“My eyes are glued together. Feet blistered. What have I done? At least I’m not in jail. Lay a bit to get the latitude and longitude. I’ll never do this again. Seems I had something to do with cattle. And with drink. And with several parties. And pints of cider. Claws the brain apart. I don’t like this when I don’t even know what month it is.”
J.P. Donleavy – The Ginger Man
Ah yes Mr. Donleavy, I know the feeling and I don’t like it either, although in my case it was largely due to pints of Guinness and some women from Eastern Europe. Stumbling across a signpost on Dublin’s Grafton Street that informed me of a Literary Pub Crawl didn’t help matters either. After a near four hour bus journey to Dublin I had developed a raging thirst, the kind that could only be extinguished with a few pints of the black stuff. Followed by many, many more. Given that there is a bar on literally ever corner, a bar crawl in Dublin can quickly become a decadent orgy of unimaginable magnitude. Eventually my literary pub tour brought me to the fine establishment known as The Ginger Man. Located near the back of Trinity College it serves a fine pint of Guinness, which I gladly helped myself to before I eagerly set off towards Temple Bar in search of The Project Arts Centre where Mr. Donleavy was going to be making a rare appearence.
Typicaly however, I got hopelessly lost. Whoever is responsible for the signposts in Dublin should be strung up with barbed wire and left for the crows. Of course I had no trouble finding bars, but when it came to my main destination relying on the signposts was like asking a blind woman for directions on a foggy night. Beyond useless! I also had a sneaking suspicion that some bastard had turned certain signs in the wrong direction just for his own perverse amusement. If I had found him I would have strangled the prick in the middle of O’Connell St. with my shoelaces.
After much frustration and loud outbursts of gutteral swearing I managed to find the damn spot. About 60 yards from my hotel no less. Oh Lord you mock me in the cruelest fashion! I quickly collected my tickets and bounded upstairs where I was faced with yet another bar. A man could never die of thirst in this fine city. A pint of the black stuff later I found myself sitting about five yards from the stage, no doubt stinking the front aisles to the rafters with the smell of Guinness. Fuck them all anyway, I couldn’t care less about upsetting a bunch of what looked like latte sipping dullards and middle aged virgins. Soon the lights dipped and our host from the national broadcaster RTE introduced the man of the hour – J.P. Donleavy.
Mr Donleavy ambled out from the shadows of the stage, dressed like a country gent in tweed and sporting a distinguised silver beard. After a warm welcome from the audience he started discussing a variety of topics, from the banning of The Ginger Man to his hopes of a film version starring Johnny Depp and the notorious hellraiser Shane McGowan. I don’t want to spoil it all for you, as you can listen to the entire event here.
Afterwards Mr. Donleavy took some questions from the audience and then started signing books for the audience. I eagerly jumped in line to get my copy of The Ginger Man autographed by the man himself. The line to meet him was huge but I eventually got to the top and met the infamous old git. As he was signing my book I asked him if he ever accepted Hunter’s offer to drop by his shack in Big Sur back in the early 60’s. On hearing the Good Doctors name he looked up and smiled with a glint in his eye – “Oh yes” he muttered in his distinct mournful voice and then he paused, considering the question a bit – “No, no…pity, pity” before chuckling to himself a bit. He seemed rather pleased with the question, if a little surprised. Then I was off into the Dublin night where I roamed around Temple Bar for a bit, before challenging three Polish women to a drinking contest in a bar whose name I forget. Never underestimate a Polish womans tolerance for vodka, it could be the death of you…
Ok for now,
PS: I had some photos I wanted to upload but my computer is banjaxed and my laptop is doing its best to drive me insane. If I had a .44 Magnum right now I’d blast them both to bits with extreme prejudice.
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4 thoughts on “The Ginger Man in Dublin”
“PS: I had some photos I wanted to upload but my computer is banjaxed and my laptop is doing its best to drive me insane. If I had a .44 Magnum right now I’d blast them both to bits with extreme prejudice.”
-well, don’t be like that, maybe you just need a new laptop. =)
Well Ron you did it you jammy sod. I am still raging i could not go. At least one of us got to. The tickets are still in my office, taunting me, it’s not good. Why am i not surprised that there was Guinness involved, is there any left in Dublin? Oh and thanks for the comment you left for me next door. See ya.
Just found your site before putting uploading my own blog on the Dublin Writers’ Festival. We must have been standing in the same line. Good on you for asking Donleavy about whether he ever took up HST on the Big Sur offer.
The literary pub crawl was the only thing I wanted to do in Dublin that I didn’t get a chance to do… spent a few days in Belfast… No matter, I’ll be back — that’s a certainty.
I referenced your blog at the end of my write-up on the Dublin Writers’ Festival interview with Donleavy:
Hi Ron! have information from Hunter makes me so anxious as to a pleading piscola drinking. Not English, so fucking abuse translator.
Your site is very good!
Take care hope you are well!