IT’S hard not to chuckle at the story of the Irish publican who was fined last week after holding a lock-in at his pub in Listowel, County Kerry.
Christy Walsh is 700 euro worse off after police found dozens of nuns drinking in his bar hours after it should have closed.
Now, before you think this is yet another Catholic church scandal, I should point out that the revellers were not real holy sisters, but rather participants in a world record attempt in aid of charity.
And if you’ve just taken part in the largest ever gathering of people dressed as nuns – 1,436 to be precise – then what better way to celebrate your entry into the Guinness Book of Records than by supping the black stuff into the wee small hours?
Most of those who donned the habit on that day last June had gone to their beds by the time the police called in on Mr Walsh’s bar at 1.45am – 45 minutes after it should have closed. But 30 of the “sisters” were still there working away.
And when officers popped in again just after 4am they counted 21 “nuns” still enjoying a few jars.
When I heard that dozens of Irish people dressed as nuns had been caught in a lock-in, I immediately thought “it has to be Kerry.”
The rural south-western county plays a similar role in Ireland as the West Country does in England – it serves as the butt of the rest of the country’s jokes.
Some of the jibes are cruel and unfair, but then again Kerry doesn’t do itself any favours sometimes.
Like when its county council demands, as it did earlier this year, that laws are relaxed in rural areas to allow people to have “two or three drinks” before getting behind the wheel.
There’s something about the place which reminds me of one of Ireland’s finest cultural exports.
As a Kerryman once said to my brother: “You don’t understand. For you, Father Ted might be a sitcom. For us, it’s a hard-hitting documentary.”