Grandad pulls no punches as he shoots from the lip

Bray People - - News - Mary FOG­A­RTY

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.

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