Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Features

THE HOUSE OF DOLLS

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“Weird. Freaky. Scary… Freaky and scary are the two you’d get most often. People tend to either like the dolls or hate them. There’s no in-between.” Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, May 1 2009

HEAVEN KNOWS I’M MISERABLE IN LIMERICK NOW*

* I didn't choose this headline

smiths_1985“It’s like a cross between going back to university and joining a religious cult” reckons Steve Berry from Hertfordshire, as he surveys the scene. I’d have said ‘rockabilly Star Trek convention’ myself, but we won’t split hairs. We’re in the atrium of the Foundation Building at the University of Limerick, where The Songs That Saved Your Life – A Two Day Symposium on Morrissey is about to get under way. Steve got up at 6am to fly in from Stansted. Others have travelled from Europe, America and even Australia to be here.

The Englishman is researching a book about his own Morrissey fandom. “I suppose I’m as bemused as anyone” he says, “Firstly, that he should be taken so seriously in an academic context, but also, that the symposium would be held in Limerick of all places.” As it happens, there’s a straightforward explanation on both counts. And he’s standing right beside us. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, September 20 2008

UP, UP AND AWAY

Eddie GogginsA CUP OF TEA. A bowl of corn flakes. Two slices of brown toast with margarine and honey . . . If someone had asked me on the tarmac what I ate for breakfast this morning, I doubt I’d have been able to recall. Hurling upside down through a bank of clouds at 250 miles per hour, though, I can recount every tiny detail, from the brand name of the margarine, to the expiration date on the milk. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Mongrel Magazine, March 2004

The March of the Wooden Soldiers

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“Forever let this place be a cry of despair
and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis
murdered about one and a half million men,
women and children, mainly Jews,
from various countries of Europe”

Inscription at Auschwitz-Birkenau

THE northern gate at Birkenau is deserted as the taxi driver shoos us out into the snow. We stumble forward, bleary-eyed and dumbfounded by the sheer scale of what’s in front of us. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, March 6 2009

WHO WILL WATCH THE WATCHMEN (…NO, SERIOUSLY?)

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In a plush suite on the eighth floor of the Beverly Hilton Hotel, one of Hollywood’s most successful young directors is being gently teased by the international press. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Mongrel Magazine, June 2006

The Half-Baked Notions Jumble Sale

Everything's For Sale

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I’m an ideas man. Ideas are my currency. If I’m in a clothes shop and I find a pair of pants I like, I’ll walk up to the counter and suggest the names of some songs that might make good ringtones. For two weeks in the Canaries I’d probably stump up the basis for a workable post-war settlement in Iraq. If I’m owed change, I’ll ask the travel agent how he gets the pistachios out of the closed shells and be on my way. That’s how it works. I’m an ideas man.

Sadly though, a lot of my ideas turn out not to be very good. Or they’re good but I can’t quite get them to work. Or they’re brilliant but I have no fucking clue what to do with them. You see, I’m not really a can-do, know-how, bobs-yer-uncle sort of man… I’m more of an ideas man. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, March 15th 2008

Welcome to Brokesville

the-great-depression Ireland 2008: The champagne has been guzzled. The punchbowl is an ashtray. And there’s a strange girl crying in the bathroom. With analysts predicting the slowest economic growth this year since 1991, it looks as though the party is finally over. There’s no avoiding it. As a nation, its time to locate our jackets, make our excuses and flag a taxi back to Brokesville. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Mongrel Magazine, September 2005

WHY GO BALD?

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Erected by Sydney Goldsmith of the Universal Hair & Scalp Clinic in 1962, Georges Street’s “Why Go Bald” sign is one of Dublin’s oddest and best loved landmarks. Rescued from the jaws of the scrapheap in November 1999 (after a campaign by a group called the 20th Century Trust) and restored to its former glory, it is now a cult tourist attraction that has won plaudits from admirers including U2’s Bono. Which is kind of appropriate when you consider… Well, we’ll come back to that later. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, October 11th 2008.

24 HOURS IN GAZA

24 HOURS IN GAZA

When I reach the end of the cool, dimly-lit corridor, I set my bags down on the ground and call out, quietly at first, but then at the top of my voice. “Hello… HELLO!?” The words echo around the spacious hangar. Eventually, a small trapdoor in the concrete opens, and a toothless man in a luminous vest beckons me through. I place my luggage on the trolley and we walk in silence down another winding gangway, until I emerge, blinking, into the dazzling sunlight.
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Published: Mongrel Magazine, September 2007

For God & St. Patrick

A summer of religious observance in Co. Mayo

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“Take my hand,” croons the singer on Mid West Radio. “Lord Jesus, take my hand.” Its 9am on the last Sunday in July, and the crowd outside Campbell’s pub, at the foot of Croagh Patrick, are basking in the early morning sunshine. They wear county jerseys, and clutch pints of Guinness and bottles of Bulmers. An old man plays the box accordion, while the jukebox inside blasts ‘Sean South from Garryowen’. Some appear weary from their morning’s exertions. But the mood is one of festive celebration. We’re at the bottom of a mountain, but at the very apex of a summer. 

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