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WATCH: Paul Howard on Ross O'Carroll-Kelly, fame and finding inspiration in Kiely's pub

The author’s latest book is out now.

Source: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

ONE OF THE most important places in the character Ross O’Carroll-Kelly’s life is the Donnybrook pub Kiely’s – it’s so special to him that his creator, author Paul Howard, makes sure to mention it multiple times in each book.

So it was only fitting that in order to mark the closing of Kielys, which is up for sale, Howard would hold the launch of his latest Ross book, Dancing With the Tsars, there. 

TheJournal.ie was at the event to interview Howard about all things Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, and along with us were over 100 of our readers and ROCK fans.

After our chat, which you can watch in full above, Howard was thanked by Mary Cremin, Kiely’s co-owner along with her husband Pat, for his support over the years.

Howard explained that Kiely’s was not just dear to him personally, but it also played a pivotal role in the formation of the Ross character and his own early columns for the Sunday Tribune.

“Before I knew Pat and Mary personally, I used to come here on a Thursday night – my column always had to be filed to the Tribune for the Friday morning, and if I had no idea what I was going to write about I’d just come in and sit at the bar,” he told us.

I met Maeve Binchy when I was about 14 and she said to me, if you want to be a writer you have to be a good listener, and her modus operandi was when she researched she would get on the number eight bus in Dalkey or get on the Dart and earwig conversations. And I did my earwigging over there at the bar, and there were so many Ross storylines were born out of real conversations that I overheard in this pub.

He said that, like in soap operas, the pub plays a big role in the Ross books as it’s where pivotal events occur. “When something big has to happen, when there’s that Eastenders moment, it always happens in the pub,” said Howard.

“I have that thing when I write scenes when I have some big revelation that has to come out – like for instance Oisinn Ross’s friend came out as gay in the right book; Ross has become a father in this pub, not become a father in this pub but he’s discovered he’s going to be a father in this pub – all of these big moments, I always situate them here.”

Howard’s latest book is due to be No 1 in this weekend’s book charts – proving that after 18 years, there’s still a lot of love there for the South Dublin goy.

Dancing With the Tsars by Paul Howard, published by Penguin Ireland, is out now.

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