Buffun is wracked by the living nightmare of Irish history. His torments are surreal but no less frightening than the awful truth. When Oliver Cromwell turns up, the hapless buffoon can’t cope. This Cromwell is a cocky tyrant who wants to run a football team, or start a taxi business. Enter the Belly, the IRA, an Irish giant, and Billy of the Boyne: ‘William of Orange is polishing pianos / In convents and other delicate territories, / His nose purple from sipping turpentine.’ Kennelly’s Cromwell delighted and scandalised readers in Ireland when it was first published by a small Dublin press in 1983. This extraordinary, extravagantly Irish act of revenge has retained its power to shock.