OTOOLEFAN GOES TO IRELAND – Part 2
I was sweating, Steve was laughing. I keep telling him of the constant rain and savage wind.
We walked with Maureen and everyone else into town. They were all going to church, but of course we were not. Instead, we began walking down a secondary road. In a few minutes we got a ride. It was going to be easy, we thought.
But after this we walked a ways, until finally getting a short ride. After this ride ended, the long death march began. We must have walked five or six miles straight.
“I’m just going on fumes,” said Steve.
We were so tired and ragged the only thing we could do was go forward. Suddenly, a town appeared in front of our eyes!
“All right! Now I’m fired up,” Steve said.
We brought our tired bodies to a bed and breakfast. We rang the bell. A man answered.
“Do you have a room?”
“No, not until Monday.”
The next place we came to had a room. The price was £9.00, but it could have been a hundred and we still would have thought it reasonable.
As soon as the woman gave us our two keys, it was off to the kingdom of our dreams.
A few hours later Steve and I went into the first pub that we saw. Almost immediately we were immersed in fraternal conversation with a drunk old Irishman and a drunk young American from Pennsylvania.
It was here we ordered fish and chips and pints.
We took our booth against the wall and began surveying the area.
Sitting in the other booth was a group of about six or seven girls. They were drinking and taking pictures of each other. The drunk old Irishman came sauntering over to our table, and reminded us to “Never say die”. Then he asked for the girl’s camera so that he could take a picture of them as well.
It was one of the funniest sights I’ve ever seen. The guy was stumbling and wobbling a bit – taking his time so that the pictures would come out just right.
Steve says to me, “I wish I could see that picture.”
The guy turns around to us and says, “Then again, it may come out good.”
After a few more jars, we went out in search of a pub with real Irish music. We saw some other pubs, heard the music behind them, but the doors were locked. So we came back to Meehan’s Lounge.
“This night still isn’t over,” I told Steve. “There’s going to be a third stage.”
And there was.
It all started when we decided to buy a pack of cigarettes.
After pooling our change, Steve bought a pack from the machine. Now all we needed was a light.
Steve asked a local for a light. He obliged , was friendly enough, but soon he was over at our table describing his family history for us.
“I’m nineteen years old and I’m an alcoholic. Are you enjoying your holiday?”
“Yes, it’s great,” we said, sipping our Guinness.
“I’m nineteen years old and I’m an alcoholic and so are me brothers – before they were killed. So what part of the states are you from?”
“Connecticut. It’s near New York City.”
His name was Martin, and went on to tell us that all of his friends had been killed by motorbikes, his brothers were killed in Belfast. Every fifteen minutes he asked where we were from. After an hour of continuous tragic stories, he excused himself and stumbled off toward the pool table to get his pint. It was the first time since he had come over to the table that Steve and I could say something private. After Martin got up, Steve turned to me and said, “This guy’s a horror show.”
When he came back he asked, “So where are you boys from?”
This guy was indeed a horror story. Steve took half of my Guinness so we could leave earlier.
“If you boys are around tomorrow, I’ll buy you all the drinks you want.”
We didn’t even know the name of this greasy little town until the next morning.
Name of town: Mount Charles.
April 27 – Today was another “scorcher”. Steve says he wishes he brought his cocoa butter.
Our mission for the day was to try to get back to Sligo and try to find the address of Christy McKenna, the truck driver who picked us up a few days ago.
Our first few rides were uneventful, as we headed south. But in the town of Ballishannon two pretty girls from Belfast picked us up. They were very friendly to us and laughed at our jokes.
The day was sunlit and we stared at the landscapes and the girls.
We were driving through Drumcliffe and they asked us if wanted to see Yeats’ grave.
Steve took a picture of it and one of the girls noticed there were two different gravestones
The girl said “Now did they move him a few feet forward?”
“I think that’s a different Yeats,” I said.
Both girls broke up laughing.
As we entered Sligo Town, both girls invited us for a complimentary pint.
It was great. They laughed at my Air India experience. Above us on the wall was a painting of Ben Bulben.
They were going on to Galway when they left.
Once we got into Sligo Town, we went straight to another pub and asked for directions to Christy’s house.
Then we walked to the Tourist Office to ask a man behind a desk how to get to the address. When I finally got to talk to the guy, I say, giving him the address,
“How do I get to this?”
“Okay, uh, where you parked?”
“Right here,” I replied.
Couldn’t believe it, but I saw a poster of Flann O’Brien.
So anyway, we found Christy’s address after initial troubles. As we came toward the door, we saw no car in the driveway.
“Oh no,” we said.
I rang the bell once and the door opened right away. It was Christy, a cigarette dangling from his lip, “Hey guys.”
He invited us into the house. There he introduced us to his girlfriend and her friend. Soon we were all looking at the T.V. set. As Christy was pushing the buttons on the remote control panel, “Three’s Company” suddenly came on. Both Steve and I burst out laughing.
“There’s no escape,” Steve said.
Christy told us some more stories until it was time to eat our dinner, as prepared by his girlfriend.
The meal was quite good. Then more stories followed – even I told a few stories in between the epic tales.
“Are you goin’ to the pub?” Christie asked.
He told us we could stay at his house. There was an empty bedroom with two single beds.
So we all walked into Sligo Town and went to a pub. On our way there, we walked through a perfectly fine apartment complex.
“We’re walking through the slums of Sligo now,” Christy said sarcastically.
Christy bought us pints and told us more jokes and stories.
It was all very funny.
Christy’s opinion of Texans: “They’re fuckin’ idiots.”