A Galway Girl's First Impression of Copper Face Jacks

I had made the big move. At twenty one years of age I had finally taken the plunge and  moved to the Big Shmoke. I was excited but Jesus was I scared. I had moved away from the west and not a mountain was in sight. I was living beside a Starbucks where you couldn't just ask for a medium tea. No, round these parts it’s called a 'Grande', not pronounced 'grand', but 'granday'. Don't be making that faux pas now.  It's safe to say that I was finding my first few days in the big city a little bit tough. I decided to meet a fellow friend from out back in the shticks for a few drinks. I had told her that I was missing the rocky fields of Connemara and after a few more drinks and intentionally making my friend miss her bus we decided to turn the pints into spirits and then a certain phrase was uttered, 'will we head to coppers?'


I'll admit that I had never been to Coppers before in my life but that doesn't mean I hadn't heard of it. No no, back home, going to Coppers is like an epic tale for any country bumpkin going up to Dublin to visit a sister or brother in college. Boys would come back and regale everyone with the tale of how he had shifted some young one from Dublin in Coppers and then brought her home. 'Nah man, like you wouldn't know her, she was from Dublin.' I had heard stories of how people had met their future husband in Coppers. Maybe my mother would finally get her wish and I would stop falling for musicians with tattoos and douche-bag chin piercings. Maybe I'd find myself a nice guard from Roscommon.  I can hear the neighbours now, "Did you hear about their young one? She moved up to Dublin, and sure didn't she get herself a young lad from Brideswell."

As we started to form a plan to go to Coppers, I questioned whether I was wearing the appropriate attire. I got a look of, 'you really don't know where you’re going do you?" We approached the illuminating black and gold sign that is Copper Face Jacks. I started to realise that despite all the stories I had heard, I really had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first image of the talent this establishment had to offer was of two lads in Italia "90 Irish Jerseys. Let me just make it clear that they were certainly not wearing them ironically. My friend, being somewhat of a Coppers veteran, led me straight to the smoking area. The next sight for my eyes to behold was a man who by my standards was not of an age to be in a nightclub, let alone in any peak physical condition to  have his shirt open wide asking for various girls to stroke his fat sea-lion like belly. But at least this old swinger was wearing a shirt. As I started to look around I was getting images of my Junior Cert results night, not because the people looked young but because of the amount of guys that were wearing jerseys. It would seem that some of the eligible bachelors had missed the memo that it was no longer acceptable to wear baggy jeans and any sort of sports jersey. I am delighted that Dublin won the All Ireland this year, I truly am and I'm really happy to see that you are so patriotic but there's a time and a place. And sure, you'll always get that flute in a Mayo jersey.


My dear friend saw my face. I was the definition of a deer caught in the headlights. I was proud of myself that I hadn't ran into the corner and had gone into the fetal position just yet. There was only one option. 'You need more drink in ya.' Well now I marched to that bar like there was no tomorrow and patiently awaited my turn. That is until I realised that there is no one patiently waiting in line in Coppers and if you have boobs, you will sure as God use them. Use what your mother gave ya and you get that drink. As the dance floor slowly started to fill up, I was reliving my youth once again. If Irish College had taught me one thing it was that if you were from the west, you had an obligation to dance when Cotton Eyed Joe would come on. All of a sudden my inhibitions were gone. I was putting the leg in and out and I was surely shaking it about. But one thing differed from that glorious three weeks of Ceilis. Without any over protective Muinteoir's about, something was happening. Someone or something had now decided to mold itself around my derriere and then proceeded to gyrate alongside the docile tones of 'Rhythm is a Dancer.' I could no longer feel the rhythm in the air. The scene from Jaws had now taken over my conscience as I slowly braced myself to see what atrocity was behind me. All I could see was the pale red and green of the flute from Mayo.

Now I had already been warned that if someone doesn't try to shift you in Coppers, there is something seriously wrong with you. Honestly, you must be rotten. Now I hadn't set out with the agenda of shifting someone that night but it was more along the lines of 'Well it would be nice to be asked.' This is the moment when you should try and bring back those inhibitions. Tie a lasso around them and fight for them. Do whatever you can to bring them back. Do not, I repeat, do not just turn around and use this invisible lasso around your new found friend. The term ‘lobbing the gob’ is something that isn’t really used that often, and for good reason. This was another lovely memory I was now reliving from that same Junior Cert disco.

If this wasn't a sexy enough image for you, the time had quickly come for the dim lights to be turned back on and for reality to take over again. The streams of sweat flowing down everyone's face was as if they were trying to re-in act the flooding of the ball room scene in 'Titanic'.  Sadly though unlike getting out of a sauna there were no fresh pressed towels available. You must simply walk out with you head held high.

Now it may not seem that I didn't enjoy my time in Coppers but by God let me tell you, I left the place with a new sense of vigor. If I could survive a night in Coppers I could surely survive a summer in the capital. And will I be back? Well, I'm still in search of my guard.

Bronagh Flynn
Article written by
An English major in the University of Limerick. This country bumpkin may claim she spends her days reading 'War and Peace', contemplating life when in fact she is re-watching episodes of Girls in her quest to becoming a somewhat respectable member of society. An old man at heart, she loves a whiskey on the rocks and over packed clubs give her nightmares.

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