Cute hoors in Kerry

Kerry was the next stop on the itinerary. "Wild camping" behind the sand dunes at the beach at Ventry on the Dingle peninsula. Not very wild to be honest. No bears, snakes or lions to contend with, which should be the minimum requisite before anything can be considered "wild".
In Ireland, wild camping just means going without a shower and peeing behind bushes. Pubs can be used for other business, and in this case we had Páidí Ó'Sé's pub up the bodhreen from the beach. There was a céilí on when we arrived on Thursday night but only the Americans were paying any notice.
Páidí himself seemed happy enough though, and the archetypical cute hoor went around greeting people as if a rock star. Famous, of course, in these parts and beyond for his footballing exploits, the former Kerry manager infamously caused outrage when describing Kerry fans as "fucking animals". He should know. The pub is stuffed with pictures of himself - modesty is evidently not one of Páidí's qualities.

Just up the road from the pub the next day, I noticed a cow eating and shitting at the same time, apparently without any qualms or sense of awkwardness. In one end, out the other. I thought it a great time-saving measure, and excitedly informed Jenny that all cows eat and shit at the same time.
"You can't generalise for all cows based on what one does," she told me. As if there just happened to be one crazy cow in the field, with the others turning their eyes to heaven at her lack of decorum. Of course, all the mad cows are in England, although they're all convinced they're giraffes.

On our way to Tralee to meet Jenny's friend Johnny, we stopped off at the South Pole Inn, the pub opened and run by retired polar explorer Tom Crean in his native Annascaul. (That's him on the right with sled dog puppies in 1915.) I expected to find the pub stuffed with penguins seeking respite from the Irish weather, but there was only an old woman there who kept talking to the staff despite their best efforts to ignore her.

Irish hospitality means stuffing your guest with food and drink until they can neither eat nor drink anymore. Whether you want it at all is irrelevant. "Ah go on, you'll have another bit." Not until it's coming out of your ears will no be taken for for an answer. Not that I'm complaining. Far from it!

This time it was the turn of Johnny and his wife Kathleen who had cooked us dinner. Unfortunately Johnny had forgotten Jenny was a vegetarian. Pandemonium! Johnny pulled out everything he had in the house that wasn't beef strogonoff or chicken curry. A chopped-up kiwi, some dried fruit and nuts... anything he could find that wasn't meat. "I'll concoct a lovely meal for her now," he said with a note of panic in his voice, as he cut slices of cheese on her plate.
"How's Tralee?" Jenny asked him once he'd calmed down. "Great!" he replied. "Terrible rough though..." and he proceeded to contradict his first answer by describing all the fights, muggings and stabbings which had been afflicting the town. Johnny has a heart of gold but he's allergic to silence, and he avoided it at all costs by talking without pause for thought, air or water.

Tralee is a scary place on a Saturday night. Legs and flesh everywhere. The girls may as well have gone naked altogether, sauntering up and down the street, swaying their arses and pouting their lips. Castle street is no catwalk but that didn't put them off. Cute hoors of a different variety.
"'Tis hard to drive, isn't it?" Johnny said as he drove us to the pub. "You'd need blinkers," I agreed.
Presumably the girls were doing all they could to take the fellas' attention off the drink. Wherever we went that night they were horsing it into them as if trying to extinguish raging fires in their bellies. (As were the girls themselves later on.) I wouldn't mind if the pints were free, but they most certainly were not.
Two nights before, in Páidí's pub, I noticed fellas going to the bar to order more drinks when they only had two full pints each left in front of them. They weren't taking any chances.

Kerry is a beautiful county but our time there wasn't as good as it should have been to be honest. For me, the past cast its shadow over the few days, and I felt like old memories prevented us making new ones. I was happy to leave it when we did. Next stop Inishbofin!


  1. A Jaysus, I remember Ventry, or Ceann Trá, when Pat Spillane owned the sweet shop on the other side of the crossroads from where Páidí's pub now stands (maybe he still does, if it's still there. Probably a Centre or Supervalu now) and Páidí himself was still a barman in Kruger Kavanagh's.

  2. Jaysus, you've some memory! Although maybe you haven't. For all I know that was only three weeks ago before we got there.
    The shop is still there in any case, although owned by Páidí himself now. Think he sells all types of stuff now - not just sweets. Your man from the restaurant up the road - Richard, who I found out the next day was from New Ross and knew Whitechurch and the neighbours very well - who told where we could go camping in the first place, told us we'd be able to buy stuff for breakfast in Páidí's shop. Jaysus, that was a long sentence.

  3. That was roughly 30 years ago with the shop. I spent all me pocket money on choc-ices and tins of coke in there that Summer. Páidí must have bought the shop from Pat, or maybe they're business partners. I remember Páidí as a barman in Kruger's (apparently the most westerly pub in the country) in Dunquin around 27 years ago. There are photos to prove it, somewhere. Ah the oul' Gaelteacht. Which reminds me; oíche mhaith.

  4. 'Tis great, the oul' bit of history! You can barely even get tins of coke anymore. All plastic shite nowadays. For some reason all those fizzy drinks taste much better in tins, or cans as I used to call them. You can't beat a good can of 7up! I was a divil for the Lilt though. A can a Lilt and a bag of King Luxury Pub Crisps. Ah, those were the days...

    Oíche mhaith, codlamh sámh, agus Go mbíodh biseach ort gan mhoill!


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