I hadn’t realised how huge the Rugby scene was in Limerick even after I witnessed the epic “40 phases of play” the Munster team pulled off in the Heinekin Cup opener of 2011 (which I wrote about here). But after I started working and rowing there, if I had been in any doubt about the connection Limerick has to Rugby, it was erased the other day when I drove through a roundabout on the southern side of town and saw signs for three different clubs all in the same place!
Shortly after we moved to Ireland I asked my father-in-law if he wanted to go grab a pint with me and as we headed out from his house he suggested we go to the Sibín bar (Shebeen) and pay our respects at a wake for a neighbour that had passed away. As we turned at the crossroads, Jim says “she used to live in that cottage there” and I said “oh, Mrs. Mangan?” as if I might have known her.
My father-in-law asked incredulously, “how do you know Mrs. Mangan?” and I said “I don’t, but everyone refers to that crossroads as Mangan’s Cross, so I just guessed”. We had a little laugh, but it occurred to me that like “The Bog Road”, so many of the crucial landmarks in Ireland have names that only the neighbours know – that don’t show up on the map and are only passed along orally and rarely referenced in text or print.
As we sipped our pints in this cozy pub in the tiny township of Doora, Jim told me about old fellows, long gone, that had sat on stools like ours and sung a song about the local boys who had volunteered to fight for England in WWI with the promise of being repaid with Irish independence.
Jim speculated that the old fellow who sang that song was probably the last one who remembered “The Doora Volunteers” and knew the words that described the young soldiers’ humorous ineptitude. I wondered if Jim was now the only person left who knew that song. How fast time erases history.
I wonder how many generations will continue to say “turn right at Mangan’s cross to get to the Sibín”?
(this post is dedicated to the memory of my Aunt Kay with gratitude for all the Arizona history she helped preserve RIP)
I happened to look at Grace making her own lunch the other day, mainly candy corn mixed with a little chocolate. Before I intervened I had to take a photo.
“Why are you taking a picture, Dad?” “Because I can’t believe you thought this would be an acceptable lunch.” “But I’m adding nuts to make it healthy.”
I knew spring had sprung when I looked out the bathroom window the other morning and saw the cattle. Mary calls fromthe bedroom “what are you doing in there?” “Taking a picture out the window” says I.
Young, freshly gelded bullocks romping in the field marks the beginning of this year’s meat production cycle. With it comes Grace’s annual declaration that she is a vegetarian. That lasted almost a whole day.
I love it when government acknowledges the power of the mystical, so I’ve been carrying this photo around in my phone since January when the new license plates started appearing on Irish cars.
In December of 2011 I wrote at length about the Irish car registration system and how the government decided that putting the year of manufacture in big numbers at the beginning of the Licanse Plate would shame people into buying newer cars – and it did. (my old post about the reg plates) But they didn’t take into account how this would impact car sales in the year 2013 when there would be a big “13″ on everyone’s car which would be bad luck.
So this year, in order to avoid putting a hex on everyone’s car, the Irish government represented the year with “131″. Because as the farmer said “I don’t believe in Fairies, but don’t tell them that”.
When the sun comes out in the West of Ireland one makes the most out of it. Sunday was a perfect day for sun because after a week of long days at work and the MBA program I had promised myself to spend the whole day focused on family related activities.
So with the thermometer at 1 degree we bundled up and headed for the under-15 Munster Rugby final where our friend’s son won the championship. The girls had never seen such brutality up close and Tara had to avert her eyes from the primal sight of males beating the heck out of each other.
After the match we headed up to the Cratloe woods where there is a big play area for the kids and endless woods to walk in.
The walk ended with a picnic on the boot of the car which I continue to assert is called the trunk.