Thursday 22 August 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Talk the Yanks into submission'

Dromoland Castle, Co Clare
Dromoland Castle, Co Clare
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Most of us can't understand all the fuss over Donald Trump's potential visit to Ireland. It's not as if there is anything new here. We all know it's perfectly possible to be polite to an American visitor's face while bitching and moaning and laughing at them behind their back.

Sure, didn't we grow up doing just that? Anyone from Kerry or Galway or West Cork, or indeed West Clare or any of a load of other tourist destinations is well schooled in the art of smiling at and plamasing the Yanks to the point of exhaustion, and then, when they are gone, letting it all out: "Jesus, did you see the way the 10 of them sat around that one glass of Guinness for three hours while we sat there sweating in the Aran jumpers playing the diddley-eye music for them?"

If we really wanted an expert in dealing with loud, badly dressed, assh*le Yanks, we should bring in an old-school CIE bus tour driver. Those guys really know how to lay it on thick, the best fakers of sincerity you'll ever meet. If the Yanks want them to talk like a leprechaun and show them where the little people live, and tell stories of the spot where Diarmuid met Grainne and Michael Collins died, and then sing a lament for old Ireland macushla machree, they'll do it.

And we all did it to some extent because we knew where our bread was buttered. They could be mean as hell, but they did bring money into communities. And there was always a chance that if you got in with them, they might send you a package of American hand-me-down clothes afterwards. In every town in Ireland there were lads with flashy satin New York Yankee bomber jackets that were the envy of their friends.

As for tension over the venue to meet the visitors, this is as old as the hills, too. When Yanks, who claimed to be related to you, would come for their visit to the old country, they would base themselves in a hotel, and then the arguments would start. "We should invite them to the house." "Don't be daft, we barely know these people. They've invited us down to the hotel for dinner. Let's just do that." "You know well that if we go down to the hotel for dinner, we'll somehow end up paying for it. Remember the last crowd? Granny's cousins from Michigan? They didn't put their hands in their pockets. Let's invite them here. It'll be cheaper." "I'm not having them here commenting about how small and quaint the house is and talking about how big everything is in America. And the kids don't want to have to talk to young Biff again. They say it's embarrassing having to bring him to meet their friends."

So whether the visit happens or not, we'll work it out. And if Trump will go to Dromoland, let's just get an old CIE Tour bus driver to bring him and he'll have talked him into submission by the time they get there.

Sunday Independent

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