His name is Mike, and he owns a pub and B&B on the main street in our little town of Ballycotton.
Brian and I went in for some pub grub tonight, but found out there is only food served Fridays to Sundays. It was just us in the bar, and Mike seemed happy enough to direct us someplace to get food. But we decided to take a load off our four feet and bellied up to the bar.
Mike told us about the beers on draft and let me taste two besides Guinness (and yes Guinness won out). Mike’s wife is the cook on weekends. His three daughters help out. He lent us some books on the area to take home and peruse.
Mike told us the pub culture is changing… thinks it’s probably due to technology. Used to be that the pub was the center of social life. Not so much any more. Three 20-somethings might be sitting up at the bar each with their smart phone making other connections.
It was a really nice pub. And Mike was the kind of guy you probably could talk to about just about anything. I wonder if three days of food service a week is enough to keep him afloat.
The recession is still affecting people in Ireland. The real estate boom of 2006 crashed, and as in the U.S. of A., many Irish are upside down on their homes by a third or more.
In our class of 60 at Ballymaloe, many of the students are looking to a new career after having been deemed “redundant” in their jobs. Each day Darina reads advertisements from food establishments seeking “passionate chefs.” And each morning Darina asks in her coach-mother-cleric tone of voice: “.. and how many have found a job?”
Think I’ll ask Darina about Mike.