Pitch Perfect: The 3 pubs of Limerick


After the gruelling toil of single-handedly making a Christmas dinner for eight people (three of whom are vegetarian), I felt like I deserved a break. Honey-glazing an uncooked ham, roasting a turkey, kneading a potato stuffing, boiling vegetables, making gravy, mashing spuds, creating pastry for mince pies can take it out of you.

Especially when it is on two consecutive days.

To unwind I went to the cinema with my youngest brother. We’ve had a decades old tradition of going to the pictures. It doesn’t really matter what the film is. It’s indoors, and warm and we can just sit back and be entertained.

Today’s choice was ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ – an entirely unnecessary, unasked for sequel about an all female, college acapella group. I loved the first two instalments in this series. I hope this latest chapter is the last. This was an exploitation movie. Exploitation of our wallets.

This evening after my repast of turkey sandwiches I went out to town with a friend who’s home from England.

We met outside Todds (not its current name – someone has decided to rechristen it Brown Thomas) and wandered up William Street.

Limerick has a gay bar. Apparently it is hanging on by the skin of its teeth. Only yesterday I discovered that it is now operating without a bar license, and subject to the occasional police raid for illegally selling intoxicating liquor. Not because Limerick doesn’t like the gays. Purely because the owners didn’t keep their bar paperwork up to date.

That sounded like my kind of place.

Shuffling through the door, we were greeted by the sight of a very young clientele, a bar that only had Guinness on tap – most drinks were in cans – and a banging sound system. It felt like a proper underground bar – albeit on street level.

Thanks to our advancing years we decided that a solitary beverage would suffice in this establishment. Despite our rebellious nature, we require a certain level of comfort for proper enjoyment.

We repaired to Nancy Blake’s – a legend of Limerick nightlife. As popular today as it was when I was an underage drinker last century, it looked positively refined this evening. There had been a rugby match – Munster lost – earlier in the day. The women in the vertiginous heels and the sturdy men with their designer stubble looked forlorn. We stood by the wall and appreciated the beauty before us.

It was vaguely chilling to watch the males, during the singalong to the ‘Fairytale of New York’. We live in an accepting time allegedly. They really ought to make more of an effort to restrain their joy when screaming the word ‘faggot’ when it appears in the lyrics to that song.

Well I think so anyway.

As Nancy’s is wildly popular, it felt a bit too crowded. So we didn’t Dolores (that’s my personal Limerick rhyming slang for ‘linger’).

To the Red Hen bar we went.

My soul was soothed by the eighties tunes and glamourous ambience.

We chatted, had a laugh about our Christmas experiences.

We bid each other farewell. The next time I see my friend he will be a married man.

The sheer maturity of it all.


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