Over the past century, "parochial" has soured as a word. The
adjectival form of "parish", it has come to connote sectarianism,
in-sularity, boundedness. A mind or a community turned inward upon itself. A
It has not always been this way. Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67), the great poet
of the Irish mundane, was in no doubt as to the importance of the parish. For
Kavanagh, the parish was not a perimeter, but an aperture: a space through
which the world could be seen. "Parochialism is universal," he wrote.
"It deals with the fundamentals."