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A Gathering Place

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Several weeks ago while in Ireland, Kilkenny city in particular and in the village to be precise we had occasion to enter a pub or two. The family we were being hosted by are old friends with the Henderson family. Father Willie and son Martin own and operate the Harp Bar/Pub.

You can arrive early, have a cup of tea or wait a bit and have a pint of your favorite brew, it’s “LOVELY” as only the Irish can say with a certain inflection.

Next door to the pub is a betting parlor, bookie for us Americans. The Harp has two separate bars with a pass through for the bartender. TV’s on one side carry the hose races while the other side views sporting events such as Soccer, Rugby and the like. Should a patron desire to place a bit, they hop from their stool leaving their pint and money on the bar and dash next door to place a bet. Should a winning bet be placed, the winner will be greeted with “BRILLIANT,”  another Irishism. Is that a real word?

The atmosphere inside the Harp was no different than sitting at the dining room table. Friends and an occasional relative would drop in to chat about this, that, and other things. It was just a nice  warm, casual homey atmosphere.

Today I share with you another story, this one from the Medium. It’s short, so take a minute and enjoy.



The Loneliest Day of the Year

If I owned a bar or restaurant, I would always keep it open both on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Almost everything in Vienna is closed then. But lots of people come here for the holidays and it’s sad walking around town on those two days, seeing the tourists or the lonely looking for any place to eat or hang out while the rest of the city is home doing the traditional thing.

Years ago a friend from out of town and I went for a drink on Christmas Eve. For a while it was creepy and sort of like being in an ominous movie because everything was closed and dark, no one was on the streets, few cars, and the only places open were some Chinese restaurants that were completely empty and iff’y looking at best. Eventually after wandering around for a long time, on a back street we found a small bar that was lit and open. We went in. It was like entering one of those happy beer commercials on television. As soon as we opened the door, everyone inside that packed buzzing place looked at us with big smiling welcoming faces. I think some of them even waved us in, as if we were old friends. Like we were shipwreck victims who, like them, had somehow survived the ferocious Christmas storm by swimming to this shore and now we were all safe. The feeling in that bar was unbelievably warm and…merry. I’ll never forget it. Everyone was buying everyone else drinks. You wanted to hang out there for hours. And we did.

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  1. Your first picture gave me a twinge. My mother and stepfather used to live in England, and it reminded of scenes from our various visits.

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