The Local …:
Posted in : Uncategorised on by : Brendan Walsh Comments:
I am trying to change my way of writing,and change my subject.I have been writing for so long about serious things that I find it difficult to loosen up.I was born in the middle of Co Kildare Ireland and lived there all my life and surely there is a story or two after all these years? Kildare is world famous for its sport and in particular horse racing.I was part of the legend and mythical stories,races,gambling ,sport and music and song,were all what made life bearable through the hard times. It was not all hard times ,something the horse won, more times the team won and something s the girl said yes ,and one way or the other we were young and the sun came out a lot (or seems to). The horse racing was and is known as the sport for ‘kings and paupers’,money could not make you a better football player and been poorer or rich when the whistle blew we were all equal. Sport was the equalizer ,but the cement that held all together was the local.
The locale ,as it is called,(the proper name was Licensed Premises) was the center of all that was of any significance in the the area and the place that solved all problems .No problem was too big or complicated,there always someone who knew the answer, wise men drank in the local?.
In the golden glow of whiskey and porter we all sang off key and clapped each other on the back for some reason that seems to be worthy at the time. Somethings old resentment would emerge and a fight would break out.It never lasted long ,everyone knew what it about and nobody said anything? It could range from the civil war to an unwanted pregnancy in the past. It was all with in the parish-family,and we dealt our own business our own way. finally Noel would ask us “had we no home to go to” and we went out into the night,we huddled in a conspiratorial group ,had a final debate on the current national problem and dispersed in different direction, alone with the thought that something was not finished? The alcohol was beginning to fade and the loneliness was kicking in.
Only weak men went to the doctor ,all the medicine needed for a long and healthy life was on the shelf in public house.Brandy for the blood, gin for back pains,Guinness for all stomach areas,whiskey for cold or flu
rum for crises,and when the above failed then poteen was a last chance. This illegal whiskey could only be bought through a middle man and this may take time ,but well worth waiting for.The distillery was in a promote mountain area,the exact location known only by the few . The logic seemed to be that if you did not pay the government tax than the whiskey was pure (I suspect the fairies had a hand in it).