Drumod Ireland. The mission: A card for the wedding couple. Hire car. Breezing down in the morning. Breezed into Dublin a day earlier. Now. A thrill. Yaris. Small and light. Moves easily. A quiet stretch. No cameras. But commonsense should prevail. Judge your distance, stay close to the white intermittent markings on the centre of the road. The nearest cash point is four miles away I’m told and no, can’t pay with a card for purchases less than 12 euros 50 cents. This I was told earlier by the shop lady, busying with papers and assortments, behind the till, in the only shop about for miles, dressed in green and black. She’s not regretful. Custom is assured in this shop, no cash point in Drumod not withstanding.
The night before was spent meeting the bride’s family, lovely house of white and black facade, lush green lawn, freshly tarmaced drive way. A pre-wedding party, party snacks, cold and hot meals, laughter, giggles, tiredness kicks in, then we retire. To a pub close by, double room above, late night drinks, last drinks, Guinness of course, we’re in Ireland afterall. No whimsy visit to the Guinness factory as suggested by a passenger on the short flight here but Guinness, cold and Irish, sipped slow, should do.
Back to the mission, off I went, I’d kill some time on the road, four miles, she’d said, not 9 kilometres, guess she knew I was not a local. Still thirty minutes, to and fro in all by my guesstimate, to return, just in time to ready for church, bells, priest, bridal train, bride.
A beautiful morning for a drive. Its clearing up nicely, the uncle to the groom said of the weather later, after a night and early morning of some downpour. I smiled and nodded in agreement.
This drive to Mohil, quiet road, side road islands, cows and horses, a lot of green, sparse beautiful houses, large and colourful, the Irish build their own, they build, beautifully. It’s not a frightful road, even with its sharp bends, T junctions and mangled rodents, I’ve rode worse, yet it is new to me, and my senses are alert. I’m eagle eyed. I remember the shop lady, four miles away she said, the locals must make this same journey, without much thought so I drop the encroaching fear, quickly enough, with this new reminder.
There is a sense of homeliness about this place. A sense of simplicity. You get the sense that there are returnees here. Young and old. Some would have spent time in foreign lands but had now returned home, as quiet as it is here, as blissful as it is. This was home. There are no ‘I’s here. Just ‘we’s. Just family. Neighbours. Even those were like family. They would attend this wedding too. All were invited. One of their own was getting married. It’s a party. A time to celebrate. In the good old Irish way.
Mohil is quaint. There is a Bank of Ireland next to Paul’s Newsagent I’m told at the pharmacy shop lit in dazzling florescent, pharmacists in clinical white overalls. Up the hill. The Yaris, still parked outside. So I walk up. The air is fresh. I breathe it in headily before cashing the euros. Then pick up the card at Paul’s before returning to the Yaris where I write a small message on matt in black ink.
On the road back, a hiker, hails. This isn’t London I remind myself. In this part of the world, strangers were no strangers, but people who live amongst others and from time to time need ferrying a few yards away.
I bring Yaris to a halt. I’m going further down he said as he jumps in. Nice car he says. It’s a hire car I reply, though I’m not so sure why. Take the compliment perhaps. It is a nice dainty car after all.
Yards later, he drops off. God bless you he says. I remind myself again, this is Ireland. Beautiful Ireland.