Because Tramore, the town that smells like an urinal and scowls with undisguised contempt at the rest of the country from the south-east corner of Ireland, is such a scum hole many of its inhabitants attempt to flee it, to pursue better lives for themselves and their families in places where life doesn't arrive and depart with the tourists in the summer and where conversation isn't restriced to local deaths, break-ups and teenaged pregnancies. The deaths are especially envied since they don't have to live in Tramore anymore. Some of Tramore's escapies make it to civilisation; some get stopped at Waterford and sent back with a stern look and a smack on the arse. Some of us, the lucky ones, make it all the way to the huge smoking mass of crap that is Dublin city where we attempt to pretend life is better and the city doesn't smell like a urinal. We're kidding ourselves. It does.
Occasionally the emigres meet by accident on the street: we smile shyly at each other and our eyes search the other's face for the implicit vow of silence we all keep on our origins. "Where you from?" friends will ask; "just outside Waterford, tiny place, you wouldn't know it" we reply shamefully. Truth is, EVERYONE knows Tramore. Everyones been here as well, whether it was as a mewling tyke, paddling and pissing in the sea, a hyped up older child, jaws sticky from candyfloss and popcorn, eyes round from the range of grubby wonders of the amusements and arcades on show, or as an eager young teenager, stumbling parentless from chip-shop to permissive pubs, half-cut on flagons of cider you drank on the shitty smelling bathers slip in the early evening. This is a heritage we are shy to claim as our own.
The bond is there though. I'd like to see it reenforced here in Dublin. Which is why I stumbled round Tramore's public houses for most of the weekend, rounding up volunteers for my current Grand Plan, the first annual Tramore reunion. It's slightly more than a little bit naff yet obscure enough to retain a smidgen of coolness. I think I just might be able to pull it off. Plans are all very loose at the moment and I think my co-organisers might be backing out, but I don't mind. Even if I have to sit in a pub on my own and get locked, it'll be alright. At least I'm there. And not in Tramore.