Posts Tagged ‘Irish Life’

Pure Mule Weekend- A short Story

August 12, 2008


It was a fierce hot day in July and the work had worked up a right aul drouth on the pair of us. Myself and the other fella John had been under the Irish sun all day and were right and tired as well as sunburnt. Although that might sound laughable, with this global warming and what not, people do say that the sun is hotter and more dangerous these days. I don’t know shite but certainly this day I got a fair aul burning working out in the bog.

By six in the evening it was time to pack up and head for a pint. We fired the tools in the back of the van and headed for the nearest watering hole. This drinking establishment was the refuge of the working – man, the country farmer, the husband out for a sneaky pint to get a few minutes peace from the wife and the local teenagers who are in a hurry to grow up. Anyway, the pints of black porter with creamy yellowy heads were set upon the mahogany and it was only then after that first sip that we realised the weekend had begun.


“Decorate the mahogany”, I shouted at the young lassie behind the bar. Fair play to her, she dutifully carried down the beverages we required without hesitation. I do feel sorry for those poor craters working in bars and listening to the likes of myself shouting abuse and acting the cod on the other side of the counter. But sure that’s what they get paid for I suppose.  It wasn’t long until the pub began to fill up and the evening was getting on a bit too. I was in two minds to go on home after a loch of innocent enough pints or nip over to the house, get changed into the glad rags and head into town for an all out session. It was a tough call. I decided to make my decision after one more pint of which was going down very easy. In consultation with my work colleagues we decided to do the honourable thing and spread our wealth among the valued vintners of the town.


Being fortunate enough to live within walking distance of the pub I gainfully strolled home where I was greeted by my doting mother, who naturally enough had the spuds boiled and waiting on me. I had the dinner in me in no time and ran up the stairs for a bit of a shower, shave and to red the pipes. It was 10 o’ clock by this stage and time to make a move. I told the ma I’d see her in the morning. “No bother son” she replied. I bolted out the door like a greyhound out of the trap. Got myself a taxi into town and met the lads who were already there waiting on me.


On these little adventures into town the only objective was to blank out the monotony of the previous five working days and give the weekend a kick-start. I’m not much of a philosopher but I don’t think the majority of lads who get drunk at weekends actually think about why they get drunk. They just do.


There we were in The Shamrock bar and sure the slagging and the craic had already started as I was approaching the lads. ‘Get a round in there you miserable cunt before you sit down’ was roared at me by Paddy. Paddy I could safely say would be the ‘leader’ of the group, not exactly the sharpest tool in the box but not a bad fella all the same. As I approached the bar the young barmaid whom we have sort of gotten to know over the past few months handed me the drinks and a smile to go with them. It was the kind of smile that would make me feel good about myself as if I was worth something. The smile of a passing beauty that so seldom happens but when it does it gives you a warmth so deeply personal you can’t explain.


The night continued as you’d expect with a rake of pints and as I wasn’t in the mood to go with the rest of the eejits. I just got myself a curry and a taxi home courtesy of ‘Mr.T’ the Nigerian refugee turned hackney that so patiently returns the drunks of Monaghan to their beds.




 The Saturday I would consider as the best day of the week. It can be the best day because you know that you will have Sunday to recover from whatever shennanigans may proceed. I got up about 10.00 am and had a fry that me Ma had made. For those unaccustomed as to what a fry might mean, it’s basically a cooked breakfast containing a lot lot of pig and swallowed down with a dose of tea.

After the grub I didn’t do a whole pile bar a few odd jobs about the house and getting a few messages for the mother who since having a bit of a tip in the car is too afraid to go into town by herself anymore.

It was the weekend of the All-Ireland Qualifiers and somehow Monaghan had made it into the quarter finals. The whole county was on a high and I have to admit for once I had some sort of pride in where I came from. How fifteen biys kicking a ball of inflated leather around a field can instill a sense of personal belonging and meaning to one’s life I can’t explain. It just does.

I made my way into town to make sure I got a good seat in the pub to watch the game. Well- That’s what I told my mother. More to the point I was gagging for a pint. I met the usual heads and it wasn’t long until the rounds were started. The match ebbed and flowed in an epic David and Goliath type contest. The Monaghan minnows against the might of Kerry. This time however the giant conquered and the contender was vanquished. There was no David sling with which Monaghan could hurl at Kerry.

Despite the loss the Craic continued and we carried on into the night still proud and specualting on the ifs and buts.

I don’t remember much about the tail end of the night as it was drenched in a hazy cloud of inebriation.



 One of the rituals of rural Ireland that is still hanging on by a thin thread is the Sunday mass. Regardless of what sort of a sham you made of yourself the night before if the auld doll is still the ‘Bean an Ti’ she’ll have you up and out the door to get your weekly dose of communion. Sunday mass for me is usually a time for piecing together the events of the night before while I look around the chapel and see faces that provide me with flashbacks. My mind wanders and thinks; was I talking to Fintan Duffy last night or did I dream that? Did I organise a camping trip with John Murphy whom I haven’t met since we were in primary school?

Mass is the reality check needed after a week of monotony and mind numbing work and a weekend of excessive behavioural expression.

The sweats and shakes continue until the Sunday roast is dutifully eaten. That Sunday as I lay on the sofa after having my dinner I thought about my life. I thought about many things. I drifted off and imagined myslef doing something I had always wanted to do but never did. I imagined the achievements I was capable of and I hoped that somehow I would make things different.


Yes, Sunday was the day to take stock and ask yourself why do I do the same aul carry on week in, week out? I went to bed that evening contemplating these thoughts. I went to bed with the knowledge that I could do something better with my life. I knew I was stuck in a rut. I knew I was wasting my life. I knew I was a loser. I went to bed that night knowing I would get up in the morning to go to the work I loathe so much and my week will proceed exactly like the ones before and the ones to come. I went to bed knowing nothing will change.