RON BLACK’S | Tripping Along The Ledge

Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Pub

Published: Evening Herald, January 2010

RON BLACK’S

25 Dawson Street, Dublin 2

Dearbhla & Sean - GUESS fashion show September  2007
“Daniel O’Donnell goes to funerals,” announces Aidan, out of the blue. Before my brain has had time to transmit a warning signal to my mouth, I respond. Huh? “Seriously man,” he says. “Daniel O’Donnell reads the death notices. Turns up to the funeral homes. Presses the flesh. Like a politician does.” Well, why the hell would he do that? “To connect with the fans,” reckons Aidan. “Old people don’t go on Twitter or Facebook, you know. But they love a good funeral!”

I scratch my head.

Who told you this? “A guy I met on the train.”

I bang my head against the tabletop. Why do I even bother?

Ron Black’s has lost something of its lustre of late. They’ve let us in for starters. Plus those traffic bollards in the middle of the floor giving the place a sort of student bedsit vibe. The Celtic Tiger is a distant memory now.

Our football team is out in force, toasting a rare victory. One of the younger players, Paul, has taken to dubbing Aidan and I the “Scholes and Giggsy” of our side. And that’s not intended as a compliment. Hints have been dropped that we may soon be considering retirement. But we answered our critics in style tonight, when Aidan’s defence-splitting pass put me in for the winner.

To celebrate, I personally high fived all three of our fans and kissed the team badge. (Technically speaking, I kissed the name of the shirt sponsor: Sylvester Ganley – Plumbing and Heating Specialist. But I made my point, I think.)

In this hour of triumph, I reckon it’s time to give the 19-year-old striker a taste of his own medicine. The problem with you young fellas, I tell Paul, is that you think football is all about pace. Work rate. And, er, accurate passing. But I’m a thinker. I think about the game.

“Is that what you were doing for their second?” he asks. “Thinking about the game?” I concede the point. Paul notices Aidan’s glass of Lucozade. “You’re not drinking?” he says. Aidan points to his car keys.

Paul thinks this is lame. “Me brudder can drive after a few gargles,” he says. “No bother.” Aidan shrugs his shoulders. “Serious,” says Paul. “He’s at it the whole time. Reckons when you pass your Driving Test, right? You should go to the boozer, drink a skinful, come back and do it again. Pass it again, you’ve got your Drunk Driving Licence. You’re away!”

The younger lads think this is hilarious. Aidan doesn’t. “Your brother is an idiot,” he says, quite seriously. Wow, I’ve never seen my friend in fully-fledged responsible adult mode before. But he’s really good at it. The lads are actually listening. “Your brother might have been lucky a couple times,” he warns. “But that doesn’t mean he’ll always be. If he doesn’t see sense, you might not even have a brother pretty soon.”

There’s an awkward silence. No one knows what to say.

But on the plus side, I offer, you may get to meet Daniel O’Donnell…