Saturday, 15 March 2008

Saint Patrick - Patron Saint of My Blog

As a child, I spent many fantastic summers on a farm, in the small village of Lecanvey, Murrisk, (near Westport), County Mayo where my mother was born. It's in a spectacular setting at the foot of a mountain and overlooking the picturesque islands of Clew Bay. The mountain is called Croagh Patrick (known locally as 'The Reek') and apparently, the main man himself, St Patrick spent 40 days and 40 nights on the top, doing holy stuff like blessing rocks and casting out snakes and what-not. It's a pity St Paddy wouldn't come back and cast out the biggest snake known to man a.k.a. our fearless leader, Bertie Ahern.

Photo: Croagh Patrick

Photo: Clew Bay

There's a yearly pilgrimage on the last Sunday in July (Reek Sunday) where up to 40,000 people (some of them barefoot!) make the ascent over jagged slate rock to go to the church on the top.

As kids we had the privilege of knowing all the locals, so could cross over private property and climb up the back of the mountain which was an easier route. There was a great pub in the village called T. J. Stauntons or simply Peggy's to the locals. It had a games room in the back and it was here I met my first true love, a pool table. No not on the pool table! (keep your mind outta the gutter now!) I was only 10 years old and developed a passion for playing pool (badly) that continues to this day. b.t.w. it's normal for kids to be in pubs in the country in Ireland because remember it rains a lot, so where else can you go!

Then I developed my first vice, gambling on slot machines. Many vices to were follow in later years but at a young age, I loved the damn slots! The feeling you got and that noise (Clang, Clang Clang!) when that machine paid out even 30 pence was like you'd just won the jackpot. I also perfected my Space Invaders skills in the games room, so am now kitted out with the necessary skills to defend earth should the little green bastards ever invade. Great experiences, great memories, good times!

This will be my first Paddy's Day in South America - and its supposed to be a big one!

For the locals, here's some info on what's going on courtesy of Stefan at B.A. Insider Magazine

Wherever you happen to be, here's wishing you a



ellie March 15, 2008 10:10 pm  

Hope you have a great St Patricks Day can you get a good pint of the black stuff there ?

Quickroute March 15, 2008 10:20 pm  

Ellie: There's a few place's that serve good ol' Vitamin 'G' but it's just not the same as back home :-(
I hope your leak is fixed double quick!

Shaunj March 16, 2008 12:35 pm  

ah rainy sundays, Irish pubs with children going berserk/playing pool + club orange and cheese and onion crisps-what memories:D enjoy paddys day

David March 16, 2008 12:38 pm  

hey man hows the form!! Im from Co Down but also in BsAs for St Patricks this year, got myself one of these new fashionable argentine girlfriends on my arm so im stoppin off here for a year!! if you fancy a pint sometime give me a shout.. n happy paddys day to ye!!

Quickroute March 16, 2008 2:32 pm  

shaunj: good times alright - I just remembered the pub in the blog post also had pickled onion and worcester flavour chips - mmmmmm - me mouth is waterin' at the thought!

David: Good on ya! - Taking a year off and having a Argie woman is all the rage these days! I'm always up for a pint so will email you and set something up.

Baino March 16, 2008 3:52 pm  

Well being a day ahead of all of you, it's St Paddy's day here today. Parade in Sydney on Saturday and lots of the orange and green around. I think expats make more of a thing of it than those in Ireland! Happy St Pats to you . . cheese and onion crisps . . mmmmmm .. .my Irish work colleague reckons Guinness in Australia and New Zealand tastes like rusty poo!

Quickroute March 16, 2008 5:25 pm  

Baino: It's interesting, when I lived in Ireland Paddy's day was just a public holiday with a fairly naff parade. Now it's a huge tourist attraction with a weeks worth of festivities and debauchery.

When I was in your neck o' the woods I went to Kitty O'Shea's on Oxford St.

Marketing Irish-ness is big business these days!

Patricia March 17, 2008 10:47 am  

Enda, querido, el pueblo esta contigo!!! (Ask Clau to translate it, if it's not clear, haha) Have a super duper St Patrick's Day, would it count as my patron saint too? In any case we'll drink to you and your saint and your very dear wife.CARPE DIEM
We miss you loads!!!

Quickroute March 17, 2008 11:39 am  

Patricia: Thanks and yes St Paddy is for everyone! Saludos to Alfonso!

red March 18, 2008 1:51 pm  

Sorry I'm a day late, I hope you had a lovely Paddy's day.

Quickroute March 18, 2008 5:43 pm  

Red: The day was lovely to be sure! The day after has not been so lovely - I reckon I need 'hair o' the dog!

Queen Of Clean March 23, 2008 10:54 am  

*Arrives late, as usual*

Hey, the Reek!! I moved to Cork from Mayo last year, I love Westport, pity there was no work!

I 'did' the Reek with Hubby summer before last, it nearly killed me! I thought I was fit, and I have done hill walking over the years, but I was puffing I can tell you!

To add insult to injury, this guy who looked about 70 and 5 stone wringing wet, passed us three times, as he ran up and down again!! I asked him if he was doing it for charity but he said he was doing it 'for fun'!!

Quickroute March 23, 2008 1:37 pm  

Queenie: Hiking up the Reek is good exercise alright! The cheek of that 70 year old - He should've been on a zimmerframe!

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