Though is not located right on the ocean, Miltown Malbay has been a seaside resort town since the Victorian era. Malbay, which is near the town, is named for a fairy from Irish folklore named Mal, who is said to have washed ashore after drowning while attempting to perfect her long-jumping skills.
Malbay is adjacent to Spanish Point, named for the sailors from the wrecked Spanish Armada who washed ashore there. The local clans killed most of those who were stranded on the beaches, but a few clan chiefs saw value in adding trained military men to their contingent of men-at-arms and kept them alive. Some believe that these were the ancestors of the Black Irish, who have racial characteristics similar to those of southern Europeans, but modern genetic research has been unable to verify this.
Laetitia and her group did some beach and cliff walks, arriving at a local pub for pre-dinner drinks in late afternoon. A story from the bartender of a local woman who always managed to be on the quay in nearby Lahinch when the fishing fleet came in on payday was the source of the day’s limerick.
A young strumpet from Miltown Malbay
Was enamored with love on the quay
To the sailors’ delight
When they came home at night
With a penchant for spending their pay.
She followed the limerick with a disclaimer. “I used a bit of license. ‘Quay’ is pronounced as though it were ‘key’ and rhymes with ‘Malbay’ and ‘pay’ by eye but not by ear.” In her defense, she submitted that T. S. Eliot had done something similar in Growltiger’s Last Stand from Ol’ Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The last two lines of the first verse are:
From Gravesend up to Oxford he pursued his evil aims,
Rejoicing in his title of the Terror of the Thames.
She said, “Most English people pronounce ‘Thames’ as though it were ‘Tems’ or ’Tamms,’ not as though it rhymes with ‘games.’” If a real poet like T. S. Eliot can use such license, so can I.”