The Loughneys of Killala and Paris
IN as far as possible SOTB tries to graze within its own commonage. We’ve loosely set our perimeters around Shrule Bridge and the waterfall in Tourmakeady or from Malachy Byrne’s counter in Mayo Abbey to the kiosk Margaret Duffy runs with the utmost efficiency and pleasantness at Finney Post Office.
There are usually enough tidings of interesting happenings coming our way from the vast expanses of this land tract to ink a space. If there’s not, we go out and find them.
As long as they’ve an old God in The Neale, A Lord De Clifford in Shrule, a not so quiet man or woman in Cong, a Moore in Moorehall or a blackbird in Roundfort we’ll fabricate some story or other around it. The one essaying we’re ever holding in reserve is for a week when we don’t actually have a yarn to darn. We haven’t had to resort to that particular scribbling yet but it’s been close. Too close betimes.
But last weekend SOTB wandered well beyond the borough. Our ramblings ended us up in Paris.
A loyal and regular reader keeps court and holds a watching brief on life there. She was long overdue a social call and the unwrapping of goodies from home.
But no matter how far you go you can never really get away. It’s long been too small a world for such anonymity. And you definitely know home is still near when someone enquires as to the well-being of Brendan O’Mahoney from Cross. And when he also favourably referenced Seán Clarke of Killala, we knew we were mingling in very good company.
Kieran Loughney was the man enquiring after Brendan and Seán. We happened on him and his wife Fionnuala on a Sunday morning as we sipped tea in the Irish College.
It was the Mayo crest on the Elverys jacket that snitched Kieran’s attention. It’s his emblem too because Kieran hailed originally from Killala. If Kieran Loughney is Mayo’s trade-off with the French for General Humbert, then they can have no complaints.
Coincidental we should meet Kieran and Fionnuala on Sunday morning. They own Patrick’s Bar in Paris’s Rue de Montreuil. An image of a more ancient Killala is on the reverse side of the business card advertising his Parisian hostelry.
On the previous night we’d visited Kieran’s well-run premises in an area described as ‘The Latin Quarter’ of Paris. Turns out Brendan O’Mahoney was innkeeper and genial host of the Riverside Inn in ‘The Latin Quarter’ of Cross.
But it wasn’t as members of any vintner’s coterie that Brendan O’Mahoney and Kieran encountered each other. It was through Brendan’s involvement in the IFA and other organisations.
Along with the holdings of other farmers, the acreage once owned by Kieran Loughney in Ballycroy was one of the last blanket bog systems in Ireland. The 11,000 hectares is now a tourist amenity under the protectorate of Ballycroy National Park. Even in a short discourse with Kieran Loughney, it’s obvious he keeps a keen eye on goings-on back home.
About the length of a Kenneth O’Malley kick-out from Patrick’s Irish Bar is the eccentrically-named restaurant ‘The Green Goose’. The eatery is owned by Kieran’s son Kieran junior. The moniker is a play on the flight of the wild geese.
Dublin-born Kieran spent his summer holidays on the plains of sweet Mayo. He also inherited his father’s business acumen and communication skills. This isn’t your average Irish fare of beef or bacon with the carrot, parsnip and cabbage tricolour vegetable serving, washed down with a glass of badly poured Guinness.
Nope, Kieran sprinkles a fair dusting of avant-garde on his menu. His cuisine blends the ‘uni’ into unique.
Hardly had we belched a burping of approval after sampling of Kieran’s fine grub than he was engaging us in friendly banter. Talk was of Mayo and his summers spent there. Humbert and the Killala link he forged is well reciprocated in Paris by the Loughney’s now.
The green goose is proudly perched there.