This place was also known as Stab City when the gangs just had knives but now they have high velocity rifles. This place is Limerick in Ireland, home of Irish drug barons and gangland feuds. I was on my rounds this week starting with a flight to Dublin from London Stansted to sort out some Irish companies suffering from the recession. It was 2 days work in Dublin and then an evening drive across Ireland to Bansha near Tralee. On the map Limerick appeared as a convenient en route stop for dinner. I had never been there.
While heading south west along a slow Irish road I listened to a radio news report about a police raid on the ‘Mocky Dock pob’ ( Mucky Duck pub ) in Limerick where a number of firearms had been found. I got to Limerick just after 8, unaware of the city’s reputation. I drove around the centre looking for somewhere decent to eat and on the off chance turned down a narrow street which led to the Cornmarket. I drove up and down and an Indian restaurant called Poppadom looked half-decent from the outside. I don’t usually eat Indian, maybe once or twice a year. I parked opposite a tenement block, thinking nothing of it and walked round the corner to the restaurant. http://www.paddybloggit.com/its-officia ... of-europe/
It didn’t smell of curry inside. There were two young girls from Latvia as waitresses, myself and a table next to me with three middle-aged ladies. Off the menu I ordered their potato and vegetable curry with a limbu bhaat ( boiled rice tossed in lime juice with peanuts, fennel and coriander ) and a samarkand naan ( naan flat bread stuffed with coconut and almond ), all washed down with a Cobra beer. Not exactly weight watchers. http://www.poppadom.ie/
Then one of the ladies at the next table asked me to join them. I initially declined but she asked again, so not wishing to be churlish I moved across to the next table. One of them was celebrating her birthday, which birthday I didn’t ask, but we all seemed about the same age which is why I never ask any more. My order turned up before theirs so I started eating. We started talking about the economy, golf, one of their daughter’s weddings ( which is one thing we had in common as our daughter got married last year ), cost of living in Ireland and the younger generation having mortgaged themselves up with cheap credit only to lose their jobs. And then one of them started talking about the gangland shootings in the city and how one local rugby player was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity last year, ‘ just around the corner, mind, just opposite those tenements’ which is where I had parked the car. She said it happened on market day on a Saturday morning in front of everyone. And then one of the other ladies started talking about the drug barons in the city and the shootings. ‘Mind you, they won’t kill you, just shoot you in both legs, mind’. The third lady talked about her holiday in Prague last year.
What I thought would be no more than an hour’s stop for dinner turned out to be twice that. I had dinner with three Irish ladies, very friendly, whom I had never before met and I learnt a lot about Limerick. I haven’t told my wife. I went back to my car afterwards with some apprehension but it was still there and it started first time. I drove up O’Connell Street and stopped at the red lights, although after our dinner I was in two minds about stopping. The rest of the drive to Tralee in the dark passed uneventfully.
What would have happened if I'd tried another restaurant ?