I pride myself on knowing quite a bit about The Beatles.
Occasionally, I will try to turn a conversation around so that I can tell people that the backing singers on Across the Universe were actually two fans who’d been hanging around outside the Abbey Road studios.
“Really?” someone will say.
And that allows me to triumphantly announce that they were called Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease. Ok. A yawn invariably follows. But I’ll have done my bit of showing off.
Now here’s something I didn’t know.
I knew, of course, that John bought Dorinish Island in Clew Bay for £1,700 when he saw it advertised for sale in the Daily Telegraph.
He came over with his wife Cynthia to see it. And he had a psychedelically painted caravan brought out to the island while he was here.
His plan was to build a home there for himself, Cynthia and their son Julian.
However, the following year he came back. This time with Yoko.
What I didn’t know was that they stayed in the Mulranny Park Hotel – then the Great Southern.
Yoko and John apparently spent a night in a psychedelic caravan and then, when the weather turned nasty, flew back by helicopter to stay in the hotel.
There, they listened to local musicians before John played a tape of a new Beatles’ song – Revolution – for guests and locals. It was the first time the song had been heard in public.
I was chuffed to hear I was staying in the same hotel as Johnny once did even if there was a 51 year gap!
There is a John Lennon Suite in the hotel and a tribute to him in the bar.
And of course, it’s in a beautiful, beautiful place.
No wonder the Mayo News reported, back in 1968 “Beatle Was ‘Enchanted’ With Mulranny Visit”. That was the headline on the story by then cub reporter, the late Martin Curry.
In the heel of the hunt, Yoko eventually sold Dorinish but before she did, it was occupied by a group of ‘hippies’ the most famous of whom was Sid Rawle.
I knew Sid. I met him while he was “occupying” the site where the Merrion Shopping Centre now stands. They called the place the Island.
Not the same thing as knowing Johnny though. Is it?