Posted by: ralphmexico | August 24, 2010

GETTING ALONG ON CYCLE & SONG

Once I was afraid.  Listeners, I was petrified.  I would not survive if I was viewed as a pseud.
 
I lived in Limerick.  I spent my days taking it from The Man; my lunch-times speculating in Paddy Powers; my evenings holed up in Mickey Martins; and my nights in shining karma (there was a big Zen scene in Limerick a decade ago).
 
I didn’t think.  Therefore I wasn’t.  To express a cultured opinion would have been too much, too young.  Truly, you can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think. 
 
I lived near the Hunt Museum.  I worked near the Hunt Museum.  I was forever on the hunt, but I never went near the museum.
 
Until last Wednesday.
 
A museum trip worth waiting for.
 
And also worth the hefty 8euro entrance fee.  There’s only three floors but it’s an exquisite building, plonked by the shores of the Shannon with a view of the skobes going into the courthouse, and the proles sheltering under King John’s castle’s mews.
 
One Picasso was on loan to a Barcelona gallery and a pencil drawing by the dirty old Spaniard was in a drawer.  There was the obligatory Connemara landscape by Paul Henry and some Jack B. Yeats paint-jobs.  A large collection of excavated gear from a dig personally supervised by the Hunt family in North Africa; marble statues of Greek gods; chalices of every era, and a dainty cross that Mary, Queen of Scots used to wear.
 
The ground floor held the sunken treasures.  A captivating display of two dozen crucifixes of every size and material from the Ice Age to the Dole Age; various religious artefacts, and the piece de resistance: “The Dekadrachma of Syracuse”.  Allegedly this is one of the 30 pieces of silver given to Judas when he agreed to move from Liverpool to Everton.  One of the thirty pieces of silver, eh?  Only John Treacy’s house has an exhibit to match this.
 
A quote from Matthew – “Because it is the price of blood” – is inscribed on the coin.  The immortal quote from Jimmy Magee – “They’re going for silver, they’re going for gold. John Treacy has one hundred metres to go. In the past Ireland have won bronze medals with John Caldwell, Freddie Gilroy, ‘Socks’ Byrne, Jim McCourt, Hugh Russell. They’ve won golds with Pat O’Callaghan twice, Bob Tisdall, Ron Delaney. They’ve won silvers with John McNally, Fred Tiedt, Wilkins and Wilkinson and for the thirteenth time an Irish medal goes to John Treacy. The little man with the great heart” – is inscribed on the medal.
 
Maybe. 
 
The Hunt Museum.  Go visit.  It’s free every Sunday ferchrissakes.  The paint on the walls is called Book Room Red.  Exactly.
 
Bye-Bye Limerick.  Hello Ballyvaughan and The Burren.  A cycle in the rain on Wednesday evening took us on the road to God knows nowhere, down the cowpath of bewilderment, and over the passage of jutting stones. 
 
In The Burren.  Deep in the heart of nowhere.  Hard Rock, No Cafe. 
 
The bikes were pointed for home.  Giving up, and giving out about the quality of the map.  Saddlesore, wet, and thirsty.  A few pints were had in Logues with a trio of Dublin brothers of advanced years.  We would meet again.
 
Thursday delivered sunshine in spades.  An easy cycle to Fanore, following a route that could possibly be the most scenic in Ireland.  Fintan O’ Toole concurs.  He was so impressed he bought a house along the road. 
 
Fanore has a rocky beach, some llamas breeding nearby, dead stoats by the ditch, and the park that features in the episode of “Father Ted” where Graham Norton dances in a caravan like a cat on a hot tin roof.  There is, as yet, no plaque to mark the spot.
 
Into O’Lochlainns that night.  Met up with the trio of Dubs again.  There was a balladeering session going on in the opposite corner for the moronic inferno of tourists.  “Black Is The Colour”.  “Red Is The Rose”.  Dire Is The Singing.
 
As the Dubs left us, one of them said “I’ll show them some singing before I go”.  Sure enough, there was a bit of hush as he walked out the door.  Silence.  Then he stormed back in full flow and took the place apart with an astounding version of “The Bold Gendarmes” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIqsMpaTHY0
 
It was like an evening of listening to Curiosity Killed The Cat’s greatest hits being interrupted by Jimi Hendrix arriving down the chimney with his guitar on fire playing “Crosstown Traffic”, backed by Animal from The Muppets on drums, with Joanie from “Mad Men” handing out towels soaked in LSD to the audience.
 
O’Lochlainn’s was blown asunder by our Dublin friend.  Like a wizard, a true star, he finished, threw a salute our way, and disappeared into the night. 
 
The place exploded with applause.  There was shouts for “More”.  Then there was silence as everyone checked their faculties to be sure to be sure of what they’d just witnessed. 
 
We sat at the bar.  I uttered the MacGowanesque request of “Lend me a tenner and I’ll buy you a drink” to my Godson’s father. 
 
Little else was spoken.  We drank deep from our glasses.  Happy as sandboys.  High on the improbability of it all.  So it goes.
 
(Almost) New Picnic Time!!
Ralph Mexico
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