Close the Wicket Gate

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The wicket gate was the main exit route from the pub when the guards knocked on the front door after hours and it was important that the last man through shut the gate. The Kilmichael or the Bar K as it is called in the book was unique in that the characters who gathered there to argue, laugh and sing together came from backgrounds as diverse as the British Army, Old IRA, RIC, Irish Army and those 'who fought Spain'. The Kilmichael Bar was not only a pub but also a corner shop and later a restaurant, the landlady was a most enterprising woman; she invented the phenomena of 'pub grub', just to circumvent the absurd licensing laws of the period. As Tomas O Criomhthain said We shall not look upon their likes again. Friends and neighbours played an important role and were seen as part of the extended family. Close the Wicket Gate also deals with issues which were taboo in the 1940s and 1950s - suicide, alcoholism, loneliness and mental health, people did not know how to deal with them, and psychology was only in its infancy. Life changed immeasurably and with unprecedented speed at this time. Some of the stories beggar belief; Thomas who at the age of twelve left home to join the Royal Navy and spent 40 years at sea in everything from mine sweepers to the QE2, but could never come home in uniform. Pat who was deloused along with hundreds of other young Irish boys at 'The Globe Hotel' before sailing for England and a lifetime of work with the Ford Motor Co.