IT'S unlikely that anywhere in the town was busier than McHugh's on Saturday night – Electric Avenue, led from the mic by incorrigible frontman Ants McCluskey, are one of the biggest draws around these here parts. And punters were duly arriving by the busload when Night Owl came calling.
The main attraction had yet to take to the stage when the Owl swooped. DJ Dom Wilton was still in full swing, and belting out another 80's wonder. The Owl tipped him the nod and Dom reciprocated in kind, as usual all smiles from his perch in the booth. Though the night was still in its infancy, it was already standing room only.
Passing by the tables that run along the front of the bar, Night Owl happened upon the familiar face of Mr Derek Tealon, an old neighbour of mine out in Donore. Still resident in the country, Derek was out enjoying his 22nd birthday in the company of Leone Holdcroft, also living in Donore, Maura Rogan, Jean McDonnell and Alan Johnson – all from Mellifont Park. The gang had just arrived in following a visit to Romanza down on Dyer St. Derek said they had been very impressed with the place and had really enjoyed their meal. Now though, it was time for some liquid refreshment.
At the table next door was the ever-bubbly pair of Eilish Murtagh and Caroline Johnson, who were attempting to remain anonymous by claiming to be new best friends Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston. Jolie and Aniston wouldn't get a look in, ladies!
Eilish and Caroline were sharing a table, a drink and no doubt all manner of interesting conversations with Dara Cooney, Shirley Donagh, Caitriona Reynolds and Nicola Gerrard.
Continuing north towards the stage Night Owl met Michelle Willis from Batchelor's Lane and Therese McAuley from Laurence's Drive, out after getting the hair done!
At the next table were a trio of sisters – Barbara Martin, from Ardee, Vivienne Brady, from Forest Park and Wendy Lynch, from Ard Ri – and they were out for drinks with Sharon Victory and Bernie Martin, also from Ardee. They were a vivacious lot, these gals. When the Owl enquired what brought them out together on this cold January night the response was short but succinct and full of optimism – Life! I couldn't agree more ladies.
To the left of the stage and just below Dom's box of musical tricks were Linda McGuinness, from Dundalk, Rebecca Keane, from Sallins, and Helen Furlong, from Carlow.
I think it may have been Linda's birthday but she didn't want to make a fuss! Anyway, it just goes to show the popularity of Electric Avenue at the moment – they are coming from as far away as Carlow these days!
Back over at the high tables near the door were Caroline Treadwell, Linda Goggin (two Togher sisters formerly of the clan that owns a little pub out there known as Darby's) and birthday girl Aideen McHugh. The girls were part of a bigger gang out celebrating with Aideen, who turned 30 not so long ago. Obviously, being 30 isn't what it used to be – sure it's the new 21, isn't it? Sure, Aideen only looks 21 anyway!
The Purple Room beckoned my dancing feet. Brian Connolly was running Purple Haze over there at the Star and Crescent establishment where Reggie's Corner (Danny McEvoy, Sean McCluskey and Sean 'Ogie' Collins) and Holy Matrimony (accompanied by drummer Kev Sheridan) were providing the musical entertainment.
As usual it was funk and frolics all the way.
Full moon fever was definitely in evidence, if any of that dancing was anything to go by.