The Tale of Bobby O’Shea and the Dark Horse

The Dark Horse, referred to as the pooka in Irish Folklore, comes out at night, is huge and sleek, breathing blue flames, with eyes of yellow fire, a snort like thunder, a smell like sulfur, a stride that clears mountains and a human voice deep as a cave. With a sound sometimes like the head-on crashing of trains, sometimes like the ripping of trees from the earth, it haunts rivers and frightens fishermen and sailors so much so, that they are fearful of approaching land. Sometimes it follows the ships to sea. Often at night, as the black horse, the pooka will take a man for a ride clear around the country at breakneck speed until he loses his grip and flies headlong into a bog ditch.

Yet for all its black deeds, the pooka now is a tame creature compared to what it was before Bobby O’Shea curbed it.

In ancient days the pooka was lord over all that went forth after dark, except those on missions of mercy. All roads belonged to it; and few who traveled them lived to tell. For the pooka kicked hard enough to crush human bones and could lift a man like an empty sack onto its back and jump with him into the sea, so deep that he drowned. Other times it sprang over a cliff and let the man tumble to the bottom.

But Bobby O’Shea tamed it with a charm made from three hairs from a pooka’s tail and thrown round its neck like a bridle. At the first pull, the hairs were transformed into threads of steel. Crossing himself and mounting, he fiercely reined the beast and rode it until it heaved with exhaustion and promised never to kill another man.

Since then it takes only drunkards on its madcap ridings and always returns them to the ditch where it found them, no worse for some bruises and a drunken tale.

When it rains with the sun shining that means that it will be out that night. When berries are killed by frost it is the pooka’s spit which is upon them and they shouldn’t be eaten.

The Story of the Craic Table

The Story of the Craic Table

A Victorian pub in Old Dublin was a famous resting spot for one of rural Ireland’s most famous inhabitants, Bobby O’Shea. Bobby had made a reputation of fine woodworking by trade and fine ale swigging by habit.

Bobby was a skilled craftsman in his small rural workshop and at the small pub in Dublin. Bobby was especially gifted at spreading and participating in the Craic, which is that special combination of laughter, chat and atmosphere that is unique to Irish socializing. During one long and unusually dry summer, Bobby had amassed a large debt to the pub owner. However, Bobby was unable to pay his creditor, as his summer’s work had been dry too. He was not very busy and therefore could not pay his large tab.

A solution was found to Bobby’s predicament: the pub owner agreed to allow Bobby to build him a grand piece of furniture in return for his large debt. Bobby then went to work and built a table the likes Ireland had never seen. Measuring twelve long by four foot wide, the table was a sight to behold. Bobby had created a great wooden masterpiece and made his creditor very happy as well. People flocked to the small Victorian pub in Old Dublin to see the table and experience the Craic that it brought to the pub.

Over the years, the table that Bobby built moved onto other pubs throughout Ireland and the world. The table became known as Bobby O’Shea’s Craic Table as a tribute to the great craftsman and purveyor of the Craic, Bobby O’Shea. Now the Craic table has found itself in a new town, one that has never experienced true Irish Craic. Around the table has risen an authentic Irish Ale House built with the craftsmanship and detail that was the signature of Bobby himself. Enjoy the atmosphere of O’Shea’s Eatery and Ale House, as a tribute to the man who has shown us all what the Craic is all about.