Hello there! Caroline O’Shea here, daughter of the illustrious Brian and the first guest blogger here at Ireland Favorites. As an Irish musician, I’ve gotten to travel all over Ireland and parts of the States playing music and meeting the most interesting characters. Last spring, I was lucky enough to study abroad at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG!) for about six months. That six-month stint has worked wonders for me back here in Boston–because in the last few weeks, 70% of the older Irish crowd I’ve met have been from Galway, and most of them, Connemara. Galway has lots of amazing cultural and sporting events like Galway Arts Week, the Galway Sessions, and of course, the Galway Races, which this banter concerns. I’ve grown to love the Galway accent because it reminds me of playing sessions at the Crane bar, walking along the Prom, having complete freedom and not living with my parents…wait, where was I?
Oh yeah. Galway. Banter.
I was at work at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, MA the other day, and got to chatting with one of the electricians, a man named Eddie. Eddie’s flying across pond in a few weeks for a wedding. Turns out, he’s a Galway man, and when he learned I’d been to Galway, his eyes lit up with glee. After complaining about the horrific price of plane tickets and the dreary summer weather for the required amount of time, he asked me: “Do you know that pub across the bridge in Galway there, Monroe’s?” I did indeed (there’s weekly set dancing, and a great late-night pizza place beside it).
“Well! I know Monroe’s son,” he said, “and this year he’d entered a horse in the Races. Monroe’s son started spreading the word that if his horse was to win, he’d have an open bar at Monroe’s for two hours. Two hours!” Eddie paused to let us appreciate the magic of this declaration. “So wouldn’t you know it, but the Races finished up and Monroe’s son’s horse won! Odds were 11-1. He opened up that bar for two hours, free to anyone who’d bet on his horse, ah jaysus I can’t remember the horse’s name but…two hours…” He shook his head.
“If I could’ve flown to Monroe’s for those two hours, I’d have said no bother to the price of the flights. Worth every penny!”
After lamenting about the lack of open bars in the Boston area, Eddie headed off to more pressing business, while I tried to imagine the scene at Monroe’s that fateful day. I imagine it was a Galway Race attendee’s Eden–just louder, smellier, and with Jameson’s instead of holy water. Goes to show you never know what’ll happen at the races! And if betting isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always Ladies’ Day, with competitions for Best Dressed and Best Hat. If anyone has any extra passes for next year, you know how to contact me….
You can find out more about the races here: http://www.galwayraces.com
And you can find out about Monroe’s here! http://www.monroes.ie