Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just Pat

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A generation of Irish children have grown up with Pat Ingoldsby. Well, that's not exactly true. Pat was already grown up. Sort of. He has never lost his childlike wonder at the world, though it has got a slight edge to it as the years have passed and his beloved Dublin gives him short shrift from time to time.

His writing is quintessentially Dublin and, like Spike Milligan, whom he admires and resembles in many ways, his themes span a wide range of living, their presentation is in short bursts, and his use of unlikely juxtapositions and the absurd bring you up with a jolt. Sometimes it's a profound one, or just a sad one, or one that has you chortling on the DART or the LUAS and being immediately written off as another eccentric by the more serious passengers.

His latest book, Hitting Cows with a Banjo, is a marvellous read, and it comes complete with an apology to all cows on the back cover.

Unfortunately you won't find it on Amazon. Pat's last book there dates from 2003, and he is now into direct marketing, setting up his stall wherever on Dublin city pavements. Much of the present book is set on these very pavements. If you see him, talk to him and buy a book. You won't regret it.

He more than deserves The Freedom of the City and it might stop the occasional overenthusiastic (or spiteful) Garda moving him on.

I hope he won't mind me reproducing a couple of his shorter gems from Cows.


An odd little man approached me
waving a finger
and said with a voice
which would brook no contradiction
"You're not Oliver Goldsmith!"
I didn't feel qualified enough to argue.


The medical profession
brought rural electrification to my brain.
I've had hot water ever since.


A young woman stopped to look at my books from a safe distance.
After a while she spoke.
"What is your profession?" she asked.
"I'm a poet" I said. "And you're welcome to look at my books."
She still did not move any closer.
"What is your profession?" I asked her.
"I'm a student" she said. "I haven't finished High School yet."
"You will" I said. "Or maybe it'll finish you."
She smiled. "Can I get you on-line?" she said.
"But you're here now" I said. "So are the books.
You can touch them for real.
Why would you want to be changing it into something virtual?
You're right here with me in the middle."

She thought about it for a minute. She smiled.
"I like that" she said.


  1. He was always good for a chat when he was out and about.
    I say was - I should say is - it's just that I'm not there out and about with him.
    How much was he selling his books for?

  2. Normally you have to find him to buy a book. He doesn't distribute through bookshops or on Amazon.

    He's usually on the pavement in Westmoreland St. most days between midday and 4pm.

    However, I noticed today that you can buy his latest book (described above) in Nolan's Supermarket on Vernon Avenue in Clontarf near where he lives.