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Condon's Publican/undertaker, County Tipperary


Cahir, Republic of Ireland —

The combination of pub-funeral parlor is fairly common in rural Ireland....

I went to Condon's pub, of P.F. Condon Publican and Funeral Director, one evening in August 2002.

I felt that I had to. I'd taken a photograph of the place. I'd mentioned it to a local because it was funny to me, in an obvious way.

And after I'd given up on the pubs of Cahir at night (before I'd subsequently discovered Peter's,) I had gone back to my handy comfy B&B to sulk. But I couldn't do that. It's go to the funeral director's pub or die in here. Something like that; but that's more of a word joke I guess. I had to see the place, while I was there, as part of really being there. Anyhow, I had to get out for the evening. So I stepped across the square and went in.

A regular bell hanging inside on the jamb dinged loudly when I opened the door. Everybody looked at me.

The pub was: one counter, about thirty feet (10 m) long, and a space for walking behind those few barstools. It had fluorescent lighting and a muted color scheme; gray carpet and light-seagreen walls, with a cigarette-white ceiling. The counter-top was of no particular distinction — it might have even been formica.

Not a typical Irish pub, rich in atmosphere.

I ordered a Smithwick's.

"We don't have Smithwick's." The lady said. "Only in a bottle."

Well, I was relieved by that. It gave me the perfect chance to make my graceful exit. It seemed at the time that the feeling of relief was mutual, and I expect it was.

I proceeded by happy coincidence to Peter's Bar and Lounge, a couple of doors up the square. I met an 82-year-old local man who was there with his son, and had a good evening until closing time.


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