The Ginger Man in Dublin

“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,

Ron Mexico

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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In Search of The Ginger Man

Well, Lionel, a chap named Donleavy has just written a book. He never made it to Beverly Glen, or even Esquirebut he can write the balls off of every punk who did – including me.”

Hunter S. Thompson – The Proud Highway


Tomorrow I am off to Dublin to hopefully get a chance to have a word with JP Donleavy, infamous author of The Ginger Man and famed recluse. Mr. Donleavy is giving a reading as part of the Dublin Writers Festival and will also be discussing the upcoming movie adaption of his wicked novel. It is also heavily rumoured that Colonel Depp will be there, as he is hotly tipped to play the lead role – that of Sebastian Dangerfield. The Colonel and Mr. Donleavy are good friends and have been discussing this movie for a while now. Shane McGowan is also supposed to make a cameo appearence in the film playing the equally boisterous Brendan Behan. Speaking of the Colonel, it was his birthday this week so hopefully he had a good one! Here is a clip from the Extended DVD of his appearence on Inside the Actors Studio. He is talking about what it was like to live with The Good Doctor.



Oh yeah before I go, if you want to read a letter that Hunter sent to JP Donleavy then click here and last, but certainly by no means least, for those of you who are interested in collecting the work of Dr. Thompson check out HST Books run by our very own Lono, it is a fantastic site with great information on collecting First Editions, Limited Editions, Rare Magazines and basically everything to do with Gonzo.

Good luck,

Ron Mexico       

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