The Craic in Limerick

I’d kept to myself yesterday when I arrived at Kate Daly’s pub.

When I entered, I was cold and drenched. The hail, rain, and wind had just pelted me into a corner of the castle wall (I was looking for an entrance, but alas the castle is completely closed for renovation). Finding no way in, I had little choice but turn back.  I’d snapped some images of Kate Daly’s pub before making that fateful turn toward the bridge off King’s Island. When I saw the pub, I mused to myself that people were drinking at this time of day, and I proceeded onward.  But after the pelting I’d just taken, the pub seemed to offer warmth and hope for survival.

But the place was warm and quite.  The men — all men — clustered around the bar were wide-eyed when I burst through the door.

I’d requested hot tea but was told they had none.  My purchase of a Blumer’s (by the bottle — a fairly costly choice), secured me a seat at the pub.  The bar man suggested I’d be comfortable by the fire.  I embraced the suggestion, peeled out of my wet outer garments, and made myself at home.

I sat there for a long, long while.  The faces people at the bar changed over time, but the composition and number remained steady.

With sun rays intermittently shining through the clouds (As they normally do in Ireland), I determined it was time to leave.  After all, I needed some food to offset the effects of that cider!

On the way to the door, however, the men at the bar posed a few friendly questions.

And that set things right — it’s not usual to leave a pub here without partaking in some friendly chatter.  I’d felt okay taking the role of a tourist today, but it didn’t seem entirely right given my interest in fitting in here.

So I jumped right in and enjoyed some craic.

And, boy, did I mean a host of characters!  The folks in the photos above were key players in the banter.  We had fun.

I eventually declined the (inevitable) offer of another drink and slipped out into a (different) moment of sunshine on my way to find food.  Before I found anything edible, however, I came across some picturesque reflections and  attended a lecture at the Hunt Museum on “upcycling” discarded items into artworks and usable objects. The lecture was sponsored by Limerick’s Tidy Towns committee and delivered by a woman named Mary (another Hail Mary I discovered yesterday in Limerick!).

I left Kate Daly's pub and discovered this reflection just moments before my iPhone battery died. The blogging I did with in in Kate Daly's drained it....

I left Kate Daly’s pub and discovered this reflection just moments before my iPhone battery died. The blogging I did with in in Kate Daly’s drained it….

Finding Gavin Duffy

Gavin (left), his brother Aidan, and the Monday night musicians at Hughes Pub.

Finding Gavin Duffy has been a challenge lately.  This case is much different from finding Kevin Donleavy, but this story also ends in a pub.

November is notoriously hectic in the university world, and Gavin works so hard and teaches so many hours that he doesn’t have much time for lunch chatter these days.  In addition, he’s got his hands full at home with three growing kids and another (surprise!) on the way.  (Congrats are in order to Gavin and Carmel and their three very-happy-to-have-a-new-sibling kids!)

But I also want to do my job here, which is to help Gavin progress with his dissertation.  I want to make sure we’re ready to meet with his dissertation advisor Thursday.  We really need to have something new to say.  We need to show some progress — so as to use Rob’s (and our) time well.

In any case, I know I can track Gavin down in my own neighborhood once a week, when his group of musicians gathers to play at Hughes Pub.

We shared our research progress, quickly between songs last night, and had some fun in the meantime.

I’ve spent more than a little time at Hughes Pub this week.  Saturday night I went in at ten o’clock not knowing a soul.  I left at two in the morning with three new friends: Dubliners Kathleen, Sean, and Mick.

Paddy Woodward described the feel at Hughes as a fine suburban-style pub, if I remember correctly. I didn’t understand until I visited the back part last Saturday. I arrived with the tourist crowd…

…and left with the locals. Thanks for tons of laughs Kathleen, Sean, and Mick!