It's snowing. Under the snow, it's icy. It's still February. (And how is it that the shortest month is always the longest month, anyway?) Time to take a trip! A virtual one, of course.
I've been thinking about Irish pubs lately, partly because I just read a rather interesting book about Irish pubs, written by a guy who writes for the New Yorker. It's called "A Pint of Plain" (as in the Flann O'Brien reference--"a pint of plain's your only man," referring to a pint of Guinness). In the book, the author travels throughout Dublin and beyond, visiting pub after pub, trying to find one that matches his understanding of the old-fashioned traditional pub, one that hasn't been all mucked up with false sentiment and fake antiques and scheduled sessions.
It's a fun book to read because I've been to a bunch of the pubs he visited--including Mulligan's on Poolbeg Street (as seen in the picture at top), and O'Donoghue's, and the Brazen Head, where I must confess I got extremely, um, happy the last time I was there, on account of the very fun band (Eamonn and the Boys) and the very nice people we happened to be sitting with, who liked us more and more as the night went on (and we them) and who kept buying us pints (and we them).
Anyway....all of this reminded me of the very first time that Doug and I went to Ireland, back in 1997. (My goodness--twelve years ago already.)
I've already told you one story from that trip, and I'll not repeat it here. (It was about the Strings and Flings festival in Donegal, and you can read it here, if you like.) On that same trip, we stayed with a friend who lived in a village outside of Galway City.
Being modern times, it didn't work quite that way for us. We had to go up to the bar. But still; it seemed like a charming idea, as far as segregation goes.
Last call came around 11 p.m. I'm trying to remember how the publican did it--I think he called out, "Time, gentlemen!" and clanged a bell, but maybe I'm getting that mixed up with some BBC miniseries or another.