Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


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Birth of a nation

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On Friday midnight, South Sudan became Africa’s 55th nation. In the new capital Juba, joy was unconfined.

By 10pm, thousands of revelers had poured out onto the streets, hanging out the windows of cars, vans and pick-up trucks, waving flags and chanting slogans.

In the city’s slums, sound systems could be heard playing well into the night. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, July 3 2011

A little ray of sunshine…

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They say that, into each life, some rain must fall. Here in the Glasnevin Barber Shop, on a warm summer’s day, Arthur McGuinness is gleefully talking up a monsoon. The McGuinnesses have been cutting hair at this location, just opposite the National Botanic Gardens, since 1910. And mine are about to join some pretty illustrious floor sweepings.

Matt Talbot and Brendan Behan were both customers. Ditto Eamon De Valera. “He was bald on top,” recalls Arthur. “So he’d have had it very short.” The former Taoiseach’s family were also patrons. “The son was a lovely fella. Used to drive a pale blue Mercedes. He was a gynaecologist, big long fingers he had on him.” Read the rest of this entry »

Get well soon, Ollie!

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Tripping Along The Ledge offers its most sincere best wishes to singer-songwriter Ollie Higgins, who was involved in a serious accident earlier this week. I know many of you will remember Ollie’s band the Kill City Snowmen, who were big favourites at the Sound Cellar and Baggot Inn back in the day.

Legends of Irish rock, the Snowmen were tipped in Smiley Bolger’s annual Ones To Watch list a record-breaking five times (1987, ‘88, ‘90, ‘91 and ‘93!) One of the industry’s true gentlemen, Ollie fell fifty feet onto concrete while attempting to rescue a kitten from a tree. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: The Dubliner, June 2010

“If it didn’t fly in the face of social convention, I think I’d challenge him to a duel…”

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A stranger called me a gentleman the other day. Admittedly, I’d just let her muscle past me in the queue for an ice cream van. (She had two small children. I was a single man in the queue for an ice cream van. I figured, she had seniority.) And the people behind me grumbled a bit. But, fuck it, I’ll take my compliments where I get them. Read the rest of this entry »

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 article here.

Faith Alive


1. Jewish rabbinical court sentences dog to death by stoning, on the grounds that he’s the reincarnation of a lawyer who once insulted rabbis.

2. The hierarchy of God’s love. (Via @shanehegarty)

3. In 1978, God changed his mind about black people.

4. “We stand tall…” Scientology power ballad from the late 1980s/early ’90s.

5. Finally, this man (top) should really, really be in jail.

“I keep a careful record of these, since they might one day provide the basis for a plea of Guilty But Insane…”

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Dear John Paul,

It is with considerable confusion that I acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 21st.

I am aware that you are the Supreme Head of the Roman Catholic Church and that I write album reviews. What I fail to understand is how this makes us rivals. Read the rest of this article here.

Published: Unpublished, June 2011

The anatomy of a Twitter gaffe

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“How do you wake up the President?” asked the online magazine Slate’s official Twitter feed earlier this year. The tweet linked to an old article, describing the elaborate protocols governing when and how a U.S. president is roused from his sleep for an emergency briefing.

It was an interesting piece. Who knew that prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Situation Room was once the Whitehouse bowling alley? On a whim, I retweeted the original question (“How do you wake up the President?”) along with my own tongue-in-cheek suggestion. (“SUPERSOAKERS!!!”) Read the rest of this entry »

David Norris would make a terrible, terrible president

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Being president of Ireland is a bit like playing in goal for Barcelona. There isn’t much to do most of the time. But when there is, it’s rather important not to fuck it up. The presidency of Mary McAleese has been exemplary in that respect. She’s been in the job fourteen years. Off the top of my head, I can recall only two things she did in all that time.

In the wake of September 11th 2001, she conveyed Ireland’s heartfelt sympathy to the United States, while also (gently) advocating a restrained, proportionate response to the attacks. Ten years later, during a visit by the British monarch, she delivered one note-perfect speech, and four heroic days of inane chit-chat, on the nation’s behalf. Read the rest of this entry »

Published: Irish Times, 17 May 2008

Ring Them Bells

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“We’re a little short on numbers tonight,” laments Ian. “Lesley is on his holidays, Vivian’s gone salsa dancing. I’m not sure where Gayle’s gotten herself to.” Read the rest of this entry »