independent

Saturday 2 August 2014

Five good reasons for throwing a house party

Published 15/10/2013|05:34

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Friday: The MIL (mother-in-law) celebrated a birthday of note today. The good woman had spent the week plotting a surprise party for her, the most difficult part being trying to figure out how to keep the MIL off her own patch for the afternoon, long enough for the 'surprise element' to be arranged.

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With a wily aunt inviting the MIL to play the slots in a seaside-town arcade (how could anyone resist a one-on-one with the one-armed bandits?) followed by a stroll along the pier, her absence was ensured.

The good woman was a little nervous about the venue, spending sleepless nights deliberating over whether to hold the party in a pub, hotel or at home. In the end she made the right decision to host the celebration under the roof where she was raised, and the following are five good reasons why.

5) The session. There is one thing that can be said about all Irish people and that is we love to sing. Whether we can sing in tune, or not, is irrelevant; we're only waiting to be asked. If the typical Irish person is asked to sing in public it is most likely they will curl up into a little ball, turn red-faced, and refuse to open their mouths. Give them the sanctuary of a sitting room and lace them with a few glasses of the devil's brew, however, and they are convinced they have what it takes to make Simon Cowell's knee-caps tremble. Tonight we had a sing-song to cap all sing-songs. From The Town I Loved So Well to Roger Whittaker's The Last Farewell to Sutherland Brothers & Quiver's Arms of Mary, this eclectic mix of songs will probably never be heard simultaneously in a public venue again. Chances are that if they were, the crowd singing them would be politely asked to leave.

4) A full house. I had interesting conversations with some of the more seasoned neighbours in attendance tonight, guests I knew would never have come had the bash been held in town. At one stage I was sitting watching the Germany v Republic of Ireland soccer match with an octogenarian lady who told me her nephew had gone to the game. I prattled on about what a wonderful city Cologne is to visit and how her nephew would enjoy a trip of culture while sightseeing in one of the most historical-laden cities Europe has to offer – I even mentioned air raids. She nodded pleasantly while I talked, and I learned after she left that she had been talking about a hurling match that was taking place up the road.

3) Children are welcome. Yes, generally you will find a 9pm cut-off time for children being allowed in Irish pubs. Having a house party meant the young lad and younger lad could enjoy the festivities with their nanny until their little legs eventually gave way. How they slept through six rousing renditions of Sean South From Garryowen, I will never know.

2) Beds are close by. One by one, we fell, and there is nothing nicer when you are feeling the effects of a long evening than knowing there is a pillow nearby on which to rest your head. Just make sure you make it into the correct bed beside the correct person and everything will be hunky dory.

1) Pride of place for the MIL. What more could the woman of the house wish for as she celebrates reaching one of the more significant milestones in life than having family and friends mark the occasion in the place she proudly calls home. There's no place like it after all, and the best part is she gets to call last orders, on terms of her very own.

Gorey Guardian

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