“The ghost of Charlie O’Brien eventually stopped walking outside Number 127 Raven Terrace, which was his own home while he was alive, and he put the wheelbarrow down, faith.”


Based on the stories by Victor O’D. Power

Tis a quare Christmas tale I have for ye craythurs tonight. Tis not one of seasonal goodwill for the most part, mossa, but maybe if ye are looking for a story that’ll have you walking the dark road home with a warm tingling in yer heart then I’d suggest ye keep listening now for there’s a message of the season in there for us all, if we are the lucky ones to live through it, faith.

‘Twas the night before Christmas Eve and the city of Galway was all lit up for Christmas, with people rushing here and there, and they trying t’buy all around ‘em to make sure that there would be something nice under the tree for every craythur in the family come Christmas morning, mossa.

Down a back road that spined the Spanish Arch was a small little inn, ‘twas pocketed away from the lit busy streets, and the noisy hustle and bustle of the turkey traders and the livestock that was being bought and sold for Christmas dinners.

It was the kind of inn where a man – or woman, faith, – would go for a drink to drown their sorrows, or mull over something wicked that they had once done, or needed still to do, and they’d be left alone there to drown their thoughts where no one would bother ‘em at all.

And that’s where poor Seánie O’Callaghan sat be himself, on the night before Christmas Eve and he mulling and tormentin’ himself over an offer that was after been made to him by a stranger in a long black coat and flat black cap the night before.

‘Twas well known around this part of Galway that Seánie O’Callaghan was a character who only ever had barely enough in his pocket to keep the roof of his one room in the tenements over the heads of his family of a wife and four small children, the craythurs.
Some said that two or three days might pass before the poor skinny and wiry mites might have had a good meal in their tummies, but that wasn’t uncommon at the time either, for times were hard back then, and still are in some parts, mossa.

Seánie O’Callaghan’s name was well known by the local policemen and he’d spent many a night behind bars for different crimes that he committed, and most of them were some sort of thieving, the scoundrel.

He’d tried to knock his life of crime on the head, but now he’d been offered a well-paid job, mossa, bad and wicked so ’twas – that would only take him a half-hour to do – and it would mean he’d have enough money to hand over to his wife so that the family could have a nice Christmas, God save them.

When the clock struck nine o’clock, it clanged like the last nail being driven into a coffin. The inn door creaked open and in walked the stranger in the long black coat and flat black cap. He threw his evil eye across the room and saw Seánie O’Callaghan hunched over a glass of ale, hidden in the shadows.

The man sat down beside Seánie O’Callaghan and said in a clipped English tone, “Well, have you made a decision, will you do the job or not?”

Continue reading in this year’s Christmas Annual