Doonbeg, Trump Vs Pope
One Thursday afternoon my good friend Mr. K. R. phoned me up and said “hey I am off of work and have time, I want to see Air force 1”.
It took me like 15 to 20 seconds to figure out what he was talking about. Ah, it clicked with me, the president of the United States is in Ireland this week on an “unofficial/official” visit.
Yeah why not, it is only a spin down the road and back.
We struck off in a company car of his, the company that he works for as a commercial fisherman. A brand new Ford ranger crew cab 4 door 191 D reg, brand new.
We headed off that afternoon and when we were cruising along the motorway it seemed like we might actually dodge the showers of rain, the brighter skies were west of us as we drove almost floating like, in the pleasant Ford ride.
We arrived at our destination, Shannon Airport and were waved through at the Garda (police) checkpoint, so we drove on in along the fencing of the airfield. We did take notice of the protesters who were somewhat fenced in at the entrance to the airport grounds but air force 1 was our target.
There she stood, out in the airfield and accompanied by two smaller jumbo jets which also stood proud with the US flags across their tail fins. Painted the same blue and white. Mr Trump definitely brought the entourage, that’s for sure.
We took some last minute video clips as we drove along the fence admiring the enormity of the airplane itself.
We had no idea how our evening was going to go nor did we have any precise plans.
As we left the Shannon airport, we were again saluted by the Garda (police) as we drove out and on past the encampment of protesters.
Just to explain, An Garda is the Irish language for our police here in Ireland.
I am not sure if my friend fully approves of me making public this story so I will have to refer to him as K. R. as I relay to you that particular evening’s carry on.
We were back on the motorway out of Shannon Airport and a series of roundabouts give you options to head for Limerick City or head for Co. Clare, primarily the large town of Ennis which is on a Limerick to Galway route.
Mr. K. R. was at the helm and as his life is spent as a trawler man, the helm is somewhere he is most familiar to be.
My good friend is an avid Donald Trump supporter and true fan really, I remember back in the day of the presidential race in the U. S. when he had his “make America great” cap and loved everything about the man.
There have even been times he has asked me to send tweets of appreciation to Mr. Trumps twitter account.
K.R. drove us in the direction of Clare County and says we will go and see if we can see him, maybe he will visit the pubs or restaurants of the local towns as Donald Trump Jr. & brother Eric had done so the night before.
“Let’s see what this Doonbeg place is all about”. On our way out to the Clare coast we saw a funny poster or two, posted by Paddy Power, an old derelict petrol station has had all new signage placed around the old run down rigging and an advertisement sign with numerous jokes. The petrol station was called Trump Plaza. The signs were a bit too comedic and a little vulgar to repeat here. A photograph was taken and on out the road west we went.
A traffic alert sign flashed with a notice saying “Traffic to Doonbeg diverted, all traffic via Kilrush” some Garda were stationed at this intersection junction and we didn’t dare infringe.
The next turn for Doonbeg was some few miles down the road which had again, Garda stationed at the Cross roads and K. R. turned up the road their direction.
Approximately 4 Garda were at the crossroads and a van and some traffic cones.
One Garda stepped out from behind the van and waved us through. We continued on this little country back road for a few miles. Each time we passed any sort of side road or other country road there were more Garda sitting at each of them and some traffic cones in the road way. The Garda moved the cones from the road in front of us as we approached and we kept on driving.
It wasn’t the warmest of evenings either but at least we had dodged the rains and the southwest coast of Ireland was definitely alive with a smooth Atlantic air stream, rolling in across the land from the ocean.
Each time we passed a Garda post we started to notice their little overnight bags beside them and K. R. and myself had a discussion about how we should find a garage (gas station) and buy a round of fresh teas and bring them back to them. Each little Garda post had a construction type night lighting on a mini cherry picker type hoist. One such Garda post had a horse box/trailer where placed inside of it were two wooden chairs, this seemed like a flash back to the 80’s to see what may have been “HQ” for the Shergar investigations, back in full use. The good old Garda post “horsebox”.
When we arrived in Doonbeg it was somewhere close to 9pm. The road we drove in on was from the southern side of the town. We first met vans aligning the roadside, the media, RTE, Virgin TV, BBC to name a few of the recognizable ones. There were not too many options for parking. We turned the corner around into the main street and found a parking spot further up the village by the church.
At the end of the town there was a barrier erected and again guarded by An Garda and this end of town seemed to be where the locals and reporters were mostly gathered. It only made sense that we walk back down through the village.
Feeling a little peckish I suggested we eat in one of the three or four restaurants in the village. There was a buzz in the little country village of Doobeg.
We entered one of the eateries and it was quite packed inside, it was a restaurant which is adjoined to a bar and had a doorway between the two. The girl had replied to me as I asked her “is it sit anywhere?” She told me how the kitchen closes and 9 pm and she will have to check. The time then was 9.10 pm. “Not good news for you” she may well have shouted at us as it had the same effect but she was very apologetic in letting us know of the kitchen being closed.
An Irish village is nothing new to us as we hail from an even smaller village ourselves. We went back into the street and it appeared to be the same with the other restaurants also, that 9 pm was shut off time for a bit of grub.
We walked over to the corner that seemed to have the larger crowd gathered and stood among the crowd and there really was an electric buzz not only to the evening weather but the people themselves. Everyone waiting for a Mr. Trump visit. I noticed behind me on the wall a little village library mounted to the wall and in it were a number of books. It was a little wall mounted book case with two glass doors. I said to K. R., I should place my book in it for the villagers. I explained to him how I always carry at least one copy of “TWO sons TOO many” with me if I am on any kind of road trip and so back to the pick up truck we went. I grabbed the book and signed it to the people of Doonbeg.
We Headed back through the village and among the crowd, passing the Garda at the check point barrier and I placed the book in the village library. We spoke with a journalist who seemed to be under the impression that there would be no show from the Trump family tonight and he explained how the reporters had all agreed to call it a night.
Our main mission then became food. We drove off out of the village on another of the roads out of the village and found ourselves back on the coast road through Kilrush again.
This time we were keeping an eye out for any food establishments for something to eat. Nothing caught the eye and it had began getting dark. It had to be close to 11pm and by that stage we ended up in the larger town of Ennis where we luckily caught a place before it closed for the night.
Having the guts stuffed, a plan needed to be made for the night. I said we either do one of three things, head home, get a hotel room or head for the coast and sleep in the truck by a beach for he night. K. R. replied
him well tomorrow as he flies out. Head
for the beach and we can grab a few hours
in the truck and get a little rest”.
He said he was tired from the driving and the food and offered for me to drive. And so off we went.
He pulled up the maps app on his phone and suggested we head for the beach of Spanish point which is a coastal area of county Clare. I said that we had no business going back towards Doonbeg and to keep away from all the Garda checkpoints and the likes, best we approach the coast of Clare from the northern side rather than the southern side where we had been earlier, Kilkee, Kilrush & Doonbeg. Spanish point it was and so off we headed into the dark of night out along the back country roads of county Clare.
I was following his direction and the map from his phone which to give an idea, the roads are so small and minor in these areas that when it is on full zoom on the phone you see little white roads on the map and we followed some of these. Twisting and turning and finally being able to make out a road that looked like it just ended so that told me it must be to the beach. About 50 yards or so before the end of the road we came across another Garda post and this had probably been the fifth or sixth one we had seen that night. This one was a little different though. The Garda beckoned me to come to a halt and I rolled the window down a bit.
May I see some I. D. he asked me. As the driver I had no problem in doing so and handed him my drivers license and he asked for K. R’s I. D. too. I thought this a little strange, as K.R. was only the passenger, he handed over the I. D. anyway.
The next thing I knew I was being asked for permission to search the vehicle. More Garda were showing up and we were standing in a lane way in what could only be described as the back arse of County Clare.
The rain was spitting down and I was surrounded by approx. 20 Garda who did not seem to know what they were going to do with us, they had no clue why we were there and were continuously asking us how we got this far.
Apparently we were at the golf course of the Donald’s Doonbeg resort hotel and golf course. As one of the detectives said, there was a 3 ring security perimeter set up and we made it to zone 3, how does that happen?
Another Garda had his leg up on a ditch while he used his knee to flip through sheets of photocopied paper and a flash light to try and figure out what they are supposed to do in this situation.
A little bit of chat was going on between myself and one of the Garda but I could tell they were all seething and somebody or all of them probably should be losing their jobs for not being able to deal with us or handle the situation properly.
What do you think?
A security perimeter for the president of the United States, a ridiculous budget of around 10 million Euro and an all the expenses and bonuses etc etc and they didn’t even know how we rambled on in to Doonbeg and into the center of a 3 ringed security zone.
To make matters worse, I had been telling one of the Garda of how I had walked up and down the main street of the village of Doonbeg & I had placed an item 9 inches by 6 inches thick in a glass case on the wall in the main street of the village and left.
Of course I was getting sick of the idea that just because they are the police force that they are going to tell me how to be or what to be so I got a little hot headed and asked them, who is in charge? I believe it went something like this,
”who is in charge here? Seems like nobody
has a clue what they are doing, more cops
and more cops keep showing up with the
same stupid questions and nobody
seems to know what to do. I reckon the
whole lot of you charge me with
something or fuck off. This is some
I mean come on, it was 3 o clock in the morning by that time. I told them I don’t feel well and I needed to sit down or something I need to be asleep by this time of night. Nah they could not have given a flying fuck. All they were all worried about was from my view point at least, they needed to be making sure they are not going to lose their jobs or something.
So from An Garda to special branch (detectives) to sergeants and then came the armed response unit who again decided they would have a rip through our personal belongings. Mind you I mentioned to the Garda, I did consent to you having a search but who is this guy who just showed up? I didn’t consent to him searching the vehicle. He just replied “tell him to stop so”. The other armed response guy was all “Mr T.” looking & trying to do the pit bull stare down. I asked the guy turning my personal stuff out on the back seat, “are you finished yet? Maybe you can close the door”, old muscles, his partner with the stare, “we’ll tell you when we are finished”.
He was the antagonizing type alright. By that time of the morning I was beginning to think, screw how many of them there are, best I make sure and really tear the head of the little guy with the muscles as he thinks a lot of himself.
Maturity got the better of me and I just expressed my lack of admiration for his stinking attitude.
On and on it went til about 5 am, the American accent lads showed up and then we waited again for more inspectors and cops. Till finally a dog squad showed up. They needed to sniff the vehicle for bazookas is what was explained. We were asked “are we sure there is nothing by way of fire arms or explosives in the vehicle?”. The dog did his thing and they left.
I would estimate about 25 to 30 members of police and special branch and who knows if the American accent guy was secret service or just a transplant in Ireland who now works for the local cops. I asked the Garda I was talking to for his name. He said it was Alan, turns out that was a lie as he had a different name as it turned out a little later. I asked another what his name was and again no comment.
We were driven to the check point closest to them by the Garda that had stopped us in the first place which was called an “official escort”.
We were told that we “must be up to no good” by the Garda who seemed to be the boss of operations. Of course I was quick to correct him and explain how he shouldn’t be jumping to make assumptions as there is no good, bad or indifferent here.
We were then told we would be followed by escort to the local town some 25 miles away at which time we should head back to Dublin and wait for it “to think twice about ever coming to Clare again” again this was by a Superintendent or sergeant of some kind. Couldn’t really tell as he had no interest to give us his name either.
We were operating on low fuel and we needed to stop so that we could fill up when we would come to the next local town. Due to the early hour of the morning and the very remote location we were in, we had to wait for the garage to open up for the day so we could pump some diesel.
We parked in a garage parking area and waited, all the while some special branch detectives sat also in the forecourt watching us. They were relieved of their duties by another set of Garda and these new Garda were accompanied by two more.
When 7.30 am. came and we were able to pump some diesel. We headed for the road home and spent the entire journey back wondering what on earth was the level of security about. If they would like to say it was a secure zone for the president of the United States visit, it wasn’t, as we just drove all the way in. Luckily for them we were not political or anything other than my friend is a Trump fan.
We wondered what all the big so called expensive budget was being spent on for the presidents visit to Ireland as it definitely didn’t go into any kinds of briefing or “explainer courses” for the detail that were assigned the job. To be honest the whole thing began to feel like a let down. My friend K. R. didn’t get to wave Mr. Trump off, and something a little deeper. The piss poor effort made by our very own country on making a brave and fine security line.
To show a real joke of the whole thing in Ireland. There was a much bigger effort put in to having security for the pope than the Donald.
How lame is that?
So there ya have it. What are your views on the whole thing?
What d’ya reckon?”
Just one Thursday evening where myself and a friend were inside zone 3 of a security zone supposed to be set up to protect the president of the United States. Held, searched and escorted away from the golf course of Doonbeg resort, county Clare Ireland. Mr. Trump’s golf resort and spa hotel.
I will post a picture or two on my Facebook page and website to accompany the story to give you an idea of or to verify the story.
Your comments as always are very welcome. Feel free to share or tweet the story.
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Aidan Mc Nally ~ Author.
Read on for Aidan’s brilliant submission, Safe Harbour.
There is nothing like that lick of the lips when your face just gets battered again by the sea. We are to-ing and fro-ing hard now. The planks in our little fishing trawler just might not hold up to this storm.
I stand out on the side deck peering to see through the heavy ocean spray and let the captain know if anything should appear in the distant night, Rob watches portside me to starboard. Is it rain or spray from the heavy swells? Either way that sea salt tastes as strong as it smells each time I take a face full.
Only to imagine six hours ago we were fishing away in the calmer waters of the Celtic sea, hauling the nets and the abundance of fish had me and Rob planning our week ashore next week. How we would spend our money and who we might see out for a few drinks.
The daydreaming flows when working away on the deck of a boat, of chasing the girls and the hardy drinking, all goes hand in hand in a fisherman’s life.
Now tonight in this storm dreams have faded fast as we stare down this ferocious storm. All the rigging is howling and with each wave the fears, are we gone this time?
Captain Rock is hard on helm with how he is adjusting our speed each time we rise high on the crest of every crucial wave, these are like slabs of concrete rushing towards us 40 to 50 feet tall.
Rock has been at SEA all his life like myself and I put in him the confidence of the gods to man the wheel, although Rob keeps watch behind me over on the port side, he holds the stern mast with both hands, I can’t help but continue my own act of we will be ashore soon. I saw it in captains face earlier when our forward mast cracked from a rogue wave just ahead of this storm, fear. We will battle this storm as we continue up the face of each swell now, Rock steers us along.
No time for daydreaming now though. I am holding firm also the aft cabin door as I lean out squinting to see anything at all. Not a sight just a dark black night with howling winds, must be storm force ten now and each wave breaking across our bow. Dreams have now turned to will I ever see her again.
Cannot and must not let Rock catch me worried and for sure there will be no good come of it if our new crewman Rob sees worry on my face.
The deck is awash every time one slab of a wave crashes down across our bow, I can feel captain Rock breathe a sigh each time as if his throttle hand is doing his breathing now. Drives her fast up the face of each wave and slows her right back as we dive across the crest.
As I hold tight it does come to mind how all those folks at home in their beds right now, listening to the heavy rains pound or their Windows, they have no clue we are out here in this, their fish supper from the chip shop at the weekend. Will they miss us or just order a burger instead. A fisherman’s life indeed, risking our life every time we throw the ropes off and head out to sea.
“Focus man!” Captain Rock caught me out and as he is hanging off the wheel, we exchange a look, he and I both know this might be our last one.
Some lightning starts cracking across the sky only to show us the real daunting size of the seas right now, taller and more green are the seas now, white water breaking in all directions, we battle on hoping not to roll over on any of these swells.
When our mast broke earlier it had taken out all the antennas we use for radio signalling and radar equipment which is how we would normally deal with driving the boat back home or even send out a distress call to emergency services, without those antennas we are just three men on a boat in the middle of ferocious oceans all secretly praying deep inside.
I see it, I see it, Rob yells out. I hold tightly to the hand rail as I shuffle across the deck to him, Captain Rock is screaming aft to us where? “God Damm it where?” Up we go another big wave and down with water white all around us, I roar back to Rock let me find out as I pass the aft cabin door. Though Rob is only standing 12 to 16 feet away it is probably easier to stand up in a roller coaster ride than shuffle across this deck tonight.
“Back there, back there” Rob is starring behind us as I reach him with a lunge to grab hold of the mast. One hand around the mast and the other linked to Rob’s arm. My hair soaked flat across my eyes and the salt water running hard across my face, I catch a glimpse of that beacon light. Warm smiles tickle my insides though 30years at SEA experience tells me “we’re not home yet” I say to Rob.
Port side, west northwest of us I roar out to Rock.
Having clambered back into the wheelhouse I point to the light and Rock tells me with just a look, how are we gonna turn down this swell to run back there?
“We might not make it if we steer across this swell” he says I know but we can go a little further east and try take a chance to put it on our stern and surf our way home? That’s my suggestion.
“Rob get in here!” Roars Rock as he works the throttle speed.
“Go check on him and get him in here safe he tells me”.
Every time a swell from the sea hits us now is like an earth quake, a thud first then spray and water everywhere, all blocks and tackle and rigging chomping like church bells, out of tune.
Rob makes it back inside and I meet him in the galley, he is soaked to the skin as am I. I laugh at his eager expression, “don’t worry laddie, all in a day’s fishing” I can tell he has nerves of steel but he just doesn’t know it yet as the calibre and magnitude of this storm is probably one of the worst of the two or three I have ever seen. My nervous laugh is to calm me more than Rob as he is full of the innocence, as long and Rock and myself stay calm well it must be just normal, so obvious how he feels.
In the wheelhouse now we are three, watching for the flash of the lighthouse beacon.
It is time says Rock and with a full burst of throttle and rolling the helm from hand to hand we go up like an airplane, the floor beneath us feels like it is just gonna keep rising vertical, Rob falls from his standing and rolls to port side across the floor. I have my feet wedged to a cupboard and Rock screams loud “hang on fellas”
A wave crashes against our side putting water crashing through the wheelhouse window. “Get up ya bitch” Roars Rock and round she comes, our little trawler made the turn. Down we come crashing into the water below us. With our now broken window we can hear the spray of the water so loud. The wind is screaming through the wheelhouse window as we surf ahead of the storm.
All the same worries still exists as to will the next swell sink us if it breaks across our stern but with this storm behind us now we can run a lot faster and our rolling motion has changed from being picked up and slammed down to more of a pushed along with might, picked up a little less and only the broken window lets us know of all the rigging banging and clattering up above.
The beacon is getting closer now and Rock knows his way well from here, he lets a big cheer “we made it lads” as we round the beacon lighthouse to head for the harbour proper.
The calmer waters of the harbour not only settle the boat underneath us but all of our private fears. We made it once again coming in safe and sound, the dark hours of early morning and all the houses on the hillside just the odd light can be seen. Most folks sleeping can only dream of the adventure we just had. Will they know what it took or even what it takes to get the fresh cod for their supper this weekend?
Cornwall ya beauty as we throw the ropes to the dock wall.