Dolly Considine’s Hotel
By Eamon Somers
A young writer telling stories about guests in Dolly's hotel—will it get him loved, killed, or both?
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Julian Ryder (aka Paddy Butler) and Dolly McClean (née Considine) have little in common – Julian is an eighteen-year-old aspiring writer fleeing a life unlived and Dolly is knee-deep in running a hotel populated by family secrets and Irish republicans. On rescuing Dolly’s barmaid-cum-cleaner from a supposed IRA thug, Julian fulfils his wish for adventure as barman at Dolly’s Dublin hotspot. It doesn’t take long for him to embroil himself in the gossip of the bar and the guests’ bedsheets. Dolly and her entourage quickly become fodder for his literary ambitions and soon it is almost impossible to extricate reality from fantasy in this fast-paced world of Irish politics and plot-making.
Moving fluidly between the 1950s – Dolly’s youth, the political dynasty of the man she marries and the man she sleeps with, and the early days of the Fianna Fail (Ireland’s Republican Party, aka the Soldiers of Destiny) – and 1983 – Julian’s summer of unrequited love, Irish recession and emigration – the hotel becomes a stage for farce and tragedy. As statues give birth to fully grown men while sword-wielding Irish dancers perform for party politicians, Julian’s fictions, Dolly’s secrets and political intrigue threaten to tear them and Ireland itself apart in the run up to the Pro-life Constitutional Amendment of September 1983.
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Eamon Somers was born and grew up in inner city Dublin. He was a campaigner and spokesperson for Ireland’s fledgling lesbian and gay rights movement in the early 80’s. During the economic downturn he was made redundant and, having moved to London, spent two years working in Haringey’s Lesbian and Gay Unit until Clause 28 and Council Tax cuts sent him into the charity housing sector where he continues to work.
Eamon’s story Spring in the Country won the Carmarthen short story competition sponsored by BBC Wales. Other stories have been published in Chroma, Tees Valley Writer, and ABC Tales. The Journal of Truth and Consequence (University of Phoenix) published Fear of Landing and gave it a Pushcart Prize nomination. Nataí Bocht was included (alongside Keith Ridgway) in a collection entitled Quare Fellas published in Ireland. An extract from his novel Dolly Considine’s Hotel was included in Automatic Pilot magazine in 2018.
Eamon is a graduate of the certificate in creative writing at Birckbeck College London - the forerunner of the current MA. He has attended many courses including Summer Schools at the Irish Writers Centre in Dublin run by the Stinging Fly Magazine, and Carlo Gébler.
Eamon is the father of three wonderful children. He and his Civil Partner (Tomás) are very proud of their three-year-old grandson Daragh.
Eight-year-old Paddy Butler’s mother gave up wearing tights and began to dress in florals tops and long patchwork skirts when his father went off to live in London. So whenever he and his friend Johnner hid in the bushes of next door’s front garden, it was Johnner’s mother who donated the laddered tights they cut and pulled over their faces to spend an afternoon spying like in The Man from Uncle. Except Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin lived in such a big city that they didn’t have neighbours and didn’t have to hide their faces.
Next door’s garden was overgrown with hedges and grass and dandelions running wild, and they could crouch down inside all afternoon, listening to and watching the bush filtered passers-by, safe behind the vegetation and the stretched nylon. They had to maintain total silence when they were spying; but while it was easy to mime shock or point at the state of a neighbour’s shoes; a stretched, distorted and itchy face couldn’t communicate a subtle observation about the gossip they overheard. And every spying session ended when the frustration became so much that words threatened to spill out by themselves, like an overfull bladder. It was always Johnner who gave in first, and Paddy who smiled inside the foot of Mrs Johnston’s tights and allowed himself to be led next door to Johnner’s front room where they would speak with only the ears of walls listening and laugh at the things they’d seen and heard.
Paddy kept his junior detective’s notebook rolled up in his coat pocket when he was in the garden. But later in bed he flattened it out to record every observation made during their afternoon stakeout, and in the past had fallen asleep wondering whether the woman from the bread shop cared that the hem of her skirt could be seen beneath the red coat she always wore, and why the owner of the corner house sometimes had a limp. On this particular June evening, he’d wondered what Johnner’s father had meant when he’d said to a man they didn’t know: “She might be the prettiest women in Cabra, but no self-respecting husband should have to put up with that kind of thing.” And before he fell asleep his notebook absorbed the words: “When I grow up I will change my name to Julian.”
- 17th September 2020 Now where did I leave all those lovely supporters?
The good news is that Dolly is on her way. Yes, publishing is a slow build business, and CV-19 has held Dolly back, but she will triumph. You, my lovely supporters, will be in possession of your very own copies in July 21.
“But that’s ten months away,” I hear you say, and my reply is, “sorry I have to go and defrost the fridge. Back Shortly.”
I’m back, fridge defrosted and the man who came…23rd June 2020 Direct from the Editorial Desk - latest news - shock horror
You will know from my previous update that the lockdown has had an impact on getting Dolly Considine’s Hotel onto bookshelves. But Unbound’s Editorial Desk has been in touch (today) to tell me they can now appoint an editor, and work will start shortly on the design for the book cover.
“Wow.” My own editor, appointed by the Editorial Desk. I don’t want to get gushy but just typing “Editorial Desk…17th April 2020 Don't mention the ......
To my lovely suporters,
Let me start with an apology. I am shocked to be reminded by Unbound at how long it's been since I posted an update, and more importantly that I didn't say a big thank you to all my (and Dolly's) supporters the instant we reached 100% funding; achieved on 12th March. Unbound did let most of you know (17th March), but it was a dreadful oversight on my part not to do so myself…9th March 2020 Should I stop pedalling and let my coasting crowdfunding bicycle sweep me over the finish line?
Heck No. In fact, I'm beginning to panic...... I'm due to retire (from 32 years of public housing work) this Friday, and I set 13th March as the deadline to achieve 100% of the funding for Dolly Considine's Hotel. With the help of my 161 fabulous backers, I've managed to raise 93%. Which is unbelievably wonderful but the last 7% is proving difficult.
What can you do to help? You can certainly share…23rd February 2020 90% and counting - when will the real work begin?
Well firstly and most importantly I would like to thank the 150 wonderful supporters who have given so generously to the campaign to have Dolly Considine's Hotel published. It is just awesome that we are 90% funded, and with apologies to the math geniuses among you, 90% means just 10% more to go; i can feel myself beginning to believe Dolly is going to be published. Or at least closer to being a published…21st January 2020 ALMOST100
Thank you for all your support. The lovely people at Unbound have given us a code [ALMOST100] to celebrate Dolly getting to 82% funded. The lovely people think it would be fab to get Dolly to 100% and I agree. Feel absolutely free to share this information with any friend who would like to read about Julian and Dolly's adventures. ALMOST100 easy to remember. Eamon unbound.com/books/dolly-considines…5th January 2020 Julian meets Malone for the first time. 77% funded, spread the love. Thank you funders.
The Summer of Unrequited Love: June 1983
With the crowd for the ferry bus gone Julian found a seat for himself and another for his backpack. A coffee and the recording of succinct observations about travel and travellers would pass the time until the record stall in George’s Street would be open. And now that Uncle Arthur was in his head, he would do as he’d written in the note to his mother…10th November 2019 110 Generous Backers
This is a joyful jolly time. Dolly Considine’s Hotel is 60% funded, I should be singing from the rooftops, thanking my supporters and encouraging them to tell their friends all about my exciting wonderful inciteful insightful optimistic magical book. But instead; I’m trying to figure out why I’ve been resisting writing and sharing this happy update with you.
I have one hundred and ten wonderful…13th October 2019 A teaser from October 1956 - a much younger Dolly learns about running an hotel.
Dolly was cleaning room eleven when she found the box in the bedside locker. She recognised the name printed on the side from hearing it whispered in the bar, and knew the content’s purpose immediately. The box went straight into the wastebasket carried from room to room and slid beneath the jumble of empty shampoo sachets, bits of cotton wool, train and cinema tickets, and the long blue wrapper from…15th September 2019 Dolly skips over 40 and goes straight to 41(%)
Dolly is 41, and as we are talking percentages, 41% is better than the 40% which the campaign was only briefly on Sunday morning. To you seventy-nine pledgers, a big thanks and I hope you enjoy the extract below. But your work is not done yet. If you scroll down to the bottom of this update you will see Twitter and Facebook buttons; please share with your followers. And if you have any comments there…2nd September 2019 The glass is one-third full, not two-thirds empty.
So, firstly thank you all for your generous belief in me and for pledging your hard-earned cash to make Dolly Considine's Hotel a reality. You really are helping to make my life's ambition a reality. But wow, what a month it's been. A roller coaster of a month, with a surge of happiness and a feeling of vindication when the percentage goes up, and a horrid dip on the few days when there were no pledges…28th July 2019 Wow, is this really happening to me?
It would be a gross understatement to say that I've been waiting for a moment like this for quite a long time. We (me and my funders and my publishers and my readers) are setting out on a journey which will have highs and lows, tears of joy and hopefully tears more tears of joy. I am genuinely touched by the support and encouragement I received so far, and hope that you will feel like a part of…28th July 2019 My wonderful first week
Thank you, it's so exciting to have received my first enthusiastic supporters. It's been an exciting and terrifying week contacting (I won't say reaching out to) friends and family to let them know that I am one step closer to having a novel published after so many years of waiting. Below is a bit more about how Dolly Considine's Hotel came about, and what it's about. I look…
These people are helping to fund Dolly Considine’s Hotel.
Mary Mc Colgan