We said goodbye to one of life’s gentlemen last weekend and it was very difficult for everyone who knew and loved Dublin’s (unofficial) Lord Mayor. Obviously this was hardest for his First Lady and his two boys but there were lots of circles of friends, colleagues etc. whose lives had been touched and enriched by the gentleman barman.
I know whatever I write below will not be enough to pay tribute to the man I knew. I am also aware that no matter what I say, I haven’t the words to offer comfort or solace. Both of those things were accomplished however by the Lord Mayor’s eldest son on Monday. When he spoke, we listened, we laughed, we cried and we marvelled at this incredible young man speaking with poise, wit and pride about his father. And when he finished we stood to applaud him, how he had held his composure throughout and how he had evoked vividly the man we had come to remember and mourn.
The Lord Mayor knew everyone it seemed and was how he got the nickname. The other was the Pope, everyone wanting their audience with him wherever he was. He also liked to dish out a nickname or two and I was re-christened too. My own was ‘Wantapen’. As a younger fella behind the bar I did enjoy chatting to the customers and from time to time I did try chatting up a young lady or two. First off this led to questions being shouted about whether I wanted a pen to take a phone number down, until one night while chatting to one girl I had about 40 or 50 pens thrown on the bar floor behind me! When I rang him my ringtone on his phone included a computerised voice saying ‘Wantapen’ just to be sure it stuck.
We worked on the same shifts and that meant never on a Monday. About 8/9 years we decided we needed to do some Christmas shopping on a Monday about 4 days before the big day. Needless to say we bought very little and went on a little tour of decent pubs at the top of Grafton Street in Dublin. Our last stop at about 5pm.
It was my round and about to order two Guinness, Tony grabbed my arm, “There’s no one drinking pints in here Pete, we’ve gotta go with something else.”
“Two snipes of Champagne please!” came the order from Tony. We stood there sipping champagne, a round each, chatting to the staff and whoever came up to order the drink. Just as we did in any bar across the city, and believe me we visited some ‘interesting’ places too. People are people after all and everyone gets treated equally.
Tony helped me through some of the worst times too. He was there the night I had a seizure in Harry’s and scared the shite out of myself and everyone else. He also visited me in hospital and understood when I was struggling and needed a boost. He was also one of the first people to follow this blog and that is why I’m writing here.
When I started working in the Home Farm F.C. bar, the Monday Club would introduce each singer by saying “Your friend, my friend, everybody’s friend, it’s……”
When you got upstairs T, I hope that was how you were introduced.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam