There is an old estate beside my family home in Templeogue. The Big House was behind a large wall at the end of our cul-de-sac. During the seventies and eighties it was neglected and became a magnet for people, such as delinquent teenagers, drug-addicts and homeless people. In true Dublin fashion, the place was named Paradise by the locals or 'Paro.' Needless to say, as a young children we were barred from going into Paradise.
This didn't prevent me and my friend Eva from deciding to sneak in, at the age of eight, to play on the old mill. The old mill is a couple of centuries old and quite dangerous but we scrambled over it obliviously. Luckily we didn't come to any harm.
A week later I was brought to confession. My misdemeanour was playing on my mind. When the priest asked me what I wanted to confess, I blurted,
"I went into Paradise with my friend and my Mam told me never to go in there.'
The priest, realising the danger of the situation, looked at me sternly. Then, to my horror, he took out a little black notebook from his pocket and a pen.
"I'm writing your name and address in this book and if I ever hear that you went into Paradise I'll call into your parents immediately."
My blood froze. This was a bad as a confession could go. My name was written in the priest's notebook. I'd be murdered by my parents.
And that is how going to confession stopped me from going past the gates of Paradise.