The music is the easy part……finding the gig can be a lot more difficult. Last Saturday, I’m down to play for the good folk in Inch, Co Tipperary. Catheriona is my contact and has been more than diligent in the last few weeks doing the groundwork. Somewhere along the way she did mention that the gig was just 10miles north of Thurles….this piece of valuable information was filed in the trash dept of my brain along with bad song for songs, sexual fantasies, and diatribes on the Banks (no not the wonderful song.). The chances of it surfacing on Saturday were small, so as I checked the location of Inch on my AA road atlas, I found it to be closer to Newport than Thurles. I felt a slight unease, but I took off confidently.
As I journeyed further into the Tipperary wilderness along the R503, the valuable nugget of info stayed buried. I stopped a man walking his dog and he said ‘If you stay on this road, you’ll shortly be in a village called Rearcross’. “Oh Mother-a-God” I said to myself in my best Joe Duffy. “Why does this always happen to me?”.
“That’s what you get for not listening in class, Hanly”
The road is worsening and I’m losing what little equilibrium that I have on gig day. I come to a bar on the side of the road called ‘The Congo’ The lights are on, but there is nobody home…..at 6.30 on a Saturday evening? In my head, I hear a banjo and a guitar trading licks, as I knock on the door the adjoining house. A frightened woman eventually answers and tells me I should go back as far as The Cross Bar, and ask someone there.
I’m relieved. I know that The Cross Bar will mean that I’m in Tipperary and not in Africa?
I boot all the way back and make more inquiries. ‘Sure there’s no community hall in Inch’ say’s me man at the Cross, ‘You’re looking for the other Inch entirely…you have to go back to Ballycahill’.
‘Are you sure?’ say’s I.
‘Sure the Missus is from there’ Well sure how could he be wrong?
I’d say that Ballycahill is about a mile from Thurles? I arrived in the other Inch with a half hour to go and when I mentioned that I’d reached The Congo, they fell around at the good of it.