of his fitness clubs. Apparently, male clients have taken to drying their private parts with them. Mr Dunne has rightly banned them because this practice is obviously unhygienic. He also leaves us with the unspoken truth that it is an obvious sign of the continued degradation of society’s moral values.

It is all part of a unpleasant modern phenomenon in which an American study has shown that highly adrenalised sportsmen succumb to the primal urge to celebrate physical achievement with the drying of the hirsute parts of their body not normally seen in public.

Indeed, Fr Brennan recalls the terrible events after Ardfillan won the county club football final in 2010. “The whole team went into the dressing room, roaring and shouting like apes. Then they put on all the hair dryers. They had them set on high, and were cheering each other on. Such a whooping and a bellowing I have never heard before in my life.”

Fr Brennan trembles at the recollection. “Poor Fr Mack was in there. His white face when he came out. I will take that look with me to my grave.”

I shake my head as I remember the story that full forward Benny McCauley had brought along his fiancée’s hair dryer. “A little pink jobeen it was, with three settings,” recalls Fr Brennan.

Fr Brennan continues: “I didn’t go into the dressing room myself obviously. The shock would have been too much for my system.”

He pauses for a moment.

“Plus it was really warm in there.”


News reaches us about a new survey among Irish Catholics that throws up the odd possibility that they may have more in common with the belief set of their Protestant brethren. A fearful Fr Mallon says he hopes this doesn’t precipitate a mass exodus from one church to another.

I remind everyone, with the most appropriate analogy possible, that “Nobody suddenly stops supporting Liverpool and switches their allegiance to Manchester United.”

“Unless they’re Michael Owen,” grins Fr Lawlor. “Iceberg ahead!” he shouts, using a most inappropriate analogy to describe this so-called survey.

Later, his scale model of the Titanic is mysteriously discovered in pieces in the kitchen bin.

Read previous Cardinal Rules columns>

(Not) Cardinal Sean Brady
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