My Budget dining experience with Game of Thrones star!

It’s amazing how quick the time goes, because it seems like only yesterday that I told you about a lovely restaurant in Galway called the Vina Mara, when in fact it’s more than two years ago, and the last time I was there I couldn’t believe that all main courses were on offer at only €10 each.

  Anyway, last Tuesday evening week, myself and Carol were back there again, and lo and behold, if the offer wasn’t on again and I was able to tuck into a good lump of delicious sirloin steak, along with home-made chips and a side salad (which of course I wouldn’t dream of eating as it might be good for me), all for the princely sum of, as I said, €10. Needless to say we boosted up the bill a fair bit by having dessert (don’t tell my doctor), and coffee, but nonetheless it was fabulous value for what was a fabulous meal and unsurprisingly the place was absolutely hopping.

  When we went in we were shown to a table, (nothing unusual about that, says you) and shortly after we sat down, Carol said to me that she knew the fellow at the table beside us, even though she couldn’t put a name to him. I was more interested in the menu, and to tell the truth I didn’t pay much attention to him – the thought of sirloin steak, chips and onions was much more interesting to me. We wouldn’t have passed any more heed, only for all of a sudden, a few younger people stopped beside us and enquired if the man was who they thought he was, and would he mind letting them have a picture taken with him. He said he was (who they thought he was), and if they came back when he had finished his dinner he would gladly oblige.

  Now we were all intrigued, and I was going to ask him who he was, but Carol and Lisa (our daughter), said that wasn’t a good idea, so after discreet enquiring (off the waiter), we discovered that our dinner companion was an actor called Iain Glen. I must confess this didn’t make me any the wiser, but I subsequently learned he is a big star in the TV series Game of Thrones, and has had major roles in a large number of well-known films. He was true to his word, and had his picture taken with his young fans, but for the most part he was left alone and as he exited the restaurant, I overheard him saying how much he had enjoyed his visit.

  Even though no one asked me for a picture (I scored 1-2 against Cork in the league in 1975), we did (enjoy our visit) too, and as before, if you find yourself in Galway and you’re hungry, make sure you pay the Vina Mara a visit. As for me, I hope it’s not two more years before I’m back!

McGregor takes defeat on chin

It’s Saturday night and pretty much in common with every Irish town which has late-night revellers around over in Las Vegas they are looking forward to a midnight brawl – the only difference, as far as I can see, is that it’s a legalised fight which will result in another €10 million being deposited in the bank account of one Conor McGregor.

  Now I actually like the Dubliner, but I can’t say the same for his so-called sport, yet I still got a shock and was mildly disappointed when I woke up on Sunday morning to the news that he had lost his unbeaten record. Even though we had the UFC action on in the house I didn’t have enough interest to allow it break my beauty sleep (must have been broken fairly often before, says you), and so I had to wait until after the Sunday morning full-Irish before I found out that he had been beaten.

  I have always believed that how a person reacts to a setback is a much truer indication of character than how they react to success, and I have to say I admired McGregor’s realistic acceptance of his defeat. The cynic will say that the €10 million might make it easier to deal with, but in truth the money hardly matters to him at this stage – as with all top sportsmen, it’s more about the honour and glory and the recognition than it is about the money.

  Where he goes from here is not yet decided and the loss won’t interfere with his money-making appeal, but, at the same time, if he takes the lessons on board that he said he will, it might yet turn out to be the best thing that could have happened to him. We’ll wait and see, but it still amazes me that if two lads (or girls) were to do what McGregor does on the streets of our towns on a Saturday night, they’d surely get jail, whereas for others it’s the gateway to untold riches.

Loss of a local legend

Finally for this week, one of the advantages of living in a small rural community is that everyone knows everyone else (or at least we used to) and on Friday morning our entire local area was shocked and stunned with the sudden, untimely death of Padraig Grady, a man who truly was a legend in this part of the world.

  Padraig, who was married to Carol’s sister, Eucharia, was a larger than life character in every way, and if ever there was a man the likes of whom we will never see again, it was Padraig. I don’t know anyone, anywhere, who was so universally well-known and well-liked, and huge crowds of people from every corner of the world came to give him the kind of send-off he deserved.

  To Eucharia, daughters Anouska, Chanel, Tanya and son Clinton, his brother Micéal and all other relatives and friends, my deepest sympathy on your loss, a loss that will be shared by all of us who were lucky enough to know him. May he rest in peace.

Till next week, bye for now