Give Ireland back to the Irish!

Watching the Stones strut their credible stuff at Glastonbury on Saturday night, my mind went back to the time Lord Henry Mountcharles interrupted Mick and myself as we sipped wine on the banks of the Boyne.

The year was 1982, the month July, the day before the Stones gig at Slane. Myself and legendary Dublin rock and roll publicist Terry O’Neill had motored out to the site, ostensibly so I could gather “colour” for coverage, actually out of nosiness and because neither of us had anything better to do. Our “in” was the fact that we both knew promoter Jim Aiken fairly well. We asked for Jim and were directed along the river - the Boyne flows past the estate - where we came upon Jim, Mick, Lord Henry and a couple of others nibbling at picnic delicacies and quaffing scoops of pinot blanc.

I should, of course, have departed the appalling scene of decadence without further ado. A hour or so later, Mick was talking nonsense about football and I was totally agreeing. It was around this point that Lord Henry remarked that next year would be the 200th anniversary of his family coming to live in the Castle. “I suppose we ought to do something special to mark the occasion,” he drawled in his languid, lordly way.

“Aye”, growled Aiken, in droll South Armagh tones, “You could always give
it back to its rightful owners.”