Seamus's grandson Fionn McGowan - Checking out the jam for afternoon tea
Hear ye, hear ye – all ye disgruntled citizens of the British Isles – In a nearby land, at the foothills of Donegal, along the Lakeshores of west Cavan and Fermanagh, not far from the dry plains of Longford and Roscommon, in the bosom of the County Sligo and kissing the Atlantic ocean - There is the secret hamlet that lies in wait... Come, grab a piece of our Lovely Leitrim rainforest...
We welcome strangers and their strange ways with open arms. We want you proper, decent English’s to come and live among us... We are lonely and will talk to anyone.
Bring your poodles and your poo bags and mind the cow’s shite... reboot, re-reg, re-locate... take tour wives and your previous wives to a land of opportunity.
For those of you who are retired or who don’t like work, Leitrim is an oasis of unemployment, (so bring your own money) but you could be playing for the Leitrim hurlers before the winter chill is gone
We don’t have afternoon tea, as we still eat the dinner during the day, but if you stay, we can have after dinner tae, with a bit of soda bread and rhubarb jam. Fear not of traffic jams as we have one set of traffic lights... but they are constantly on the move.
Our schools are almost empty, so class sizes are very small – we have yoga for beginners and there’s bingo in the hall every Monday, Wednesday and Friday...
We know yez don’t go to mass, but if you could go to some of the sadder funerals and then, the ones that aren’t as sad, maybe send a card, we accept all cards... Mass cards, Sympathy cards and Get well soon cards. (Put ‘Belated’ on the ‘Get Well Soons’). All other cards are null and void – We are a cash state! Credit cards and debit cards will be spat into your face, because of poor broadband and tax fraud.
You can change large notes and sterling in a certain pub that looks like a house, where you’re also welcome to join in in the sing along – slow soulful versions of ‘Swing low, sweet Chariot’ are acceptable after 2am, ‘Come out ya Black and Tans’ and sing with us, when we’re singing soft and low. The Gourmet chip van is parked at the traffic lights – The Traffic lights are attached to the back of the chip van. They both move together.
We don’t encourage Garden fates or car-boot sales – but there are four cattle markets taking place each week, in memory of our farming past... Approach these gatherings with caution or by Garda escort.
There is a great sporting tradition within the county, but you may also bring your cricket bats and your wickets and some of us will stand in goals.
Bring also, your opinions and persuasions and keep them to yourself. Help others, as they’re the only ones that can give you directions.
The Google Maps Van got stuck in a gap up near Dowra and never came back. But our roads have no tolls or white lines, you can drive on either side as long as you have an indicator on.
Mind the bushes and the potholes and there’s one set of traffic lights, that might be on its way to somewhere else.
Post Brexit 'Britten', come join us. Come down from your lofty heights of delusion. Wipe your feet on the mat of eventuality and step across the border of discontent. Come in and make yourself at home.
Come in and we’ll drink Gunpowder Gin – till the cows come back from the factory. Together we can learn the guitar and start a ballad group.... And after fourteen years, if you’re not happy, you can ring Joe Duffy.
Post Brexit England – ‘To Hell or to Connaught’ – we lie in wait... we look out from the rushes and the Sitka Spruce - Honk your horn as you come in to Carrick – Speak up, as some of us... well, our English isn’t great... but to paraphrase your own Mr Shakespeare :
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
You all alone beweep your outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries
And look upon yourself and curse your fate
Wishing you, more like one rich in hope
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope
With what you most enjoy, contented least
Yet in these thoughts, yourself almost despising
Haply you think of Leitrim and then your state
(like the lark at break of day, arising
From sullen earth) to sing hymns at heaven’s gate
For our sweet county remembered, such wealth brings
That you and I scorn to change our fate with that of kings.
Bravo Romeo Exit Stage Right.