Irish Balderdash: Stillorgan (Co. Dun Laoghaire)


n area of Dublin, north of Stepaside. As is well documented, Dublin was one of the last viking settlements outside Scandanavia. The Irish ‘Dubh Linn’ translates to ‘Blackpool’ and one must consider it to be the Norse equivalent to the gaudy northern English tourist town. Stillorgan was the site where the bodies of many berserker variety comedians are said to have been thrown having literally corpsed whilst performing at Odin’s Gala and Sunday Rune Bingo in Stepaside. Such entertainers include Snorre Brown, Bjornard Manning and Jim Davidson the Knut.

by The Estate of Zachariah Falla

A letter from Tristram Wharle-Knapp, pertaining to the madness of one William Falla

The following letter was transcribed and submitted to us by Felix Knapp, a descendant of the author. It contains, we believe, valuable biographical information pertaining to the late Zacharia Falla’s forebears.

To,— The Rt. Hon. Ebenezer KELLOGG
At London
30 Nov. 1763

Most Esteem’d Sir,—***

Your Letter of the favor’d 13th was in this Home well receiv’d,— and the Discourse upon the Stars, Sir, too terribly Illustrat’d for mine own Sight the Nature of Heav’nly Bodies, and flighing Objeckts, so that, in a momentary mental Cholick,— which, as you, Sir, may comprehend, has occasion to Afflict my fever’d Brain, whipp’d, as is its Wont, into an anguish’d Ferment,— the Eyes in my Head soon requir’d of me their Opticks, which came to me one Day cheaply, with profoundest Gratitude to the gen’rous Soul of Mr CAVENDISH, G-d bless his Familie.

I write this Day to inform you, in the fêt’d Fervour of this anniversary Celebration, as to the Facts of my Neighbour three Houses o’er the Line, nam’d William FALLA,— a most un-assuming Chap, predispos’d, like a Childe, to Blobber-lipp’d Talk of Pea-gooses, and of Rancid and encumber’d Religion,— viz. th’ Catholick type, in all its adorn’d Popery,— (how the Poet in his Monument turns! how he Rages!),— and also, Sir, a Tipler, for whom ev’ry Evening a Bracer is thrice swallow’d. Armour, Sir, comes bottl’d for th’ Grumbletonian Clan ‘midst our fine City, embroider’d in the finest Fashion.

This is not, Sir, a Cavil deposit’d ‘pon your Door-Step,— nay, nothing of the Sort is to be found within the stately Confines of my œuvre,— my practic’d Hand, daub’d in Ink, grips the Pen with the Strength of an Iron-Monger, or   some other Occ. unsuit’d to the fantom Tribulations of Clerk-Ship, though my Mind be twice steel’d against Barbarism, and Fallacy. For it came that my Tabitha, 3. days ago this Minute, witness’d Mr FALLA, in a state of advanc’d Addle, nearly bath’d in his own Fluids, a fellow for th’ like of RABELAIS. Recall to your Mind, sir, th’ Alcofribasian Sickness, which thiev’d your Yrs. of its most Deckt-Out (in Clergy) Gentlemen. A glory’d Tribute, Sir, though no less distinguish’d thro’ the passing of Time, to the deprav’d Anglers amongst us,— and so too Mr FALLA! As I was prepar’d to elaborate, ere my anger at base Anticks was rais’d, Mr FALLA did 3. Days prior accost, by Fact of his Presence, my Wife, who later inform’d me o’er pickl’d Onions and our daily Bread, that Mr FALLA did assault her with his Odour, and at great length discours’d ‘pon the Malfwaddle, and the  Jinkstrother, and the Pollyprozzler, which came to him, said he, in the Wood o’er the Hill 12m. distant. Tabitha, whose Spirit, since th’ Assault, has crack’d and suffer’d of an In-Borne Quietus, report’d to me that Mr FALLA,— who, I state again for observ’t. Posterity, smell’d as though he had lately emerg’d from a Tub of rank Tip, or from a Manure-Heap adj. the Sows of Lord PONSONBY, did offer in his fresh-colour’d Palms, an un-disclos’d volm. of OLD NICK’s Tinckture, to be had for Rabbet-Sucker’s Prices,— ’tis too dearly Borne, Sir, a Slate or three, to Part.

Sir! cherish’d Sir! I beg of you the Security of my Familie,— my Wife, Tabitha,— or Hemera, for her Disposition is such that blackest Night will not Suffer to stand in her Foot-Prints, nor ‘twixt her out-spread Arms,— recoils at th’ first visage of Thought of Mr FALLA, who wholly lacks Shame or Decency, and who clothes himself in the odious Fabrick of the Beggar,— a Railleur Shab’d-off with the Laudanum, and Romboyl’d ‘cross the Country-Side on a cranksided Prosthesis, shouting all the while, ‘A frubbytendal! a frubbytendal! An Half-Crown to the Lot o’ ye who brings ‘ere a frubbytendal!’ ’tis not too late, Sir, to un-leash the Dogs ‘pon this frantick Supernumerarie, and to send him where he ought! Gainfully imprison’d, as the Spungers say, lest his Children grow feather’d Wings and call to the Moon as a Duck, or a Pigeon.

Give to your Familie my warmest Tidings,— spars’d Feeling, lately, under the terrors of Mr FALLA, in this the life of

e’er your Humble & obdt. Svt.,

Tristram Wharle-Knapp

From the Estate of Zachariah Falla, № 002


etter to Mr Stanhope, Bellefonte, Center County, Pennsylvania

June 18th 1857

I am writing to you to share my knowledge and personal experience with a dreadful and bizarre creature; The Nauga.

The creature is, I conjecture, a mutation of the common English-common dwelling Womble commonly found in parts of southwest London. A natural scavenger in its homeland, the more demanding environment has forced it to adopt a curious change in metabolism.

The Nauga sheds its skin, some say the process occurs in cycles, others that it is akin to the salamander fire-lizard that sheds its tail when under attack. Both views are poppycock. The skin itself is not unlike leather but with a shinier texture, and it is more easily torn than the tough wearing hides many of the men over here wear for protection. Some even say the skin is gaudy, poor creature. To be born a victim of human fashion!

How dare I compare the Nauga to the Womble? One is a hairless hide-shedding beast whilst the other is a hairy tool-manipulating rodent? At first this was mere conjecture, hot air warming the evenings in some of the most respectable clubs in London town. Being over in America on various businesses I ventured to catch one of these curious beasts and return with it to England.

I set off armed with only a net and some corn for bait, for I have no real stomach for the gamesman’s hunt of shooting first and ruminating over the head later. Many hours I wasted in the wilderness searching for the creature, until one night, as I lay half-dozing, I heard something rummaging in my belongings. I swung a leg at my pack only to glimpse, too late, the shiny hide of the Nauga!

It reacted, of course, like any small mammal or child does when presented with a clumsy kick and bit me on the leg before fleeing. At first I made chase but grew feverish, most likely from the bite, and so returned to my belongings to rest.

In the morning, by great chance as I wandered dazed through a wilderness, I stumbled into the arms of your daughter, out picking flowers, who is of a most high and admirable character. She took me to your home to have the wound treated.

There I began to feel faint and though your daughter is admirable and her character is of the highest, I cannot help but notice that her social graces are less than graceful, for she led me to her room to where I could lay down. Were I in my right mind I would have demanded to be left on some sort of sofa or simply laid upon the dining-room floor rather than to be put into such a compromising position as to be left alone in a young lady’s quarters.

I was not, however, in my right mind. The Nauga bite had set my temples ablaze. I must have shed my clothes like the Nauga; so you see this curious quirk of the creature is not a part of its basic nature but more akin to some sort of disease of which the Nauga is simply a carrier.

This is why I believe this creature shares some familiar genus with the Womble, another beast whom I have the misfortune to be bitten by. Those who know of the Womble cheerily talk of the creature’s penchant for using refuse as ‘making good use of the things that it finds’. Applied not to furry paw but to human hand, such as my own, this penchant becomes a dead albatross pendant around my neck. You may have noticed some small items missing from around your house, remember it is a disease and it cannot be helped!

I have heard professionals of a medical bent even attribute to the domestic feline this capacity to transfer behavioral modifiers in its scratch and bite. This seems rather far-fetched although it might explain the growing number of young ruffians and rogues that prowl London like alley cats.

I fear this dreadful plague has passed onto your daughter. I can only apologize for what your maid may have mistaken for an inappropriate scene at the lake down by your home. She had stumbled on two sets of clothes, one mine, the other your daughter’s. We had had the misfortune to be subjected to Nauga shedding at the same time and realizing, like Adam and Eve, our immodesty, had dashed into the lake. I find it most reassuring that you employ a woman of such iron character and recommend her for any pugilistic competition in the land based on how she went about me and drove me fleeing into the woods.

Given the truth of the matter, which your maid was ill acquainted with at the time, I can understand the misconception of the scene which dawned in her brain. Were I a harsher man I would demand recompense, but being a good hearted sort, a letter of apology would do. However I fear I must leave the area and live, for a while, in solitude until I can cure myself of this shedding syndrome, thus I have no forwarding address for the apology. I will write again as soon as I find a cure.

Yours very truly,

Zachariah Falla

From the Estate of Zacharia Falla

Letter to Doctor Mortimer Plumtree, Monroe County, New York State.

Feb. 11th 1857

y dear Doctor,

I am writing to you to share my knowledge and personal experience of a dreadful and bizarre affliction; Over Sobriety Melancholia.

My condition is, I am afraid to say, a psychosis of the liver. It is a blessing and a curse. I find myself more withdrawn and introspective than the average member of the human race. It takes more than the standard amount of liquor to rouse me into being on the same level of social interactivity as my fellow man.

My family physician back in England, the wonderful Dr. Gull of London, who first discovered and classified my curious disorder, came to the conclusion that it takes two large measures of brandy, in my case, to have me acting as a normal man. Other curious side effects have been noted.

If an ordinary man were to drink himself into a stupor, then I dare say that the next morning his hands, if not his limbs or even his whole body, would be menaced by a bout of uncontrollable and violent shaking as if preceding a fit.

This is not true with someone so afflicted as myself; indeed were I to fall asleep without first having consumed some decent measure of alcohol then I risk waking to find my body stiff as a board. I wish not to alarm you, Dr. Plumtree, but one time I was mistaken for a corpse and almost interred in the good Lord’s green earth before I chanced to be roused by the whiskey fumes on the Parson’s breath!

So I have always erred on the safer side since that incident and ensured that I fell asleep in good spirits (pref. gin).

Having recently arrived in America and being unsure of the strength of local liquors I soon managed to overindulge myself; amazingly against my natural drinking handicap.

This is how, one cold January night, I came to be easing my bladder upon your front door and then, when you opened it, on your shoes and nightgown. Reacting to your rage with swift and instinctual pugilism, I accidently knocked you unconscious.

Such hectic mental and physical exertion must have hastened the flow of my blood because I felt myself sobering up. Hence I liberated a bottle of Port from your supply whilst you were insensible. Yourself, being a follower of the Hippocratic Oath I guessed that had you been in your right mind, you would not have charged me for the bottle as it was essential to the continuation of my life.

Quickly afterwards I went on my way to consume the Port somewhere where I would not risk staining your carpet. It is only now, several weeks later, after I have left the state that I realise I neglected to leave you a note explaining the truth of the situation. I hope this clears things up.

Yours very truly,

Zachariah Falla