‘Brilliant’ by Roddy Doyle



Poor oul’ Dublin.

Dublin was a city on the west coast of –


Dublin was a city on the east coast of Ireland. Dublin was the biggest city, and the capital. And Dublin was depressed. Bored black clouds had been hanging over the city for months. Every night after dark, the M50 crawled slowly away. The waves in Dublin Bay rushed the wrong way, trying to escape. Even the River Liffey – the famous, dirty Liffey – was refusing to flow.

-I’m going back to Wicklow where I’m wanted, said the Liffey. –And I am not dirty.

-Go on then, said the Ha’penny Bridge. –Go back to mammy. You’re only a bogger an’anyways. All the other cities had tried to help – except Cork. Galway, a city on the east


West coast of Ireland, had sent a Get Well Soon card. Limerick had sent a Get Well Soon Or Else card. New York had sent a basket of fruit and Paris, the capital of Germ-


Paris, the capital of France, had sent the Eiffel Tower – because Paris was a generous city and, actually, Paris was a bit sick of the Eiffel Tower and happy enough to get rid of it. So the Eiffel Tower, renamed the Eiffel Yoke, now sat in Dublin, right over the junction of O’Connell Street and Abbey Street. The Luas went under it and the seagulls sat on it.

-This is new, said a seagull.

-And very comfy, said another. –Did you ever try sitting on the Spire?

Other cities had tried to help too. Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid now sat beside the pond in Stephen’s Green, looking out at the ducks and the soggy bits of bread. But no present or card could lift the gloom. Dublin stayed depressed.

Actually, it wasn’t Dublin. Buildings and streets can’t be depressed.

-Yes, they can, said Westmoreland Street. –I’m feeling a bit low, meself.

-You are a bit low, said Liberty Hall. –I can hardly see yeh from here.

-Oh, always the bitter word.

A city is made of bricks and cement, and bricks and cement can’t be depressed.

-I’ve never been depressed a day in me life, said a brick on the second floor of Arnott’s.

-Me neither, said a bag of cement on the back of a truck on Bachelor’s Walk. –Although I wouldn’t mind a drop of water.

Dublin was made of bricks and cement, tar and, eh –


Glass. So Dublin wasn’t depressed. It was the people who lived in Dublin who were depressed. Although most of them didn’t know it.

More than a million people lived in Dublin.

-And they’ve all walked down me, said Henry Street.

More than a million Dubliners, most of them depressed. But they didn’t really know. The most used, the busiest, word in Dublin was ‘brilliant’. It was the city’s favourite word.

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