In the bar in Kilkeel

Then one quiet day when I was about ten, I made my way into a public bar in Kilkeel because I thought no one was there. 

But half-way down the long counter I saw a man sitting on a high stool. He looked like a fisherman for he had a peaked cap, blue jersey and bell-bottomed trousers. His beard and moustache were very black. He did not know that I was there and I watched him looking at the huge glass of black liquid in front of him.

He picked up a pepper duster and gave it a few shakes on the creamy foam on top of the drink. He tapped the side of the glass and then lifted it to his lips. I thought he would never stop swallowing! When he finally put the drink down again the creamy top had lowered well down the glass. I clearly saw the lacy white frill on his moustache. Then he projected his lower lip and removed it.

The publican’s wife came in then and I asked for the errand I had been sent on, a fill of a can of buttermilk. She filled it up and put the twopence in the pocket of her white apron.

Then she enquired about my mother and great-grandfather and I left.

Kilkeel horse sales …

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