Reilly was head deep in ‘The Connacht Tribune’ when he was rudely interrupted by Magann in Linnanes on Friday evening.

‘You wont believe what I’m just after seeing,’ says Magann visibly agitated.

‘This better be good,’ says Reilly who was recognising more and more of his friends who were featuring prominently in the deaths column each week.

‘I was walking the dog through Coole Woods this afternoon by that massive oak tree that Yeats and the boys used scribble their names on. And what did I see but a unicorn with his horn stuck in the tree.’

‘Pull the other one,’ says Reilly guffawing loudly at his own joke.

‘Someone please help me before it’s too late,’ bellowed the unicorn in a clearly distressed voice.

‘And what did you do?

‘I told him to stall the ball and that I’d have him free in jig time,’ says Magann who, to be fair, is a dinger with a chainsaw.

‘But then the unicorn became highly distressed and hollered back to me.

‘Hang on, will it hurt much?

‘Will you make sure you don’t scratch or chip my horn?

‘Have you done this many times before?

‘What horn school did you graduate from?

‘Should I sit down or stand up?

‘Do you have the right tools?

‘When I reassured him that I had my chainsaw in the van and that I’d often felled trees bigger than this one he lost it completely.

‘He wanted me to first sign a contract that I wouldn’t damage the tree in the process.’

‘To use a metaphor of speech,’ says Magann, pausing for dramatic emphasis. 

‘That was the straw that broke the unicorns back. I told him – to paraphrase Yeats – that ‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone. It’s with the unicorns in the grave! And off with me. I’d say he’s still there. Wasn’t that thinking on my feet Reilly!

Never one to be bested by a good story Reilly added.

‘The theme has resonances with ‘The Man from Croaghaun.’

‘Who was he when he was at home,’ asks Magann innocently.

‘Croaghaun are the highest cliffs in Achill and a man was driving up there once after a serious fill of porter at a funeral. It was a frosty night and the car inadvertently skidded and teetered over the cliff and down every one of the 2257 feet to the sea. 

‘Mercifully the man had no seat belt on and he was ejected from the car as it rolled over the cliff. 

‘He succeeded in grasping on to a hardy sceagh bush on the side of the cliff and it was only then he realised the precarious position he was in.

‘As he purveyed the raging inferno of his car burning on the rocks below he did what many a good man before him did. He prayed with all his heart and begged for help.

‘Someone please help me before it’s too late,’ he roared, just like the unicorn in Coole.

And to his utter amazement and relief a kind voice boomed through the darkness.

‘This is Your Lord speaking and I’ve come to help you. Simply do what I say.’

‘Anything. Anything My Lord. I’ll even pledge undying sobriety until my dying day.’

‘That’s won’t be necessary My Child,’ said The Lord with the slightest hint of a snigger. 

‘Simply let go of the branch.’

The man once again peered down at what were now the dying embers of his car and looked back up towards the Heavens with renewed and rising hope.

‘Is there anybody else up there? He bellowed positively.


  • Asking and receiving help are very rarely ever a problem. For some however, taking it and acting on it are. 
  • Some folk would be happier to be miserable every day of the week rather than seek help and risk losing this rich source of misery. Don’t waste your time on them.
  • Sometimes you have to suspend your own limiting beliefs and trust and have faith in someone who knows better.
  • Other times you have to be prepared to simply let go. And trust.
  • Hope, despite its warm feeling, rarely makes for a good strategy.


‘Accepting help is its own kind of strength.’

—Kiera Cass


  1. Where could you use help to bring you closer to your goals?
  2. Who could you ask for help that will bring you closer to your goals?
  3. Where have you been refusing help?

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