Monday, September 11, 2006


My friends Ronan and Emily, in town for a few days, related me a tale, almost too good to be wasted on a blog, of a college friend of theirs from Kerry, who used to take day-trips to Cuba from his home county in the early 1980s. In those days Aeroflot used to fly from Moscow to Havana and their refuelling would take place, not in Shannon, as might have been expected, but Farranfore, the Kingdom's number one aerodrome (since made busier by the 'national treasure' that is Ryanair). The local lads had a habit of debating what to do in the pub on a Friday night and, if the mood took them, they would get on the next flight through, with a packed lunch, naturally. The Aeroflot cabin crew were unusually accommodating and would charge them a nominal fare of £20. Of course, the Kerrymen could not do much when they got to Cuba, as they had no entry visas, so they would spend a few hours walking about in the balmy Caribbean air, or drinking in the departure lounge bar, assuming that there was one before boarding the return flight to get back in time for Sunday Mass. My natural inclination to scepticism forces me to doubt the veracity of this tale, but it is so good that whether it happened or not is irrelevant. This urban (or, more accurately, rural) legend will run and run.