‘Local Hero’ © Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved.

‘Local Hero’
© Joe Canning 2019. All Rights Reserved.
 
In our street there’s a chap I can’t mention,
A character famed in the town,
Sure he’s partial to selling the poitín,
And many’s a flagon I downed.
It’s brewed from his crop on the mountain,
From the Kerr’s pink, the Banner and Date,
And you’d know when the neighbours were sippin’,
By the way they would traipse up the street.
 
There were times he’d arrive on a pushbike,
A tractor or sometimes a car,
Had the cheek to bid time to the Sergeant,
As he parked up at Ronaghan’s bar.
There was Hughie and Patrick and others,
Awaiting with drooling delight,
In their waistcoats the bartering pennies,
Their loose change to cover the price.
 
He would sell it in tin cans and jam jars,
But only to those that were known,
In bottles where labels said; Dettol,
Jeyes fluid and strong Parazone,
The bartender frowned at his actions,
Bootlegging was bad for his trade,
But up on the shelf he had some for himself,
In the guise of McDaids lemonade.
 
An old lady tapped on his shoulder,
She told him his stuff was the best,
She said that it cured all her ailments,
Especially when rubbed on her chest.
She swore that It banished arthritis,
The gout and the chilblains as well,
And when slipped in his tea in late evening,
Her hubby at ardour excelled.
 
She ordered an extra two bottles,
Made out it was purely for health,
But yer man he just shrugged, poured her a jug,
And had a libation himself.
The locals secreted their purchase,
As soon as the coins were exchanged,
‘neath armpits, in wellies and corsets,
Confounding the customs, police.
 
Then off he would go for a fortnight or so,
With the rations well stowed in his pack,
With his dog and the thanks from the punters,
And with gratitude slapped on his back.
Back to avoiding the Peelers,
To the copper pipes, mist, and the rain,
Whilst the town would await his returning,
And no!! I won’t tell you his name.
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Stair na hÉireann is steeped in Ireland's turbulent history, culture, ancient secrets and thousands of places that link us to our past and the present. With insight to folklore, literature, art, and music, you’ll experience an irresistible tour through the remarkable Emerald Isle.