Traditionally, after descending Croagh Patrick, I always go for fish and chips in P. Dunning’s beside the Octagon. In there I meet the couple from Dunboyne that I mentioned in my previous post. I ask if they mind me joining them, and they don’t.
After a little conversation it transpires that the man, named Pat, is the first cousin of a woman who is married to the former Vice Principal of my secondary school in Galway. Times like this make one realise just how small Ireland is and that you don’t have to look to far to find someone who knows, or is related to, someone else you know. I guess it’s a small island.
The mention of the Vice Principal triggers two memories in my head. The first is one time when he tried to fine me £30 for smoking outside the school gates. I didn’t pay, protesting, rightly, that “I was outside the school gates.” I related this story, and my refusal to pay, to Pat, and he asked, “Have you no shame?” I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, so I decide not to mention the second memory that is triggered in my mind. The latter basically involved one of the Sisters in the school coming into our class to tell us our teacher wouldn’t be in and to “carry on with our work.” For some stupid reason, I shouted, “Right so, gorgeous,” which again landed me in front of the Vice.
Silly, cob-webby memories aside, I had a lovely chat with the couple about all sorts of things and laughed-out-lot on several occasions. Pat had been a trucker for 40 years and he related a tragic story to me about a man in his early forties who worked with him. He was married with three kids, seemingly in good health, and dropped dead the previous weekend when mowing the lawn. We exchange other stories, including one about a doctor relation of mine who told me about a patient that came into A&E in a trench coat, asking to see a male doctor. It turned out the man had a vacuum cleaner tube stuck to his penis. I guess our chat sums up life in a nutshell. It’s often tragic, sometimes ridiculous, and at other times rip-roaring hilarious.
After we part company, I head to Matt Molloy’s pub on Bridge Street. The whole town seemed to me to be deserted before I went into this pub, but when I entered I realised that it wasn’t deserted, it was just that everyone in town was here for the last night of the May music festival which is on every year around this time.
Inside the pub there was something for everyone, in terms of what anyone could want from a pub. At the front bar one could have a pint and a chat with a mate, in the middle one could appreciate some traditional Irish music, and in the back, there was a variety of artists I have never heard of, singing songs I’d never heard before, but that didn’t matter. I got completely lost in the music and in between talked to various people from England, Australia, and Canada. From the multitude of nationalities I met earlier on the mountain, and subsequently here in Matt Molloy’s, I realise that the essence of Westport is that of a fun town where it seems like everybody emanates a feel good holiday vibe, which is wonderful.
I don’t really have a specific memory of the music, only that it was in a sort of wistful, forlorn vein, which I kind of got lost in. I was completely mesmerized and practically forgot I was there to take pictures, especially when the last act that I saw came on. Something about her appealed to me on so many levels. She was very well shaped and had a kind of raunchy singing tone which instantly made me fall madly in love with her, so-much-so that I considered waiting around for a while afterwards to talk to her. But then I started thinking about that sensibly and realised it would be stupid to spoil a perfectly good fantasy by talking. She is the one in the image at the top of this page.
Doesn’t she look lovely?