I’m hoping that, from the above, you’ve twigged that I’m in Kerry…well I’m not there yet. I’m scooting along the N21 but my careless memory has forgotten to remind me of the Friday traffic snarl-up in Adare. Just in time, I spot the beginning of the neon queue of brake lights 6km from the village. I dally for a moment and ask myself ‘Am I in the mood for this’, and then do an illegal u-turn and pick up the road to Macroom. If I hadn’t, I figured I might have had cause to break the law in a much more attention grabbing fashion, before reaching Adare. I take a back road to Ballingarry and on to Newcastle West. I think I’m in clover, only to discover that the traffic is inching through Newcastle West as well. No escape this time. It’s slightly less bothersome in Abbeyfeale, before the freedom of a straight run to Tralee.
Nevertheless, I find inching along in traffic as draining as 4hours in Dublin Airport and I’ll drive to Tralee via Ballybofey to avoid a traffic jam.
My destination is Cloghane Village. It’s a single street village breasting the middle bay on the north of the Dingle Penninsula. They’re having a shindig this weekend July5,6,7 and I’m to get the proceeding under way in the Halla Le Chéile at 7.30.
When I clock into my lodgings/hostelry at a little after 5, I’m like the proverbial wet rag. I’m insisting that I need to lie down and recuperate, but before I know it I’m chatting to a bunch of J.B.Keane lovers who come to Cloghane annually to stage one of his plays. At 6.30 we’re still chattering and I drag myself to my room if only to still my mind for twenty minutes.
The concert is a joy. My fretting that nobody would show due to the unseasonably beautiful weather, (which must be taken advantage of while it lasts), was unfounded. The rapport built to the point where I felt comfortable enough to share one of my few Kerry stories.
Many summers ago, I was playing a gig in a Dingle bar, the name of which, presently, escapes me. I had to return to Kilkenny straight after the gig, so I figured a nap somewhere before the gig would be advisable. Having done a perfunctory sound-check, I drove to the outside of the town and found a little by-road that took you down to the waters edge. I didn’t go the whole way down, but settled in the gateway of a field about halfway down. When I’m tired, I can sleep on nails, so it wasn’t long before the seagulls skimming the calm waters of Dingle Bay were moving in and out of focus. Seconds later I was in dreamland. Seconds later, again, there was a loud rap on the car window. I woke to see an elderly couple outside the window. As I rolled the window down, the man said:
“Woodu sittle an argimint?”
I don’t know what kind of a grunt I made in response, but he wasn’t put off.
“Meself and herself were passing and I said that you look awful like the man on the radio?”(My brother David was front man on Morning Ireland show on RTE at the time), and he continued, “We were jusht wondering what has you in this neck of the woods?”
“No, I’m sorry” I said, “You have the wrong man. You’re mixing me up with my brother”
“Well dat sittles it. Herself said that you didn’t look a bit like him”
“No bother” I said, diplomatically, knowing not how long I had napped, but now certain that I would be able to nod off again.
“We’ll let you back to your snoozing, and not be annoying you so”