On one of my tours of Ireland, the Irish Group Travel motor coach was headed to visit an abbey. But having taken that particular tour a few times, I asked William if he would drop me at a nearby pub and pick me up on the way back.
Paddy Coynes Pub in Tully Cross is a lively place.
Tully Cross, Ireland
(Irish: Tulach na Croise, “the cross on the hill”) is a small village located on the Renvyle Peninsula in north-west Connemara, in County Galway, Ireland. The crossroads identified as Tully Cross are actually situated in the townland of Gorteenclough. The village lies close to the sea and is on the Wild Atlantic Way coastal route. (Wiki 2019)
This day, the pub was hosting a wake for a resident who had passed and the town was in attendance celebrating his life. All was going well.
As four teenagers settled next to the fireplace and took out their instruments to begin playing some Irish Trad (traditional) music, Aiden Coyne noticed I was alone and invited me to sit with his family. His son was playing guitar in the band. I was warmly greeted at the table; my pint was expertly drawn and kindly handed; and I listened attentively to life stories of a man I will never meet but would have liked to have known.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying the comforts of the atmosphere and the music.
An Irish girl.
A two-year old Irish girl.
And she was looking at me and smiling.
When she realized she had caught my eye, she leaned forward in her parent’s arms and motioned that she wanted to come to me. Laughing (and maybe slightly embarrassed at the brazenness of her wee lass), the girl’s mum handed her right to me.
The toddler and I gazed at each other closely for just a moment, then she cupped my face with her pudgy hands and gave my cheek a big kiss. Her parents couldn’t believe she was behaving this way! …as if she’d known me for all her short years and had not seen me yet today until just now.
As she sat on my lap, we laughed, we clapped to the music, and sang along intermittently as, over her head, the adults continued to discuss the events of our day and our travels.
It was one of those special once-in-a-lifetime moments that seem to only occur in someone else’s story or dream of their own tour of Ireland:
“I was in this pub in Ireland; didn’t know a soul there. When, in no time at all, we’re laughing and talking all at once and over each other like old friends, sharing stories over pints and live music – complete strangers to one another before then. It was a good day.”
But, then again, most every day in Ireland is a good day.