Last weekend I was in Killarney at an event to commemorate the life of the "Vatican Pimpernel", Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty.
He was the cleric who risked his life in wartime Rome to provide safe-houses and escape routes for thousands of Allied soldiers and Jews on the run from the Gestapo.
For putting his neck on the line to help those in mortal danger O'Flaherty was honoured by the French, the British, and the Americans.
But stop some passing strangers on O'Connell Street and you'll discover that the story of the Kerryman's bravery is little known in his own country.
It was the sight of elderly Jews being forced to kneel and scrub the cobblestone streets of the Eternal City that compelled O'Flaherty to take a stand against tyranny.
As we recalled his moral stance the reports of goon squads on the loose in Jobstown filtered down to the Kingdom.
The spectacle of the Tanaiste, Joan Burton being deprived of her liberty for a few hours prompted a reflection on where Ireland is heading.
This Coalition has few champions. It's drowning before our eyes. Unable to make hard decisions and stick to them, its authority is visibly draining away. It failed to convince the people that the cutbacks and tax hikes that were needed to balance the books were fairly applied.
It failed to persuade the citizens of this state that powerful corporate interests and the privileged public sector were not cosseted and protected. It failed to reform politics and was seen to be too keen too often to look after its pals.
Most of all the Coalition failed to confront the belief that is widespread in Ireland and elsewhere that the role of government is to provide an ever growing bounty of "free stuff" to all and sundry.
Fine Gael and Labour now find themselves in the predicament Fianna Fail was in four years ago. Nobody loves them. They only have themselves to blame.
When it suited them the Coalition parties encouraged the culture of entitlement. Now it seems the expectations of the Irish people are no longer compatible with the Irish State's ability to satisfy popular demands and stay solvent.
The people want free water. The farmers want higher prices. Big business wants low rates and tax incentives. We want it all and we want it now and if Labour and Fine Gael don't give it to us Sinn Fein and the ultra Left will. Won't they?
Paul Murphy, the Socialist Party TD who egged on the citizens' detention of Joan Burton in Jobstown has a vision of a communist paradise that sounds superficially appealing.
His party has won two by-elections in Dublin this year by promising to fight for an utopia last seen, according to his party comrade Ruth Coppinger, in its "purest form" in Moscow in 1917 when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power.
Their party website paints a rosy picture of what life will be like under their red banner.
"Socialists are for massive investment in new jobs...to put all the unemployed back to work... socialism is a very simple concept. It is the idea that ordinary working people can run their workplaces, schools, and society without bosses."
Once upon a time I believed in that guff and then I grew up, and saw through the hoax.
The reality is that Lenin and all the other communists who wielded power since 1917 liquidated all the freedoms we take for granted. The USSR was a brutal one-party state that suppressed its citizens and persecuted an ever growing list of "class enemies" long before Stalin started his murder spree.
The Bolshevik mantra was "Peace, land and bread". For Murphy and co the right to free water happens to be the campaign that has briefly won the public over to their cause.
But 'the issue' is never 'the issue'. As the American radical Saul Alinsky helpfully pointed out: "The issue is power."
Sinn Fein is the main contender for power in 2016. They have plunged into the water charges morass in order to divert attention away from what the Mairia Cahill story tells us about the moral character of the "movement".
We were assured by those Lenin called "useful idiots" in all the major parties, and most of the media, that Sinn Fein is no longer the political face of a secret terrorist army.
We were told the Provos are "house trained".
Well Mairia Cahill has single-handedly shattered that illusion. We know now the IRA has not gone away. It is still the sinister shadow behind Sinn Fein.
It is still a force to be feared. Its linkage to Sinn Fein is incompatible with democratic politics as we know it.
We now know that Sinn Fein's loyalty to the party supersedes any willingness to expose the murderers and perverts in the IRA's ranks to the rigours of due process.
"The movement" still does not recognise the State and Sinn Fein remains wedded to "the movement".
Whatever we think about the injustice or otherwise of water charges, there can be little doubt what's in store for us should Sinn Fein team up with the socialists. Better get used to monuments in Jobstown to Trotsky and Leaving Cert exams devoted to the poetry of Bobby Sands.
Don't say you didn't know.