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Mikey Ryan Is Home From Lanzarote

First off, Mikey Ryan may be many things, but he is not a liar. Himself and myself were in The Arch Bar, Liberty Square, here in Thurles, today enjoying our second Pina Colada, when he quietly shared this tale with me, on the strict condition I wouldn’t repeat it.

Mikey had returned from his 10 day stint in Lanzarote just yesterday, and was sharing newly acquired wisdom, having experienced for the first time the delectable flavour achieved by the mixing of Bacardi Carta Blanco with fresh pineapple juice, not to mention a tablespoonful of coconut cream.

Anyway, Mikey was extolling the virtues of Lanzarote Cocktail bars, which eventually brought him round to talking about the activities of a certain pub here in Friar Street, Thurles, which had changed hands back in the late 1950’s, “No names, no court-martials”, as Mikey stated .

The new proprietor, it seems, had thought of everything to attract prospective clientèle; a new dart board, centred in a half tyre to protect his newly painted wall from near misses; two decks of shiny waxed playing cards for games of ‘Old Maid’; a bar billiards table which accepted only an Irish Sixpence in order to acquire the 8 balls with which to play; a small stage area for Accordion or Fiddle players of Irish music; a new carpet for women who might enter for a sherry, to frequent the small ‘Snug’, and three shiny brass Spittoons, latter strategically positioned in the public bar, so as those who became ‘legless’, wouldn’t fall over them.

On the eve of the night of the ‘Grand Official Opening’, the proud new proprietor copped Mikey Ryan heading down the street and summoned him to cast his experienced eye over his new establishment. Mikey having discovered that all first drinks would be free, if patrons showed up before 8.30 p.m., suddenly showed interest. Having surveyed the premises favourably, Mikey decided there was just one small change required to this new exciting 20th century licensed hostelry.

“Yes, free Snuff must be positioned on the counter for all customers”, said Mikey.  As he correctly stated, this premises in the past had always provided free Snuff, and to halt this practise now could be detrimental to any future business, not to mention the Good Will; same built up since as far back as the Great Famine, when it first opened its doors.  Trouble now facing the anxious proprietor was that the licensed tobacco shops in Thurles were now closed and where would he get Snuff for the opening taking place in less than 2 hours?

Running a last minute broom around the pavement in front of the pub, suddenly there appeared a possible answer; yes, a dog shit on the pavement.  Picking it up on his shovel he quickly transported same to a saucepan inside, before placing it over the open fire. Having dried it sufficiently, he then ground it into a fine brown powder with the fire poker, before placing same in two metal egg cups, on his polished counter top.

According to Mikey, the first visitor through the door that night was the Chairperson of Thurles UDC. “One pint of Guinness and a whiskey chaser to start, if you please”, said the Councillor, reaching for a pinch of Snuff, before inhaling what he believed was pulverised, smokeless, tobacco powder, deep into both his nasal cavities.

Within seconds he was checking his shoes; had he accidentally walked in dog do-do, dragging it into the newly refurbished premises? A thorough and careful examination of both shoes, trouser legs and hands revealed nothing untoward. The Councillor made a mental note to bring the matter of ‘dog shit’ up at the next local monthly Council meeting; now believing that perhaps it was the new proprietor himself who had accidentally walked in the offending excrement.

The next visitor to enter the pubs portal was the local Teachta Dála (TD). The TD and Councillor shook hands, as is customary on such occasions, before the Councillor, in low tones remarked, “Tell me, do you get an awful smell of dog shit in here, or is it my imagination”.

The TD sniffed the air a couple of times, before stating he could smell absolutely nothing, before he, himself reached out for a pinch of the Snuff provided, and again inhaled it deep into both his nasal cavities.

“Powerfull Snuff that,” said the TD sneezing, “Jasus that stuff has really cleared my head, proof is I can now smell that dog shit you referred too earlier.”


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