BlogPublished: Irish Independent, 4 May 2013
It’s Friday evening. It’s past 5pm. And the capital’s office drones are spilled out on to the city streets, sipping drinks and soaking up the sun. For reasons unclear, this rotund reporter is walking among them: a bald Adonis, decked out in a floral shirt and shorts (from the Mantaray range at Debenhams). This look, I’m told, is set to be the hottest summer fashion craze for men.
Yet the refrain playing on a loop in my head is not a soothing one.
“Something is happening here,” it says. “And you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mr Butler?” Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Independent, 4 May 2013
Susan O’Donoghue did not sleep well at Lynam’s Hotel in Dublin. “I kept waking up in the middle of the night,” she recalls. “And scratching myself. In the morning I was covered in bites. I don’t know if you’ve ever had bed bugs, Eoin, but they’re 10 times worse than mosquitoes. I was itching for weeks.”
A few days later, the hotel’s general manager responded to Susan’s complaints via email, seeming to acknowledge the existence of a problem.
“Unfortunately they [bed bugs] have become a major problem throughout European and US hotels in recent years,” he wrote, “and we look to have fallen victim to them.” Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Times, 9 March 2013
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 »Published: Irish Independent, March 2 2013
When does a girl become a woman? That may depend upon your cultural or religious persuasion. You’ll get different responses still if you ask a lawyer, an anthropologist, a biologist or Neil Diamond. (“Soon”, I believe, was his line.)
As a male not wishing to offend, I know I’m on dangerous ground here. In 1990s blockbuster movie terms, this isn’t Tom Hanks going behind enemy lines in Saving Private Ryan. This is Bruce Willis crash landing on that meteor in Armageddon. I’m on a suicide mission and I know it. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Independent, 9 February 2013
So you find yourself alone on Valentine’s Day? It would do us both a disservice for me to mince words here. You’re a screw-up. You’re an abject failure. You are a disgrace to your family, an embarrassment to your friends and a bigger catastrophe for this country than the famine, bank guarantee and Euro 2012 combined.
That’s the conventional wisdom. And as I sit here luxuriating in the one-bedroom glorified garden shed I purchased for €575,000 in 2007, I know that the conventional wisdom is never, ever wrong. But wait, all is not lost. There are still have five days, and five hairbrained schemes, left with which to redeem ourselves. So put on your glad rags, folks, we’re taking the heifer to the mart! Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Independent, January 12 2013
Okay, I have a confession to make. I only agreed to write the 12 Secrets Every Woman Should Know About Men because I needed the work. In this economy, I would mow your lawn if there was money involved.
But I’ll be honest. I’m not sure men have twelve secrets. I’m not even sure we have one. Also, there are about 3.5 billion men. But I only know about a couple dozen of them very well. So it’s hard to make generalisations. Read the rest of this entry »Published: The Irish Times, 12 January 2013
For rock stars of a certain age, death was once considered a good career move. Not any more. With record sales plummeting, and concert tours by so-called “heritage acts” frequently raking in hundreds of millions of dollars at a time, life has never been more lucrative for the rock n’ roll OAP.
Freddie Mercury would be 66 if he were alive today. Quite how many stadiums Queen would have packed out in the past couple of decades, had the band’s outrageously talented frontman not died in 1991, is a matter for conjecture. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Independent, January 5 2013
For every crappy thing that can happen to you in life, there is a bogus consolation prize. If you’re old, they say you’re wise. If you’re blind, you must have enhanced hearing. And if your team crashes out of Euro 2012, placed dead last in the entire competition, they call you the best fans in the world.
Well, I’m not buying it.
I’m bald. They say bald men are more virile than other men. I doubt it. I say we’re more bald than other men. I mean, we might be more virile. It’s possible. But who knows? Who’s done the research? To ensure an unbiased population sample, she’d have to have slept with, like, a hundred bald men, and a hundred men with hair. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Independent, 30 December 2012
What is the secret to living a successful, fulfilling life? Well, it depends who you ask. Ask someone who lives a successful, fulfilling live and they tend to toss around boring terms like talent, hard work, good fortune and perseverance. (Yawn!)
Ask someone who earns their living as a self-proclaimed expert on the subject, however, and you’ll get an altogether different, more marketable answer. The answer varies from self-proclaimed expert to self-proclaimed expert. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Its All Horse Trading, The Global Mail, October 2012
One positive legacy of Ireland’s recent, ill-fated economic boom is a dramatically expanded motorway network. Spilling out from Dublin, to a half dozen towns and cities on the southern and western seaboard, these pristine highways have slashed journey times to and from the capital, effectively shrinking the island.
Take a detour cross-country, though, and the pace of life remains less than hectic. It’s 10am in the sleepy Co. Galway village of Dunmore and I’ve run into a brick wall. Or to be precise, a horse’s arse. A horse trailer, towed by an elderly farmer, has reduced southbound traffic on the R328 to a leisurely 45kph.
In another setting, one might honk the horn and demand that the driver give way. But this is the west of Ireland, where just about anyone might be a cousin, long lost uncle or grandmother’s yoga instructor. So it pays not to be too demonstrative. Read the rest of this article.