‘I stop seeing them as criminals, and more as a normal family, like the Kordashians’

Ronan got to see four of what they call The Big Five – the ex-pat Irish criminals the gordaí would most love to put behind bors

 

So Ronan’s stag ends up being a lot more fun than I expected it to be, although it might take months for my accent to return to normal. Even Sorcha says it to me on the phone. She’s like, “You sound very – and don’t take this the wrong way, Ross, but very Dubbalin? ”

I’m there, “I’ve just spent three nights in the company of Ronan and 27 of what he calls his closest associates. I’m not surprised.”

“When you come home,” she goes, “maybe you could try talking to Honor and the boys in short sentences, so as not to frighten them – just until your accent settles down again.”

Ronan shouts across the bor, “Rosser, you cross-dresser! Do you want anutter pint of that piss you’re thrinking?”

Ronan got to see four of what they call The Big Five – the ex-pat Irish criminals the gordaí would most love to put behind bors

I tell Sorcha I’ll be home tomorrow – I actually go “Tomoddow” – then I hang up.

I tip over to Ro. I’m like, “Yeah, no, I might actually call it a night”, because I’ve only had about four hours sleep since we left Ireland and I can’t do it like I used to anymore.

Ro just nods and goes, “You’re arthur organising an unbeliebable stag for me, Rosser,” because he’s a bit hammered. “You’re the best madden alreet. The best madden addy fedda who’s getting maddied could ebber hope for.”

I’m there, “It was good crack, wasn’t it?” because it actually was? Estepona turned out to be a great spot. No one was hospitalised, no one was arrested and Ronan got to see four of what they call The Big Five – the ex-pat Irish criminals the gordaí would most love to put behind bors.

We saw “Dangerous” Robbie Folan jogging along the beach with his top off; Johnny “The Badger” Grendon asking if they’d any of the Irish sausages in the HiperDino on the Calle Ceuta; “Fat” Frankie Maher ordering cocktails in Primo de Rivera’s and addressing all the bor staff as “Manuel”, including the women; and Andy “The Milkman” Kinch, kicking his broken-down moped on the Calle Huerta Nueva and calling it a useless fooken pox of a thing – ast me bleaten boddicks.

I love travelling to far-flung places and texting Drico to tell him that they’ve never heard of him there.

“The oatenly one we ditn’t see,” Ronan reminds me, smiling in a sad way, “was Robbie Ryan”, aka Grievous Bodily Horm, who’s probably his favourite Irish criminal since The Gener Doddle. In fact, it’s often he’s said to me, “Grievous is to me what Brian O’Thrisk Coddle is to you, Rosser”.

I’m there, “I really wish you’d seen all five, Ro.”

The Rossmeister Speaks

Big head

“Nebber moyunt,” he goes, “thanks for a great stag”, and then he gets all of his friends to raise their glasses in a toast to The Ross Lad, which they all do. It’d nearly give you a big head.

Then I leave. I’m, like, 200 yords from the hotel when I suddenly spot him. I’m talking about Grievous Bodily Horm. He’s leaving a restaurant with his son, Actual, and his wife, who I know from conversations with Ronan, is known as Malicious Wounding.

I end up being brave. I walk straight to him and I go, “Grievous?”

He’s there, “Who wants to know? Are you a cop?”

And I go, “No, I’m not a cop”, and then I tell him what a hero he is to my son and how it would literally make his stag weekend if he came for a quick drink with us in May Oblong’s.

Grievous looks at Malicious and Actual and they say fook it, why not? And 10 minutes later, I walk back into the bor and I don’t have the words to describe the look on Ronan’s face when he sees who’s with me. All I will say is that there are tears.

It ends up being another long night. They stay for one drink, then another, then another. Ronan ends up having a deep and meaningful with Grievous, Actual and Malicious about everything and anything. And after a while I stop seeing them as criminals and stort to think of them as just a normal family, like the Kordashians, except with a long history of violence against the person.

Suddenly I see a sight that almost stops my hort

Ronan is in his element. He turns to me and goes, “He’s great, idn’t he, Rosser? Veddy dowun to eert.”

And I’m like, “Down to Earth? He’s not Elton John, Ro – he’s a focking drug smuggler!” which Grievous ends up overhearing, but thankfully he finds it hilarious.

After a couple of hours, Malicious – who’s real name ends up being Melissa – says she’s going to take the cor home and Grievous and Actual say they’ll foddy her on later in a taxi.

Then I end up sitting in a corner with Grievous saying thank you to him. I’m there, “You are to my son what Brian O’Driscoll is to me?”

He goes, “Who’s Brian O’Driscoll?”

And I end up laughing. It’s probably childish of me, but I love travelling to far-flung places and texting Drico to tell him that they’ve never heard of him there. Hey, he’s got his three Heineken Cups, his two Six Nations championships, his one Grand Slam and his three Lions tours – let me have this.

Grievous ends up being unbelievably easy to talk to. I tell him about my doubts about whether Ronan should even be getting married and how he has a serious eye for the ladies – not unlike myself in that regord.

Grievous goes, “Doatunt be woodied about him settling dowun, Rosser. Your job, as he’s fadder, is make shurren he fidishes coddidge. He has brayuns to burden. Just make shurren he dudn’t foddow this life that we’re arthur choosing – do you wontherstand me?”

Wise, if dangerous

I do. Grievous is a very wise if dangerous man.

I decide to head off again. I look for Ronan but I can’t find him anywhere. I think, it doesn’t matter, I’ll see him at the airport tomorrow morning.

I’m walking back to the hotel and – fine – I’m texting Drico to tell him I met a man in Estepona who’d never heard of him or any of his achievements, when suddenly I see a sight that almost stops my hort.

It’s Grievous Bodily Horm’s cor. The windows are steamed up and inside someone seems determined to put the suspension through its paces. I walk over to it – I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. I have to see it. And then I do see it? Through the steamed-up windows. My son and Grievous’ wife, going at it like the future of the species depends on them.

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