Avast ye, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Climb the Jacobs ladder to the website or you will dance the hempen jig.
If you have a different perspective on reality or like to turn your world upside down on occasions, then this is the website for you. The flibustier, Ol’ Chumbucket, is the cockswain of this Man-O-War.
With a name like that he deserves all the support he can find. He needs a lot of practical support right now helping the victims of the hurricanes that tore through the Caribbean recently.
The site appealed to me because in my writing I slip easily into presenting the world from the point of view of those who are not usually heard unless they dress differently, act outrageously or are individuals who do not fit into the measured frames that society imposes.
My latest book (Snuff O’Brien’s Private War) follows the hero Snuff O’Brien, a one-legged freedom fighter returning from fighting on the wrong side in the Spanish civil war. The image is similar to that of a pirate, including his wooden leg. His actions would do credit to any filibustier. He wants to live in peace and put his violent past behind him. He meets the same response any nororious freebooter would have met had he anchored his ship for the last time and announced, ‘Avast ye. I seek peace and to put all my past abaft. With the holystone of peace I will scrub my name clean.’
It was easy to see Snuff as a one-legged rebel and a model for would-be pirates. Waterford is his home town, a city renowned for its links with the sea, the place where the longboat-sailing Vikings gained a toehold in the colonisation of Ireland centuries ago.
The city resisted the onslaught of Oliver Cromwell bringing his penitential ways and dour morality to Ireland but finished up with one of his Monkey balls lodged in the wall of the city tower.
The city was home to Thomas Meagher a Young Irelander revolutionary and the designer of the Irish tricolour flag. Deported to Van Diemen's Land he escaped to America and among many notable activities he fought as a general on the Union side.
On the ecclesiastical side of the picture, the city produced Nicholas Wiseman, a cardinal archbishop of Westminster and Edmund Rice the founder of the Christian Brothers teaching order bringing new meaning to teaching and caring for young boys.
John Condon, allegedly the youngest Allied soldier to die in First World War at the age of 14, started life here.
If you want to follow the spiritual line of inhabitants you might look up Ellen Organ known as "Little Nellie of Holy God".
On the political side you will find William Hobson the first Governor of New Zealand and Dan Mulhall who took up post as ambassador to the US just over a week ago.
That small selection from the list of the city’s famous wanderers shows how they turned the image of the pirate from one who takes and pillages to one who gives and builds. Waterford, their home town, built on success on the seas and on the courage of its sons and daughters crossing oceans, gave generously to the world.
I salute all those who sailed down the river to take their gifts to the rest of the world - In honour of you all I lift my black jack. May your booty always grow.
(Pirate logo used with permission of Ol’ Chumbucket)