Down in Schull on the trail of the mot juste. It's a different place when you visit it in winter without your dogs and entourage. And without the mind-numbing presence of the TV. I'm hardly Lear on the heath but I am thrown back on my own resources - interestingly. Hackett's and O'Regan's offer the consolation of a good pint and there's a half-decent bookshop on the main street. Restaurants are a problem off-season so I'm eating in. One trip to Antonios in Ballydehob cured me of that option - appalling food and intrusive and charmless hoyden running the place. And Brosnan's supermarket is better stocked than my local in Dalkey. absolved from all negative comments on local bars and restaurants is O'Sullivan's in Crookhaven where you get wonderful sea food, a fine pint and friendly service. It's just too far away for regular use.
The town is bustling with activity notwithstanding the dearth of tourists. It's always difficult to find a parking spot on the main street. It's extraordinary that a town of this size doesn't have a petrol pump. You have to go as far as Goleen or Ballydehob to fill up. Also, it doesn't have a hotel. The one on the way in has fallen victim to the building bust and is now a NAMA asset. Also, the Courtyard, once the jewel in Schull's crown, remains closed. Newman's on the corner of Pier Road is also closed after a fire - but will reopen in June they tell me.
My first visit to O'Regan's involved a breach of local etiquette. Prime Time or some political programme was on TV and I started chatting to the dark-haired and personable woman behind the bar about the state of the nation and the political riff raff running the show. Two old geezers sitting at the bar listened intently - the place was empty otherwise. When the bar mad moved over in their direction one of them opined in a stage whisper that "there's no place for politics or religion in a bar". To her credit she scoffed at him: "Shure what else will we talk about".