It was a dark, miserable night in Dublin city centre, and I had just finished a rather subdued gig at the Parliament Hotel. As I walked out in to the wet night to walk home towards Capel Street, something stopped me in my tracks. I passed a homeless fella to my right sitting on a step of an office doorway.
Nothing new there as I’ve passed many homeless people in Dublin over the years and I’ve reacted similarly to anyone else, either saying “sorry I have no change”, handing them a smoke or a coffee, giving whatever change I’ve had in my pockets, or simply walking by and minding my own business. But this time I glanced at him, walked on a few meters and had a thought that I needed to help this person.
I’m not really sure why I stopped like that, as I was past him, he didn’t ask for anything, and it was raining. I decided to back track anyway and approached the man. I had noticed how “normal looking” he was. He was kinda chubby, his foggy glasses fallen low to the tip of his nose, a small packed backpack, and sitting under the safety of a green umbrella. I said hello, and asked him was he ok…he replied politely that he was grand. After a short conversation about what he does in life etc. it turned out that he was a scientist from Kilkenny who had bad luck in life and found himself here.
I offered him whatever money I could, but he wholeheartedly rejected. I even told him to call in to the hotel every week at my gig and I’ll give him €20 each time, but he never came. I had warned him that he was sitting in quite a dangerous alley on a popular step for unsocial behaviour where I’ve seen many needles there before, but it didn’t faze him. He was very calm, however, when he told me he was homeless, that one dreaded word,
I noticed a quiver in his voice. He was down and out. He had a place to stay at a homeless hostel but he seemed scared of it. I’ve learned since then that these hostels can be very dangerous, drug havens and are not safe for anyone so I now understand his feelings towards the place. This fella certainly didn’t feel safe there.
He preferred the dark street in the cold rain sitting under his green umbrella…..This was the unfortunate event of a man that gave me the inspiration to write my first song, called “Green Umbrella” which features on Na Fianna’s debut studio album, “Unearthed”. This encounter with the man has been massively influential in my music career as I realise the immense power in song lyrics and they can travel and touch people worldwide which “Green Umbrella” has done and I’m so proud of it and want to dedicate it to that poor fella on that dark, miserable night in Dublin city centre. I wish him well and hope he’s got back on his feet.