A few weeks ago, Ireland played Scotland in the Six Nations Rugby tournament, here in Edinburgh. The Irish flooded in, selling green scarves and hats up and down the Royal Mile, generally taking over.
I had to work the night of the game, and though our pub generally gets quiet after the kitchen closes at 10, that was not the case Irish Rugby night. The back of the pub was full of middle-aged Irish people, and around quarter-to-last-call, a group of about six 20-something Irish boys came in, wearing green rugby jerseys. Suddenly, one of the men up the back started singing a traditional Irish folk song, and his friends all joined in. Then, the young Irish boys countered with their own – in harmony. Soon they were all singing loudly, together, then dancing in our limited floor space.
Once they’d sang every Irish song in existence, they decided they should sing songs from all the other Six Nations teams – Scotland, England, Wales (in Welsh), France (a heart-felt but brutally butchered Allouette), and Italy (That’s Amore).
A group of just-old-enough-to-drink American tourists were also in the pub, and loving the show. As they got up to leave, one of the Irish blokes announced ‘The Americans are leaving!’, and suddenly, like out of a dream, all the Irish stood up, raised their arms forward, and started singing ‘Oh Danny Boy’ to the American kids. It was like watching a Broadway musical, only better. As they left, the Americans filmed the display with their digital cameras.
It came to the sad moment when I had to end the party, and standing on a ledge behind the bar I waved my arms in the air trying to get everyone’s attention. One of the customers did it for me.
‘Excuse me everyone, but these ladies have been very patient with us this evening, and it’s time we got out and let them close!’ I wanted to do no such thing, but such is licensing laws. The old men started clapping and singing ‘Cheeri-cheeri-cheerio!’, and the young men stood in two lines along the bar, with their arms up forming an arch way. The old men got down on their knees, and ‘walked’ underneath it to the door.
Before they left, everyone came over to apologize for their rowdiness, give a kiss on the cheek, thank us for putting up with them. I, who hadn’t stopped laughing for an hour and a half, thanked them for being so entertaining. Some checked to make sure I’d get home okay. One of the guys took off his Ireland scarf, and put it around my neck.
Once we’d closed up, I was walking home, and when almost there I heard a voice from the crowd in front of one of the bars: ‘Hey! It’s the girl from the pub!’
The six guys in rugby shirts appeared. They insisted we take group photos.
Last weekend, another group of young Irish folks came to the pub. They came in several days in a row, and were there one night when Jase, Jenny S. and I stopped in on a ‘Yay Jenny’s done uni classes’ pub crawl. We were several pitchers of Tennents in, and told them to meet us later at the Bank Hotel down the street. When they showed up, we were attempting to kareoke ‘One Week’ by the Barenaked Ladies.
They bought us a round of tequila shots. They bought us a round of Baby Guinness (Kahlua with Baileys on top). We don’t much remember the walk home.
The next day, they were back in the pub again. They were heading back to Ireland, and had 16 bottles of Heinecken they couldn’t take with them, so they left them with us.
On St. Paddy’s day, we were at a pub called Dropkick Murphy’s, dancing to a live band. Jenny S. noticed that they had all the Six Nations flags on display above the bar – except that instead of having the English flag, they had the Irish flag twice.
Jenny A. will be here in 12 days. We will be in Ireland in 16 days. Yessssssssss.