You can always tell a Donegal chap by his parsimonious use of words. No, “you’ve got nice eyes”, “can I buy you a drink” or even that toe-curling old chestnut “do you come here often?”. Oh nooooo. The mating seasons too short for that Miss Manners how’s-yer-father in Donegal. Those young feller-me-lads are straight to business with “D’ye fancy a fuck?”
I was eighteen and “doing a line as they say in Galway with a young lad from the parish my Uncle lived in. Needless to say, I went to see my dear old Uncle Begorrah a lot. TB decided she’d like to come with me so we planned our little mini break.
We worked all day then caught the 9pm mail train to Holyhead for the Dun Laoghaire* Ferry. From there we caught another train across Ireland and Uncle Begorrah would pick us up at the station.
So there we were, arriving at Dunfeckall station at 10am having been up all night drinking on the train and boat. Dressed to the nines in all our Sloane Ranger glory – heading off to the Mart with Uncle Begorrah.
“The Mart” (for those of you not in the know) is a livestock market. Ducks, Chickens, Geese, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Cattle… if it shits, it fits or so it seemed. I’m pretty sure Dolly Parton wrote a song about it – My Shat of Many Colors…
The Mart, as you can imagine, was aromatic. In fact it was Aromatic, Hyyydromatic, why this Mart was Greased Shite-ning!
Yes you guessed. Someone went arse over tit – and it wasn’t TB or Uncle bloody Begorrah. There I was, sat in crap lake, trying to save my Roland Cartier boots!! (Luckily some saddlesoap and a day in the “bracing air” had them smelling like Petunias!)
That wasn’t the most memorable part of the trip. Not by a long shot. We went back to the farm. Me sat on a bunch of old fertilizer sacks because – it was Friday!! Who stays home on Friday’s?!
180,000 gallons of water later, not all of it hot, I was clean again and dressed to kill. Like the true 80’s trollops we were, TB and I were licensed to thrill with enough war paint on to do a first coat on a naval frigate.
Off we went with Uncle Begorrah to one of the seven pubs (in a village with eleven houses!) We walked in to Durty Nellies and I saw my chap, Seamus* Shamrock and his sidekick Shillelagh Daly* playing pool. TB quite fancied Shillelagh and he obviously was smitten.. so like a typical cool Galwegian, he straightened up, puffed his chest out, smiled – and tripped over his pool cue, smacking his face on the table and planking the floor like a champ. Seamus didn’t even acknowledge us.
I was mortified and seething. Here we were, two single girls in sheeptown, where even UGLY sheep could pull 3-1 – and he was IGNORING me?! Bastard! Irish bars were very limited on their offerings of spirits then. Probably because girls were as rare as hens teeth and the lads were on the pints!!
We took our time drinking our Bacardi and Cokes but after 20 minutes, the lads hadn’t come over and the glasses were empty along with my tolerance. “Drink up” I hissed at my uncle. “We’re going elsewhere”. So off we went to a pub a town over where there was a band playing.
As soon as we walked in the door we were swarmed with people buying us drinks. We literally had glasses 3 deep in the bar! We were LEGITIMATELY going to the loo every 15 minutes! How we weren’t in ICU with acute liver failure is STILL a mystery to me. Why I’ve never drunk Bacardi since is absolutely crystal clear however.
There was a dirty ould wan, he must have been hitting my uncles age, who kept trying to chat me up. Repulsive creep, he was vile. TB and my uncle got shot of him thankfully. Meanwhile TB was getting the glad eye from a lad in the band. He knew my uncle and asked if he could take us into a dance after the gig. We said yes since he knew Uncle Begorrah so it was arranged.
We kept drinking (and piddling!!) as long as we could. It was a Valiant Effort but thankfully, eventually, they played the National Anthem, the pub started emptying and the band started packing up. Uncle Begorrah left and we were waiting on yer man. He said the other lad had gone to start the car so we went on out with him.
It was absolutely raining bitches.
He yelled at me to get in the front and him and TB ran for the back. I threw myself into the car – literally – to not get soaked… and who was in the flamin’ drivers seat but the dirty oul sod from earlier on.
We were stuffed!
At least we were together. With that, Band Lad said to TB “Oi live near Begorrah, we’re NEIGHBOURS!!” And pounced on her like a snake on a mouse! All I saw was her fly backwards, flat on her back onto the seat.
I couldn’t help, I had troubles of my own! The Geriatric Groper had moves like a flippin’ contortionist. He was driving at 70mph in driving rain, flicking high beams, cornering etc and trying to get his hand up my skirt! I had two hands and I was struggling fighting him off.
I knew once we got to the dance we could lose them. I’d easily find someone I knew to take us home. Hopefully not in a hearse again but that’s a story for another day!
Anyway. TB wasn’t aware of my cunning plan because I could hardly blurt it out, but in a moment of absolute inspiration she came up with one of her own.
“This is great” she says
“What the fork?” think I
“We could never do this in England” She continued.
Glory be to Paddy – I was never letting her drink again!!
“Ye couldn’t?” said Band Guy coming up for air from the slobberthon.
“No” says she “we’re only fifteen, the police would take us home”
Have you ever heard a car screech to a halt from 70mph in seconds?! It’s like butchering pigs!!
We were back at my uncles 15 minutes later, cackling like hens and running in to get out of the ferocious wet.
We did our usual tea and toast routine but didn’t say too much in front of Uncle B!
The funniest bit was Seamus and Shillelagh had realized we were peeved so they’d gone round every pub in the village looking for us. When they couldn’t find us they walked the five miles from the village to our farm fully expecting us to be there… right through the torrential rain!
Uncle B had answered the door and said we’d gone to a dance and not let them in. To this day, the asses are convinced we were there and sulking! Both Seamus and Shillelagh are married with families and living in Chicago now, I still chat to Shillelagh every so often and he brought this story up a while back – still convinced we were indoors!!
Silly arse eh?!
Dun Laoghaire – Dun-leery
Seamus – Shay-mus
Shillelagh – Shill- lay-lee