Drumbeg and District Residents' Association


Colin Sloan

Local poet and author Colin Sloan publishes his latest book.   

TITUS UNLIVE


A Synopsis by Colin Sloan

Will Donaghoe is a seasoned estate agent, whose naive longevity has managed to dodge the sharks and the deadwood culls that thrive in such an environment. He makes a subsistence living on the foreign investment desk at the rear of the flagship office in Belfast. Will’s sense of his own useful mortality is under constant threat by the steady stream of new blood installed by the partners to promote competition. Will is opinionated without being saturnine and his taste in music, like the car he drives, dates him. He has trouble sleeping made even harder by a much younger and demanding girlfriend, whom he loves, but to whom he is fatalistic about any long-term future. Will is on a collision course with regard to the acquisition of a listed building in central Belfast.

Titus Unlive lives at 13 Joys Entry Belfast. He has always lived there. In fact if you check the census results as far as they go his name is registered on the title deeds in 1801. Titus goes back much further than that. His family were Huguenot refugees from La Rochelle; his father was an Apothecary at the court of Charles II. Titus took up his father’s role after his parent’s death in the great plague of 1665. His duties included the dispensing of the Kingsevil oil to the frail and the sick. Kings Evil is an ancient ritual carried out on feast days by the reigning monarch as an act of contrition since the reign of Edward the Confessor.

Titus carried out this task until the deathbed conversion of Charles to the Church of Rome in 1685. As a Huguenot, Titus could not serve a Catholic king; he chose instead to follow William of Orange to Ireland in 1690. The journey nearly killed Titus and he was compelled to drink the Kingsevil oil to ease the pain, becoming in the process sterile, but immortal. Titus made remedies for William’s chronic asthma and tended the King’s wound received at the Battle of the Boyne. William gave Titus a pension for his services in the Irish wars and Unlive decided to stay in Ireland to dispense the oil to those in need to make amends for the upheaval caused by both armies. Titus settles in Belfast, which has a thriving Huguenot community. He is witness to the 1798 rebellion and was just too late to save the life of the rebel leader Henry Joy McCracken with the oil. As a result of his saving the lives of one family in Limerick during the 1845 famine, talk of a miracle oil becomes the subject of folklore on their subsequent arrival in America. A distant ancestor who is a pharmaceutical magnate suffering from ‘A’ plastic anaemia comes to Ireland in 2010 more in hope, than anything else, of the existence of a cure.

Now available from Waterstones

 

Local poet Colin Sloan publishes his latest book - 'Lisburn Camera & Verse'.
Colin's poetry with photos of Lisburn from 1963-1972, taken by the Town Clerk, the late Harry Duff.

is now available in Waterstons, Lisburn Branch

 


Straight Outta Belfast. Poems and Images of a City in Transition

by Colin Sloan and Brendan Murphy

Published by Brehon Press
November 2007


Cover of Clin Sloan's book

THE DRUM

This stretch of water
this artery, neglected, redirected
takes all you can throw in her
and flows on just the same.
Dragon flies flicker and reflect
as they pair under archways
drifting in its silent embrace.
Cross four bridges
yet never leave her side
she may turn her back to you and glisten
while getting wider by the mile.


Colin and his wife live in Drumbeg

letter box in wall at Drum Bridge

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