In 1993 Jerry Garcia (1942 – 1995) of the Grateful Dead visited the west of Ireland on a two week sketching and painting holiday. One of his paintings from that time, Irish Tree, can be seen at this link. I had heard he was spotted out one night in Monica’s pub in Drumshanbo on this trip and that he told the young guy who recognized him that up to that point he had gone totally unnoticed. He admitted that while he was happy to be anonymous it was also kind of nice to talk with someone who knew who he was as well. He is thought to have hired a car in Dublin airport and probably stayed at Paddy Macs B&B just along the street from the pub they were in. He is said to have been really taken with the town’s high street and Monica’s pub in particular and asked a lot of questions about both. He also talked about his father being half Irish and how he had never visited Ireland before but had often imagined what it might be like.
Late in the night he is said to have made a strange analogy between Leitrim and the LSD experience. They no doubt had a very profound conversation from that point on, one sentence of which the guy remembered and wrote down on a card which he brought into Monica the next night. He must have managed to convince her of the importance of the American customer from the night before as she did agree to put it on the wall behind the bar. Sadly it’s no longer there but I’m told it read ‘“What I got from my first trip was that my little personal fiction was just that. It was a fiction.” Jerry Garcia, Drumshanbo 1993’ (Stephen Rennicks)