Ross O'Carroll Kelly: ‘I've got to stop thinking about my old man as just an ATM'

'He’s actually more than that – although I probably will ask him for a couple of grand while I have him.'

Sorcha asks me if I'd be interested in going to Lecky Picky this year. She actually calls it that as well? I'm like, "Yeah, whatever," barely even listening to the girl. I'm just, like, staring at the wall, letting her just blab on, the tried and trusted formula for happy marriage the world over.

"It's just that Honor's got this Mandarin Immersion Programme coming up," she goes. "And I thought, well, before she goes off to China for six weeks, it'd be – oh my God – so amazing for the three of us to spend some quality time together, doing something that we'll always remember – as, like, a family? "

I’m just there, “Hmmm.”

"A girl I was in UCD with is selling her tickets," she goes. "She's a really, really good friend of mine on Facebook, even though I haven't met her for years and I probably wouldn't know what to say to her if I did."


I’m like, “Hmmm.”

And that’s when she goes, “Ross, what’s wrong?”

Sorcha can read me like a book. I’ve been married to the girl for 12 years – at this stage, she knows me nearly as well as some of my old rugby teammates.

I’m there, “I’ve got three weeks to save my job.”

She’s like, “Okay, what are you talking about?” because deep down we both know that the economy hasn’t yet recovered to the point where people like me can afford to do fock all, all day, every day. “I thought JP’s dad was talking about making you a portner.”

I'm there, "Well, now he's talking about sacking me. Look, if you must know, I got on the wrong side of the New Land League. Selling all those repoed gaffs up in Killiney and – typical me – showboating while I was doing it. Now they want to destroy me. We had this, like, distressed property auction and they basically disrupted it to the point where we had to actually abandon it? Then, last week, they stuck a picket on this development of gaffs we were trying to offload in literally Kinnegad. Estate agents should be given Taser guns. It should be the law."

Sorcha – calm as you like – goes, “So what are you going to do about it?”

I’m there, “What can I do? Selling gaffs is the only thing I’ve ever been good at, aport from obviously playing rugby and getting women to fall in love with me.”

She goes, “What I mean is, are you going to spend the three weeks just feeling sorry for yourself. Because that’s not the Ross O’Carroll-Kelly I know.”

I’m there, “I like the way you’re talking to me, Sorcha. I still haven’t a clue what I’m going to do about the problem, but I like the way you’re making me feel.”

She goes, “What were you taught growing up? Whenever you have a problem in life . . .”

“Phone my old headmaster,” I go. “But Father Fehily died 10 years ago.”

She goes, “And if your old headmaster isn’t around?”

I'm there, "Phone my old man!" and the answer suddenly hits me like Courtney Lawes. "Of course! He's got this new wig! He looks like, I don't know, what's-his-name? People just look at him these days and they literally crumble."

I kiss Sorcha on the cheek and tell her she’s a genius, and 30 seconds later I’m pointing the cor in the direction of Ailesbury Road. I’ve got to stop thinking about my old man as just an ATM. He’s actually more than that – although I probably will ask him for a couple of grand while I have him.

I let myself in and straight away I hear his voice coming from the study. He’s actually shouting, “I don’t believe it! Of all the people to turn on me!”

I tip down to the study and push the door. I’m surprised to find him alone, pacing back and forth, a piece of paper in his hand. I’m like, “What’s going on? Actually, forget that, I don’t care. I need two grand – no, three grand – and I also need you to get the New Land League off my back.”

He totally ignores the point I’ve just made.

“I’ve had a cease and desist letter!” he goes, waving it at me. “From our friend.”

I’m like, “What friend? Why do you have to make everything about you?”

"He's threatening me with a bloody well injunction! And I thought we were pals! Here, have a listen to this," and then he storts actually reading the letter to me? "We have been instructed by our client, Mr Denis O'Brien, to inform you that your current hairstyle – hereinafter referred to as 'Denis O'Brien Hair' – is the property of Mr Denis O'Brien and that your wearing of Denis O'Brien Hair is a clear infringement of his intellectual property rights.

“You are hereby put on notice and instructed to cease and desist from having, wearing and/or using for the purposes of business advancement, and/or any other reasons, Denis O’Brien Hair, including any related hairstyle that seeks to replicate the colour, shape and manner in which Mr Denis O’Brien wears his hair, including, without limitation, any colour that could be construed by a reasonable individual as ‘autumn ochre’, or any similar shade; any style that involves a side parting; and any volume that might be interpreted as ‘generous-bodied’, or a variation thereof.

“Unless we hear from you in writing within three days from the date hereof, your receipt of this letter shall be deemed to be your acknowledgement and agreement to immediately cease and desist from having Denis O’Brien Hair. A failure to comply with the terms of this letter will result in, inter alia, an application for injunctive relief, pending a court action, at which our client, Mr Denis O’Brien, will seek damages, including punitive damages and his costs associated therewith, including, without limitation, all legal and professional costs, fees, expenses, duties and outgoings.”

He looks up at me. I actually laugh. I’m there, “And I thought I had problems.”

He goes, “You know what I’m going to do, of course.”

I’m there, “Give in, obviously.”

Except the power has clearly gone to his head, because he takes the letter, rips it in two, then goes, “I’m going to fight him every step of the bloody well way!”