Apr 25 2008
Continued from Dodging Bullets in Donegal
Back in our hosts’ house, as our tension ridden group nursed our bruises and plotted revenge and the systematic demise of our once close friends, we prepared for dinner. Two taxis collected us and brought us to some kind of industrial estate. There were factories and warehouses, open expanses and open plan offices, but there was no obvious sign of a restaurant. I had heard stories of people travelling into the heartland of Donegal only to be abducted, brought to a secluded location and tickled to death. Up until this moment, I had assumed the stories were nothing more than urban legends.
At the moment I was ready to scream (like a big girl) for help, we pulled over to rest beside a new building which had no signage over it, but its big windows did show us that there were people dining. I felt somewhat secure and ventured in.
La Fantasia – yes, it’s a restaurant and not a sex shop – was surprisingly nice. The food was very good. While some of the group moaned about the varying degrees of rarity in their respective steaks, I happily tucked into my veal in wild mushroom sauce. While the veal may not have been the most flavoursome I’ve had, the sauce more than made up for it. Delicious!
Thinking about it afterwards, I think everyone in our group would have happily taxied straight back to the house after dinner rather than go to the club. We looked rather stoic (a mixture of stuffed stomachs and mangled muscles), especially when compared with the five separate Hen Parties that surrounded us. A boost to my ego came when I was bestowed with a garland that apparently signified that I was a ‘cute guy’. Okay, garland is probably overselling it. It was a pair of ‘L’ plates with string through them, and, as one of my good friends pointed out, probably stood for ‘Loser’.
After an exhausting one pint, we legged it back to the house (is this a sign of old age setting in?). We relaxed into beanbags and armchairs and began our long night of drunken revelry. Retrospectively, I’m not sure any of us should have picked up those microphones (with the exception maybe of Stella and her beautiful voice). I’m sure the neighbourhood curdled as our caterwauling commenced.
Singstar on the Playstation is actually a fantastic idea. Anything that can unite a gang of drunken louts and not result in a fist fight must be a good thing. Again, we teamed up and took on challenges far more gruelling than paintballing – we had to sing Mariah Carrey songs.
Always at a disadvantage going up against the might of Stella and Darragh (Darragh was less ‘might’ more ‘shi……nevermind), our team of Niamh, Gary and myself were ready for the challenge. Well, we thought we were. Had it not been for Niamh’s management of the medleys and Gary’s laudable love of Lavigne, our result would have been even more dismal than it was. My only achievement of the night was a decisive win, singing Time After Time, and I’m not sure that’s something I should be entirely proud of.
As the evening grew on, the croaks and wails (and puppy dog tails) became croakier and wailier(!). We murdered No Woman No Cry, we eviscerated Africa, we lampooned Chains and completely obliterated the song formerly known as Gold. Spandau Ballet we were not.
The following morning…… I can’t actually tell you much about it. While everyone else arose and had breakfast, I steadfastly refused to step out of my slumber. I love my sleep. Shortly after I got up, we hit the road again towards Dublin and Wicklow…and I slept during the journey too.
Anyway, thank you very much to both Stella and Nicky for your hospitality. Thank you to Darragh for the use of your photographs and a huge thank you to Liz for driving to Donegal and back (and for putting up with me on a constant basis).