Fact can often appear to be well written fiction. How many times have we heard the expression “You couldn’t make this stuff up.” A few years ago I experienced one of these wonderful moments.
It occurred in “Iggy’s” pub in Kincasslagh, on the west coast of Donegal. This remote place has two famous sons, Daniel O’Donnell (a very popular country and western crooner) and Packie Bonner (a famous and long serving Irish International soccer player).
This is a beautiful and magical part of the world. The road to Kincasslagh is narrow and undulating. This effect is exaggerated when travelling it by car at no more than 25-30 miles per hour. At one moment you rise to the brow of a small hill and get a lovely but fleeting view of the sea and then you plunge into a hollow surrounded by boulders and a few small trees. It’s like a fair ground ride on the helter-skelter.
Exhilarated and relieved, we finally arrived at Iggy’s, name after its owner – Ignatius. The bar was clean and well arranged, a reflection of the fastidious nature of its proprietor. It was lunch time. Iggy was behind the bar. The only customers were three English octogenarians, two men and one woman. Despite their advancing years they looked healthy and tanned. They had old-fashioned and very posh “home counties” accents.
They were sailors and were very keen to hear the BBC shipping forecast on the radio. Iggy duly provided this while they leant forward across the bar with ears cocked. As soon as they heard it they left in a bit of hurry. A few minutes passed before the next traveller arrived.
He was about forty years old with a strong Belfast accent. He appeared a little agitated, although he gave the impression that he was in a permanent state of mild irritation. Having taken a high stool at the bar he unfolded his map across three feet of it. After another minute had passed, he said:-
“Where am I?”
“You’re in Kincasslagh” was the short and efficient reply from Iggy.
“Well it’s not on the map.” said the Belfast man.
“Excuse me… It’s very much on the map. Have you not heard of Daniel O’Donnell and Packie Bonner?”
PS: For more Irish musings please check out my website: danielmdoyle.com and my book, London Irish Dublin English, on Amazon.