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Can’t a father and son go for a pint without there being some, I don’t know, anterior motive?

So it’s, like, Friday night and I’m having the usual pints with the goys in The Bridge...

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Ross O'Carroll-Kelly in his Leinster gear. Illustration: Alan Clarke

So it’s, like, Friday night and I’m having the usual pints with the goys in The Bridge. Dave Kearney asks how we’re getting on with a big smirk on his face. We’re all, like, crowded around my phone.

I’m there, “Yeah, no, fine,” trying to close Google Maps on my phone. “Can we get the same again?”

He’s like, “I’ll get them dropped over to you,” and then off he goes, still grinning to himself.

I open Google Maps again. I’m there, “I don’t even recognise half of these streets. Dorset Street? Who the fock has ever heard of Dorset Street?”


Taxi drivers see people like us in our sailing jackets and our sailing shoes, and they drive us all over the place

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JP’s there, “Are you sure it’s not Dawson Street?”

I’m like, “No, this is a totally different street on the other side of the city. The whole thing is so random and unnecessary.”

Christian’s like, “Did you talk to Ronan?”

I’m there, “Yeah, no, he’s on his way in,” and no sooner have I said the words than I spot the dude walking across the floor of the pub.

He’s like, “Alreet, feddas?”

And I’m there, “Ronan! How the hell are you? How’s the soccer going?”

He looks over both shoulders like I might be talking to someone else.

He goes, “You mean the football?”

I’m like, “Whatever you want to call it. Who’s your team again?”


“And how are they doing? Are they having loads of wins?”

“You don’t gib a boddicks how they’re doing, Rosser.”

“Yes, I do. Come on The Gypsies!”

“Do you think I was borden yesterday?”

“Excuse me?”

“I know the real reason why you ast me here, Rosser. And it’s nothing got to do with the soccer.”

He says the word in my accent. It’s pretty good, it has to be said.

I’m there, “The real reason? Dude, can’t a father and son go for a pint without there being some, I don’t know, anterior motive?”

He goes, “Coddect me if Ine wrong here. That team of yooers – Leddenster – are playing at Croke Peerk tomoddow, reet?”

I’m like, “Erm ...”

“And you five geniuses – what did it cost to educate yous? A middion euros? Mebbe two? – caddent find your way from Ballsbridge to Baddybough.”

Oisinn’s like, “We can find our way, Ro. It’s just that we’re trying to figure out the best slash safest way?”

“The safest way?” Ronan goes. “Where do you think it is – the middle of bleaten Baltimore?”

I’m there, “Baltimore would be easy. We all know our way around Baltimore.”

JP goes, “I think he means a different Baltimore. The one from The Wire.”

Ronan just shakes his head like he’s disappointed with us.

He goes, “You’ve been to Croke Peerk befower, habn’t yous?”

Fionn’s there, “That was a long time ago, Ronan. We’re talking 2007.”

Ro’s like, “And none of yous has been back ebber since?”

We all just shake our heads.

I’m there, “There’s been no real need – as in, it hasn’t come up.”

He looks me up and down disgustedly.

He goes, “You know the Deert goes there?”

We’re all like, “The what?”

“The Deert,” he goes.

I’m like, “We’re still not getting it, Ro.”

“The Deert,” he goes – shouting it this time.

I’m there, “I think he’s trying to say the Dort, goys.”

He’s like, “No, I am saying the Deert. Mine is an authentic Dublin accent, remember? Yours was created by Disney.”

Christian’s there, “The Dort isn’t running this weekend?”

“What about a Joer?” Ronan goes.

JP’s there, “Taxi drivers see people like us in our sailing jackets and our sailing shoes, and they drive us all over the place. I took my grandmother to the Mater in 2003 and the dude went via Portlaoise.”

Again, he shakes his head like we’re a pack of amateurs.

“Alreet,” he goes, “seeing as it’s yous, Ine gonna sort it for yous. Do you know me mate Stacks of Muddy?”

I’m like, “Stacks of Money? No, I’ve only met Buckets of Blood. And Hours of Pain.”

“Stacks of Muddy is the bar madager in the Broken Arms,” he goes. “He’s brutter has a boat.”

I’m there, “Is it a yacht?”

“A fooken yacht,” Ronan goes. “It’s a fishing boat, Rosser. He can pick yous up from Dudden Leerdy Pier. Do you think, with your five brains combined, you can find your way to the end of Dudden Leerdy Pier?”

I look at the others. There seems to be general agreement that we can.

I’m like, “What happens then?”

“He’ll bring yous to Doddymount Sthrand,” he goes, “where you’ll be collected by a hedicopter.”

I’m there, “An actual helicopter?”

“An actual hedicopter,” he goes. “It’ll drop you off on the roof of the Croke Peek Hotel. And even you five flutes should be able to find yisser way from there.”

JP goes, “How much is this going to cost us?”

Ronan’s there, “Two grand a man.”

We all look at each other and nod. We’ve paid that for match tickets in the past.

I’m like, “Tell this Stacks of Money that he has a deal.”

And that’s when Ronan storts cracking his hole laughing.

He goes, “Ine only pudding your woyer, Ross. You southsiders and your bleaten muddy. No wonder taxi thrivers is robbing yous.”

JP goes, “You know, I thought it sounded too good to be true. There’s not a helicopter to be had this weekend. It’s like the good old days of the Celtic Tiger again.”

Ronan goes, “Feddas, here’s what you do. You put your heads down and you walk across O’Coddle Bridge.”

I’m there, “You make it sound so easy.”

He’s like, “You walk to the top of O’Coddle Sthreet and keep going, then halfway up North Frederick Sthreet, you turden right on to Dorset Sthreet. For there, you’re talking 15 midutes max – just folly the crowd.”

I look at the others. I’m there, “What are we thinking?”

Ro goes, “Lads, you’ve thrabbled to South Africa to watch yisser team – and you’re scared to walk to Jones’s Road?”

JP is just about to say something when his phone all of a sudden rings. All we can hear is, “Yeah ... Yeah ... Are you serious? ... Yeah, no, that’s great news.”

He hangs up.

He goes, “That was South Dublin Heli-Hire. They’ve had a cancellation. They’ve got one for tomorrow.”

I punch the air. We all do? Except Ronan, who’s just, like, shaking his head at us, unable to believe that people like us even exist.

JP’s there, “It’s going to be two grand a pop.”

I’m like, “Who cares? It’s The Ster!”

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was captain of the Castlerock College team that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 1999. It’s rare that a day goes by when he doesn’t mention it