A pint with the locals

When we arrived in Kenmare our B&B host suggested we go down to Crowley’s Bar later that evening. He said there would likely be music, and this being a Monday it would be a local crowd.

The crowd when we arrived consisted of two well-worn men speaking Irish in the corner, an Australian couple swapping predictable cultural observations with a stout Englishman, and a silent fellow making quick work of bottled Bulmer’s over ice. Everyone continued in this vein for about fifteen minutes, until in walked the Shy Girl.

She was shouting in an Oirish accent that slipped into American when she got really excited, which was often. She was looking for a man named Martin who was supposed to be there to sing her a song. He wasn’t there. This was a major problem, to be discussed at great length and increasing volume until the bartender called her a cab and sent her off to the housing estate where he thought Martin might live.

Later a guy with a briefcase full of harmonicas arrived and the stout Englishman picked up a guitar and sang “The Wild Colonial Boy” for the Australians and then “King of the Road,” dedicated to “the Americans.” The Shy Girl wasn’t there, so I guess he meant us.

I can’t really tell this story properly. Maybe R can. These are my notes from the following day:


2 thoughts on “A pint with the locals

  1. It would take a more Lovecraftian writer than myself to convey the effect of the Shy Girl’s glassy-glaring interrogation down the line of drinkers: “Are you an Irish man? Can you sing an Irish song?”

    She wasn’t interested in the women for some reason.

    The bartender showed remarkable patience, even for a bartender. When she finally went out the door, he did allow himself a suggestion that she not return. And as if this had triggered some horrible curse, she burst back through shouting “Go fuck yourself!”

    The next day we passed by a doorbell marked “J. Crowley” but I suppose it was a different fellow.

  2. By far the best music we heard in Kenmare — or indeed anywhere — came from the massed bird choirs of dawn and evening. Mostly blackbirds and wrens, I guess, but the controlled variations of the blackbirds weave a lovely noise.

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