Indiana June is the main character in a real-life Pick-A-Path Adventure story. She is cycling the globe and letting people vote to decide what she does next. Her fate is in your hands so get voting to choose how the story unfolds. Read more…

« PREVIOUS STORY                                                        NEXT STORY »

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Listowel: Been there, got the t-shirt!

Indiana June - real life pick a path adventurerIndiana June - real life pick a path adventurer

The Irish have the best of intentions. In fact, I'd say the average Irish man and woman has moon-walking, marathon-winning, heart-surgery performing abilities if he or she doesn't stop for 'one' pint on the way to greatness.

Pub culture in Ireland is unlike anywhere in the world and life literally flows from the local watering hole. Directions can't be given without the mention of a pub name, it's where people bring (and pass around) their babies. It's like a cup of tea at the neighbour's house, but invariably your neigbour owns the pub and he only pours pints.

So, it makes sense that, on my way back to the hostel to write a blog about the Rose of Tralee I got sidelined when I stopped for 'one' at Christy's 'the well' Bar in Listowel. It's weird but after 3 years in Ireland I have a 6th sense for spotting a quality boozer. I get chatting to the lads and withing minutes they are throwing a bit of 'shtick' at me.

I'm told the only reason I cycle on my own is because no one can put up with me. The bar woman, Nora quickly shoots back, 'Who pissed in your porridge this morning?' which silenced the lad... for a moment.

After buying my first pint, I don't have to reach into my pocket again the whole night as a collection of local characters continue to 'decorate the mahogony' for this random kiwi cyclist.

There's many an opinion being fired around, one lad is absolutely over the moon about the recession. His reason? That the Irish had become a nation of a*sholes and lost their friendliness and this has brought them down a peg or two. Talking to the gentleman at the bar, nearly all of these men have at least one son in America or Australia because there just isn't the work for them in small-town Ireland. I hear that Listowel was once a 54 pub town - now there's only 20!

Fast forward to five hours later and I've worked out I have two mutual friends within this group of local drinkers; one a pub manager in Tralee and the other a pig farmer in Limerick. I'm also wearing an extra large Christy's tshirt that Nora has kindly gifted me and I've learnt more about boat building in one evening than I'm likely to in the rest of my life.

John O'Leary lived out on Oilean tSeanaig  (O'Learys Island) and his father built Curragh boats and so did his father and so on. Living on the island they could go up to three weeks without coming ashore due to the weather so they had a barrel of salted mackrel they would live off until the weather cleared.

Apparently to get livestock to the island they would tie their four legs together, throw them in a boat and tow it all the way to the island. John recalls his grandfather once taking a horse across, once the legs were tied he had to sit on his head for the whole journey.

Next thing he pulls out faded 20-year-old photographs of him and his mates rowing one of the old boats out to the island.

I check my watch, whoooa, it's time to go. One of the non-drinking locals, Ger, throws my bicycle in the boot of his jeep and drops me safely home but not before one last quip.

You're from New Zealand, so do you know the difference between a rabbit and a hare?

I reply, it's something to do with the ears and a cheesy grin spreads across his face as he says,

You can pull a hare from your ass but you can't pull a rabbit!

I hear his chuckling continue as I exit into the balmy Listowel evening. All of my great intentions will be waiting for me tomorrow, but in the meantime I've had a brilliant night.

Latest Poll Results
New York: What will Indiana June do in the big apple?
21% Track down and visit Oliver Jeffers:
Renowned Children's storybook writer & illustrator
11% Walk the High Line:
A linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of the elevated NY Central Railroad 
11% Be a NYC detective for a day: 
Part game, theatre and tour to discover some of NYC's most off-the-beaten path spots
13% Explore the City Hall Subway Station: 
Abandoned & hidden from the public for 60 years
12% Flying trapeze class:
Hone her circus skills learning how to fly on a trapeze 
30% NZ Flag + Statue of Liberty:
Bodypaint the NZ flag on her body and go up the Statue of Liberty
2% Go to Queens and find a 'Nanny' sound-alike:
Video someone with the nanny accent saying "noo Zealand, i love that place"
Voting closed | 204 VOTES
Where is Indiana June today?
Tag cloud
Latest pic on the road
umbraco.MacroEngines.DynamicXml … more snaps