The Art of Irish Drinking

Another talented drinkerI am working on a new Art book at present “The Art of Irish Drinking” combining all the paintings I have completed with drinking subjects of Potcheen men and Pub scenes etc ( seems like there are quite a few!) Along with Irish ballads and poems of the blessings and curse of the drink! I am not much of a drinker these days but by God I have seen a lot of it in my Day. My Grannie in Ballymena lived next door to McQuillian’s Pub -the scene of many drinking escapades with the characters who frequented the place.
The Pubs in Ireland are like no others any place else in the World. In my Boyhood there was one on every corner of our town and the same scene could be repeated in every town in Ireland. Pubs were more than a drinking place. In those days after the war they were social clubs, and meeting places for darts, dominoes, cards and music- even clandestine plotting or political arguments that now and then erupted into a few fisticuffs. Places of camaraderie to escape the hard factory life and enjoy a few laughs .
I made my first singing debut in that Pub on my grannies corner. I was often asked by my Mother to go and send my father back home and when the men saw me I was told to “Get up there and give us an oul song” My boy soprano voice would pipe out some old ballad like “The Irish Rover” or The Wild Colonial Boy” to the strains of my Da’s button Key accordion. I probably learned the trade of entertainment in these noisy bar rooms.
Memories of those Guinness -flavoured air establishments are etched forever in my mind and when I paint my Pub scenes I am right back there again with the Characters in old cloth caps, big dark pints in their hands and them roaring out the chorous of some old sea chantey or drinking song and it’s “ No nay never. No never no more, Will I play the Wild Rover no never no more”

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