The Gullet

The gullet is a small stream of water that runs under the boreen where I
live. It flows in to the Camogue River near the village of Emly. In winter it
floods up so much it is barely able to get through the eye of the bridge.
When I was a young lad it had lots of wildlife not as much nowadays.
Oh how I remember coming home from school in the village of Emly I
would stop at the stream, take off my canvas hoppers (shoes) and dip my
feet in the lovely cold running water. I would stretch out in the grassy
bank and dream of becoming a doctor when I finished school. I would
never be poor like Dad and Mam, I would live in a Georgian house with a
large garden and a veranda to relax in the evenings. But sure it was only
a boyhood where I could dream.
My Dad believed that the water cress growing in the stream had many
cures. I would have to pick this green water cress every Tuesday and
Mam gave it to us for supper in what she called a salad with hard boiled
eggs. The smell of it was worse than a bad fart. Dad said it would grow
hair on my face and I think he was right, I have a face of hair all my life.
There were several big stones along the stream. Pat Hickeys cows would
drink the fresh running water in the hot summer’s day. Sometimes the
white head bull would be with the cows. When the bull was there I would
have to hide my red coat or jumper as people said the colour red made
him very cross.
I often sat quietly and watched as an otter would peep out from under the
eye of the bridge. Sometimes I would take a woodbine or two from my
father’s pocket and head up to the gullet for a smoke. I would pretend to
be someone important as I puffed smoke into the air.
Oh how I remember now these wonderful days of my youth. Today the
water is still flowing under the eye of the bridge, most of the stones are
there in the same place, and the bridge is collapsed at one side. The
water hens are scarce no brickeens or frog spawn. My dog spot that I
often washed in the stream is but a memory.
I am sitting in my garden now, I am feeling a little sad as I am in
lockdown due to Covid 19. But soon please God this crisis will pass like
the water in the stream in the gullet and we will enjoy our new freedom
once again.