BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

16 October 2014
Get Writing NI

BBC Homepage

BBC NI Learning


Get Writing NI

Writers Showcase

Established Local Writers

Local Writing Legends


The Book of Irish Writers

Rhythm & Rhyme

Study Ireland

Contact Us

Writers Showcase
Brendan McDonnell
Brendan McDonnell

Brendan was born in Armagh in 1958 and lives in Belfast. He only began to write creatively after attending a writer's workshop at the Crescent Arts Centre in March 2003. The group that emerged has continued to meet, providing a source of mutual inspiration and support. Brendan's writing is inspired by life experiences, with a special interest in his love of Gaelic sports. He has had one short story published on a GAA website.

Patsy's Last Pint by Brendan McDonnell

Patsy stood at the bottom of the hill, shaking his head in disbelief as he surveyed the scene of devastation before him. He scratched the bald patch under his cap and cursed at the sense of it all.

"Jasus, I don't know," he said to nobody in particular. "Have these boys nothin' better to be doin' with themselves than blowin' a man's drinking establishment to hell, whaa?"

Sure wasn't it only after being re-built and it not a year since the last time it was blew up! But sure ye never knew how these things worked or what went on. The rumours were already doin' the rounds: it was an insurance job; he had been servin' cops; wouldn't pay protection - the usual stuff. Anyway, thought Patsy, there was no use cryin' over spilt beer. About these parts a wise man didn't question such things, well not openly anyway. Heaney had called him that morning saying the club was after being bombed again and he needed a man down to help him secure the place before the looters got at it, like the last time.

Patsy shrugged his shoulders, dug his hands into the pockets of his jacket and strode disconsolately up the steep hill of the car park to where the remains of the 'club' lay. He sighed and rubbed his chin as he assessed the damage. Well, he supposed, the 'Foresters' would have to do him for a while now, and anyway sure wouldn't the day's work pay for a few drinks later. Every bomb has a silver lining.

The club straddled the side of a hill, below it ran the main Forkhill road and beyond this rose Slieve Gullion, its ominous presence framing the scenic beauty of the South Armagh countryside. The clear stillness of the early morning air belied the malicious violence of a few hours earlier. Patsy had lived in these hills all of his sixty odd years and while he regretted this inconvenience, he bore it with the stoic indifference of a man who had seen worse; he understood the flow of the seasons and the passing of things.

He chatted a while with Heaney and made his way over to the remains. The explosion had blown out the side walls and the two storey structure had collapsed in on itself. However, as he stumbled among the debris he noticed a corner of the front bar still protruding from the wreckage.

Gingerly he clambered over to investigate the carcass. The bulk of the long wooden structure was buried under tons of concrete and collapsed roof beams, but this wee section, now exposed to the elements, was basically still intact. He cleared the worst of the rubble and fragments of glass from the counter. As he did so he discovered the remains of a few bar taps all broken and twisted. Patsy paused for a moment and, as if by instinct, reached over the dusty bar and tried pulling on the distorted levers. To his surprise and delight he found that the Guinness tap was still working. Patsy stepped back and scratched the back of his head under his cap as he pondered the implications of this discovery. A brief glance around revealed that nobody was about. Then he spied the legs of an upturned bar stool sticking out from a pile of bricks. Patsy pulled it free, cleared a small space in front of the bar and placed it down. Broken glass was strewn everywhere, but as luck would have it, he was able to retrieve an unbroken but dirt-encrusted pint glass. A few spits and a quick rub with his handkerchief rendered it usable. After another furtive check over his shoulder, Patsy leaned over and proceeded to pour himself a pint.

Sitting back on that stool, in the open air, surrounded by the shattered remnants of his beloved club, Patsy gazed out on the distant visage of the misty Mourne mountains and sipped contentedly. Later he would declare to bemused friends, "I tell ye, I never enjoyed a pint as much as that one I had the morning the club was blew up."

What do you think of this piece? Email
Please enclose the title of the work and the name of the author.

The BBC will display as many of the comments as possible on the page of commented work but we cannot guarantee to display all comments.

More from this writer:

The Burren in the Rain

Short Stories
Patsy's Last Pint

More showcase writers:

Full list of writers

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy