Christy Brown’s pint

I met Christy Brown at his home in Rathcoole in County Dublin when we went to interview him in the seventies (apologies to the reporter with me – I can’t remember who it was).

We had spent an hour or more in the house when he suggested we go to the pub for a pint (I think in the Rathcoole Inn). Christy was in a wheelchair and wheelchair ramps were few and far between but, lo and behold, the pub had a long gently sloping concrete ramp, installed for Christy’s benefit he told us. Certainly, it was the first time I saw one in a pub.

Christy’s pint arrived with a wide straw and he looked for a moment in anticipation at his pint on the table as I wondered how he was going to drink it, he not having  the use of his arms. No problem!

Suddenly, he launched his head downward and unerringly grabbed the straw with his mouth, obviously a practiced skill. Then he sucked deeply and didn’t draw breath ’til there was less than an inch left in the glass and he sat back up with a satisfied smile on his face. We were impressed, not just that he had managed to drink it at all without assistance, but with the quantity of his suck. I told him as much:

“Jaysus”, says I, “you made some hole in that!”

“Well, it’s like this”, says he, “when it takes that much effort to get at it, you have to make the most of it!”

(Christy Brown’s death reported on RTE)