Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


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Published: Irish Times, March 7 2019

The Lucid



One Friday evening, three years ago this month, Fiona Walsh was relaxing with friends at a dinner party in Dún Laoghaire. She was a final year UCD medical student and, with their exams just two weeks away, a classmate had prepared a meal to help the group unwind.

Her phone was charging in the next room. After dinner, she found a barrage of missed calls and messages urging her to call home. “Obviously, you fear the worst,” she recalls. “But you’re afraid it might be your mother or some older relative. You never think it’s going to be your brother.” Read the rest of this entry »

March 9th, 2019. Comment now »

Published: The Dublin Review, Winter 2017

The Peat Workers

Read this.

June 9th, 2018. Comment now »

Published: Irish Times, November 16 2017

“A lot of flag-waving, patriotic Americans will never see half as much of their country I’ve seen…”

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Atlanta in mid-July. In heat this intense, normal people sit indoors, board up their windows and listen to the sidewalks crack. Not Stefan Murphy. He’s decamped to a dilapidated house in the suburbs, with no air conditioning, to record an entire album in two days, called Tales from the Megaplex. It’s his third Count Vaseline album in just over a year. He plays every instrument: bass, guitars, vocals, backing vocals, tambourine. One take. No do-overs.

In a past life, the Dublin musician worked with big-name producers and a full band called The Mighty Stef. Over tacos, in the nearby hipster enclave of Little Five Points, he acknowledges a change of approach. “In The Mighty Stef, we put an enormous emphasis on production. As Count Vaseline, I’m doing the exact opposite. This is definitely the most low-fi, DIY set of songs I’ve ever officially released.”

Murphy is now permanently settled in Atlanta with his wife and six-year-old child. He turned 40 recently and is a year and a half sober. “That was largely to do with my mental health. I was struggling with depression. A lot of people drink themselves to death in their 40s and that could easily have been me.” Read the rest of this entry »

November 16th, 2017. Comment now »

Published: Irish Times, August 20 2011

The Trawlerman

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IT’S 3.45AM AND not a soul is stirring in Kinsale. As our jeep crunches to a halt on the roadside, the headlights reveal a lone heron wading in the tide below. Shane Murphy bounds down the gangway and boards Aurora Borealis, a 35ft inshore trawler he has skippered for six years.

He flicks a light switch in the wheelhouse and fires up the diesel engine. Mike McCarthy, his crewman, busies himself with the moorings. Our passage out of Kinsale this morning will be with the help of a baffling array of technologies: Decca plotter, echo sounder, radar, Sodena plotter, autopilot, GPS and compass.

“I might also look out of the window occasionally,” adds the skipper, deadpan. Read the rest of this article here.

October 22nd, 2017. 14 Comments »

Published: Irish Times, 9 July 2011

The rebel priest

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IN THE MUDDY SLUMS OF JUBA, the people are preparing for a party. By 11pm, tens of thousands of them have poured out onto the streets: cheering, honking car horns and waving the flag of their new country, as well as those of the US, Norway and Israel.

At the stroke of midnight, South Sudan becomes the world’s 192nd independent nation. In the new capital, joy is unconfined. In the mud huts that stretch for miles in every direction, residents can be heard singing and ululating well into the night.

By 7am, the BBC World Service reports a crowd of a hundred thousand already gathered at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum. The speeches here will last late into the afternoon. But despite a complete lack of respite from the sun, the people never once cease to sing, sway and chant… Read the rest of this article here.

September 8th, 2017. Comment now »

Published: Irish Times, 9 March 2013

The toughest journey

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It’s 7.15am at the Dry Arch filling station in Letterkenny and a hard frost is down outside. A lorry driver bounds in from the darkness, rubs his hands together and orders a bowl of porridge at the hot food counter. In the corner, Sky News is reporting live from Los Angeles, where post-Oscar festivities are still in full swing.

But customers here don’t pay the TV much attention. It’s Monday morning, it’s -5°C and we’re a long way from Tinseltown. Read the rest of this entry »

April 10th, 2017. 107 Comments »

Published: Irish Tatler, Winter 2016

Oh, shut up

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Are you bored with social media? Are you fed up with the narcissists, over-sharers and keyboard warriors who populate your online feeds? The self-promoters who can’t break wind without tweeting to congratulate themselves? Well, I may have found a solution.

Oh, Shut Up! is an exciting new app I’ve just developed. Simply download it to your laptop, tablet or mobile device and, whenever anyone you know posts anything, on any social media platform, it will simply reply “Oh, shut up” on your behalf, leaving you free to go windsurfing, horse-riding and all that other fun stuff you’ve seen on tampon commercials. Read the rest of this entry »

December 29th, 2016. Comment now »

New work

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I have a rather lengthy piece about driving, aimlessly, around Georgia and Alabama this summer in the brand new edition of the Dublin Review. It’s available to purchase in bookshops and online.

December 10th, 2016. Comment now »

Published: The Journal, October 6 2016

An Bhfuil Cead Agam?


WITH THIS SHORT film, director Paul Duane and I are hoping to accomplish the near impossible.That is, to start a conversation about the Irish language that is rational, unswayed by emotion, dogma or any political agenda, and informed by the facts as they are, rather than how we might wish them to be.

Like every Irish kid, I was required to study the language for thirteen years in school. I needed Irish to secure a place in university. So I spent a couple of summers in the Gaeltacht and learned it well enough to get an honour in my Leaving Cert. And there, pretty much, ended my engagement with the language. Read the rest of this entry »

October 15th, 2016. 8 Comments »

Published: Dublin Review, Autumn 2015

Border Controls

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“I’m standing there, half asleep, in my t-shirt and boxer shorts, relieving myself in the dirt when I spot three Middle Eastern guys… If they were initially walking towards the truck, they’ve changed course slightly now. They smile at having caught me in such an awkward position. I smile back at them and put my finger to my lips.” (Calais, August 2015.)

Read full piece To Calais and Back

October 12th, 2016. Comment now »