Tralee Life Life In An Irish Town


Killed Stone Dead

Tralee town centre at the moment is fast moving building site. Some large amount of money, at least what was once a large amount, but probably now less than what an average hedge fund manager earns in a year, is being pumped into rejigging the area. Roads are being dug up, traffic redirected and footpaths realigned. All part of what is said to be a brightening of the area, make it more attractive to shoppers and bring out the style of the town once more.

Remarkably the work is moving very quickly and the disruption is fairly minimal. You see very few men leaning on shovels looking into holes and though noisy and dusty, it is still possible to get on with your routine without too much interference. The final production is supposed to make Tralee great again and you can only wish those behind the scheme well in their endeavours.

Freddie and I were out looking for boots yesterday. Last week Fred realised his old boots were gone, Daisy had chewed them when just a puppy and the old pair he’d had for a while, went in the bin. After much complaining and searching Fred petitioned me for replacements and so we set out to have a look in the shops around town. We parked on the Mall and had a look in Pennys. Nothing there and we decided to have a look in Heaton’s, next door and to the left. This route had us passing the top of Denny street, where most of the work is going on at the moment.

The footpath linking the two shops is bordered by traffic control barriers, as erected by the construction company; solid ones that are fixed together and unlikely to fall over too easily. When driving through town during the week, I noticed how there is always a congregation of people gathered behind them and that you often see people leaning on the barriers, usually men, watching the other men at work. I suppose when the workers are moving and doing something they make interesting viewing. No doubt some of the watchers are actually taking in what is happening and reporting back when they get home for lunch or dinner. Others probably have an opinion on what is happening and either wish they were there working, or thinking that they would do it differently themselves. Of course, there are some who are just leaning there as a new place to hang out, somewhere to meet others and have a chat. It’s amazing how quickly humans can colonise a new space to stop and talk. Added to the overall mix are the smokers from Paddy Macs bar, who may or may not be happy with all this activity on their doorstep.

Fred and I had to pass two women, who were standing side by side, with just enough room between them and the crash barrier for a single file of people to make their way through. We stepped back, to leave an older couple pass through the gap, who thanked us as they went by. The two women were busy looking at the work, going full tilt on a Saturday morning, when one of them said, without looking at the other:

“The traffic is very dangerous isn’t it?”

The woman beside her, without turning too, but staring straight ahead replied, poker faced:

“I was nearly killed stone dead there yesterday girl.”

By now the couple had passed and Fred and I continued on. I never did get to hear how the woman was ‘nearly killed stone dead’ but it’s a phrase I haven’t heard in years and I’m so glad to hear it’s still on the go.

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