Guest Post and Giveaway: A Man With One of Those Faces by @Caimh


The first time somebody tried to kill him was an accident. 
The second time was deliberate. 
Now Paul Mulchrone finds himself on the run with nobody to turn to except a nurse who has read one-too-many crime novels and a renegade copper with a penchant for violence. Together they must solve one of the most notorious crimes in Irish history . . . 
. . . or else they’ll be history.

Guest Post:

An Exile’s Eye

I left Ireland sixteen years ago, ironically in one of those brief periods in our country’s history where emigrating wasn’t a national pastime. Still, if I keel over on the street tomorrow and somebody goes through my phone, the number for home is still my ma’s house. Don’t get me wrong, I love Manchester, it is where I live and where I’ll quite possibly spend the rest of my days, but still, Dublin will always be home.

When I started to write my debut novel it was amazing to me how I was instantly drawn back to Ireland. Before I’d even figured out what I was writing, these are the opening lines that I put down on paper and they have remained untouched ever since:

“You remember Lorcan, your father’s first cousin from Clare?”
“Do I?”
“Ye do! Two dogs and only one eye, never married – he came around the house when you were young a couple of times.”
“Oh yeah.”
“Dead! Died of a heart attack, God rest his soul. I saw it in the paper last week.”

This is quite probably the most distinctly Irish conversation it is possible to have – ringing your mother only to be informed that somebody you don’t know has died. I don’t know what it says about us but as a nation we have an obsession with death that even goths would find a tad morbid.

I’ve lived in Manchester for seven years now. I’m surrounded by the distinctive Mancunian accent on a daily basis yet when I conjure a character in my head, they don’t talk like that. Instead their voice rings out in Dublin or Cork or Galwegian tones. It’s like my body left but my imagination hopped straight back on the ferry at Holyhead.

Writing a novel set primarily in Dublin was an odd experience. I ended up going back to do research and seeing my hometown with fresh eyes. There’s a lot to see there too. Since I left, we went through an unprecedented boom and a gut-wrenching crash and you can see the marks of both. Maybe it’s nostalgia but it feels like there’s a lot more homeless people and a lot more sports cars than their used to be.

For all of that, there’s still a special feeling to the place that doesn’t leave you. It also has to be said, you never really appreciate where you’re from until you leave. You know those duck tours that trundle around the city? The ones most Dubs wouldn’t be seen dead on? Well, shame on you if that’s you. Dublin is one of the world’s great cities. If you live there, I strongly suggest taking a few days off and pretending you’re a tourist. You’d be shocked at what you see. It’s like catching your Auntie Margot breakdancing at a wedding. We can all be guilty of taking for granted the things that have surrounded us since birth. Dublin is a trip, as is funky. Margot – you go girl!

Still success, while it was fun, never really felt like it suited Dublin. We were a bit like one of those lottery winners who didn’t know what to do with the wonga when we got it. We soon find ourselves sitting at home bored out of our minds, wondering why on earth we bought three golden loo seats.

It is surprising the tricks your mind plays on you too. On one of my research trips, I followed a walk two of my characters took. I literally turned a corner at the top of Leeson Street to discover that what I thought was there was actually about half-a-mile away. Memory clearly cuts and pastes to suit itself.

You do have conflicting emotions when trying to represent your hometown in print. On one hand, I can’t stand those ex-pats who do nothing but slag off where they came from, treating the place like the other half of a particularly bad breakup. On the other hand, Dublin isn’t perfect and if it was, it’d be a truly awful location in which to set a crime novel. If the last decade has shown anything, it is that Ireland has its own distinctive forms of corruption and Paul Williams is one of the finest investigative journalists around, but the Irish underworld has blessed him with a wealth of source material.

As an author, I guess the challenge is to try and show your hometown warts and all, and just hope your ingrained affection for the place smooths out the rougher edges. Hopefully I managed it. If not, I may end up being pushed in front of one of those duck tours the next time I’m home.

About the Author

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces, is out now.

His writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series Pet Squad which he created. He was also a winner in the BBC’s Northern Laffs sitcom writing competition.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, he has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

A Man with One of Those Faces can be found on Amazon at the below links:


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