I will be under pressure to complete my challenge to myself.
During the summer, I did read a few books about The Blasket Islands including A Pity Youth Does Not Last – Micheál O’Guiheen and Island Cross-Talk, Pages from a diary – Tomás O’Crohan.
I would have heard of Kruger’s in Dún Chaoin and, for reasons unknown, assumed it was owned by a German who settled here forty or fifty years ago. Thanks to The Loneliest Boy In The World – Gearóid Cheast Ó Catháin, I now know how wrong I was.
We were recently back west of Dingle and I stopped to take a photograph of the building. The plaque did remind me as to yesterday’s photograph. On the basis of what I learnt from that, I translate as an Irishman who travelled and had stories to tell.
“One day after Dad had a load of gravel delivered to our house, he took the lorry driver to Kruger’s for a drink. I went along too. The writer Brendan Behan happened to be sitting at the counter, as he and his wife often stayed at Kruger’s. Dad had just bought me a bottle of lemonade when Brendan came over to me. He knew who I was, shook my hand, gave me a cigarette, called Kruger for a glass of stout and said, ‘Gearóid, remember now that Brendan Behan gave you your first cigarette and glass of stout.’”
“The gang of us headed off towards Kruger’s shop. I couldn’t wait to get there. Even the name of the shop fascinated me, although Kruger was not the real name of its owner. Muiris Ua Caomhánaigh. It so happened that when Muiris was a schoolboy, the schoolmaster picked two teams to play a game of ball, with Muiris and his classmate Seán Walsh as captains. He gave Seán the name ‘Kaiser’ and called Muiris ‘Kruger’. The name stuck. Muiris spent many years in America and used to boast that during his time there he had been Al Capone’s right-hand man, acted as an advance agent for the great Victor Hubert and was a bodyguard for de Valera. When he returned and set up business in the heart of Dunquin, he decided to call it Kruger’s.”
“He crossed the last horizon, Mt. Brandon came in sight