In a story that seems equal parts Father Ted* and The Boondock Saints, three young men robbed an Irish monsignor and his housekeeper on Monday evening in a flurry of hammer-waving, cross-signing, and warm Gaelic hospitality:
One of the raiders, who spoke with a Traveller and Dublin accent, stood over them wielding a hammer while another of the gang said: “We want the money, she’ll be the first to get the blow with this hammer.”
The robbery took an unusual twist when one of the men asked the priest and his housekeeper if they wanted a cup of tea.
“One of the men standing over me with a hammer asked us if we wanted a cup of tea, which we declined. My housekeeper was terrified; it was the worst ordeal she had ever experienced,” Msgr. Michael Cooke said.
He also described how one of the men kept blessing himself and saying ‘Father, forgive me’.
Travellers are a predominantly Roman Catholic nomadic minority living mainly in Ireland who face significant discrimination throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. American readers may remember the 2007 FX series The Riches, a fictionalized account of a Traveller family living in the U.S.
The thieves stole two mobile phones, Msgr. Cooke’s car keys, and one hundred euros. The monsignor did not say whether he has forgiven the trespassers.
*For the benighted souls unfamiliar with the show, I present one of its most iconic scenes: