A new book sheds light on some of the more bizarre stories from the local area

GHOSTS, Elvis impersonators, mystics and Joe Dolan super-fans all make it into Geraldine Comiskey’s updated edition of ‘Wacky Ireland’.

Comiskey has spent over 30 years working as a journalist, making her name in Ireland’s red-tops as a lifestyle rural affairs roving reporter.

Geraldine Comiskey

The Dubliner collected some of the most salacious and hilarious vignettes for Wacky Ireland - A Romp Through the Irish Countryside but made sure to find some good local yarn.

Comiskey’s tongue-in-cheek book recounts some lesser known stories from Dublin West, such as the Allenton Green poltergeist.

The tabloid journalist was once contacted by a woman by the name of Martha. Martha lived in Allenton Green, Tallaght where she claimed a poltergeist had forced her and her three children to move. 

Martha went to the national press in 2007 to report that  she fled her home after ten years of paranormal disturbances including objects flying around the room and bit marks appearing on her leg. Her claims were ‘backed up’ by former F.M. 104 presenter Jeremy Dixon who had spent a night in the haunted suburban house, Number 4, Allenton Green, Tallaght – and recorded the experience for the Adrian Kennedy Phone Show.

Comiskey said: “Jeremy told me he was still haunted by his terrifying experience.”

Comiskey recounts the many off-beat conversations she had with ghostbusters and shamans in Wacky Ireland. One ghost-clearing Galwegian shaman named Paul O’Halloran dubbed a house in Lucan as ‘the worst ever’ due to the property’s history as a religious institution.

The book also mentions self-styled “visionary” Joe Coleman from Ballyfermot who claims to have communicated with the Virgin Mary at Knock. The book recounts that crowds of up to 6,000 turned up to see him experiencing his visions, when he appeared to go into ecstasy.  A lot of people rubbished his claims but Joe insisted he had been given the power of healing by the Virgin and was later lambasted on Joe Duffy’s Liveline for charging fees for “healing sessions”.

Comiskey’s anthology touches on some lighter local stories. Wacky Ireland features the story of Tom Gilson, who took the top award in the All-Ireland Elvis Impersonator contest in 2009. The father-of-three from Lucan told Comiskey that he was ‘born to be Elvis’ given the shape of his head and tendency to have his hair sticking up.

“The dad-of-three from Lucan, County Dublin, had been honing his act for a year-and-a-half as he played weddings and pubs. ‘I’m only working two days a week [as a bookbinder] so I have time to practise my routine in between gigs.  The Recession has closed one door but opened another’, he said as he celebrated his win.”

Another musical legend, makes the cut. Country singer Joe Dolan was a hit with the ladies. Comiskey interviewed Dublin granny Maura Dolan (no relation of Joe’s) who called herself a ‘Joe Ho’ and claims that the crooner used to ‘bless himself’ whenever he saw the Rathfarnham woman in the front row for her tendency to throw newly-bought Penneys underwear at him.

This updated edition of Wacky Ireland features truly unique local stories, as well as an insight into ‘Culchure’ or culchie culture.

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