Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, May 28 2009

The Octagon Bar

Clarence Hotel, 6 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

cocktail1I have climbed the highest mountain. I have roamed through the fields. A mighty nettle stung me and then I got chased by a bullock. But sure I got here eventually.

Linda is already seated at the bar when I arrive. The Octagon, as its name suggests, is an eight-sided, windowless room. There’s a fire burning and a couple of tourists sitting at a table. I catch the barman’s eye. “Is himself around?” I ask. He shakes his head. “You expecting him in later?” He doesn’t think so.

It’s Monday evening and Linda, at least, has found what she was looking for: overpriced cocktails. We start with Flirtinis, Linda’s suggestion – vodka, cassis (whatever that is), raspberry, cranberry juice, citrus juice and champagne. They’re nice. But at thirty bucks the pair, they’d want to be.

Linda has been busy canvassing for the local elections. A rival candidate in her ward is an old paramour of hers, she tells me. Well, sort of.

Apparently, she attended a youth conference a couple of years back with this guy. There were drinks that evening and, afterwards, he offered to escort her back to the hotel. When she complained that she had terrible hiccups, he told her he might know how to cure them.

Innocent and all that she was, she said, brilliant, fire ahead.

“Oh my God,” she recalls. “He just sort of collapsed on top of me with his mouth open. It was disgusting!”

Two years on, the lingering sexual tension is now spilling over onto the campaign trail. “I’m pretty sure his crowd are pulling down our posters,” she says. “We wouldn’t sink to that level now ourselves. But we have been lifting their leaflets out of letterboxes.”

If that race is bitter, it’s nothing compared to our next order. Margaritas – tequila, tripe sec, citrus juices, sweet and sour (what?) and white wine. The Jimmy Buffett song is full of shit. These things are absolutely disgusting.

“You reckon I’d have a chance with that Labour candidate?” I ask, wincing from the taste of the drink. “Whatcha call her, Maria Parodi?”

Linda roars with laughter.

“Butler” she says. “That girl wouldn’t touch you with a bargepole.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? Well because you’re a bum for starters. And I know for a fact you don’t even care about social issues…”

“I could pretend to…”

Linda smiles and indulges me a moment.

“Okay,” she says. “It’s Saturday night. We’re in Coppers and you spot Maria Parodi at the bar. You walk up to her and say… what?”

“I’d say ‘Jesus, there’s a fierce lack of amenities in Ringsend, isn’t there?’”

Linda laughs.

“Okay,” she says. “If we ever run into Maria Parodi in Coppers. And you use that line. And it works…”


“I’ll buy you back that Margarita.”

I take another sip and shudder.

“Make it a pint of lager, if it’s all the same…”