It was a cool autumn day when we went out for a walk with our dog.
We live in the countryside on the outskirts of a small village. Usually we would walk into the village and pass the church before taking a right to walk along the river Maigue. We did exactly that. The path next to the river is beautiful and peaceful with an old stone wall and big trees along the way. Long ago this was the main road to Cork, but now it is a well-known walking space. Before you get there though, you have to pass the old water mill on your left and an old pub on your right.
This old pub is called Poet’s Corner and I always imagine that hundreds of years ago writers and poets would get together at this pub where they would read out their latest poems or written offerings and get some divine inspiration from similar thinking souls. The smoke from the open fire would be heavy in the air, maybe also from them smoking pipes, and the place would be all cosy and pleasant. They would have a pint maybe and sing a song, laugh a good bit, maybe cry, but they would all have been kindred spirits.
Well apparently in the mid-18th century this village was a meeting place for Gaelic poets. The story has it that this School of Gaelic Poetry was actually just a convivial gathering in a pub owned by one of the poets. They were known as the Poets of Maigue, the Maigue Poets or Fili na Maighe where the poets always wrote in their native Irish tongue. They wrote songs, elegies, drinking songs, songs of a patriotic nature and songs of farewell. I’m unsure if Poet’s Corner was the pub they used for their writings, but it is an inspiring thought.
These days Poet’s Corner houses a Chinese Restaurant where many people from the village and beyond come to get a take-away or eat in. So as we were walking towards the river we suddenly realised there was something very wrong with the place. The indoor chairs were outside, a gas bottle was lying outside, there was a lot of glass and it dawned on us that the place had been broken into and was vandalised. Really badly vandalised. All the windows were broken. With no regard or respect for another’s property the furniture and everything inside had just been demolished and destroyed. We were shocked that this could happen in our sleepy little village.
Because the restaurant only opens a bit later in the day those poor people who own the restaurant definitely didn’t know about this when we walked past. Horrible. Soon and as is custom when living in a small village everyone knew about it.
Although the incident was shocking the outcome was amazing. According to a local newspaper the whole community were behind this Chinese family and appalled by what had happened. Everyone was in favour of supporting the Chinese restaurant proprietors to get back on their feet as soon as possible. The community took action. Events took place in all the local pubs with raffles and spot prizes and was hugely successful with the funds to be used to get the restaurant restored and in working condition again. So within days the windows were gleaming again and there was the usual ‘OPEN’ sign on the door.
I just love it when a story ends well….