Limerick, as you know, has the magnificent River Shannon flowing through it, and the river has always been at its heart. While not quite a seafaring people, we are a riverine species, and why wouldn’t we be when we have such splendour and beauty on our doorstep?
Little more than twenty minutes from Limerick, we have the magnificent Lough Derg, a place we all love, and the scene of many a night’s carousing.
As usual, we all blundered up the lake for the annual blasphemous Good Friday booze-up and singing-thing. This is a very special custom, for it upsets the fervent and the observant. It annoys and discombobulates the True Believers, especially the wolfing down of bloody steaks on this blackest of black fast days.
This year, we were spoilt for choice, with the possibility of parties in three different places, and I felt my only option was to attend all three, but I didn’t plan on being waylaid within seconds of my shoe-leather striking the pier, when some friends shouted at me from the plushly-appointed cruiser on which they were slugging back large amounts of foreign beer.
Oi, Bock! C’mere and have a bottle!
Is there grub? I shouted back.
Sure is, they chortled.
Meanwhile, another crowd of bowsies were shouting good-natured abuse from inside a camper van, but the promise of grub won the day. Grub and beer. I am Homer Simpson, and so I boarded the fine vessel and tucked into some fine Czech beer from Budejowicke, a town I once visited solely because it contained that excellent brewery. (It has little else to recommend it).
Singing drifted across the water from a boat. Singing, fine musicianship and a little cloud of smoke. More singing wafted from the camper van. The smell of steak searing on the bbq filled the magnificent vessel on which I was a guest. The sun filled the sky and for a little while it was possible to forget what our government and the ECB had been up to.
That was when a gigantic converted barge hove into view and damn me, but I knew those people as well. This Easter weekend begins to show more promise than I could have hoped for, which is saying a great deal, for these weekends on the Shannon are always first class.
And so it was that the following day, I found myself chugging up the Shannon at three knots, driven by a sweet-sounding 59-horsepower Lister diesel, enjoying the experience of not-very-much happening.
I have to get back, I told my host.
Sorry, he replied. You’re booked in here tonight.
Right. I surrendered. Go with the flow.
It was lovely to note the absence of Celtic-tiger guffaws from illiterate nouveau-riche fools drinking over-priced wine on giant over-priced plastic power-boats they didn’t know how to drive.
As my host remarked, They’re all gone and we’re still here.
You see, in spite of all the economic misery, the gloom, the despondency and the negativity, there are times when you have to look around you and realise that we live in one of the best places in the world. Therefore, rather than bore you with a tedious account of my savage journey to the heart of Good Friday night, why not just glance over a few pictures and enjoy the wonderful amenity we have on our doorstep?