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Condon's Publican/undertaker, County Tipperary

Cahir, Co. Tipperary, 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'd taken a photograph of the pub that was also a funeral director. 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 I had gone back to the B&B to sulk. But I couldn't do that.

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

The pub was one bar-counter, about thirty feet long, and a space for walking behind the barstools. Fluorescent lighting showed a muted color scheme; gray carpet and light-seagreen walls, a cigarette-white ceiling and a green formica counter-top.

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.