Of Books and Gyno’s

By Ken Bruen

Last year, I had an email from my New York editor, informing me that one of his friends was coming to Galway to study for a year and would I look out for her


I met her on arrival and we got her a place to stay and enrolled in the college

The Clifden Arts Festival was due and I Iwas invited to read at it

Clifden is a beautiful small village about 50 miles from the city centre and it perched on the Atlantic, it still has all the old flavor of Ireland as it used to be, horses on the street, tinkers selling their wares, one bookshop and fifty pubs ……….. oh and one church

I thought this would be the best first introduction to the country

I asked Pat Mullan, the thiller writer and great friend to come along

Megan, the girl, I was to look after brought along another American friend and they asked me

“What does ‘Jesus wept’ mean?”

I said

“You’ll see”

Before my reading, Pat stood us a round of Guinness and Megan asked

“You have a pint before?”

Pat laughed, said

“Before, during and after.”

I had warned Megan to bring rain wear and she said

“How do you know it will rain?”

I said

“It always does.”

It did


I told her the shite we pedal to visitors

“It’s soft Irish rain, doesn’t mean anything.”

Save you get drenched

She’s a New Yorker and gave me the look, said

“I’m beginning to think you’re full of it.”

Rumbled already

The reading went ……….. mediocre

But as most of the audience had been having hot toddys they were happy enough, a woman asked me

“Did you ever think of writing a happy book?”


After, we dashed to a great old pub with a roaring fire and three musicians with



Uileann Pipes


And they did a haunting version of Raglan Road followed by The Sky Road

This road runs alongside Clifden and leads to the most spectacular view of the wild sea

We’d just sat down and a man approached, asked if I was K. Bruen

I agreed and he said

I went to Trinity with you

So I did what you do

Invited him to join us

He was, he said

“A gynecologist”


Then for the next 30 minutes lectured us on all items ………. am ……….. related to his work

When he went to buy a round

We legged it

Megan got a job in Charly Byrnes Bookshop, just about one of the finest independents in the country and reminiscent of Sylvia Beachs in those fabled legendary days

There was a book launch on the Friday and I took Megan, first person we meet is Roger, a friend of mine for over 20 years and I kept distracting him everytime Megan asked him what he did

Finally, he told her

“A gynecologist.”

She stared at me, asked

“Hello, what’s with you and gynos?”

I had to travel shortly after and Megan was busy with her studies and the bookshop

Must have been two months later, I was out for a quiet drink with a childhood friend and Megan appeared

She looked great, had an Irish boyfriend, a job as a columnist on a local paper, the bookstore and her studies

She hit it off with my friend and asked her what she did

My friend said

“I’m a doctor.”

Megan rolled her eyes, said

“Don’t tell me, a gyno?’

My friend gave her that Irish look, said

“Why on earth would you think that, I’m a psychologist.”

When we were leaving, it was lashing down and Megan looked at me, she was wearing a T-shirt, said

“Jesus Wept.”


7 thoughts on “Of Books and Gyno’s

  1. JT Ellison

    I’m just glad to hear you legged it when you had a chance. I mean really, you’re Irish, how much explanation do you need? All you need to do is talk and the women swoon.Thanks for the smiles!xox


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