I arrive in Quin at about 3.30 and adjourn to a local hostelry for a coffee. There is a solitary soul at the bar and he is getting into a bit of a tizzy. He’s glued to the large screen and it’s neck and neck as they’re coming into the straight. Ten seconds later he is holding his head in his hands like a holidaymaker who forgot to set the handbrake and is now watching his car go over the cliff.
“Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, I knew I shoulda backed the bastard. I fucken knew it, I knew it”
The girl behind the counter doesn’t take her eyes from her iphone, but says,
“Hard luck again, Tommy”
“I coulda got threes on him” he says, “The bastard”, and feigns to bang his head off the counter a couple of times for my benefit.
I order a coffee and ring Terry. Terry arrives and brings me to The Abbey Tavern and books me in. He tells me that he and P.J have a couple of things planned for the afternoon. A visit to the home of Robbie McMahon, and a chat with a local historian, but first there is a photographer from the Clare Champion who wants a couple of shots for next weeks edition. He insists on getting the committee, the abbey, the poster for the gig, and me into the same picture. If he could have squeezed in the Poll Na Brón dolmen as well, I’m sure it would have made his day?
Terry and P.J have obviously been reading my blurb and I thank them for taking the trouble to put this stuff in place.
Robbie lives within an asse’s roar of the fair site of Spancilhill, and to my shame I’m unaware of his prowess as a singer. Robbie’s wife makes the three of us welcome and P.J does the introducing. P.J and Robbie exchange banter about the characters in the song…the Tailor Quigley, Father Dan, etc.
“Give us a verse of it,”says P.J.
“A verse a what?” says Robbie whose 85 year old ears are suspect.
“The Hill” says P.J.