Mother’s Day in a five-star by a slaughterhouse
Ross’s daughter drops a bombshell
The weekend away was my idea. I knew Mother’s Day was coming up and I saw an ad in the paper for one of those beautifully appointed five-star destination spa hotels that no Irish industrial estate would feel complete without. According to the bumf, Fitzronan House is “the gate lodge to the Garden of Ireland” but in the real world, you’ll find it opposite a slaughterhouse just off the N11 south of Arklow.
The kindest thing you could say about it – like so much else in this country – is that it probably seemed like a good idea at the time.
You know the deal. Nama-owned. Skeleton staff. Two adults and one child: two nights accommodation, two evening meals and two breakfasts each, plus one complimentary holistic treatment, all for 400 snots. And don’t come crying to us if the infinity pool is cold.
So, roysh, Friday lunchtime, we’re pulling into the cor pork of the place. Honor looks up from her iPhone, checks out the view with her mouth just open and goes, “Okay, who the fock would build a hotel in the middle of an industrial estate?”
I often think that if we let six-year-old children run Ireland, we wouldn’t be in half the shit we’re in. I go, “A lot things happened during the Celtic Tiger, Honor, that are very difficult to understand now. But we just have to accept that they did happen and move on as a people.”
Sorcha smiles at me. I hate patting myself on the back, but I really am an amazing, amazing father.
Two minutes later, we’re standing at the desk and checking in. Honor is holding her phone above her head, going, “Oh my God, a five stor hotel and no focking signal?” while Sorcha tells the receptionist that she’s probably going to have the billabong bodybath with the honey exfoliant and yoghurt cocoon experience.
I’m looking around me and getting the definite impression that the place is pretty much empty ? That’s when I spot Traolach Canniffe getting out of the lift, a dude I played rugby with in UCD – one of the worst scrumhalves I’ve ever seen, but a sound goy all the same. I mention it to Sorcha and she acts all disappointed. She hates when we go away and run into people that we know from home. She says it makes it feel less like an escape ?
“It’s nice to see him treating his wife to a weekend away,” I go, out of the corner of my mouth. “He’s been having an affair with Jenny Marcus for the last six months. JP saw him in Chapter One last weekend, feeding her forkfuls of that amazing loin of rabbit they do, with the light farce of pata negra, across the table.”
Sorcha goes, “Ross, I really wish you wouldn’t tell me things like that. We’re probably going to end up bumping into them all weekend and I won’t be able to look his wife in the . . .”