Slouching Towards Bantry

A journey is a hallucination. -- Flann O'Brien

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Inimitable Michael Joe


On my first night in Garnish, Michael Joe O'Sullivan walked into his friend Mitey McNally's house and sat down at the dinner table, while we were in the midst of devouring plates of fried mackerel. After sizing me up for a moment, he did his best to speak slowly enough for me to decipher what he was saying in his deep West Cork brouge. "If we kidnapped ye, would anybody pay the ransom?" he asked.

Before returning home to run a pub in nearby Alliheis more than 20 years ago, Michael Joe worked construction in London. His late father labored in the copper mines of Alliheis from the 1930s until the early 1960s, when the mines shut down. Michael Joe shuttered the pub four years ago.

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