Easons are honoured to share this exclusive extract from Irish journalist, broadcaster and author, Ann Marie Hourihane’s brand new book Sorry for Your Trouble. Sorry for Your Trouble sheds fresh, wise and witty light on the Irish way of death: the funny bits, the sad bits, and the hard-to-explain bits that tell us so much about who we are.
On the morning of Jordan Davis’s funeral, a group of six very young boys, aged between eleven and perhaps fourteen, their tummies still showing the roundness of childhood, stood outside the Church of Our Lady Immaculate in Darndale, dressed in their best and not knowing quite where to put themselves. The horse-drawn hearse was empty now because the coffin had gone in.
Many hearts have been broken in Darndale, including those of anyone who is interested in the possibilities of social housing. Dublin has a number of poorly designed and chronically neglected working-class suburbs, but the bleakness of Darndale is distinctive.
…He was a twenty-two-year-old drug dealer, and it is believed that he was killed because he owed bigger drug dealers €70,000. It is said that when he saw the gunman coming for him, he handed his baby son to another man and ran, pursued by the gunman on a red bicycle.
The church of Our Lady Immaculate dates from the time, after Vatican II, when the Catholic Church was flirting with democracy. The altar is low, only a couple of steps above the worshippers. In his sermon, Father Leo Philomin said that drugs make nothing but corpses. He said that Jordan Davis was not a hard man, but an insecure person whose life was terrible. A buggy, presumably containing Jordan’s son, stood right beside the coffin.
In the front bench on the left hand side sat eight slim young men with identical haircuts, leaning forward with their shoulders hunched, in the traditional posture of Irish men in church. A posture that goes back decades, if not centuries. A posture that says, ‘I’ve turned up, I’m doing the right thing, but don’t expect me to be enthusiastic.’ One of them wore a baseball cap. While the young men in the front row exchanged the sign of peace by hugging each other, Father Leo stepped down from the low altar to ask the man in the baseball cap to remove it. He did.
A friend of Jordan’s mother read a poem about Jordan in which she referred to him as ‘my gentle giant’ and talked about him ‘laughing and rapping, shopping and happy’. There was warm applause.
At the end of the Mass, a young man at a computer projected a rolling montage of photos onto a screen. Jordan as a beautiful toddler. Jordan with his younger sister, Jade, who died as a child, and then the adult Jordan at her grave. Jordan in his Dolce & Gabbana T-shirt and his Kenzo Paris T-shirt, and in his Calvin Klein sweatshirt, holding his new baby.
Outside stood two Bentley limousines and the horse-drawn hearse. The wreaths were stacked in a motor hearse. One of them was a huge facsimile of a Rolex watch, with a real clock ticking at the centre of it.
‘Tomorrow’s the big one,’ said one of the undertakers. He was referring to the funeral of Jordan Davis’s friend Sean Little. ‘That one is twelve thousand and this one was four thousand.’
Outside in the alleyway, the door of the community centre, attached to the church and called the New Life Centre, was locked when I tried it. The woman who seemed to be in charge let me in to use the Ladies, then shut the front door behind me. When I emerged, a very thin young man wearing shorts and his jumper pulled up to mask his face, and with his hand down his shorts in what I took to be a mimicry of masturbation, said, ‘Are you the reporter?’ His friend offered me a joint, which I declined.
An extract from Sorry for Your Trouble by Ann Marie Hourihane, published by Penguin Random House. Publication Date: 7th October 2021