The Irish Spring Dance

Submitted into Contest #35 in response to: Write a story that takes place at a spring dance.... view prompt



The Irish Spring Dance

It was typical in my family that whichever kid was graduating from high school that year, would also get to go to Ireland for that summer as a graduation present. My mom was born and raised there, and we still have family over there.  To date, my oldest sister has been living over there for about 30 years. I was 17 years old when I made his trip.

I took my bike with me and rode miles around the country exploring things the best way I knew how. At first, riding on the wrong side of the road was weird. Once I got used to that and their system of road signage, everything smoothed out. There was one section of the trip where I ran into the Irish Military out on tank maneuvers. Worried for a moment that they were not going to see me, I thought they would run over me. That was eerie and felt like I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be. However, they passed by me and paid me no attention.

One crazy night, my cousin invited me to go to the big county spring dance with him. Many people came out for this from small towns all around the county including, Kiltimagh, Balla, Castlebar, and even Knock.

I was excited at the prospect of meeting some of the local girls, even though I still had no clue about girls at this point.

To me, it was logical to figure that since American girls were crazy about Irish accents, that Irish girls would be crazy about American accents, especially with a Texas twang to it. It turned out that I could not be more wrong.

We arrived at the big dance in what we thought were our coolest outfits. Everyone was dressed up like it was a Sunday. Being that I had limited clothes with me was a problem. I only had what I could pack in my suitcase and dancing clothes hadn’t been planned on. Fortunately, my cousin Martin, was about my same size, tall and skinny. After pulling out my jeans, I added one of his trademark Hawaiian shirts to the outfit.  Hawaiian shirts in Ireland? Yep, thanks to the internet.

Martin and I located his friends at one of the tables and headed that way, but not before a making a beeline to the bar for a pint of Guinness and a whiskey, or liquid courage as it’s known. The lads were asking questions about my adventures so far and spinning some slightly exaggerated tales of their own.

The band was a good one and had been playing for a bit when I spied a table of girls that looked like they were having fun. One in particular caught my eye. She was tall with long red hair and one of those smiles that lights up a room.  We shot glances back and forth for a little while.

 Screwing up my courage, I walked over and asked her to dance in my best Texas twang. Oddly, she said no. Bummed, I sheepishly headed back to the table to regroup. After a while, I tried a few different tables and still got the same response. Flabbergasted, I could not figure out why they wouldn’t dance me. After all, I did see them out dancing with other guys. There was no help from my Martin as he was striking out as well. If the local lad couldn’t get a dance, then I surely didn’t have a chance. After the first set was over, the band took a break.  I decided that it was time for me to go and would walk home as they wanted to stay for a bit.

The house really was a country mile away. Not a really long walk, but when its 11:00 pm and there is no moon, it was a little dicier than I planned. The roads there are very narrow and in the pitch black it was scary. It was even more scary when a car with its bright lights on would come flying around the corner. I had to jump on a rock wall a few times just to avoid getting hit.

After finally making it to the house, there were lights on.

Oh good, someone’s up.

I knocked on the front door a number of times and no one answered. So, I went around to the back and oddly enough got the same result. “Who locks their doors in the country of a small town?” Crazy.

Now, I desperate to find a way into the house because it started to rain. The way this house was built, it was a two-story home with no eaves or porches to hide under to stay out of the rain.

The phone rang and I heard my Aunt Mary talking about me. No, they haven’t seen me yet. Oh good. She was up. At the risk of getting soaked, I hurried around to the front door and again knocked pretty loudly. No answer. What???

I saw a bathroom window open and decided this was my best way in. Standing on wobbly milk can, I started clearing things from the window shelf.  I had just gotten my first leg and arm inside when the bathroom light came on. The time it took for her to hang up the phone and walk to the bathroom was only seconds but seemed like minutes, “Barnacles, this is not gonna end well” I was thinking, but it’s gonna be funny.

In Ireland, the electric power runs at 220 volts instead of 110 volts, and the light switch is on the outside of the bathroom.

Not on the inside like we are used to in the U.S. The only thing I could do was smile and say hi when she opened the door. Scared the crap out of her and the look on her face was priceless.

Once I was inside, we had a cup of tea. Tea fixes most things in Ireland and some biscuits, or cookies as we call them here. I told her the whole story. We laughed about it and finally went to bed. The next morning my uncle tried to have some sort of serious talk with me. To this day and he has since passed away, I have no idea what he actually said. Surely, it was some sort of Uncle type talk about guys and gals. Shortly after that, I got up and went for a long ride. That usually clears things up for me. I skipped the next two dances and shortly after that, got on a plane and headed home.

March 28, 2020 22:12

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Maria Limerick
17:05 Apr 09, 2020

Have you really been to Ireland?


David Lastinger
23:56 Apr 09, 2020

Yes. I have been over a few times as my oldest sister lives there and my Mom was born and raised there.


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Maria Limerick
17:05 Apr 09, 2020

Nice story. I like how the dance was a central element, but there was also a lot of other stuff going on. Interesting and comical :)


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