|Daithi O Se realizes he's not quite the party machine he used to be|
I think you need a watershed in your life to make you stop, look back and realize that things have changed.
The world and her mother knows I’m getting married on Thursday so I went for a few quiet ones with the boys during the week. One of the first things that have changed is that I can’t drink anymore.
A neighbor of mine who shall remain nameless once told me that it takes three days to come out of a good Sunday. I never really knew what he meant until very recently. It does take me three days to recover now from a good night out. So the drinks in the middle of the week were timed so that I would be in great form for the wedding and not in any way seedy.
It was great to have the old gang back together. One of the lads has come home from Chicago for the big day and we hadn’t seen him in three years. It wasn’t long until the stories started. They always say that one story will pull another and that was certainly the case. All stories told in Irish because most of us would have never spoken English to each other. I realized as the evening went on that there has been a huge change in the last twenty years. The community has changed so much. Even in the pub, young and old don’t mix anymore. When we were young we knew all the older people and that was great fun too.
We were really lucky in the sense that we had a load of Irish language students coming to the Gaeltacht every summer. The courses lasted three months and all the ‘lady friends’ we had made friends with would be crying as they left the area heartbroken after us. For us, their bus wouldn’t have hit Dingle when another bus full of students would be coming for the next course. It was a great and innocent time for us.
I remember when I was teaching in Dingle as part of my college course, and asking the pupils if they went back to the Céilí (Irish dances) and to my amazement the answer was no! When asked why they said that the girls wouldn't dance with them. I found out after the reason why the girls didn’t dance with them was that they couldn’t dance themselves. Now we were no Micheal Flatley’s but we could all dance.
The craic would really start after the Céilí when the girls would go back to their houses. We’d walk them home and try to get them to come out to us or if we were cheeky enough we’d sneak in! The Bean an Tí (woman of the house where the girls stayed) was always on alert at this time of year. I remember going up to the window one night talking to one of the girls and I was getting on well (she knew my first name), then one of the lads throws a small stone at the windows making a huge noise. We all had to run and the Bean an Tí almost caught me. I was unimpressed!
The following month we were at another house at the same racket. This time the guy who fired the stone at the window the previous month was at the window doing the talking. I suggested that we should go into the house this time. He was going in first and when he was halfway in I jammed the window down on his back.
He was stuck and couldn’t move the window up off him! I then gave the window a few loud bangs and ran. The Bean an Tí came out and caught him dangling! It was priceless; well I thought it was hilarious anyways! The Bean an Tí was mad, but she got over it.
This was the type of harmless stuff we got up to. We wouldn’t get home until after midnight and our parents didn’t mind. They knew that we were doing (most of the time).
We all played football and would have to cycle back to Gallarus which is around five miles from my house. We’d go to training in twos and threes, but always come back home together, about ten of us! We had Dara O Cinnéide with us in the group who went on to Captain Kerry to success in 2004.
Seán Connar, another great footballer, was with us for drinks the other night. Sean always had money for sweets (candy) for some reason and when asked about it the other night, he refused to tell us why or how? It was a great laugh.
You would never see a young gang cycling to training or matches nowadays or going to Céilí dances. We really did have a ball growing up and had the freedom to do what we wanted.
We robbed more apple orchards than Bonny and Clyde did banks, the pies were always nicer when the apples were stolen. Someday I’m going to have a load of apple trees and I hope they don’t leave an apple there when they are finished!
It was great to catch up with old friends. We should all do it more often its good for the soul!