Grandad pulls no punches as he shoots from the lip
IRELAND’S self-proclaimed ‘Most Cantankerous Auld Fella,’ lives in Enniskerry, it seems, and goes by the name of Richard O’Connor.
Richard, having first dipped a tentative toe into the murky waters of the blogosphere two years ago, writing under the moniker ‘Grandad,’ has now published a collection of the best of his daily musings, Head Rambles.
Grandad writes, mainly, about things that annoy him. They include America and tourists. And sometimes American tourists.
‘Grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference,’ reads the top of his website, www.headrambles.com
Richard, or rather his rakish alter-ego ‘Grandad,’ claims to be an ‘ordinary bloke,’ his only problem the inevitable onset of age. ‘I can chat up nice looking girls and they don’t feel threatened,’ he writes, in a characteristically sideways look at life.
‘I have become grumpy,’ he complains. ‘I find myself shouting at the telly. Everyone and everything around me is there to annoy me.’ The younger reader should be gently urged to steer clear, perhaps, as Grandad certainly does not spare the bad language.
Head Rambles the website has grown in popularity since Richard’s charmingly humble inaugural blog in October 2006. The site now boasts an average of around 14,000 hits a month and has won a string of awards. ‘Grandad’ has become something of a star.
The blog came to the attention of Mercier, a Cork publishing firm. They approached Richard and asked him to write a book, which he duly did. He completed and submitted his first novel but then, unsatisfied with it, he withdrew it and offered instead to select the best of his online work.
‘I will let rip, nobody is safe,’ said Richard, who most recently wrote a brilliantly funny response to an article written by the American ambassador Tom Foley and published in the Irish Times.
Foley reckoned he had done a good job of ensuring war did not break out between the two countries during his term. ‘We would annihilate them,’ is the likely outcome of such a war, according to the Enniskerry man.
While the blog is often scathing, always cynical, it is, he assures us, ‘all in the spirit of fun.’
‘I do have things that I like,’ he insists. Richard’s wife Celine, daughter Kate, and grandchildren Sean and Rianna, are included in that list, as well as his garden, the occasional pint and a good book.
His family members feature regularly in Richard’s writing, including Sandy the dog – who is the only one whose real name is used. Sandy is the real love of his life, he admits, and has occasionally done some blogging of her own.
His dislikes will come as no surprise to ‘Grandad’s’ regular read- ers. George W Bush, the Government and hypocrisy are just a few.
Richard is a mild-mannered web designer by day but has become a writer at heart since first tapping away at the keyboard just two years ago. He was born in Dublin but moved to Enniskerry with his parents in 1965.
He describes the penning of his first, and as yet unpublished, novel as a ‘strange experience, almost like a dream sequence,’ adding that it was very enjoyable but very hard work. ‘Sometimes it’s disconcerting having to come back to the real world.’ Having withdrawn that book, Richard has come up with another idea for a novel, which he has successfully pitched to the publishers.
Within the writings of this particular grandfather is hidden a most precious piece of information - a secret method by which one can easily con a free pint out of your local publican. Now that’s what we call a worthwhile read!
Head Rambles – With Ireland’s Most Cantankarous Auld Fella is available to buy now in shops and on Amazon.com.
Blogger Richard O’Connor has enjoyed immense success from his alternative look at the world around him.