The ‘Bard’ of Ringsend

Pictured Above: Painting by Eduard von Grützner.

Pictured Above: Painting by Eduard von Grützner.

In the 70’s, RTE were doing a lot of documentaries about the inner city. In their wisdom they decided to do a piece on The Bard of Ringsend.

The crew assembled in RTE on a beautiful August Monday morning. There was a director, cameraman and sound engineer. They loaded up their van and left Montrose at 11.00am. They had arranged to meet with the Bard at 11.30am.

They got to Ringsend at 11.15am and waited at the Post Office on Thorncastle Street. There was no sign of the famous ‘Bard.’ They were just about to pack up their gear into the van when a number 3 bus came over Ringsend Bridge. The Bard jumped, or rather stumbled, off the bus. He told the crew he’d been in an early house in Pearse Street getting a curer.

The director suggested they go across to Dwyer’s Pub for a bit of atmosphere, not disclosing he was in a heap himself and also in need of a curer. The Bard says “I’m afraid we can’t go in there, I owe him a hundred pounds and he won’t serve me until I pay it.”

“What about McDermott’s,” said the director.
“I can’t,” says the Bard, “I threw a pint over the barman and he told me not to come back.”
“Ok we’ll go into Fitzharris’s then.”
“I’m afraid we can’t, I hit a fellow a box in there a while ago so that’s out.”
The director was getting fed up at this stage. He says “We’ll go into the Yacht.”

“Can’t, “says your man, “I got sick all over a customer in there and I was bundled out the door. And don’t even mention Smith’s,” says your man, “I was caught robbing a bottle of whiskey from behind the counter so that’s out. They don’t call me the barred of Ringsend for nothing you know,” said your man as he jumped on a bus back to Pearse Street for a pint!

Painting by Eduard von Grützner.

By Gay Byrne