Sunday 21 May 2023

Why I love the West of Ireland: #43,729


Above Knock Airport the sky hangs pure deep blue; not a tiny wispy cloud anywhere on the horizon.

The sun soaks my skin as I walk out into the car park.


My long weekend in my native London was great. Everything went really well. I drenched myself in the love of friends of forty nine years, and on Monday swapped those numbers around for 94, the age of my incredible wonderful mum.

Uber to Mum, Uber back, Uber to the pub: when in London do what you cannot in Killala.

I talked at length with three Uber drivers: a brace of Afghan and one Bulgarian. All with stories to tell. All - with no little pride - describing themselves as Londoners.

That was London, but here is the West of Ireland and recharged, I’m home on my 63rd birthday, happy and excited at the prospect of a few sunny evening whiskies at Sweeney’s later with the posse.

Maybe my mind is there, drinking beneath the Round Tower, because wherever I am, it’s neither here nor at all ‘in the moment’, as they say these days.

Indicating left, I swing Joey round towards the Northbound N17, turn to look far right to see if all’s clear, but forget to look straight in front of me, which some might consider important, generally and specifically, when driving.

Glassy tinklesplinter...... Glassy tinklesplinter.

Oh fuck fuck fuck.

Fuketty fukking fuck fuck.

Not now.
Not Now.
Not Bloody Now.

Yer man’s getting out his car in front, and I’m suddenly tense, not ready to encounter any kind of aggression, as I was off in such a happy place mere seconds ago.

Can’t sit here any longer. Have to get out of the car.


“Ah look, I'm so sorry. Fuck. So sorry. C’mere, do you want to do the insurance thing?”

“Ah no no no. I’d say you have it a lot worse than me. Look, you’ve only smashed my rear light. Yours is hit much harder. 

I turn and look at broken Joey. Yes I am that sad git who names his bloody cars. My vehicles, 2 and 4 wheeled, have all felt like steeds in some way, so I gave them names.

Despite having seen not one second of structured reality TV show The Only Way Is Essex, when I bought my Suzuki SX, I immediately thought of its star, Joey SX.

That’s it. Now his wing is gashed, his headlight smashed and bonnet crumpled a tad.

“At least let me give you something for your broken light!” I say.

As I open Joey’s back door to get €50 cash for the man, the contents of my travel bag spill onto the road.

Wallet, USB key. Coins.

Fuck Fuck Fuck

“I have your water bottle!” he shouts from somewhere. “It rolled out from under the car!”

I gather up all my spilled items from the hot tarmac.

Fuck fuck fuck

Standing, I look around but he’s nowhere.
Oh there he is.

The man whose car I just smashed into at the airport, (and let’s face it, if you’re at an airport there’s something happening in your life. No good time to have an accident, yeh, but airports are the worst) he’s on his knees struggling with both hands to bend the metal away from Joey’s tyre. 

“See now this was a bit jammed in there but now I’d say that wheel will roll. I’d want to be sure the tyre’s not binding though, so if you like I’ll just follow you down the road a while, and see how you get on.”

In my brain’s background there appears a volley of sugary primary colour explosions of unexpected humanity and compassion.

I say

“No, I’ll be fine, that’s so incredibly kind of you but thanks so much.”

He bends the torn metal around upwards, a few more inches away from Joey’s tyre

“There now, I’d say you’ll be alright. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge, I would, in case anything’s binding.”

“Really, and thanks so much for your help, and I’m really sorry about well, y’know. It’s pretty much downhill to Swinford and I’ll pull into that garage there to take a look."

“Sound. And sound!” he declares, waving the 50 back at me, and he drives off.

Joey’s partially blocking the airport road, so I roll him down onto the hard shoulder of the main road, stop and



God he was so nice
Offering to follow me to see if I was okay

So kind

Yeh get shopping in the garage, ‘cos I’ll not have a car.

But if I don’t have a car how do I get to Castlebar for my knee injection on Saturday morning?

No way I’m missing that. Waited months for that. 

And no way I’m asking anyone in the posse to get out of bed early on a Saturday.

And pretty sure there’ll be no public transport to get from the village to Castlebar by 10.

Stare into space
(definitely better when not moving)

Dial the mobile of the bloke who owns the garage in my village.

Rural West of Ireland means first name terms.

“Kev, it’s Charlie. How you doing mate? Listen, fucking smashed my car a bit outside of Knock Airport. Happy fucking birthday, eh? Yeh, it is, yeh, 63. Not an age event that rocks my world, to be honest, Kev. No biggie. But still, yeh, exactly. Not on your birthday and not at the bloody airport. Thanks Kev, yeh, so, I’m on my way to you now, but I’ve a few medical appointments I need to get to, so any chance of a car?"

“Not right now, Charlie, but by tonight or tomorrow morning latest there’ll be a car here for you, which you can keep for the duration of the repair.”

“Kev you're a bloody mensch, mate. Thanks so much. See you in an hour, I hope.”

The bloke I crashed into gets my car going, and the garage gives me a car.  

Not saying you wouldn’t get that in London, but. 

The West of Ireland is a great place to live. 

Oh, and by the way Kev, no rush: I’m loving the Qashqai!



©Charlie Adley