Ancillary Effects of Climate Change on a Rural Irish Community: Interview #GS443 by Marie Gethins

Ancillary Effects of Climate Change on a Rural Irish Community: Interview #GS443

We all expected a few adjustments when Eileen took over the place from her da, Pat. You could say The Shamrock was a village institution. Locals have gathered here for generations to jaw over the good and the bad: weddings, funerals, changes in EU farm subsidies, roadworks, politics, global warming.

Pat O’Sullivan pulled the best pint within 30 miles. Eileen was never going to have the skill, but those no-fault Guinness taps – miraculous. And she’s been respectful. Pat’s Jack Russell still rules the lounge. You can count on the wide screen for the big matches. Of course, there were grumblings when the packets of Taytos disappeared, replaced by dillisk. Eileen says it’s part of our heritage.

No good could come of Eileen’s potholing. You don’t know what you’d find in those caves. All those tunnels, water hazards. Right before Pat died, Eileen came back with a sack of old bones. An Irish brown bear’s bones from the last Ice Age, she said. Wanted to display them in the pub, even got a big display case, but she had to give them over to the National Museum. Just one of those things.

It’s not that we don’t like Bertie. He’s a pleasant sort, a bit clumsy, but that’s to be expected. It’s tough to get good staff this far out. He can pull a pint with the best of them. No matter he’s missing thumbs. Balances a glass on those big aul [sic] mitts of his, no bother. Not big on conversation (laughs) and no doubt there’s a whiff off him, but you’ve got admire how he keeps the head on a pint down to the bottom when he’s having a scoop himself. It can’t be easy. Most of us here agree that Eileen’s got a point, renewing the past. It makes sense, what with rural depopulation and all, but you’ve got to draw the line. What’s next, snakes?


Ancillary Effects


Marie Gethins’ work has featured in the Irish Times, 2014/15/16/17 National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, NANO, Litro, The Lonely Crowd, Wales Arts Review, The Incubator, Firewords Quarterly and others. She won or placed in the British Screenwriters Awards, Dorset Fiction Award, The Short Story, Tethered by Letters, Flash500, Dromineer, The New Writer, Prick of the Spindle and others. Additional pieces listed or commended in The London Magazine, Australian Book Review, Boulevard Emerging Writers, Bath Short Story Award, Bristol Short Story Prize, Brighton Prize, Fish Short Story/Flash/Memoir, RTE/Penguin com­pe­ti­tions and others. Marie is a Pushcart, Best of the Short Fictions nominee and a recipient of the 2016 Frank O’Connor Bursary mentorship under Zsuzsi Gartner. She lives in Cork, Ireland and has a Master of Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford.


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Image: International Art Publishing Co, New York-art by Ellen Clapsaddle, 1908 Postcard