This text presents a Guardian journalist's account of his year working on the Tirconail Tribune - only 12 pages long, with a circulation of 2500. Serving the people of the Donegal coast, the paper is published in the small coastal town of Creeslough, and it is here that Donegan lived during 1998. The town had a grocer's shop, a hardware store, one solitary pub and a pitch and putt course.
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Guardian journalist and ex-Lloyd Cole and the Commotions bassist Lawrence Donegan always had a hankering to live in Ireland. "It was a back-to-my-roots thing. London was filthy, crowded, expensive. Above all, it was inhospitable. I had lived in the same ground-floor flat for eight years and I still had yet to pass a civil word with anyone in the street." In No News at Throat Lake he says goodbye to all that and exchanges flat, job and girlfriend for a shack in Creeslough, County Donegal.
It's no Year in Provence . The shack is rat-infested, the promised job on a farm proves non-existent and there's scant social-life. But Donegan perseveres (partly because he's too ashamed to tell his girlfriend he couldn't hack it) so finds a job on the Tirconail Tribune and mates on the local Gaelic football team. The newspaper, run by a man named John Mcteer ("In another life John McTeer had been Gore Vidal with stronger opinions, Henry Ford with ambition"), revitalises Donegan's enthusiasm for news reporting, as he investigates local life. He goes on a pilgrimage to the shrine at Knock, researches the life of Doris Duke's Creeslough-born butler and, surprisingly, interviews Meryl Streep in this funny and poignant tale of life in rural Ireland. --Tamsin ToddExcerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The Tirconnaill Tribune was the last newspaper I picked up from the pile on the bottom shelf.
Donegal seemed to have more newspapers than Fleet Street. The Democrat the People's Press, the Journal, the News. I flicked through them all, looking for the job adverts. I could have been anywhere in the world. It was all the usual stuff: irate politicians, planning rows, sporting triumphs, wedding photographs featuring fat brides with big hair and grooms with bad teeth. The jobs didn't signpost a lifetime of adventure: tractor driver wanted, assistant required by Gary's Pet World, Sales! Earn #400-a-week.
The Tribune was different from the others. It was smaller, for a start, a tabloid. It didn't have job adverts or many adverts at all, just stories as epic as a Dickens novel. Page one declared, The Irish Republic has become a nation of entrenched little Catholics because of the absolute stranglehold of the Bishops sine the foundation of the state and the last twenty-five years have been a disaster reflecting the whole manifestation of corruption in our midst and there are more scandals ahead, said John Cooney in speech during which Councillor Fred Coll walked out in protest saying he would rather go to mass than listen to this nonsense.
I was exhausted just reading it.
I turned to the inside pages. Every story read like the public lynching of someone in authority. The Church, the Government in Dublin, the phone company, the electricity board. On the back page there was a story about drugs which read like it had been written on LSD:
BIG DRUGS GET
TOGETHER IN FANAD
Gardai were called to a number
of drug related incidents on
Monday following a major week-
end of acid parties, raves and
fun activities on beaches. Con-
cerns were first aroused on
Sunday after several bouts of
erratic behaviour and couples
(believed to be of the opposite
sex) were seen to be acting
strangely and passionately along
public roads. In a different town-
land another youth was found
trying to make a phone call from
a local bush and it was presumed
that he was frustrated because
the entire Telecom Eireann net-
work had gone down again but
on closer observation this man
was having a spiritual experience
There was another thing I liked about Danny - he didn't care if you read his newspapers and didn't pay for them. I stood there for fifteen minutes, flicking through the Tribune. It wasn't like any local newspaper I'd ever read before, not least because it had a medical column headlined SOLVING FLATULENCE! Which began with the words "Everyone has wind. If you don't you're not alive."
Looking back it was obvious. Sure, it was a step down from the Guardian - hell, it was a drop through a trap-door from the Guardian- and it meant going back on all those promises I made to myself about seeking new challenges. So what. I never did have much time for all that New Age gibberish.
"Do you know this paper Danny?" I said as he walked past. He nodded. "Think they would give a job to a trained journalist like me?"
"Good lads at the Tribune, you know." He smiled and walked towards the door carrying a pensioner's shopping bag. "Game for just about anything - you should go and see them."
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Book Description Penguin Books, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0140277536
Book Description Penguin Books, 2000. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110140277536