Just south of County Donegal is County Leitrim. It has a short piece of Atlantic coast, but is mostly a landlocked county. Western Leitrim is a rugged, hilly, and mountainous landscape with many spots of natural beauty. William Butler Yeats often spent time here, and the Glencar Waterfall in Leitrim is said to be one of Yeats’ inspirations for his poem The Stolen Child. Laetitia and her group visited the falls and did some hikes along the upper River Shannon.
Peat, formed from partially decomposed vegetation, is abundant in Ireland, and when Ireland’s forests were logged off to build the British Navy during the Napoleonic wars, the Irish turned to peat for fuel. From the eighteenth century on, peat fires heated large numbers of Irish cottages. Malachy, an old man in Fambo, where Laetitia and her group went at the end of the day’s tour, lived in one such cottage.
When Laetitia stopped at the local pub for a Murphy’s stout before dinner, Malachy was in the pub holding court, telling anyone who would listen about a Rambo film he’d just watched for the twentieth time. Someone next to her whispered, “We call him ‘the pyromaniac.’ He doesn’t set fires, but he certainly likes to watch them. He especially likes films with flaming torches and fiery explosions like the Rambo series.” The conversation spawned the limerick of the day.
Old Malachy idolized Rambo
Whose films had explosions and flambeau
For his ardent desire
For adventures with fire
Wasn’t quenched by his peat fire in Fambo.