Our public houses are no place to start harbouring craic addicts

Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There’s a Senator from Cork who has called for a ban on phones in pubs – because he says they are endangering the traditional outpouring of what we Irish uniquely call craic.

It’s a term that causes a lot of issues for visiting drug addicts who arrive into Shannon in the belief they have found Nirvana – a world where not alone is crack obtainable on tap, but the country sees its availability as sound basis for an international advertising campaign.

Even history doesn’t teach us any lessons on this front.

Remember what happened to Big Tom, the late country and western superstar so lovingly captured by Galway’s own Tom Gilmore in his bestselling biography.

Big Tom was on a small American tour back in the day, playing dance halls on the east coast with his band, the Mainliners.

We all knew that the Mainline reference was a train one, but the Americans seemed to think that this was a post-punk outfit, lauding the use of intravenous drugs.

All of which made for a very different audience – and a lot of disappointment from both perspectives.

But still we persist with the notion of the craic, as though every Irish pub had a welcome on the mat that meant you were embraced and befriended as soon as you crossed the threshold.

There are, of course, pubs like that but the more normal experience on entering an Irish pub is the ten-minute wait to attract the attention of the barman as you wave your tenner in the air.

That’s followed by a further wait for your pint to settle as you’re enveloped by the sound of silence.

There’s a good reason why most Irish pubs are darker than the Dáil during summer recess; people like it that way. They’ve gone there to get away from incessant chat, to just gather their thoughts or even empty their heads of anything even approaching logic.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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