Searching for Dan Donnelly’s right arm

{Welcome to MultiMEDIA Splice #14, a link party. Join me by linking up an “Irish”-themed post or a multimedia post on any topic.}

The Hideout Kilcullen Ireland

I walked into the pub and tried to act nonchalant, but just how do you bring up that you’re looking for the preserved arm of a bare-knuckle boxer from the 19th century?

Slowly. That’s how you bring it up.

I ordered a Bulmers and sat down at the bar, where the bartender was watching an Irish rugby match. I knew nothing about Irish rugby, so I threw in some color commentary that consisted of “oh no” and “what?”

I had seen a little blurb in a guide book that long ago gravediggers had stolen the body of Dan Donnelly, a famed bare-knuckle boxer with arms so long that it was said he could button his knee-breeches without stooping, and that his right arm had eventually ended up at the Hideout, a pub in Kilcullen, Ireland.

I felt a bit squeamish. Still, drinking a hard Irish cider, chatting up a friendly Irish bartender, and watching a tough Irish rugby match created an Irish trifecta that allowed me to summon up the courage to bring up the arm.

Dan Donnelly poster at the Hideout“So… I hear you have an arm here?”

“What was that, miss?”

After a panicked moment that I was in the wrong place, I blundered on.

“Uh, Dan Donnelly, you know, the boxer?”

“Oh!” He was thrilled with this. “We did have his arm, but we don’t have it anymore. Just a moment.”

He disappeared into a back room and emerged with a rolled up paper.

“Here, you can have this,” he said, as he presented me with a poster that told the tale.

So that’s why a poster of Dan Donnelly, the bare-knuckle boxer, now rests above the little bar in my basement.

Dan Donnelly poster

The arm itself eluded me. I afterwards learned that while I was in Ireland, it was in New York, a two-hour train ride from my home. It has since returned to Ireland, and I hope one day that Donnelly will be reunited with it.

I leave you with a clip from my favorite movie about an Irish bare-knuckle boxer: Snatch, featuring Brad Pitt in hilarious mumble-mode.


(Video link)

Pubs of Ireland collage

More of Ireland:

Dan Donnelly strip

MultiMEDIA Splice #14

Bloggers: Welcome to the 14th week of MultiMEDIA Splice. Join me by linking up an “Irish”-themed post or a multimedia post on any topic. Extra credit for an Irish-themed multimedia post.

MultiMEDIA Splice #14

How to link up:

  • Copy the above code and paste it into the text view of your post.
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About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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3 Responses to Searching for Dan Donnelly’s right arm

  1. Abby says:

    How do you even find out about these things?!
    I loved every Brad Pitt scene in Snatch, even though I couldn’t hardly understand a word he said!

    • Marcy says:

      lol–I seem to be drawn to the odd little tidbits. I thought Pitt was hilarious, but, yeah, I wanted to turn on the closed captions at one point.

  2. Pingback: Year in Review 2015: Just When I Thought I Was Out | (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish

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