Galway to Soho


The Village
The Emigrants
Cranegie Trust
Cars Past
Family Artists
Military Page
Sgt P Craughwell
The Somme
Galway Links
Galway to Soho
Site Feedback

From Galway to Soho


Dan Mc Cormack

Many Galwegians of my generation and before will remember Dan Mc Cormack reciting the poem Galway to Soho in the old Warwick, Rockland and Anno Santo Hotels in Salthill.  For those who want it here it is I understand that it was written anonymously.


As I was scanning the Bill of Fayre the waiter hovered beside my chair,

We’ve Galway salmon I heard him declare and then in a local confident tone

We’ve turbot, halibut and sole on the bone but our salmon is best and widely known.


He walked away with his step so light his folded napkin gleaming white,

I knew of course he was perfectly right but what could a London waiter know

In a crowded café in Soho where the shaded lights were dim and low,

Of the Salmon Weir and the Claddagh fleet in the city where bay and Corrib meet

In the twisted length of a Galway street.


How would those tails that he wore compare with an Aran Jacket in old Eyre Square

Or a Bainin seen at a Galway fair, what would he know of the purple and gray

Of an autumn twilight that twarped the bay, or the magic scent of new-mown hay

Or the things a man can never tire, of the open hearth and the big turf fire

Or the lowing of cows in a village byre?


Disturbing my dreams as I sat in state he brought me the fish disguised on a plate

Garnished with sauces up to date.

In a cantankerous manner I began “I’d rather it fried on a sizzling pan

Or grilled with butter; I’m a country man”.

He served me the fish in Soho style, fidgeting there by my side a while,

On his face the ghost of a quizzical smile.


“Sure that’s how I’d like it myself tonight, in a nest of mushrooms, am I right?”

“In the flickering rays of the candlelight, no booking of tables in advance,

No dazzling menus worded in France, no one to give me a curious glance,

But turf sods blazing under the pot, potatoes flouring and piping hot

With a second helping, like it or not”.


Was he assuming the Brogue of the West; making of me the butt of his jest?

But I waited until I heard the rest

“I played as a child by the Corrib Weir and I watched the salmon many a year

When the day was bright and the water clear, saw the Cliffs of Moher in kindly weather,

The Aran Islands huddled together, each Curragh passing light as a feather.

Dun Aengus battling through wind and rain, a blackbird’s song in a Galway lane

Sure I often think of these days in vain”.


He walked away in his black and white with a step that seemed no longer light

And a mist came up and clouded my sight.

When I cross the Weir in the sunset’s glow I think of him shuffling to and fro

In that crowded café in Soho.


Home | The Village | The Emigrants | Cranegie Trust | Cars Past | Family Artists | Military Page | Sgt P Craughwell | The Somme | Galway Links | Galway to Soho | Site Feedback

This site was last updated 11/04/08