It has turned out to be an eventful Easter Weekend with the pubs opening on Good Friday and Pope Francis inadvertently letting slip that hell may not exist after all!
The conspiracy theorists were having a field day out in the porch during Mass, while up on the alter the priest was trying desperately to guide the faithful back on to the straight and narrow.
“My money is on Francis,” declared the little man from Grogeen. “He do always know what he’s talking about – so he do.”
“He could have gotten his wires crossed on this occasion.” warned the schoolmaster. “They say the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
“Is that from the bible?” asked Bridie May, rattling her rosary beads.
“No Bridie.” replied the schoolteacher. “it’s from a film.”
“Must be true so.” Bridie May, rattled her beads again.
“We might all get off the hook yet.” The Grogeen man was hopeful. His observance of the ten commandments was questionable, and his periods the in confessional box were long and legendary.
However, as he left the church he dipped a finger in the holy water font and blessed himself before putting on his cap and joining the early breakers who were streaming out the door.
“Just to be on the safe side.” he explained somewhat sheepishly.
We called to a local establishment to check out the new opening hours. It proved to be just another typical Friday night with the television blaring, the pool table in constant use and a noisy stag party in full flow down the back.
We found a space up at the counter and joined the locals.
“The good is gone out of it.” said a small farmer from Tour as he sadly contemplated his empty glass. “There used to be great craic here on a Good Friday one time.”
“True for you.” replied the bank manager. “And the porter tasted better as well.” He looked accusingly at the bar man.
We ordered a round of drinks and went about setting he world to rights in this strange new atmosphere.
The rapid approach of Brexit and the tantrums of President Trump were high on the agenda followed by a discussion on Ireland’s brilliant Grand Slam rugby success and the poor state of football both in Limerick and Kerry.
The small farmer from Tour came from hurling country but he offered a radical solution.
“Ye should fall in with Kerry.” he said. “Sure, aren’t ye breeding ‘em and feeding ‘em and selling them cheap porter. Ye might as well play football with them as well.”
This provoked fierce debate which almost led to a bout of fisticuffs but for the intervention of the barman.
Ah, lads,” he protested. “Its Good Friday. Have a bit of respect.”
“Said the fellow selling porter to the public.” remarked the bank manager sarcastically.
Anyway, between the drinking and the arguing, and a bit more drinking, closing time eventually arrived. The stag party had disappeared up town, the television turned off and the pool table was empty. We were the only customers left in the place.
“Would ye like one for the road while I wash up?” the barman asked.
“Ah, sure why not.” we replied.
He started four pints before coming out from behind the counter and locking the front door.
“Now, ‘tis like a proper Good Friday!” he remarked.
And with that, there was an almighty thud on the front door that almost shook it off its hinges. “Open up!” came a commanding voice. “Garda on duty!”
“Of feic!” said the bank manager. “We are rightly banjaxed! Caught in a pub after hours on Good Friday! It’ll be like shooting fish in a barrel.”
The barman drew back the bolt and slowly opened the door while we stood with bowed heads like condemned men waiting to meet our fate.
The barman looked out. There was nobody there. He looked up and down the street. Nothing. He came back in and closed the door.
“This is the last Good Friday I’ll be opening.” he declared.
“And the last Good Friday I’ll be drinking as well.” said the small farmer from Tour.
The devil, they say, looks after his own. We finished our pints and headed out into the night.