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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 15 ‘A Hungry Hole’


Lowering a rope at night down a black hole is not everyone’s idea of fun but Inteachán found the answer was not to think about the darkness but to focus only on the rope.Down it snaked into the black and anyone watching might have found it strange that a young girl was out and about at night feeding a hungry hole with a length of rope.Inteachán used a stevedore knot to tie one end securely to the lower hinge of an iron gate.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 14 ‘I’m away’


‘The 12th Earl of Silverhill let the stories of this land guide him where they led, ’explained Mac. ‘This is what brought him to Tibradden.’Inteachán said nothing. She let Mac be himself some more.‘There are more significant occurrences like Tibradden Lough elsewhere in the country, particularly where limestone is more common, but for us the place is close enough to suit our purposes.’Inteachán smiled and looked at the page. Though beautifully faded now, in the way of old papers and parchments, Inteachán could still make out the lines of a mountain with the edges of a lake drawn inside it.‘I’m away,’ was all she said.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 13 ‘only ink and intentions’


‘Armed with only ink and intentions the 12th Earl of Silverhill walked this country back and forth for thirteen years.Following trickles and noting their source; divining, descending and most of all drawing, we have the 12th Earl of Silverhill to thank for almost all we know about this island and its water.’Mac turned the pages of the Perambulatem Canalis.‘Ah!’ he exclaimed. ‘This is what I am looking for.’Inteachán leaned closer to take a look.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 12 ‘Perambulatem Canalis’


The book was little more than a sheaf of yellowed pages and Mac was waving it so excitedly that Inteachán thought it was bound to crumble at any moment and fall gently to the floor like a desiccated butterfly’s wing.‘This is the original draft of what later became the 12th Earl of Silverhill’s seminal Perambulatem Canalis.’Mac sat back down.‘Published in 1783, the Perambulatem Canalis tells the story of one man’s obsession with culverts, conduits, and cloaca.He pushed his glasses back onto his forehead and looked at Inteachán.‘I’m feeling more like my old self again.’Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 11 ‘the city’s floodwater’


‘Technically,’ replied Mac, ‘it is an empty lake but that fact suits our purposes even more.’He smiled and Inteachán felt pleased inside.‘We, or should I say, you, are going to descend into the depths of the mountain, find a way to open up Tibradden Lough and then let it fill with the city’s floodwater.’‘Open it up?’ said Inteachán.‘Yes,’ said Mac, ‘open it up.’He walked to the nearest bookcase.‘This whole island is a network of channels and underground routes; the same as the city.’Mac found the book he was looking for.‘And just like plots and histories and civilizations and sewage systems, everything is connected somewhere.’Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 10 ‘Tibradden Lough’


‘Legend has that it that the middle of this island can be reached by anyone plucky enough to descend into the depths of this mountain.’‘And what would they find?’ asked Inteachán.‘Well,’ continued Mac, ‘our interest is not with the middle of this troubled land. ‘He smiled at Inteachán.‘But we would be very interested in the Tibradden Lough.’‘A lake?’ asked Inteachán.‘What would a lake be doing inside a mountain?’Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 9 ‘Sliabh Thigh Bródáin’


Tibradden forest.Inteachán trod lightly on the midnight soil.Pine. Larch. Spruce. Oak. Beech.Heading upwards as the slope gradually leads. Granite boulders shine like teeth in the grin of the shadows.‘Sliabh Thigh Bródáin,’ Mac had said the next morning. ‘The mountain of the house of Bródáin.’‘Where’s that?’ asked Inteachán.‘Sliabh Thigh Bródáin is the 561st highest mountain in Ireland,’ continued Mac. ‘With a cairn on top and,’ Mac paused, ‘though I now hate to use the word, a legend attached.‘Tell me more,’ said Inteachan. Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 8 ‘as necessary and required’


It was announced the next morning that Crowley-Baird Inc. had extended a ‘significant’ loan to the government for ‘the administration of logistical support and other measures as necessary and required.’Later that day the Taoiseach addressed the nation live on television.‘Extraordinary times,’ he intoned, ‘will always require extraordinary measures not to mention extraordinary generosity.’The news roused Mac from his stupor.“Have we learned nothing from our past?’ he railed at the screen.Inteachán was pleased to see the old Mac returning.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 7 ‘Front Square is full of boats again’


The next morning Mac awoke to find that Inteachán had made him breakfast.She smiled kindly.‘You must eat something, Mac. It has been three days now.’Mac couldn’t manage a smile.‘Why waste your time with a charlatan like me, my child? All I have done is tell you a lifetime of lies and nearly kill you.’ Mac started to sob. ‘There is nothing left for us to do.’Inteachán didn’t answer. She looked out of the window.‘Front Square is full of boats again. It must be high tide this morning.’Inteachán looked back at Mac.‘Stopping the flooding would be a start.’Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 6 ‘in lonely anguish’


Picture the scene.You are twelve years old and the only person you know in the world has now decided that they are totally and utterly worthless. Worse than that, they have decided to destroy their entire life’s work page by page.Inteachán was overwhelmed by the ferocity of Mac’s despair. He wouldn’t eat and she could hear him pacing his room in lonely anguish.Inteachán eventually fell asleep to the sound of Mac sobbing.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 5 ‘Mac cried his heart out’


Over the days that followed Mac became more and more disconsolate.One evening Inteachán found him furiously ripping pieces of paper and throwing them into the fire grate.‘Mac!’ she gasped. ‘What are you doing?’‘I fear, my dear,’ said the sad old man, ‘that everything I have worked on for my whole life is just fundamentally mistaken and wrong.’He ripped another page and screwed it into an angry ball.‘Fomhóire. Infections. Kings. Horns. Tombs. All those tiny words I spent years scribbling now worthless.’Inteachán stood silent as Mac cried his heart out.[contact-form]Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 4 ‘the tides of the Liffey’


From Mac’s window Inteachán could see Front Square flooding twice a day as the tides of the Liffey turned in and out again.This Biblical turn of cataclysmic events was particularly hard on Mac as he had always veered away from the sensationalism of the religious education from his childhood.‘Don’t tell me that I am now going to have start believing all those stories about end times that I have spent a lifetime rejecting?’He looked over at Inteachán.‘I am at a loss, my child.’Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 3 ‘Black slime and waste water’


One canal.Four dates.1751. 1756. 1804. 1960.Conceived. Started. Opened. Closed.A new date added now as the Grand Canal begins to flood beyond control.Basements fill first and fast. Black slime and waste water rises. Drains clog. Sandbags are deployed but do not work.Boats are floated to save the elderly.Helicopters pluck corpses from ruined trees.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 2 ‘Amaranthine’


And so it rained.Rained like never ever before.Falling hard and straight and long.Dark clouds lay low in the sky like a hateful pall.Spewing.Incontinent.Unchecked.Endless.Unceasing.Amaranthine.Filling the streets.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Three: Operation Turnback 3: 1 ‘Clanbrassil Bridge’


So those cosmic cogs and folds and gears and sinister synapses beyond the sense of those of us still left alive continue to grind and grate and turn and as they do so the Second of TheFive finds the moment opportune and duly crosses over fresh with purpose to surprise the world by taking the form of the bridge over the Grand Canal called Clanbrassil.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 50 ‘From above and without’


The world looks small from above and without.Now as ever, but imbued with a new poignancy.Tide and pull begin to change and slightly, ever so slightly, the world hangs different on its axis now.Just to one side.Askew.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 49 ‘a new snow’


‘I saw it!’ someone suddenly shouted.‘Look! Just there!’‘You’re right,’ shrieked someone else.‘I saw it too.’‘And me.’‘Me too.’‘You’re not the only ones,’ said another.‘We saw it too.’‘Ooooooh!’ oooooohed the crowd.‘Aaaaaah!’A silence fell as everyone stared at the pile of televisions.Inteachán strained to see and had to duck beneath someone’s arm to get a good look.A single screen in the pile came to life, spilling its static onto the faces of those right at the front. Then another.And another.Another again.One more.Then all the screens filled with static and together anointed the gathered with a new snow.  Original link
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Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 48 ‘a tune that wasn’t from this world’


Everywhere he looked Mac could only see faces staring blankly as they recited the lyrics to a song that none of them had ever known before.People sang with gusto. They punched the air. They rocked from side to side in time to a tune that wasn’t from this world. Children sat on the shoulders of adults and waved.Inteachán stood small beside Mac. She felt lost and alone.Mac was deep in thought and when Inteachán looked up at him she could see he was crying.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 47 ‘Someone has to not’


The power of the crowd was such that Inteachán found it hard not to join in the singing.She looked at Mac and he shook his head.‘Someone has to not,’ he said. ‘We came only to observe and hopefully record.’The family turned to look at Mac and he stopped talking. It just seemed easier.Inteachán looked back towards the middle of the fort and gasped. Hundreds of old televisions had now been arranged in an enormous pile.The kind that only showed programmes in black and white and don’t work anymore.Original link
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Inteachán – Book Two: A New Signal 2: 46 ‘the song of the abattoir’


As the ambulances continued to unload, the assembled crowd began to sing.With a low moan at first, a collective mumbling, the sound of the crowd soon found a common purpose.Gradually the full range of the human voice found expression on this awful night as father and mother, son and daughter, friend and stranger joined in.At first the driving rain damped the singing but it wasn’t long before the voices of the gathered triumphed, winning the night as they sang the song of the abattoir.Original link
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