Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Does The Cosa Nostra Have Fans In The North Of Ireland?

Pictured is an eatery-slash-nightclub in Ballyshannon, Donegal called "Sopranos". Although they do have bands (and therefore singers) that perform here now and then, the "Sopranos" in the name of the joint does not refer to anything musical. At some point in its recent history, the owners of the joint decorated it on the theme of The Sopranos of HBO fame - Tony, Paulie, Christophuh and the whole gang. And we do mean gang. My gun moll and I stopped here for some chow about four years ago on a trip to Ireland in search of Whitey. We ended up ordering a vegetarian pizza which - unfortunately - consisted of canned corn and carrots dumped on a pizza pie. Sort of reminded me of a similar meal the humorist David Sedaris once, ahem, "enjoyed" in France. We ate it though. We were hungry. We devoured our repast next to the entrance to the joint and, since it was summertime, the door had been left open in that homely tradition known as "Irish air-conditioning". Flies pestered us like little Beelzebubs reincarnated from dead mafiosi. TV shows popular in America are popular worldwide, so that is the main explanation why we managed to find a pizza joint called "Sopranos" in Ireland. But then again, we were very close to the border with Northern Ireland, and perhaps this fondness for a fictional Cosa Nostra family expresses a displaced nostalgia for the devilish excitement once generated by the IRA. In Boston at least, the IRA and the Cosa Nostra probably had actual connections. We know Whitey Bulger rubbed shoulders and knocked knees with the wise guys, and you can't tell me he didn't run a gun or two for the IRA. Whitey all by himself could inhabit a single "degree of separation" between the Irish Republicans and The Mob.

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