Wednesday 21 February 2018

'Would you do your job on a day off? I would, especially if there are kids staring up at me expectantly'


Gary Cooke

I'm awake before 9am because my children are up. It's bran flakes and toast, and then I take them up to the playground.

The problem with having two kids is that you have to keep an eye on both of them at the same time. Sometimes I get a bit terrified when I can only see one of them, but our local playground in Malahide is pretty easy to police.

I just love the views and the grandeur of The Grand Hotel Malahide nearby.

My Scottish grandfather, a cross between Clark Gable and Frank Sinatra, came over a few years ago and was very taken by it too. It has a timeless, old-world quality and the light is amazing.

You can look out at the sea and also Malahide Tennis Club, where I sometimes play. I was more fit for a man of my carriage a few years back, but I'm starting to get back into it now.

The thing about tennis is that you're exhausted after about an hour even if you're in tip-top shape.

Lunch is in Casta Pasta in Howth, very informal and friendly. I usually end up having a salad or a Thai chicken curry, or just eating what my kids don't eat.

In the city, I love The Clarence Hotel. The dining room has a genuine New York feel to it and the food is great. It's owned by U2, but I've not met them in there yet.

When 'Après Match' did sketches about U2, I played Bono. They didn't seem to mind, though, as they gave us permission for us to use 'Where The Streets Have No Name' on our live DVD.

Around town, I meet lots of people who like 'Après Match'. The fans seem to have a sense of ownership of it because it comes on after football matches, so it's pretty much in people's faces.

"You're the guy who does Dunphy," they'll say, then, "Go on, do Dunphy". Would you do a bit of your job on a day off? I would, actually, especially if there are kids staring up at me expectantly.

Town Bar & Grill -- where's that? And Krystle? Which is my way of saying that, since I've had kids, I don't go out in the city centre any more. I used to go to places like Renards, but I just got bored with it.

If you did end up talking to somebody interesting, it was hard to hear what they were saying because the music was so loud.

I'm not nostalgic for those days either because I never got much satisfaction from them.

If I do get wistful about anything, it's for a time in the early 1990s when I used to watch football and pontificate about Man United.

Happy days.


I take the children to Church on a Sunday. I go for the food for thought, sense of community and peace. I'm not an avid Church type, but I feel it's part of my cultural identity.

The House restaurant in Howth village is a great place for Sunday lunch. It's quite cool for Ireland; the dishes are not only tasty but tasteful.

Octopussy, which does seafood and tapas on the West Pier, is another favourite. I was in there with my wife a while back and they gave us outrageously large wine glasses.

Going out into town, it's mostly to the theatre: from more slightly off the beaten track places -- such as The Peacock, where you feel hidden from the world and not governed by the same rules of engagement as the Abbey around the corner -- to The Gaiety, where I have fond memories as a kid seeing Maureen Potter in 'Gaels of Laughter'.

Coming out of a play, I like to talk about it for a while. Whether you liked it or not, it's important to be experiencing stuff to be part of the world. You can't go and write without any idea of what's going on.

If we stay home, a DVD such as the German film 'The Lives Of Others' is the kind of film that gets better and better as you watch it.

On TV, I love 'Benidorm', which I think is brilliant. I love those north of England types -- not to hang out with, just to observe

RTE's 'Savage Eye' is a great programme to round off any night. Given the nature of the satire, RTE deserves huge praise for putting it on.

Who could it offend? Absolutely everyone. So the perfect show.

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