Fursey is a lay brother in Clonmacnoise. The only monastery in Ireland to be unafflicted by demons and other such occult presences. The power of its bells have kept all those evil powers away. But that has changed! Demons, vampires, and numerous other evils are now tempting the holy monks. None have much to fear, they simple say the words and the power of St. Kieran and Jesus compels them to leave. But it does mean that they aren’t getting much sleep.
Before long the monks and begging the Abbot to go forth and battle these demons and chain them to the bottom of the lake. The Abbot is reluctant, that particular battle could end up with him being torn in two. Luckily enough, just before the monks force him into holy battle the haunting/temptations come to end. All the monks believe that they have vanquished the demons, all except Fursey.
He suffers from a stammer and us unable to get out the holy words in order to banish the demons, so they have sought refuge in his cell. Their temptations and offerings eventually lead him to going to the Abbot and confessing this fact. And so Fursey is cast out of the monastery. One must be sacrificed for the good of all the other brothers.And that’s only the beginning of poor Fursey’s trials and tribulations.
This is just a fun read. It is a comedy and a satire, poking fun at the Cathloic Church and its position in Ireland, and although written in 1940s it is still very relevant. I really enjoyed the read. Fursey is just a likeable fellow, and his journey to attempt to free himself from these demons and the Devil himself is just great fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It suffers a little because it is quite episodic, Fursey goes here and something happens, then he travels the road arrives somewhere else, and something else happens. Repeat. And it may go on a tad too long. But only a tad, because, honestly, it is wonderfully entertaining and funny.
It is also written in a wonderfully “storytale” sort of a way. I would love to hear a good storyteller recite some of it. If you’ve ever heard a seanchai like Eddie Lenihan then you know the sort of storyteller I have in mind. And if you haven’t you should have a listen. I’ll embed one story of his, but if you search I’m sure you’ll find many more.