Article: Kiss my ring – Sunday Independent

From the Sunday Independent: How Gavin Friday kissed John Charles’s ring

THE lord (of the ring) works in mysterious ways. Who would have thought, 30 years after his death, that John Charles McQuaid’s ring would find its resting place onperformance artist Gavin Friday’s finger, courtesy of Bono (a god of our times?)?

McQuaid was the notoriously powerful rightwing Archbishop of Dublin consulted by deValera on matters of state. He lived in a castle in Killiney, was into stars (astronomy, that is), was against Catholics going to Trinity, and had the power to sack ministers. Nowonder he was known as the Druid of Drumcondra (a latter-day Drumcondra mafia don?).

The strange but true tale of the Lord of the Ring transpired when Gavin (being Gavin) invited people to kiss the ring on his finger, which he said was given to him by a really wealthy friend (nudge-nudge-wink-wink). In fact, it turned out that it was a very special ring, a bishop’s ring – John Charles McQuaid’s ring, to be precise. It seems that when Gavin was making his confirmation (and you thought he was a bad boy) he kissed that actual ring. Apparently McQuaid’s family sold the ring and it wound up with jeweller John Farrington – from whom Bono bought it for his mate’s 40th birthday.

The latter-day kissing of the ring happened when Gavin recently gave a colourful insightinto his many influences in front of an enthralled audience of 100 invited guests at theLaurent Perrier/Dubliner magazine Culture Club in Newman House.

Just for the record (or should that be the CD?), his main influences were his mum anddad, Protestants, Bowie, Jacques Brel, Kurt Weill, punk, Picasso; oh, and his friends. Which might explain why Bono loves Gavin (well there’s nothing he likes better than being influential).

“That story is supposed to be a secret,” says a surprised John Farrington (don’t worry, John, only the best-kept secrets end up on this page).

But what a lovely gesture! Reduced Shakespeare, even. You know: “The friends thouhast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.” What do you think, Gav?