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Posts Tagged ‘Sligo’

An Irish Interlude – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on February 18, 2023

By Ira Katz

With all of the problems in the world, the small moments of refreshing human contact should be appreciated. Last Friday I was on the metro line 6 in Paris going from Bir Hakeem (the Eiffel Tower) to Etoile (the Arc de Triomphe). An Irish family entered the car at the same time I did. It was a typically cool February day in Paris and listening to the Irish accent of the parents with their kids, I began to think of a pint of Guinness.

I was on my way to a restaurant in Montmartre to have dinner with my wife near where she was working. I also planned to do my daily walk in Paris. It is about two miles from the Arc de Triomphe to the Moulin Rouge. The walking route passes through Parc Monceau. It is a lovely greenspace, bubbling with children at play,  an emerald set in a fashionable neighborhood of luxurious Hausmannian townhouses. The neighborhood changes, literally across the tracks, the several lines leaving Gare Saint Lazare. Here it is much more commercial with not the same level of affluence. The route continues through the Place de Clichy, where  François Truffaut set much of his classic The 400 Blows. Just past there, 100 m from the Moulin Rouge, I found Corcoran’s Irish Pub.

I was more than one hour in advance and only five minutes from the restaurant, so I stopped for that pint of Guinness that came to my mind on the metro. The place was almost empty, surprising to me it being 6 PM on a Friday night, so there were plenty of free places at the bar. Just after my pint was served four people tumbled into the pub and placed themselves at the angle of the bar next to me. There were two women in their 40s, and what I thought was an attractive young couple in their mid 20s. They were in a jovial mood and immediately ordered four Baby Guinnesses. I thought they must be small, half-pints of Guinness. In fact, a Baby Guinness does not contain Guinness, but is a shot of coffee liqueur and Irish Cream made to look like a Gunniess with the white cream floating on top of the black liqueur (more below). As the four shots were being prepared another was ordered for the bartender. And in short order a sixth was ordered for me.

Drinks lead to conversation. First, they were incredulous about my name. The name IRA is not common in Ireland except for a certain organization. The women in their 40s had lived in Paris even longer than I have. We talked about being expats and raising children with English speaking parents in France. The young couple were in fact brother and sister, and the nephew and niece of one of the women, and had just arrived from Ireland to visit their aunt. We talked about where they lived near Dublin. Then I mentioned my knowledge of Ireland and the town of Sligo. This was also the favorite Irish town of my new friends. There was not a word about Covid, Ukraine, ….

Back in the last century I was watching the John Wayne film The Quiet Man. This viewing incited me to use my frequent flier miles for a trip to Ireland. I was living in San Antonio, TX so I was in search of cool and wet weather in the summer.  Experiencing the Irish weather in August was like a reprieve from the inferno. The morning after I arrived in Dublin I walked down to the Connolly Train Station and took the next train out of town, leaving the destination totally to chance.  To my good fortune the destination was Sligo on the northwest coast of the island.  It was a tight little town with many small shops, churches on the hills, and the picturesque Garavogue River flowing through the heart of it into Sligo Bay.

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