After the serving came the reckoning, interspersed with acidy queries about people, children with chin-cough, a christening or a wake, laying hens – or a sudden and arresting cry after a departing customer,
He came back, naked loaves under his arms.
‘What was it you got? .. was it two shillings or a half-a-crown you gave me? ..’
Deferentially the customer reminded her.
‘Oh, aye, it was. Well, what else did you get? Aye, it was the other fella got the paper and matches! What odds? What hurry’s on ye now that you are back?
Sit down an’ give us a while of your craic.’
Sometimes when we came out, the last train from Belfast to Dublin was hurtling out of the cutting in Faughil, with a metallic howl. We used to stand quietly and watch it, watch the fleeing bubbles of light in the carriages… listen until the Gap of the North seemed to fold back, and smother all light and sound.
From Michael J Murphy’s ‘Mountain Year’, Dolmen, 1964
Concluded : back to start of this ?