The late Liam Reilly, left, and Bagatelle bandmate Ken Doyle pictured in the Palace Bar, Dublin, at the 2014 announcement of details of ‘An Audience with Irish Folk Legends.” LEON FARRELL/PHOTOCALL IRELAND
By Orla O’Sullivan
We had been driving for two hours from Donabate to Dun Laoghaire and were still quite lost when a passing bus caught my eye, a 46a…46a.
“So, I jumped on bus to Dun Laoghaire, stoppin’ off to pick up my guitar…my hummin’ was smothered by a 46a and the scream of a low-flying jet” That was it! The lyrics of Bagatelle’s Liam Reilly, who died on New Year’s Day, might save us this winter in Dublin.
“Da, Da, pull in here behind this bus!” I said urgently from the back seat.
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My poor da, 83, with one year to live and suffering from a chronic condition none of us yet knew of, was no longer able for a trip like this. The drive should have been perhaps an hour, not two and climbing.
Instead, between his failing eyesight, the dark, and the unfamiliarity of many of Dublin’s re-routed streets, he was going in circles—and worse.
Earlier in the trip, alerted by honking horns, I looked up from my laptop and saw we were driving into the oncoming traffic on the Stillorgan dual carriageway. Da had pulled into a garage for directions and exited the wrong way.
“Oh, stop!” he cried back at those honking and flashing lights, frustrated rather than alarmed.
“Pull in, pull in!” I urged, as the 46a stopped ahead of us.
I ran up to the driver to ask for directions, explaining that we were lost and late to meet my sister at the Royal Marine Hotel. “Follow me!” said the African-accented young man.
He was careful not to lose us in traffic until we got to his last stop in Dun Laoghaire. Then, he jumped out and ran back to my da, explaining the last few turns to the hotel with a politeness suggesting he had been raised to respect the old.
My sister had arrived from Galway almost as fast as we had from the other side of Dublin. Dun Laoghaire’s restaurants were shut and it was fast food in the hotel room for us rather than the planned outing for a Trans-Atlantic re-union with returning emigre, me.
But thanks to the 46A, its driver, and Reilly’s beloved “Summer in Dublin” lyrics, for us it was safe home.