Pope John Paul II, the temporary toilet in the Phoenix Park, me and Gerry Ryan (the Louser*.)

Gerry. He took liberties with my story but, in fairness, made it interesting!

It was around the time of the 30th anniversary Pope John Paul’s visit to Ireland in 1979 that I bumped into  Gerry Ryan.

He said he was doing something on his show about the visit and asked me if I had any memories of it.

So I told him about what happened just before the Pope arrived in the Phoenix Park.

I told him that we had been told the helicopter would be landing in ten minutes. So I decided to go and have a slash.

They had set up a kind of swirl of corrugated iron into which male journalists could walk and be hidden from the public while they had a pee. It had no roof.

And, as I told Gerry, just as I was finishing I heard a loud noise, looked up and there above me, several hundred feet above me, was the Pope’s helicopter.

“Nice one, “ Gerry said laughing.

I tuned in the next morning and Gerry was indeed, regaling his listeners with stories about the visit.

And then I heard my name.

He said that just before the Pope arrived in the Phoenix Park, the journalist Paddy Murray had to go to the loo.

“Now the loo didn’t have a roof and while Paddy was in there, the Pope’s helicopter arrived and hovered directly over it before landing.

“So the first thing the Pope saw in the Phoenix Park, was Paddy Murray having a big shite.”

Bastard. *(That’s what I meant when I said “louder.”)

I just hoped my mother wasn’t listening.


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