Published in Meath Chronicle July 11th – It Really is a Long Long Way from Clare to Here

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” Tennessee Williams.
I’ve been asked down to the Burren for a weekend in August, and I very well might go, but maybe I’ll take the bus. The memory of the Burren last year is just too painful. My car refused to leave the B & B for home. Oh, the shame! There I was, thanking our hosts and waving goodbye, all set to head east – and the car wouldn’t start.
Like a grinning moron, I kept a brave face, beaming inanely out of the car window. Slight mishap haha, she’ll start this time, just give her another drop of juice haha (and what’s with the “she” business? I sounded like a friggin’ mechanic!) Not a hope of it. My galloping maggot refused to budge. Miles from anywhere. I was in deep doo-doo.
I struggled for my next move, still all sunshine on the outside and wobbling on the inside. What’ll I do now? Yup – you guessed it. I looked under the bonnet! I wouldn’t know a car bonnet from a Scotch bonnet, or even an Easter bonnet – I swear, sometimes my idiocy astounds even me. The nearby cows enjoyed the show, though. They ambled towards the gate, munching thoughtfully as they gazed at us. Dinner and a movie. Simultaneously. What fun.
The night before, Scallywag and I had been at the very top of the Cliffs of Moher, singing “Whoa, Lisdoonvarna! Lisdoon Lisdoon Lisdoon Lisdoonvarna!” at the tops of our voices, startling the seagulls. The tourists had left and had taken most of the daylight with them, and we had the place all to ourselves. Try having the Cliffs of Moher all to yourself, late on a hot summer night with the Atlantic ocean shimmering beneath you, like a vast sheet of purple and orange satin. Exhilarating doesn’t even come close. I’ll bet you’d find yourself bursting into song, too. If not, check yourself for a pulse.
Anyway, with my head stuck under the bonnet I cursed sotto voce, every curse in every language I could think of; I speak fluent Obscene when the occasion arises. Clare was playing Galway at some match or other – tennis, maybe – and so I had no chance of finding a man who knew anything about what was wrong under the bloody bonnet.
I made a quick phone call to my family to let them know I was stuck. Then called my best friend in Tipperary, even though it’s a long way to Tipperary, just to have a moan. Scallywag was infuriatingly blasé about it all. She liked this place anyway, wasn’t in any particular hurry to leave.
So while my family were arranging for Air & Sea Rescue to call out (OK, OK, I exaggerate), and my friend Anne Marie was bracing herself for a long distance drive from County Tipp, our B & B hosts invited us to stay another night – on the house! Where in the world would you get such generosity? In Clare, that’s where. But it’s a long, long way from Clare to here.
It was still only mid-afternoon, so we got a taxi into Kinvara, a picture perfect little town, and it seemed like all of Germany was there. The taxi driver gave me a number for a local mechanic, said to mention his name, and by teatime the following day we were on the road home. Having avoided the motorway on the way down, just so we could enjoy the journey and stop wherever we fancied, I took a different tack on the home stretch. Hit that motorway like a blue streak I did, like I was driving a particularly impatient Lexus, and didn’t look left nor right till I pulled into my own front yard.
Actually, I do think I’ll go back – and bring the car with me. So what if we get stranded again? As places to get stranded in go, the Burren’s one of the better ones. Beats the hell out of stalling on the M50, anyway. But that’s a whole other story.

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