Ever been Holed up in a Sheebeen in the West of Ireland?
Myself and Himself headed off for a one night stay in Westport (or as Bridget Jones would say a ‘full blown mini-break weekend’). It’s a three hour drive from Dublin so I thought I could cajole him into making it two nights, but he couldn’t be persuaded. In retrospect this was a good plan as the parting comment from my teenage son as we left “I’ll only have a few of my mates over, just one or two”(yeah right..)
It was my Christmas present, the night away. He asked what I wanted and I replied ‘whisk me away for a romantic night of moonlight and music’. So we ended up in Westport, where the rain is biblical and the moonlight nowhere to be seen behind the thunderous black clouds.
When it’s not raining, Westport is a beautiful little town full of quaint traditional pubs, cosy fires, seafood restaurants, live music, weird and wonderful quirky little shops and a lively atmosphere everywhere you go. But lets be honest, what can you do in the face of a deluge of biblical proportions. The only thing for it was to head to the nearest Shebeen for liquid sustenance and some seafood chowder by a blazing turf fire. Life doesn’t get much better.
On Saturday night we found a nice corner in an old pub and nestled in for the night for what we thought would be a few quiet drinking. By 9.30 the place was full. At 10pm the live music arrived, a couple of guys with guitars. For the week that was in it, they started playing David Bowie numbers to our absolute delight. A sing song of sorts erupted. A handful of girls there on a hens weekend appeared and livened up the proceedings. A makeshift dance floor no bigger than a postage stamp allowed the hens to strut their stuff. They were lets say ‘spirited’ but not messy, just givin’ it socks. The place heaving with people at this stage, encouraged by the sing song, the guitar guys decided to crank it up a notch. The usual crowd pleasers belted out ‘Sweet Caroline’ , ‘Brown Eyed Girl’, ‘Uptown Funk’ weirdly interspersed with a few traditional Irish ballads. I looked around, everyone seemed to be joining in a woozy rendition of ‘Jean Genie’ .
The hens were up to mischief, getting the local guys to join in the shenanigans. The place was hoppin!. A strange mix of everybody and anybody. A few young women tottered into the bar in their skyscraper heals. Strangely not out of place sipping prosecco while standing next to sprightly old codgers who were downing the black stuff like there was no tomorrow. Now normally I’d be in the middle of it, giving it socks, however as I’m still doing my Dry January challenge, I take on the role of UN observer. People watching is almost as much fun (do I sound convinced). At about 2pm, way over the allotted time, an almighty crash sounded as one of the hens in a semi drunken stupor, shimmied into the music speaker, instantly killing the sound. Slightly dazed, she wobbled out the door. Suddenly everyone sobered up. The musicians called it a day and the place emptied. Himself missed all the action as he was in the loo. One minute the place is heaving, he comes back and within two minutes the place emptied. “What happened? Where’s everybody gone?” He looked around bemused.
All in all, a typical night in Westport, where the craic is mighty and you always go home with a warm fuzzy feeling .