Tales from South Tipp

The following is an excerpt from a conversation overheard in a rural watering hole in south Tipperary:

TJ: What’s i-tall about a’tall, Christy? Work yer hands ta the bone for sixty years . . . and all for what? A kick in the hole. Dey’d take every last penny an’ leave ya out for the wolves. The whole ting’d take years off ya, if ya’d any years left ta give. Get dem in dere, yer round.

Christy: Yid be right about one thing: ‘tis a nasty business. But yer wrong about it bein’ my round. I just got the last one.

TJ: Are ya sure tis my twist? Tought aye got the last ones...dere bout five minutes ago...

Christy: Did in yer ear! Yeh havent put yer hand in yer pocket all day. Just goes ta show how drunk yeh are . . . on a coupla Jemmies. Can yeh not hold yer drink no more? I got the first two. [Turning to the bar and shouting] Brian! Another stout and a wee wan for Memory Man here!

TJ: Memory Man indead. Christ, aye mind better times dan deese, when a man’d b’glad ta be ‘live and ya were shown a bitta respect. Deese days dere all lined up for dere pounda flesh. Dere trying ta get their claws inta me. The country’s gone ta the dogs.
[Christy remains silent, rolling a cigarette, deep in thought]

TJ: The whole world’s gone mad. Computer dis and digidal dat and it’s backwards we’re goin’. Why couldn’t dey leave tings alone? Dere was nottin’ wrong with dis wee country - now we’re all cogs in the machine. Me poor Dad - God rest his soul - always said the commies’d get us an’ he wasn’t far wrong. [Raising his glass] Cheers, for what it’s worth.

Christy: Cheers. Did yeh see the new machine in the jacks? Yiv ta put in three euros ta get bog roll out!

TJ: Yer not serious! Think aye’ll take a few quick gulps of the air before dey start chargin’ for dat too...

Christy: Ha! Got yeh! Only messin’. Mine you, it’ll probly be the next thing.

TJ: Ya know, if aye was ta do i-tall agin, aye’d live in a differnt country. Why’d we fight the Brits off and den sell ourselves to the highest bidder? All dem lives lost ta keep our land and den dem yellabellies up in Dublin give it-all ta the E U. Now dey want it-all for demselves ta build dere precious roads. Dey’ll not take me land witout a fight...

Christy: That’s all fine and well when the drink’s talkin’ but you know as well as I do that there’s nothin’ we can do ta stop them. They kin do what they like and what’s two ole fools like us gonna do ta stop them? Better ta just sit here and enjoy the brew - leave our troubles outside for a while. Sure, this is the only refuge we get.

TJ: Aye just don’t get it dough: every time ya switch on the news there’s anoder smash and more people kilt. Carnage . . . hunderds every year . . . an’ now dey want ta take our farms an’ build more roads an’ kill more people.

Christy: There’s no value on a human life these days. Like yeh said yerself, we’re only clogs in the machine. [Grimaces] Me flippin’ back’s killin’ me. I’d nearly go an’ see Doctor Lennon ‘cept he’s chargin’ a fortune these days. They’re all at it since this euro came in.

TJ: Aye, yer right. Tis the biggest rip-off ever. Everyting’s dearer and we have less money. Dem TDs’re as crooked as b’damned, linin’ dere pockets. They should all be in prison wit dat Lawless fella. The nation’s bein’ run by a buncha crooks. Backhanders here and backhanders dere. Tis like tennis or sometin’.

Christy: That’s the only reason they brought in the euro, so they don’t have to change the money when they go to Brussels with bribes - or when they come back with their pockets lined!

TJ: Or when dere snakin’ off on holladay ta the Canaries at the taxpayer’s expense... Christy: Did yeh hear the one about the man that went inta the butcher lookin’ for two pounds worth a mince? An’ the butcher told him he only deals in euros now? ‘Well’, he says, ‘I’ll have two pounds worth of euros then!’ [Chuckles]

TJ: Tis no laughin’ matter, dis euro has us all frigged . . . lambs ta the slaughter. As if we weren’t bein’ badly enough screwed already... Tis one friggin’ disaster after anoder in dis country: angel dust, BSE, Foot & Mouth - an’ always false alarms.

Christy: Ah, in all fairness now, the foot an mouth was the real deal -

TJ - well nonna my bests had it. Tis all a big bloody conspiracy ta get ridda us farmers an’ move us off our land, build more roads. Dat’s why dey won’t give us a daycent price for the beef anymore: tryin’ ta get shotta us. All deese scare stories too and den dey go round sayin’ we’re doin’ it ourselves, dat we’re injectin’ slurry in our own animals! How would ya get dat stuff inta a needle in the name-a God? Dey don’t want people eatin’ meat no more. Dere replacin’ us wit scientists dat grow food in labertrees. Throw a droppa water on a seed and yev got a tomata. Dey reckon folk’ll soon be able ta grow dere own chickens at home in the kitchen sink in a matter a minutes . . . cook dem in the mikerwave twice as fast. [Christy giggles] Dunno what yer titterin’ about. We’re all feckin’ doomed!

Christy: Mother of divine procrastination, will ya relax there! I’ll get a round in [Heads for the bar]

TJ: [to himself] If aye didn’t know any better aye’d swear dat hoor was one-a-dem. Tis all a big joke ta him. What’s his game anyroad? Aye’ll suss the eejit out when he comes back wit the soup. [Christy returns]

Christy: Get that down ya! Chill out.

TJ: [???] Are ya tryin’ ta get me drunk? [pauses dramatically, for effect] Haven’t seen ya at mass wit the missus in a while...

Christy: We go our own way. Can’t be livin’ in each others’ pockets. Besides the spark’s gone if yeh know what I mean. Might be differ if I was a-courtin’ that Britley Spears . . . I’d spear her, way-hey!

TJ: Yer a vulgar man, Christy Dunne. Yiv changed, dat’s for sure. Are ya in yer second childhood or sometin’? Is dat why ya still follow dem baby-killers?

Christy: Me political preferences are me own concern. [rubbing his hands together] Don’t try ta tell me yeh wouldn’t give her a lash if yeh got half the chance yerself TJ Murphy . . . or is that Cork blood still in yer veins, drivin’ yeh insane? Any man with...

TJ: [shouting] Ihm a married man! Aye haven’t laid eyes apon anoder woman in forty year.
Christy: Yeh lyin’ bast- [TJ jumps to his feet]

TJ: Outside ya hoor ya! Or aye’ll drop ya where ya sit. [raises a bony fist and shakes it] D’ya want some?

Christy: What the Hell’s wrong with yeh man? Will yeh sit down before yeh fall down? If we get thrown outta this place we may as well stop breathin’ altagether. Sit down, a vic. We’re on the same side here. [winks] We’ll have one for the road. C’mon, relax. I’m not the enemy.

TJ: How do aye know dat for sure? If yer crowd had yer way dere’d be no more childern born in dis country. Yer a changed man an’ aye woulden be suprised if the TDs got ta ya with dere blood money. [sits, reluctantly]. Yiv no morals - yer just like dem.

Christy: I just look at things a bit different to yeh, that’s all. I’m a bit more liberal, less conservative. But I still agree with yeh, TJ, ‘tis a nasty business that’s afoot and we’re gonna lose big time. They’re takin’ our land, our animals, our money, swindlin’ us left right an’ centre of what’s rightfully ours. [fixes TJ in a practised gaze] We’re the last of our kind, we’re in this tagether.

TJ: Did ya see the match Sunday. We’ll be back at Croke Park agin dis year.

Christy: ‘less there’s a soccer match on there that day or somethin’! Or maybe the British soldiers will be doin’ a drill...

TJ: Nottin’s the same as it used ta be. [lifts his glass and takes a drink] Except dis. Ahhh... People don’t even talk annamore - dey just post messages on the interweb.

Christy: Aye, it’s nice ta sit an’ have a chat an’ a few porters with an old friend. [scratches his nose] Ya could almost pretend everything’s goin’ ta be alright. That we were a protected species and that drink was still the same price as it was back in nineteen an’ fifty-eight. Whose shout is it anyway?

TJ: Tink it’s yers. Aye hear Brian Galligan’s pigs’ve got the blue ear...
Christy: Nice one - who needs the webnet when we’ve you TJ Murphy?