Eddie had been looking forward to this day for quite some time. His opportunity to attend An Fleadh Cheoil or Traditional Irish music festival, which this year was being held in the town of Mullingar. His friend Mick had invited him down for the night and his house was in the ideal location, very close to all the main streets where all the action would take place. That and the fact Mick had offered to be his “guide dog” for the night made it too good of an opportunity to pass up.
You see Eddie has been blind since birth. He doesn’t live in darkness, he can’t even see that. His other senses though are far superior to the average person compensating him somewhat. It hasn’t held him or his boisterous personality back. Mick reckons that is why they get on so well. He is much quieter and more reserved. A perfect friendship.
They are just finished having a sandwich and are now about to head out, arms interlocked. Mick begins to speak.
“We’ll go through the park. There is a huge crowd expected in the town today. Let me know if it becomes too much and you want to head back.”
“Yeah like that is going to happen. Where are we heading to first anyway?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be getting a pint soon.”
It only took a few moments to reach the park. Already, Eddie could hear to sound of a large crowd and music in the distance. He could feel the sense of excitement building.
Michael whispered into his ear.
“There are actually cars parked here in the park on the grass verge beside us. Imagine that, people are really desperate for somewhere to park.”
They kept on walking and just in front of the swimming pool met a myriad of stalls.
Eddie could hear the voice of a young woman singing in Irish in the distance, the clatter of kids’ feet running over the asphalt pathways. Then, the smell of meat. Burgers to be precise. Just as well he had eaten or they would have had to stop. Mick motioned him this way and that way to avoid people coming in the opposite direction of which there were many.
“We are leaving the park now. What a crowd. I have never seen anything like it, the streets have been pedestrianized and they are clogged with people. The Annebrooke Hotel is here beside us. There is a canopy in front of it with an Irish trad band playing. Will we go in?”
“Yeah, sure why not? Sounds good.”
Slowly, they made their way under the canopy. People were bumping into them every second or two but that didn’t stop their slow progress forward.
“Here, there’s a table here. You defend the space, I’ll order the pints. The usual?”
Mick made everything so easy, there was telepathy between them by this stage. Automatically knowing to get him a Carlsberg. He really was spoiled, he thought to himself as he listened to the violins and banjos.
It didn’t take Mick long to return.
“They have loads of people working at the bar. No problem getting served, thank God.”
Three pints later they went inside to have their dinner up on the first floor. The windows were open and you could hear a cacophony of music and chatter from outside. It was a carvery, and Eddie made sure he got an extra helping of meat and potatoes.
Then they went to the next pub, Danny Byrnes, or as Mick calls it – “where the beautiful people work.”
They were only able to make it just inside the door but that was enough for Mick to do his magic and get more pints.
“So any talent here?”
“You have a one-track mind Eddie. There is, but they are all about twenty years too young for ya, given that you are now in your mid-forties like.”
“Ah, don’t say that. There is life in the old dog yet!”
“Yeah, a bit too much.”
They stayed for a pint or two before going outside and making their way to Caffreys. Progress was glacial. Along, the way they paused to take in some Irish dancing that was taking place in the middle of the street. Eddie loved the clatter of the special shoes they wore against the tarmac. The energy of the dancers reverberated through the crowd.
On they continued, through Mount Street. Going backward at times, Eddie wondered when his thirst would be satiated. It was baking hot now.
Then Mick pulled him hard to the left and they were in the outdoor area of Caffreys. It was very busy and different groups of musicians were playing their music in each corner. Different people came up to say hello to them. Eddie was somewhat a local celebrity from his previous trips but it was difficult to have a good chat with anybody.
As the hours passed, it eventually became too much.
“I know just the spot for you Eddie – The Glush Bar.”
“It’s a pop-up bar, that only exists during The Fleadh. Pretty sure it won’t be so crowded, giving you a chance to use your charm with the ladies.”
“Well, what are we waiting for?”
It didn’t take as long for the two men to retrace their steps. Eddie could still her the chatter of people, but the wall of sound from earlier had dissipated.
“Where is everybody gone Mick?”
“Well, the families are long gone by now. Everybody else is in one of the pubs. Don’t worry, we’ll have you back in the action soon.
Just a few minutes later, they had arrived.
“It’s actually called the Glush Garden. There’s a lovely colourful mural over the entrance just above a surprisingly happy looking bouncer. Come on, we’ll head in.”
Eddie could feel the softness of the ground underneath. It wasn’t grass, but wasn’t asphalt. More mushy. They were still outside but with tables and chairs. They found a good spot to sit down and Mick went to a close by bar to get some drinks. Normal pop music was now being played over the speakers. Eddie didn’t mind, he had his fill of the traditional music by this point.
The pints continued to flow. Mick thought they were a bit smaller than the norm but it more than worth it for a bit of space. It wasn’t long before nature called for Eddie. They were now walking over grass to a portable toilet.
On their way, Mick heard someone calling his name in the distance.
“Oh Yvonne is over there with a friend. Sure, we’ll go over and say hello.”
“Yeah, that sounds good.”
Yvonne was an old friend of Micks and she gave them both a warm hug.
She quickly and rather excitedly told them her friend’s name was Danielle.
Eddie immediate took centre stage.
“Where are you from Danielle?”
“Oh, not too far away – Delvin. You?”
“Oh I’m from the big smoke. Down here visiting my good friend Mick,” replied Eddie.
“I’m a good friend am I? I thought I was just your latest guide dog and not even your favorite one at that,” interjected Mick to much laughter.
“Now you’ve been a good doggy today. Don’t go and ruin it with insubordination.”
Then Danielle asked him if he liked animals, when led to a lengthy discussion about his usual guide dog Berlin and her two little mutts Ringo and Daisy. She had beautiful soft voice, that Eddie found very attractive.
“That’s it, they have stopped serving,” said Mick apologetically.
“Well, it is past 2 in the morning Eddie. I do have some shorts back at the house. Maybe, the women would like to join us?”
Danielle’s response was immediate. Yvonne’s more retrospect.
“Well, maybe for one.”
“I’ll guide you” Danielle interlocked her arm with Eddies and off the group went. Mick’s house was only two streets away and there were others on the way home or to the tent too.
“You don’t mind me, guiding you I hope?”
“Of course not, to have a good looking woman helping me. Are you joking?”
“Now you don’t know I’m good looking. I’m no oil painting I’m afraid.”
“Well, you have a lovely voice and smell good anyway.”
They reached the house where Eddie quickly found himself alone with a bottle of whiskey and Danielle in the kitchen. Just like he would have wanted.
They talked for some time about Danielle, her hopes for the future and what she would like in a man.
“Are you not curious what I look like?”
“Of course, but I would have to see you with my hands.”
She moved the palms of his hands onto her face.
She had a narrow face, thick eyebrows, soft skin and thick luscious lips. Taking his hands away, she leaned in and they began to kiss. He slowly moved his hand through her thick, curly hair.
“Have you got your own room here?”
“Yes, and maybe I could guide you this time.”
Eddie knew this house like the back of his hand, he guided her up the stairs to his room. There was some moaning coming from the other room that caused them to giggle. Danielle then closed the door and they began to undress.
She had small, perky breasts and a thin waist. He started to kiss each inch of her body before going between her legs. She moaned in ecstasy before guiding him on to the bed. Then she felt him caress and touch his body. She began kissing his chest, then stomach, then lower before a moment of exhilaration as he released. Shattered they fell fell asleep in each others arms.