Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, September 3 2009


471 South Circular, Rialto

The Bird is a big old barn of a pub in Rialto. The barman sells us raffle tickets with our pints. What’s it in aid of, we ask? He looks back blankly. “Draw is at half ten,” he replies. Fair enough. It doesn’t get much more Dublin than this.

“This is the kind of place I like,” says Aidan, cradling his pint. “Local bar, you know?” “Whatcha mean local bar?” sniffs Declan. “Sure, isn’t every bar is local?”

“Ah, you know what I mean. It serves the local community.”

Declan doesn’t see it that way.

“But sure what bar doesn’t serve its local community?” he asks.

Aidan stumbles.

“Mother Hubbards?”

“That’s a truckstop!” Declan yells. “Are there bars in Cork that only serve Kerry people? Bars that only serve Martians?”

“Ah Jaysus, Dec” says Aidan. “Go handy!”

It’s an interesting observation though. Every day the newspaper tells us a local man has died, or a local man was arrested at the scene. What does it mean to be a local man, I ask them? Am I a local man? (“You’re more of a vagrant,” opines Declan.) Is there such thing as a national or an international person? (“Am… Colin Farrell?” offers Aidan.)

Our friend Ahmed reckons he’s an international man. He’s just back from his holidays. As he takes his seat, I can’t help noticing a nasty looking shiner over his right eye. What the hell happened, the three of us demand in unison?

“Right, so I’m in Las Vegas,” Ahmed begins. “And I’m losing big time on the tables…” “The casino sent in the heavies?” Declan interjects. “No, no, no” says Ahmed. “So I cut my losses and went to the bar and got really, really pissed…” “And you got in a fight?” Aidan suggests.

“No, no, no… So I went back and tried to get into the hotel. But I’d lost my key…” “Rottweilers?” I gasp. “No, the security fella recognised me and let me in my room. But I had a really early flight the next morning…”

“So you missed it?” “No, I got there on time but I was really, really hungover. Ordered a McMuffin in the airport. Sat down, took a massive bite… And suddenly, I realised I just had to get to a bathroom. I was about to puke my guts up.”

“So you puked your ring up?”

“No, so I’m an Arab guy in a U.S. airport, abandoning his suitcase and sprinting towards the exit like his life depended on it…”

“Homeland Security?” I inquire. “Bingo,” he replies. “I got rugby tackled by an undercover agent.” “And he gave you the black eye?” “Well no, I hit the floor face first.” Then he adds, “But I vomited all over the agent then, so we decided to call it quits.”

“Good holiday then?” I ask. “Ah, I think it was,” says Ahmed, sipping his lager. “But still it’s nice to get back local.”