The ATM in Clonmel asked me to kindly withdraw my card “fully” upon completion of the transaction. Evidently locals are very flathúlach with their bank cards and only ever half remove them, leaving bits of cards stuck in Geldautomats all over Tipperary.
Nevertheless, we were treated royally during our brief stay, my aunt and uncle – like my cousin before – rolling out the five star roast spud and cinnamon cake treatment to ensure their grand nephew/cousin will visit again. I’ll be tolerated as his mode of transport but am happy to oblige with such hospitality.
“Jaaaaysus,” my uncle said when he opened the door to be confronted by the nipper brandishing a Waterford hurley.
The preemptive strike failed to allay the unfortunate hurling references and predictable gloating, but the little fella’s impressive stickwork and poise off the ball reassure me that a star to quash Tipp taunts is in the making.
We brought him to Sliabh na mBan, where his namesake was once either enchanted by women or women raced to the top to marry him. These legends’ details are somewhat sketchy given the passage of time. Either way, the nipper fell asleep, evidently not impressed by the view nor stories of heroes’ exploits.
On Thursday I’d my first pint since landing on these shores. It was probably the longest I’ve gone without a pint on these shores since I myself was a babe in arms. It coincided with the long overdue (two years!) reunion with Noddy, who passed through Nagle’s in Kilsheelan to regale us with stories of standing on poisonous snakes and being eaten by fire ants. And we finally met his wife! A fine addition to the family. They’re getting married again tomorrow.
I’m home now at last, introducing the nipper to his roots and the cows next door. One little sneeze was enough to send them all running for the far corner of the field. Cow-ards. He had no thought of fear when he dived straight into the sand at Duncannon as the Sunny South East lived up to its name.
Tonight Noddy accepted responsibility for the little fella’s religious and mafia upbringing. As godfather, I'm sure he'll teach him plenty of valuable lessons in life. How to avoid poisonous snakes and fire ants will be among the early lessons no doubt.
Now though the village is abuzz with the excitement of his nuptials – Noddy’s nuptials, the nipper is still a bit young for that kind of carry on (at least until a substantial dowry is offered) – with people from far, wide and narrow here for the festivities. Rumours of fire-chickens are flying. (Unlike the unfortunate chickens.) It promises to be quite a hooley.