Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Features

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

reek sunday
“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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Published: Irish Times, February 13 2010

You can’t hurry love?

blind-date
THE LIGHTING IS soft. That’s the first thing you notice when you arrive downstairs at the Turk’s Head pub in Dublin city centre. If it were any softer, you might pull up a chair by one of those old flower pots and ask it what it’s looking for in a potential boyfriend. The organisers of tonight’s speed dating event asked participants to assemble at 7.45pm sharp. I arrive at 7.49pm, so flustered I almost sign up for salsa dancing lessons by accident. But nothing actually happens until almost 9pm.

The ladies, by and large, have shown up in pairs. They sit awkwardly at the bar, fixing their hair and stealing furtive glances at the latest arrivals. The guys have almost all come alone. But as with any group of men, thrown together in any circumstances, anywhere in the world, we pick up the conversation almost without missing a beat. Robbie Keane to Celtic, huh? How’ll that pan out? Risky move on Spurs’ part. He scores goals, the boy scores goals. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, December 10 2008

IMAGINE NO MORE FRY UPS

alternative-breakfastWith pork off the menu, can one Irishman survive without his traditional breakfast? asks Eoin Butler .

AS THE FALLOUT from the weekend recall of Irish pork continues to be felt across a range of sectors, there is one area in which its implications are already quite clear. The traditional Irish breakfast, for the time being at least, is off the menu.

For generations, breakfast has been a meal that nourished the Irish soul. In times past, an Irishman might have awoken to find his potatoes blighted, his religion proscribed or his children exiled. But put a plate of rashers, sausages and black pudding down in front of him and suddenly things didn’t look so bad. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, June 27 2009

How to get the girl

Slugging it out in Dating Boot Camp

Paris kiss Robert Doineau
THE POLISH GIRL with the tea trolley is trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. A tall, athletic young man in a tight-fitting black T-shirt is standing in the centre of Room 202. His hair is meticulously tousled and a tacky necklace pendant bobbles on his chest. He is a rising inter-county hurling star, but that wouldn’t ring any bells. She’s more likely to have noticed that he’s holding the hand of another (identically kitted-out) young man and leading him in a graceful twirl around on the spot.

On the far side of the room, a third boyband clone is filming the pair on a digital camcorder.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what this hotel worker is thinking. But I’d be very surprised if the words “gay porn” aren’t high up there in the mix. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, April 19 2008

ALL MCWORK AND LOW PAY?

bigmac
WHEN PEOPLE HEAR I’m working in McDonald’s, they react with a mixture of bafflement and horror. And who can blame them? The fast-food multinational has been blamed for everything from rising obesity rates and Third World exploitation, to Morgan Spurlock’s diminished sex drive.

Even the Oxford English Dictionary is taking potshots at the company these days. It defines a “McJob” as an “unstimulating, low-paid job with few prospects”, while, bizarrely, McDonald’s itself runs television ads that depict its employees being routinely ridiculed by their peers. As career moves go, then, the Golden Arches is hardly considered a golden ticket. Read the rest of this entry »