by Billy Sheahan (most often known as Old Billy at Sullivan’s pub), from Sheila Connolly’s County Cork Mysteries, who is delighted to kick off Killer Characters’ holiday celebration and giveaway!
It’s been a good bit of time since we’ve met, and I’m proud to say I’m still here. Here bein’ Sullivan’s, the pub that old Mick Sullivan left to that nice young girl Maura Donovan when he passed.
Maura’s been here since the spring and she’s makin’ a go of the place. It wasn’t easy fer her at first, but she’s quick to learn, young though she might be. Well, young to me, since I passed eighty some years ago. But Maura’s a hard worker and she’s settled in well, I’m thinkin’.
It was a good summer fer the old place, but now I can see Maura’s worried about the slow winter that’s comin’. She’s kept most of the regulars who stop by fer a pint most days, but she’s not sure that’ll cover the bills.
Then this young fella stops by, name of Timothy Reilly. Says he’s a student up at Dublin, and he wants to know about the music. Long before Maura’s time, that was, but she’s sent the lad at me, and I’m happy to tell him the stories, so long as he buys me a pint now and then.
To look at the place now, it’s hard to recall that once musicians gathered here. Not just local players, but from all over. Names you might even know. I think they stopped in because mebbe they were tired of being stars and just wanted to get back to the music—to playin’ with their pals, which is where it all began fer them. Good times we had, when Mick was runnin’ the place. You never knew who might be walkin’ in the door from one night to the next.
And somehow the word got out, that this band or the other would be playin’ here that night. Old Mick couldn’t afford—or couldn’t be bothered, more like—to put ads in the paper or on the radio. Nor did he need to, fer the people came anyways, as many as the place could hold.
It’s hard to tell these young lads—mostly lads, they are, although a girl now and then—how it all was, back then. There’s only one way to put it: it was magic. The more I talk to young Tim, the more I think he feels that magic, and I’m hopin’ he’ll find a way to get Maura to try to bring it back. Wouldn’t that be a grand thing?
The next book in the County Cork series will be An Early Wake, coming in February 2015. I’m giving away one copy from that series: if you haven’t read them yet, you’re welcome to either the first, Buried in a Bog, or the second, Scandal in Skibbereen (both are available in print and digital format). Or if you can wait a bit, I’ll send you a copy of An Early Wake—I’ll have author copies before the official release date.
And in honor of the season, I’m including an Irish bookmark! Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered in the drawing.