If you’re ever visiting

Ireland, be careful where you stop for information, especially directions.

Cruising along the back roads in County Clare, we finally realized that we weren’t on the right route for the castle. In the next hamlet, my brother suggested we just stop and ask the traffic cop — they’re called the garda — at the intersection.

That was a mistake.

“Where you from?” he asked, before I could even shut off the ignition and tell him what we needed.

“The U.S., but right now we’re trying to find Route 24- North. We’re looking for Bunratty Castle.”

“Well, now, you’re a bit off the mark,” he said, “If you keep straight on here though, you’ll come to sign post No. 22, about three miles north. But don’t turn there. Another mile, you’ll see St. Matthews on the left. Poor Father McCarthy! It’s the liver and they say he probably won’t last the month. Don’t turn there either. Two blocks past that church, before you get to that blind alley, take a sharp right. And for heaven’s sakes, be careful. You’ll find that you’re going the wrong way on a one-way street, but don’t let that throw you cause that’s what you’re doing right now.”

•••

BIT OF BLARNEY: Sometimes the Irish humor comes through, regardless of the intention.

n When my friend Murph showed up for lunch one day at Justin Tyme On The River, Buffalo Avenue, I noticed he was wearing one green sock and the other black. When I called it to his attention, he never even glanced down. “Yeah, and I have another pair just like it at home,” he said.

n Tim Kelley wanted to know exactly how many feet of snow Niagara County had to date, compared with a year ago. He was urged to call Eugene Pacia, an official U.S. weather observer in Porter. Here’s how the expert answered: “Right now, we’re in between Rochester and Syracuse. Utica got hit hard too but they didn’t get half as much as Watertown. We should be happy we don’t live in Schenectady or Tioga.”

n Overheard at a Lewiston restaurant, a guy with a thick brogue told a bartender, “If Mike comes back before I do, tell him that I’ll meet him at two o’clock.”

“OK,” the bartender said, “But what’ll I tell him if he doesn’t come?”

n The story goes that Charlie Eames of Youngstown was at the Fort Erie Race Track one day when he bet a race in which there were only six horses. He snapped at his railbird friend who was watching all the action with high-powered binoculars.

“Where’s my horse?” Charlie demanded, “I can’t see that far to the backstretch!”.

His friend, still peering through the glasses, shot back: “I can’t tell. I’m only watching the first five!”

n “Let’s hear it for Ireland!” a guy hollered at Gadawski’s Restaurant last week.

“Let’s hear it for hell!” another patron replied.

A voice three seats away added: “Everyman for his own country!”

n And then there was the unnamable Irish pastor who was jolted one Sunday when — during his lengthy sermon — a male parishioner suddenly left the pew, stalked down the center aisle and out the door.

Minutes after the service, the priest dashed around to the front of the church to find the woman whose husband had left in a huff.

“Was it something I said from the pulpit?” the pastor politely inquired. “Pay no attention to him, Father,” the woman said, “He always walks in his sleep.”

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.

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