King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, February 15

Irish Hospitality

So, finally, I get the chance to experience Irish hospitality on Saturday night. We had a few drinks beforehand and then headed down to TDT's local, a small pub in the village, not 10 minutes from this very abode. Meany came and picked us up, because TDT was too lazy to walk there, and then we took the short walk around the corner to the actual pub. Arriving, I was greeted to a dark and quiet pub.
"Is it open?" I asked. Just then, the door was flung open and I was greeted with dozens of happy smiley faces (of people, not biscuits), all enjoying what was the Irish atmosphere known as the "Craic" (pronounced Crack, fnarr fnarr). We took our seats at the bar, and I finally get my first chance to buy Meany a drink (the last time he broke his leg, falling out of the loft, remember?). Now, I'm not saying TDT's got a drink problem. In fact, I'm guessing it's the fact she's lived in that village most of her life that everyone, and I mean everyone, in that pub seemed to know her. The owner, Eileen, enquired, "the usual?" to TDT, something that seemed to cause hilarity. As the night drew on, it seemed to become a blur of music, pool, sitting outside (damn the smoking ban...) and much much more alcohol. By the way, Bulmers is lethal stuff over here. And Tequila Rose is even more lethal. And Guinness doesn't mix well with Cider. But Vodka does. You get the idea. I was introduced to TDT's cousin. And her other cousin. And then another cousin. Oh, and her other cousin. And then another cousin. The place was turning into a family reunion. She now tells me, that wasn't even a blip on the radar of her cousins. I'm starting to expect to see webbed fingers. The people who weren't cousins were either a) old school friends or b) locals in the pub also. The funny thing was, as the night went on, I don't remember buying a drink. Everytime I finished my can/bottle/glass/schooner (*delete as applicable), another would appear, and someone would be pointed out as buying me it. I seem to remember buying one other round, which in a dozen or more drinks was outstanding. About 2am and time was called. In the UK, this is when all the lights go on, the bar staff start harrassing you and the bouncers start telling you to drink up or face forcible ejection. It would appear in Ireland this means absolutely nothing at all. No one moved. I don't even think anyone noticed. The only difference was the DJ stopped playing. Oh, and his last song was the Irish National Anthem (apparently) and everyone had to stand up with their hands behind their backs. Much like us in the UK with "New York New York" at the end of the night. For the next half an hour or so (I honestly can't remember at this point), everyone sat around chatting, then all of a sudden one of the girls chimed up.
"I don't know if you can see the changes that have come over me," she started to sing.
Suddenly, "Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time," as a very drunken mob of the patrons left behind all joined in with the Chorus.
"Caledonia you're calling me, now I'm going home" they all roared at the top of their lungs. I thought, "well that was different" and then Leo the DJ started instead. Another song, and I forget what it was (probably because I was pickled), before they started to ask me to sing.
"Sing what?" I ask.
"Anything. Something we can all join in with," they reply.
I pondered. I pondered some more. Then I had a brainwave.
"Happy birthday to you..."
Maybe I missed the point.
As we returned home, we were walking up the road. TDT, me and the owner's daughter. TDT has her arms out at 90 degrees. "Look at me," she says, "I'm tightrope walking," as she carefully puts one foot in front of the other on the white lines in the middle of the road (!). "Don't fall off now," I say, "I'm not carrying you home." Just then the local filth go past, and I notice something. In the UK I make reference to "Ecilop," an old joke by Jim Davidson because that's all you see in your rear view mirror when the police pull you over. In Ireland they'd become known as "A drag." Something I'm sure if you get pulled over often enough they would be.
By 4:30 I was dying (I'd been up 25 hours) so I retired. TDT as always was the gracious (if slightly tipsy) host and stayed up until 6 (ish). Meany stayed over and woke me up at 8:15, wanting me to play.
And so, that was my first experience of a night out in Ireland. The names haven't been changed to protect the innocent...