After you’ve been somewhere for a bit, you are bound to find a favorite place. It might be a store, café, park, theatre, museum, landmark, or building. In Ireland, for me, it was a pub. Here’s what happened one memorable night spent there.
At the end of my study abroad program in Ireland, my mom and dad came over. They traveled a bit on their own and then they were to meet up with me before the three of us were to travel on to Scotland and London. I had mixed feelings about seeing them. I was very excited to have them meet my friends (and I think my friends were kinda excited to see parents again, regardless of whose). But seeing them also meant this amazing summer was coming to an end.
The night they met up with me and friends it was raining a true rain and not an Irish Mist. An Irish Mist, by the way, is where nothing is really falling but there are water droplets hanging in the area, like a wet fog. This was a common occurrence in Ireland. But this night the rain was falling hard. We youngsters were running late so we ran along the Quayside and arrived soaking wet at my favorite pub – O’Shea’s Merchant – but the side bar, not the main bar (very important) .
Having introduced everybody, all nine of us squeezed in around one table. The delicious beer was flowing. My dad was asking questions of my friends, something he is known for and has scared away a few friends from ever coming into our house back home. He claims they are simple questions like “how are you doing” and “how’s school going,” but I think otherwise. No one shied away that night so he was content.
There was a live band playing in this small, cozy bar. Their fantastic music was captivating, a perfect backdrop for sharing our stories of the summer. Before too long one of my friends spilled a beer into my dad’s lap. The poor guy felt so badly and was very embarrassed (so much so that when I met his parents months later, that’s how they knew who I was – the girl who’s dad their son had spilt beer on).
An Irish gentleman from one table over decided to show the group how to play the spoons. He was showing my mom but she didn’t really have an interest. One of my girlfriends tried, but failed. The spoons soon ended as we noticed our side of the bar becoming increasingly more crowded. I thought that the bar just hit a popular time of the evening when an influx of people arrive.
That’s when we noticed the firemen in the bar.
Turns out there was a small fire in a room just off the bar. No alarm ever sounded and no one was asked to leave, despite there being some smoke entering the bar area. The firemen were just moving everyone from the right to the left side of the room. The band kept playing, the bartenders kept serving, and the patrons kept drinking. We were slightly baffled by this. But as everything seemed to be under control and no one showed any sign of being concerned about the fire, we cautiously adopted the “When in Ireland” attitude and continued our evening as before.
**Postscript. Upon reading this post, my mother wanted me to add something she recalled from that night. She most remembers when she overheard the firemen suggesting to the dancers that they move over to the left as there might be water on the right side of the dance floor.