Ye have all had a tough and emotional couple of weeks after a dirty and bruising electoral battle so here, as my sympathetic gesture, is a piece of light relief with a green flavor. There was an interesting yarn on IrishCentral.com in October about a lovely wee Clare cottage for sale at the remarkably low reserve of about €17,000. The question was posed if it was the best property value in Ireland, and clearly a lot of you read it and reacted to the possibility of fleeing your election for an Irish hideaway.
The result of that interest was that scores of you competed at the auction to purchase the wee cottage and it eventually sold, after international bidding, for a price many times above the estimate, a price close to $90,000 to the best of my knowledge. I am also pleased to confirm that it was one of you American or Irish American bidders who was successful in the end and who now will shortly take possession of a lovely, cozy hideaway from the harsher world in West Clare.
The cottage, in excellent condition because of tasteful modernization by the last owners, is in the gentle village of Labasheeda on the edge of the Shannon, a village I know well. It is appropriate that the Gaelic foundation of the name is Bed of the Saints, and there is indeed a veil of peace over its chimneys.
As always, of course, there are a few lively pubs in Labasheeda and a cosmopolitan community who know well how to enjoy themselves through the winter.
There is always, of course, a negative in this world in which we live. The possible negative for some Americans seeking peace in Labasheeda is that, if they drive briskly for about 30 minutes, they can come face to face with the Trump Hotel and Golf Resort in nearby Doonbeg. The amazing truth.
It is also the truth that the billionaire is proposing to built a wall -- I kid ye not -- around his seaside golf links to slow down the erosion of his investment. Enough of that for now.
The new Labasheeda resident would be better advised to head up through Ennis town to the magic land that is the Burren region of North Clare. It is a magic wonderland here in every sense of the word.
Here is a landscape upon which the grass never stops growing right through the winter so that the farmers do not have to house and fodder their cattle, but can leave them free on the warm limestone pavements to graze the sweetest grass in Ireland all winter long.
I had a noble and unique night there at the other weekend when, in a unique event in a unique pub I told ye about before now, Cassidy's of Carron village, I witnessed the coronation of the king of the Burren.
His name is Paddy Hynes, farmer, storyteller, entertainer and folklorist, a good friend of mine for years now, and it was a surprise coronation by his friends in a pub which, believe it or not, was once the old RIC police station for this area of The Burren and still has retained the cell totally intact. Host Robert Cassidy will threaten to lock you up inside if you even mention anything about American elections.
Away down south, in Co. Waterford, I had the great pleasure of celebrating my daughter Ciara's birthday the following night in the idyllic seaside village of Ardmore. It is hard to keep me out of pubs, because that is where you hear the best yarns and music and, on that front, I recommend to any of you fleeing recent electoral events the special atmosphere of the Tobar bar run by Ken Pallisser and, beyond that, just a few miles down the road, the Moorings bar and restaurant in Dungarvan. Miss neither craic point if ye are down in what I genuinely the sunny South East.
Welcome to the new owner of that wee hideaway in Labasheeda. Give me a shout when you get here and we will share a jar and not mention politics at all for the whole evening.