Moving Statues Part I

Two years ago, I would have looked at you askance if you’d told me that I’d finish up writing a book about moving statues (or more correctly, a book whose plot turns on a moving statue incident [phenomenon?] in a small village in Co. Cork). It was an excellent – and from my point of view, life-changing – RTÉ Radio documentary that sparked something in me. In the documentary, ‘The Summer of Moving Statues‘, a garda who has become over the years one of Ballinspittle’s most vocal ‘witnesses’ and defenders, described a number of chilling incidents that took place at the height of Bellinspittle’s fame during the summer of ’85. Apparently, not everyone who went to see the statue of the Virgin move got what they bargained for. Some people were seen to practically flee the grotto in tears or looking very shaken. The garda described groups of people who saw the statue change into “a male figure . . . so distinct and frightening . . . a male figure with its hands over its face . . . the fingernails on this figure . . .” He also spoke of a woman in the middle of the throng of people “crying hysterically . . . and she said: ‘He’s all blood’.”

These reports stopped me in my tracks, made the hairs stand up at the back of neck, and also got me thinking.

“Wouldn’t that make a great book? You go to see a moving statue and instead of seeing something good, something holy, you get the living daylights scared out of you.”

From then on, my imagination ran riot and The Grotto was born.

Vigrin Ballinspittle


About ucronin

Born in the country town of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1975, I now live in Madrid with my partner and two young daughters and work in a research institute. While I was always a hungry reader and harboured vague notions of being a writer, as a young man writing was the furthest thing from my mind; after leaving school, I did a B.Sc. in Biotechnology in Galway's NUI, an M.Sc. in Plant Science in University College Cork and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the University of Limerick, the plan being to dedicate my professional career to scientific research. While having written extensively within my technical scientific field, I had never contemplated becoming a writer of fiction until a road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011. Since then, most of my spare time has been occupied with writing. In whatever other free moments I have, I like to listen to music, play the guitar and garden (which here in Madrid means a lot of watering of plants and spraying for red spider mite). My ambition is to become as good a writer as I possibly can, eventually freeing myself from the cold clutches of science and earning a living through my scribblings. The type of writing that excites me is honest, intelligent, well-constructed and richly descriptive.
This entry was posted in Moving Statues, The Grotto and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s