Planes, Leprechauns and Amputations

Stories from the West: Blather’s cub reporter Sue phones in from the edge of Europe…

While reading a recent Galway Advertiser, I came across some interesting items.
We know tourism is in trouble in the west of Ireland, but it’s not ‘the Euro’ or the high prices charged to visitors for accommodation and meals. It’s leprechauns.
A visitor to Ireland, writing to the Advertiser, has decided to sort out the problem. She writes:
Dear Editor,
I post this letter on my departure from Ireland, with a heavy heart.
On my recent visit to Ireland I briefly took in the enchanting city of Galway and quite frankly I was a little disturbed by what I saw. I am from New York and as a little girl growing up I have been made aware that these little guys’ main purpose is to entertain us tourists, how and ever, as I prepared to board my flight to Ireland I was filled with excitement as I was finally going to come face to face with a real live leprechaun.
I spent four weeks touring Ireland, north to south, east to west, and I didn’t even see one. It was only while walking down Eyre Square that the reason for this became clear – as one of the local pubs was clearly stating the fact that they “no longer test their shirts on leprechauns,” it’s obvious that you no longer think you require the benefits of the leprechaun, don’t you realise your country is nothing but fields and trees without them.
I was enraged at this. I understand that the introduction of the euro may have slowed things in Ireland down a little, but for pity’s sake, the tourists are still travelling to your country and to be blatantly honest, I feel we are being cheated out of appreciating the little guys.
I ask you has it really come to this in Ireland, that the leprechauns are being relegated to the menial job of testing the durability of cotton? You have tarnished your culture. You have tarnished the spirit of the leprechaun. These little guys are the reason your land is so popular; they are the tradition that brings us Americans to your country, and mark my words, if these little guys aren’t reinstated, it will be the reason we never return.
Mary- Ann Durtz,
New York.
(This is a real letter from the Galway Advertiser)
Elswhere in the newspaper, the Western Health Board offers a Christmas health pull-out. This includes (very useful) advice on what to do if a member of your family inadvertently amputate a limb, presumably due to some drunken turkey carving. Is amputation a common Christmas occurrence?
It is a myth, apparently, that we should keep amputated body parts in ice while taking it to hospital. “That is wrong, tragically wrong” states Mr. Jack Kelly, a Plastic Surgeon at University College Hospital, Galway.
“Wrap it up in moist gauze (or other sterile cloth, such as a light towel). Then put that cloth into something watertight, in a jar or sealed bag. That bag then goes into iced water, or cool water.”
It seems that past unfortunates have put their rapidly cooling member into direct contact with ice, which has destroyed it completely!
“The part is supposed to arrive cool, not frozen. The ideal environment is in a container inside a fridge, not an icebox” says Mr. Kelly.
Mind you, would you trust a surgeon called ‘Mr’? (yes, I know surgeons don’t call themselves ‘Doctor’).
So, in the event of Yuletide accidents, you know where you heard it first! (or second, if you live in Galway)
Finally we have lift off!
Or not!
Galway airport seems to be on the up and up, since a shiny new runway was laid six weeks ago. There is now additional landing equipment and lights.
Alas, on December 16th, the 10.40 flight to London Luton seemed to have trouble finding the runway – before takeoff – and ended up in the grass.
The airport was subsequently closed for four hours while they while the plane was retrieved.
Is it possible that the new runway confused the pilots? Perhaps they are not used to such solid bogland, or such and sheep-free surfaces? I’m sure they will be given the proper training in due time.
Advertiser 17th December 2004 »
– Sue

Sue Walsh was partly brought up by cats in her native Wexford, where along with her brother, she scoured the river for junk. At the age of three her mother caught her carrying kittens in her mouth. She lived in the woods for a while, then the lure of the stage was too much, and she ran away with a theatre company. This enabled her to keep her multiple personalities happy, and so she is continuing to act whenever the opportunity arises. When not on stage or the silver screen, Sue can be found scribbling away and conducting séances. She is still scouring the river, hoping to find treasure in amongst the junk, just like Suzanne in the song...