As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, St Patrick was actually Welsh and was kidnapped and sold into slavery here……
Patrick was awakened by the time-honoured method of a bucket of water in the face. He sat up groggily, his head still hurting from the blow which had rendered him unconscious.
“Where am I?” he asked, the time-honoured question of anyone coming to in such circumstances.
“You’re in Ireland,” said a voice.
Patrick looked out of the window of the low, dark building in which he found himself. The countryside spread bleakly before him in about forty shades of dreary green. The sky was leaden-grey. Rain was not exactly falling, but not exactly not.
“This is Ireland?” he snorted. “It’s a dank, damp, dump.”
“Says the guy from Wales,” said the voice in a Celtic brogue, which belonged to a man in an apron, Celtic brogues and his early forties.
“Good point,” said Patrick. “But what am I doing here?”
“You’ve been kidnapped, me lad. You’ve been sold to me as a slave. My name’s Sean.”
“As a slave? Doing what?”
“You’re going to run this pub for me while I’m away.”
“I’ve heard tell of a magical land called Majorca, where it’s said the sun shines all day, so I’m going to try and find it. After all, as you say, this country is a dank, damp, dump.”
Patrick looked around the pub that he was apparently to run. It was a gloomy place in which gloomy men sat in gloomy silence, each with a mug of foamy, foul-smelling ale in front of them.
“What’s the pub called?” he asked.
“It’s called The Deep Depression,” said Sean, “on account of the fact that it’s in a valley.”
One of the gloomy men suddenly put one hand over one ear and emitted a “Nyyeeeeaah” sound, like bagpipes being passed through a wood-chipping machine. This turned out to be the first note of a fifty-verse song in which the man’s potato crop failed, his wife died in childbirth, his daughter went into the escort agency business and his ass went lame. The song made it clear that all of this was somehow the fault of the English.
“This place is like Hell,” said Patrick. “I can’t think of anything that would make it worse.”
He moved his foot and trod on a stick, which bit him.
“Oh,” said Sean. “It’s also full of snakes.”
It was two months later when Sean came back. He had learned several things on his travels, such as that there was indeed a magical place called Majorca, that all-day sunshine and Irish complexions do not make a happy partnership and that Ryanlongboats charged extra if your luggage was over a certain weight (twelve ounces).
As he started down into the valley he started. The pub was now called “The Pot O’ Gold ”. As he neared it he could hear what is commonly known as a “hubbub” coming from inside.
He opened the door and stood staring at what he saw. The walls were painted bright green and were covered in harps, shillelaghs and shamrocks. Road-signs pointed to a variety of Irish towns and there were T-Shirts on sale with slogans like “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. There was a woman, a flame-haired, green-eyed beauty, serving behind the bar and tiny people in green outfits with giant green hats patrolled the room with trays.
Most amazingly, though, the pub was packed, both by males and females, both by young and old. There was chatter, banter and merry laughter.
Patrick spotted Sean and walked over and clapped him merrily on the back, never a joyous event for a man with sunburn.
“Welcome back,” said Patrick. “What do you think?”
“I’m speechless,” said Sean. “What have you done?”
“Modernised,” said Patrick. “I’ve made it a theme pub.” He motioned, and one of the little people walked over to the table. “Darby, bring my friend and me a drink,“ said Patrick. “This is Darby O’Gill,” he said to Sean. “He’s a leprechaun.”
“Don’t patronise me,” said Sean. “He’s a small boy from the village, and his name’s Kevin.”
“Yeah?” said Patrick. “Well, the tourists believe it.”
“Yes,” they come from everywhere. They want to savour the true Irish experience.”
“Sadness, drunkenness and famine?”
“No, friendliness, riverdance and the chance to kiss a stone.”
Darby/Kevin returned with two drinks. Both were jet-black, with white heads. Sean took a cautious sip. “What’s this?” he asked.
“No-one could drink that awful ale,” said Patrick, “so I invented this. I call it Guinness, from a Welsh word meaning ‘don’t be anywhere near me when I fart’.”
As they sat and drank singing started, but this was not the whiny solo effort of two months earlier. The same man began it, but others joined in, basses, tenors and baritones, rich voices somehow redolent of welcoming hillsides and deep mines. Their song was of eyes that were smiling, of their wonderful mammy and of something called touralouraloura, yet there was also a hint of sadness over a colleen who would not requite their love, and the song made it clear that this was somehow the fault of the English.
“They’re the Hill of Tara Male Voice Choir,” said Patrick when they’d finished, with a tear in his eye.
The barmaid came over and kissed Patrick (well, he was now Irish) on the cheek.
“He’s saved the pub, he’s made Ireland famous and he’s got rid of the snakes,” she said, gazing lovingly at him. “He should be made a saint.”
Patrick wrapped an arm around her waist, then turned and winked at Sean.
“Perhaps,” he said, “but as my friend Augustine says, ‘not yet’.”
“You got rid of the snakes?” gasped Sean.
“Yeah, I chased them out into the sea,” said Patrick. “I think I’ve invented eels.”
“How did you manage it?”
“I mowed the grass,” said Patrick. “I don’t know why no-one thought of that before.”