Opinion: Making sense of a changed political landscape will test our politicians
When a Limerick city friend of mine was jilted by a rather good-looking young woman from nearby Co Clare there was, let's say, a limited amount of sympathy for him.
"Parteen is such sweet sorrow," one of the gang quipped, parodying the Bard in a slick reference to her home village just over the Shannon from the Treaty City.
It came to mind this week as I tried to bone up on the new Dáil constituencies which will apply at the next general election. Park speculation about election timing, suffice to say that, if it is not in 2018, it will happen soon afterwards.
The constituency changes, based on an independent report and voted quietly into law just before the Christmas break, are not major. They are, however, important for the people who live in those places affected.
And, in a tight election count, those changes could help spell the end of a long-serving TD's career, or a breakthrough for a newcomer.
The bigger-picture changes are easily tracked. Based on a 4pc population increase in the 2016 Census, the number of TDs goes back up from 158 to 160. Extra seats go to Cavan-Monaghan, bringing it to a five-seater; and to Kildare South and Dublin Central, taking those two to four-seaters.
I mentioned Clare at the outset because the part of it abutting Limerick city has had contentious boundary changes. Some years ago, people around the aforementioned Parteen found themselves voting with their Limerick city neighbours in Dáil elections.
Locally they voted for Clare County Council, but in European Parliament elections they voted in what we used to call Connacht-Ulster. That put them in the same electoral area as people on Tory Island and those living in Drumlin country.