I spent almost 7 years living in Tralee, between going to college there and working there afterward. I absolutely loved it. I had always felt that my heart was in Tralee, even as a child and wished that I'd grown up there. I felt so lucky that a third level course that I really wanted to do ( Folk Theatre Studies with Siamsa Tire, the National Folk Theatre of Ireland) was available in Tralee. I was heading back there after three and a half years and it was pissing down rain. Apt really - it must be one of the rainiest towns in Ireland.
After a washed out drive around Slea Head, albeit still a very pretty route, First stop in Tralee was checking in at Manor West Hotel; Terence, one of my best friends, had reserved a room for us, which was extraordinarily nice of him! Then we went downtown to meet my aunt Mary briefly and see how she was recovering after the wedding (Aeda is her youngest daughter). We popped into Paddy Mac's for a late lunch - the food was still as lovely as I remembered it. Then Gareth went for a lie-down while I had a little catch-up with Terence. Around 6pm we decided it was beer o clock and pitched ourselves up at the Bistro Bar in the hotel for an aperitif before we headed down the town. A friend I knew from Dublin, Aidan, text to say he would join us for one or two so we headed down to the Blasket, a popular spot in the town. It was empty, but then it was a Tuesday night.
After Aidan joined us and enlightened us with some risqué tales (that man's mouth needs to be washed out!) we decided we should probably get some ballast in to prepare us for the rest of the night's drinking. On Terence's recommendation we headed around to Willie Darcy's Restaurant. When I lived in Tralee, Willie Darcy's was a pub on the corner of the square but Willie obviously has other talents!
They had a great deal on - 3 courses for 20euro and we decided to splash out and order some Prosecco too. The waiter had a bit of craic with us when opening the bottle, saying it lent "an air of affluence," to our table. I'm not sure about that - we looked like a motley crew! The food was really good, we were fighting over the brie, and Aidan even complimented the vegetarian offering. They even went so far as to change Screaming Dion off the stereo and replace it with Bob Dylan. It would be a really nice place for a romantic meal too; I liked the decor and setting. I know we were probably a little raucous towards the end, but we were the last there, so at least we didn't disturb anyone else.
We pottered across the square to Sean Og's, an old favorite of mine, always good for a few tunes. As usual, it was packed - as on any night of the week. The boys decided it was time for shots; jagers of course, but a few other hideous concoctions landed in front of me which I absolutely refused (tequila TOPPEd with sambuca?). Ran into a few other old friends and decided a trip to Late Bar, The Abbey was in order. Another old haunt; I used to spend every Thursday night dancing til 2 or 3 in there. It's undergone a refurbishment since I was a regular, and the crowd seems to be a lot younger (but then we were once too!) but we had a dance nonetheless. There was a lot of drink flying around and as sometimes does; some disagreements started. Aidan and myself decided we should probably finish off the night on a high but it was a struggle getting Gareth out of the bar, apparently not enough Jagers had been consumed! He seemed happy enough in the taxi a few minutes later, head out the window like a labrador lapping in the Tralee air.
I'm not sure what happened when we got into the hotel room; I remember him falling over the bed, and acting like a drunken idiot (although given I was drunk myself I probably wasn't the best judge of this). There was a silly argument, and a bathroom door slammed (him, not me!) and I curled up in bed thinking that this was really typical of Tralee; There always seems to be a fight to be had in Tralee. No matter how much I love it, no matter how many good memories I have, it's a fighting town.