The dull-eyed doe
drinks not in dale or dingle.
Doves dumb.
Dogs howl their dirges
in the distance:
Dry dreams
of dastardly men…
(desunt cetera)
— Dearcán (c.317 A.O. – 340 A.O.)


Dere once was a druid who lived in a dank dwelling known as Doire an Draoi, de Oak-grove of de Druid. He liked to dabble in dis and dat. His name was Dearcán which, as everyone knows, means an acorn, or pig-berry, or possible de head of a thistle—dough he himself favoured another derivation, and a dubious one at dat—de dear little mote in de dawn sunbeam.

Dearcán was a dab hand at spells, magic, alchemy and had cures for all sorts of things, including de dreaded dysentery. Daffodils he adored. It’s said he invented de daisy-chain.

Now, de people feared him dough it was common knowledge dat he was daft. He smoked various carefully detoxed herbal mixtures in a dainty if slightly damaged chalk-pipe, a dúidín, including a dirty substance he called dagga which was said to contain de dried droppings of dormice.

His diet consisted of nuts, watercress, dulse, salmon, dandelions, oats and barley and he denied himself all dairy produce. He was something of a dandy, was Dearcán, in de matter of dress, demeanour and daily hygiene. His remedy for dandruff was an oily substance extracted from de bark of birch trees on designated, dark, December nights. A practical dude in some respects, he could dam his own drawers with his eyes shut.

Neither son nor daughter did Dearcán have to dote upon, not surprising as he had never dallied with or desired a damsel (with or without a dulcimer). His days were doleful, his nights dreary, his career short-lived but dazzling. He knew de day and de hour of his demise.

Dearcán was slightly deaf in one ear, which does explain his declamatory—some would say demonic—style of oratory. Dozens of doughty dopes came from miles around to observe him dandering deasil [clockwise] around his deambulatory. Dey followed him in droves when he wandered abroad to view a debacle, say-de breaking up of distressed ice on a river was deemed a distinguished omen-or to study his deliberations as he duly cocked his good ear to de dreadful delivery of de wild duck dissolving over Loch na dTrí gCaol.

Dearcán was dementedly curious about de affairs of de world and would debrief dose who had come in contact with de Roman religion-a belief system he liked to debunk-and ask what dress was worn by dis disconcerting new sect, were dey dapper, were dey dwarfish or dominant in stature, did dey drag deir feet, had dey de power of divination, could dey distil spirits, were dey dirty, deviant, diplomatic or what, did dey believe in de Deluge, why do dey go ding-dong, ding-dong, dingdong, were dey given to debauchery, or dossing, were deir doodles any bigger clan ours, what’s a deacon, what’s a diocese, what’s determinism, what’s dualism and de devil knows what else.

De world is falling into decadence and decay, he declaimed, with disdain.

Disease will be rife, disorder will dominate, deception will be de law of all domains. Decimalisation is on de cards.

None of de dear denizens of Doire an Draoi had de faintest notion what dis doyen was droning on about but it sounded deep. Beware of de decuman, de tenth wave. Might it be drivel?

Decline and degeneracy have already set in. Soon people will down tools, unable to make decisions for demselves. Decorousness will be a thing of de past. Respect for de old and de decrepit will go out de door. Dedication? Daring? Decency? In deir place, defeatism, depression. Dinnseanchas, de knowledge of placenames, will disappear. No one will know where de river Dall is. We’ll be left with de dregs. Defamation, defilement, defenestration… all dese will become dangerously common. Dithering, doodling, dawdling will reach epidemic proportions in all districts. Where nettles grow, no dock leaves will be discovered. Dodgems instead of chariots. Look out for de damsaire dubh, de morris-dancer.

Dearcán prophesied many disturbing wonders, divulging by degrees all de secrets dat had lain dormant in his dour heart, a heart he now dredged dramatically, dispensing wisdom so dat his people would not be duped.

His disciples grew in number, hanging on dearly to every desultory syllable. Much, of course, eluded dese dimwits. Why had Dearcán warned dem about de coming of de dee-jay? What difference will it make to deir lives? What is a deejay anyway? How might dey defend demselves? Dibbles were sharpened and dirks dazzled…

Dey milled around him as he dined, as he drawled, as he doodled, as he diddled away de afternoon—damn it, even as he defecated—for none could get enough of our dotty deipnosophist.

Deja vu will be experienced in large doses by delirious women at childbirth, he deliberated, chewing a diced dumpling. Children will experience dizziness, dehydration, dyslexia, diabetes, slipped discs, dislocations and an undefined drooping. Young die-hards will have duodenal ulcers, problems with de digestive tract and double dementia. Ireland will be denuded of her oak groves. Desecration. Disruption. Dere will be a plague of daddy-long-legs descending from de dome of heaven, or possibly even de devil’s coach horse.

Which one, people now dared to ask demselves as rumours drifted dat Dearcán was not devoid of delusions—de effects, no doubt, of de demon drink. Casting deir doubts aside, nonetheless, dey hearkened once more to deir doomsday demagogue, not having de wherewithal to demolish his one-sided dialogues.

Dearcán was a bit of a dentist, too, in his own right, and when he tired of denouncing dis and dat and d’other, or when hoarse, he would drag out de odd tooth with dynamic dexterity or deftly replace a full set of dentures with his own, duck-feet brand. De dumbfounded denizens of Doire an Draoi drummed up a dolorous din when Dearcán drilled deir defunct molars.

Old customs will die out and de first to depart will be deDeoch an Dorais. Dere will be a Department for dis and a Department for dat-unlike now when de Druid embodies all de knowledge we desire. Depopulation, deportation and drudgery will come about. Distortion. Deirdre will go to Scotland. In deir utter depravity, people will eat drisheen and become distended. It depresses me to think about it, sighed Dearcán. Dark clouds in droves over Ireland, defying description. Dire! De soul of de Celt will be desecrated and his mind will dry out in a dugout in some diminishing desert. And you can forget about de clan dfreach. I despair to dream about it. De red deer will pursue de hound.

His audience daily grew more desperate. Some began to despise him and dropped out, calling him a despot, a dáramán.

Our very language is destined for oblivion, he thundered. It will be dross! Dadaism will be devised. A Connaught poet, Daithen, will be killed by a tree. A man called Saul will ride to Damascus and den he will be Paul. Danes will arrive -doubt it not-raping and pillaging as dey go. ‘Dechrád!‘ [Hardship].

A poet by de name of Dante will go to hell. From Darjeeling will come leaves and we shall be drinking de brew made from dese leaves ( yeah, even in Donegal). We shall be informed by a certain Darwin dat we are monkeys. A Druid called Dev will dream in de Dail of maidens dancing at crossroads. Dere will be much debate about a national debt. Scrolls will be found by de Dead Sea. A warrior called Delaney will be given gold in a land down under. I see a fighting man … and his name shall be Dempsey. I hear a song … diamonds are forever? No, not dat one … Buddy, can you spare a dime … Dat’s de one. A flightless bird, de dodo, will perish. Our music will be nothing but a didddly-diddly-eye-de-dumb. Tara will be dust and in its place Dublin. Dere will be a crackdown on drunken driving. Dynamite will be invented and a peace prize offered in de inventor’s name. Dr. Devious will win de Derby. Dastardly things will be going on in Donnybrook. De Lambeg drum making a din. It will be dog-eat-dog. As to de dant-mír, de food we place between de teeth of de dead—demolished. Defunct.

De more he spoke de more it all sounded like Double Dutch.

Dolenta, dolenta!‘ they whispered to each other [difficult to follow].

Far beyond Hy-Brazil, where only de dolphins drift, will be born a man by de unlikely name of Dwight. To de east, a settlement called Dresden in flames. In Dachau, death, death, death. A Druid-Christian, Colm Cille, will leave Ireland in his boat, de Derg Druchtach, de red dewy one. Dere will be a duck called Donald and he will make de whole world dribble with laughter. De Dalai Lama will go into exile. Decommissioning will be put on hold. I take little delight in deflating you like dis, he declared, but I am determined to let it all oute!

Dere was no way of stopping him, of detonating Dearcán. He led his followers down many a dusty detour. In time dey were physically and mentally devastated, debilitated, down in de dumps. Yet Dearcán drooled on, developing his depressing diatribe defiantly.

De world is becoming devoid of meaning, he disclosed. Dew will not glisten at dawn or dusk; dairy-maids will not sing deir devotional ditties to de Daghda; it’s diabolical. Dialects will be deconstructed. You’ve heard my diagnosis-drastic. Do I have to draw a diagram? ‘Dograing!’ [Distress].

Apart from de dee-jay, asked a doting devotee, what other dangers lie ahead?

Diapers, came de reply. What de deuce is a diaper? Also, de dildo. De Doberman. De dole. Dialectical materialism. Detente. De doughnut ‘Ruaidhri Ó Dubhghaill!‘ [Roddy Doyle.] Dope. Detectives. Democracy. Devolution. It will be difficult to decipher. Discipline and duty will be defunct. De Paps of Dana will be destabilised, deir dignity and dimensions destroyed. Old forms of greetings will go out de door and deployed instead will be such abominations as ‘Dia duit’ and ‘How-dee-do-dee?’ (But I digress, he muttered). Hoards of sugar-daddies will come and go on de Dart, worried about deposits, de dollar and de Deutschmark. De dilemma at our doorstep will last until December of de year 2016. Druidism will den return. Diligence will be de order of de day. Dilettanti will emigrate, disgraced, disintegrated. Drum majorettes will fall over demselves in de dust, as dey deserve. Yes, my darlings, two thousand years is long enough to be eating dirt, is it not? ‘Dar mo debroth!‘ [By my doom].

Dey nodded—who could disagree?

I, Dearcán de discerning one, disclose dese things to you. It is not my desire to discombobulate you or discomfort you. Let ye not be disconsolate, ye who are discriminating enough to know de meaning of our discourse.

He ran a bony, dejected finger through his dull dishevelled mop. He looked distracted. Drained. Dismayed. Shall we discuss dis? More details? Diameters? What do ye want, a discount? De donkey will piss on de floppy disk, he said, swaying. Was he becoming delirious? Doubloons will be recovered from de duodenum of de ocean. I see devouring dragons, displacement, death and draconian days ahead. De dinner fork? Deplorable. Do you know what dey’re going to call de Dothra? De Dodder! De Dodder! Dord na murduchann, de mermaids’ chanting, never to be heard again. ‘Dofulaing!’ [Pain dat defies description]

It began to drizzle. Soon de rain was driving down but none dared disperse.

Ireland will be a dump. A drenched, dolmenless dung-heap. Do ye hear-ye dunderheads! Dunces, dim-wits, de whole damn lot of you. Dick-heads!

Slowly de good denizens of Doire an Draoi, drenched to de skin and thoroughly disgruntled, reached for deir daggers and silently disembowelled deir druid. Dribbling, dey dined on his dismembered body …disjecti membra poetae… delicately dunking his dainties in’ dusk-hued dill-water. He was delicious.