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Men of Ireland

A lifetime after leaving, a man returns to his home village to settle an account with the old priest

By William Trevor   August 2005

The man came jauntily, the first of the foot passengers. Involuntarily he sniffed the air. My God! he said, not saying it aloud. My God, you can smell it all right. He hadn’t been in Ireland for twenty-three years.

He went more cautiously when he reached the edge of the dock, being the first, not knowing where to go. “On there,” an official looking after things said, gesturing over his shoulder with a raised thumb.

“OK,” the man said. “OK.”

He went in this direction. The dock was different, not as he remembered it, and he wondered where the…

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