Hip Hops: A Guinness in Sligo, or the Irish publican as “general factotum”
“The publican was the man who christened them, married them, and buried them, the local people,” said John O’Dwyer, a Dublin publican, in Dublin Pub Life and Lore. In July of 1985, I hopped a train from Dublin to Sligo, a town situated to the northwest of the Republic of Ireland on the island’s western side, with a natural harbor dating to ancient times and the Atlantic Ocean not far away, past Sligo Bay, stretching over the horizon to infinity. The word “Sligo” itself was utterly alien to me, but sounded estimably Irish (Sligo is the anglicized Irish Gaelic name Sligeach, meaning “abounding in shells” or “shelly place”). There wasn’t time enough to explore rugged Donegal to the north, where the original language still could be heard, but at least there was an element of bucolic isolation in the area, with rolling countryside and hills for hiking, as well as plenty of Guinness. There...Read more