Declan Lynch's prescription for the diet of poor ould fellas, in his smashing book “The Book of Poor Ould Fellas” isn't just a fine menu for the endangered species that is the POF. Myself and Mr Lynch, fellow students almost thirty years ago, used to brew up the pint-and-a-half of oxtail soup and the cheese sandwich – usually toasted – as we navigated our way through student life in and around various dire bedsits and whatnots in Dublin 6, before playing that Gram Parsons album one more time and then taking ourselves off somewhere for a pint of porter. The oxtail soup and the cheese sandwich was what poor young fellas lived on in those constrained days. Tell that to young people these days and they won't believe you.
Declan's book is worth the price of the ticket for the Drogheda-meets-Quest For Fire story alone, but there is much biting humour and satire – and much truth – in this charming and rather tender look at a section of our society that is dying faster than snow on a ditch. Arthur Matthews contributes some illustrative material also and, speaking of Mr Matthews, isn't it about time that his classic “The Border Fascist” was brought out from the old days and dusted off and fed some oxtail soup before making us all laugh out loud.
“The Book of Poor Ould Fellas” is published by Hodder Headline.