Cheesy reply

WITH Ireland constantly in the news just now over Brexit, we look back on affectionate Diary stories about the island where the folk are kind, colourful and often lyrical. A reader in a Dublin sandwich shop once heard the assistant behind the counter ask the elderly gentleman in front if he wanted feta cheese on his salad. "Ah, no thanks," he told her. "Feta cheese is a young man's game."

Something smells

IRELAND is of course a great destination for weekend breaks. Two Scottish chaps were seen in the swish Dublin department store Brown Thomas buying gifts for their partners back home. The girl at the perfume counter must have been used to this as she asked: "So? Have you been good or bold this weekend?" "Good," muttered the two Scots lads.

But swiping their credit cards she persisted: "Given how much you spent, my money's on bold."

That's the ticket

TALKING of transport, one-time Irish government minister Dinny McGinley, invited to a St Patrick's Day charity ball in Glasgow, told us that many years ago as a student he secured a summer job as a clippie on Glasgow's trolley buses. Years later Ireland's infamous Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, boasted about being the first politician to introduce free travel on buses. Dinny interrupted him and said: "I think you'll find I introduced free travel on Glasgow's trolley buses whenever I heard a Donegal accent."

Wait a Mo

IT'S just over 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement, which brought peace to Northern Ireland. was signed. The late Mo Mowlam was Northern Ireland Secretary at the time, and we remember Mo at a book event in Glasgow telling us that she called her personal protection officers in Ireland "Shirleys''. She went on to explain: "'Whenever I suggested going anywhere remotely dodgy, they would always say to me 'Shirley not, minister'.''

Going Dutch

MANY Irish surnames are of course prevalent in Scotland. Reader John Mulholland once told us: "Years ago I had to endure one of those leaving speeches from the boss as I had been promoted and was transferring to another office. 'Many of you will think that John's surname originated from Ireland,' he said. 'However, you are wrong: it is Dutch. I did some research into the name and I found that it means hard-working, diligent and conscientious. As for his forename, remarkably, I found that it translates as 'Isnae'."

Chipped in

WE mentioned trips to Ireland, and recall the Glasgow businessmen on a golfing jolly to the exclusive K Club golf club in County Kildare, Ireland, where they noticed that Holywood screen legend Clint Eastwood was also in the club's bar. After a few drinks one of the Glasgow chaps thought it would be a good idea to go over to Clint, and using Clint's classic Dirty Harry line, asked: "Clint, could you make my day?" Clint replied: "No. But you could sure make my day by shutting up."


A DAFT yarn to end with as a reader told us of the auld fella outside a pub in rural Ireland holding a stick with a string on it over a large puddle outside the pub's door. A visiting tourist asked what he was doing, and when the auld yin said "fishing" the tourist took pity on him and invited him inside for a whiskey. He couldn't stop himself from asking the old man: "How many have you caught?" "You're the eighth," he replied.

Read more: Spray that again, Mr President