Archive | December, 2015

Christmas Eve in a Dublin Office

12 Dec

In some houses it is said that nothing stirs on the night of Christmas Eve, not even a mouse. This could not be said of the public house situated not a stone’s throw from the company’s office. From about 4pm, various members of its staff gravitated towards the pub. Some came sober, directly from the office, while others came from meetings with customers. The unfortunate ones had had tense, stomach-churning encounters which would determine whether the salesman could or could not afford Christmas. For the more fortunate ones it was a Christmas lunch to give thanks for a year, nearly passed, which had reason to be celebrated by both seller and buyer. The food and drink tasted even sweeter because it was free, correctly charged as a business expense.

Donal entered the pub at 5.30pm. People stood in groups ranging in number from two to eight. The bigger the group the noisier was the conversation. The most popular topic centred on how the year had gone for the company overall, followed by a drill down to those individuals who had done particularly well or badly. This led on to speculation about what organisational changes would be announced in the New Year. Who was going up and who was going down? By this time of the evening, the talk was becoming more jovial and flippant. There was much self-congratulation among the teams who had had a good year.

After completing a survey of those present, Donal’s gaze rested on the window of the bar and out into the middle distance. There were plastic snowflakes stuck to the inside of the window pane but real ones were starting to fall outside. There were only a few, falling slowly, softly, faintly, individually. Like furry prawn crackers wobbling in the air, skilfully adjusting their flight plan as they prepared for an economic soft landing on a windless night

They fell upon a window ledge of the Westbury Hotel and formed a small drift which enhanced the seasonal view along Harry Street, past McDaids and on to Grafton Street. Two fluffy white cones were formed by them on top of the lamps outside Neary’s. Across the playing fields of Dublin they fell, casting doubt on the matches arranged for St. Stephen’s day.

They formed a smooth, white carpet upon the flat roof of a bank’s data centre in which computers lived in ambient, water-cooled surroundings. Thickly, they balanced upon the telephone lines which left the data centre to carry asynchronous information across the dark central plain and treeless hills until they reached the far flung branches of the west in Clifden, Westport , Dingle and beyond.

They fell on all the giving and the led. Upon those who made things happen and upon those who saw things happen.

Finally, they came to rest on those who asked “what happened?”

This is an edited extract from the book “London Irish Dublin English” by Daniel M Doyle. You can download it from for the special price of 99p until Thursday 17th December.