Thursday, July 26, 2007

Life is full of disappointments

I mentioned once before that the Irish have started to show signs of betraying their traditionally admirable attitude to life and its stuffier aspects. One such is the building of a golf course on the spit of land leading up to the Old Head of Kinsale. You used to be able to walk (or drive for that matter, but I preferred to walk) along the path to the lighthouse unhindered, admire the view and reflect on the events of May 1915 when the Cunard liner Luisitania was torpedoed off the head and sank within 18 minutes with the loss of nearly 1200 lives. In 1997 a golf course was built here and despite claims that the planning permission guaranteed continuing public access you can no longer enjoy the walk. A somewhat belligerent notice at the entrance points out that the claim has been tested in court and dismissed. Since the lighthouse is unmanned it seems that the only people to get past the gate now are the golfers, the club staff and the man who goes to change the bulb from time to time. As a golfer I mostly welcome the expansion of the game, but not the modern resort clubs at a thousand euro a group for players arriving by helicopter. And this in Ireland, where there are probably more good courses per head of population even than in Scotland.

Meanwhile in Kinsale itself, known without complete justification as the gourmet capital of the south coast, I have been having a long fantasy ‘relationship’, as they coyly say these days, with the tall, blonde, slender, charming, delightfully Irish patronne of the classiest coffee bar cum bistro in town. On my latest visit I noticed that she was wearing a t-shirt with the logo of the Old Head Golf Club on one sleeve and asked if she played there. No, she said, she walked there. To my surprise that she was able to she revealed the devastating news: ‘my boyfriend is the manager’.

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