Don't yell Bingo!!

A couple friends and I went to Ireland in 2007. We stayed in a lovely cottage in a town called Hollywood. It's in the county Wicklow. It was about 45 minutes south of Dublin. Some might call it a small town: one pub and a church. One day we decided to walk into town and look around. While walking around the church we saw a flyer for Bingo on Thursday night. Now, some people may look at that and ignore such a 'normal' activity that could be done back home. Good thing I'm not that kind of traveler :) We planned our entire Thursday around getting back to town in time for bingo. And for that we were rewarded with a fun evening playing an old game in a whole new way.

We got to church and found it surrounded by old women smoking cigarettes outside. Open entering the church social hall we paid our 10 euro to 'buy' into the game. We all noticed instantly upon looking at the cards that this game was not what we were used to playing. Each sheet represented three games. The first game was covering one row, second game was covering two rows on the same grid, and the third game was covering all three rows on a grid.

Each sheet had six game boards on it. Each table was 3 columns by 9 rows. And over all six game boards would be 1-99. A single table looked liked this:

6 __ 25 __ __ __ 66 76 81
__ 19 26 30 __ 55 __ __ 82
7 __ __ __ 44 __ 68 79 87

We were a little embarrassed to ask for help since we'd never played this form of bingo before. Finally we asked the old ladies in front of us how to play. It was a bit hard understanding the announcer with his thick country Irish accent. Luckily they posted the numbers up too. One of my friends hadn't quite picked up on the game rules completely and had one row covered during the second game of the card. She yelled out, "BINGO!!" First, she needed two rows covered, and second, they yell "cover" not "BINGO!" Well, we quickly became the three odd Americans who didn't really know what they were doing.

On the plus side, two of us ended up winning games that night. I won 20 euro which was great since it was towards the end of the trip and I was running out of money. On top of that I couldn't remember my pin number to get more money from my bank account. It was a fun evening getting to hang out with the locals and get laughed at a little.

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