In the summer of 1964, twenty-one-year-old Gillies MacBain arrives in Dublin off the ferry from England with only his bicycle, a suitcase and a tent to his name. Young, handsome and charismatic, he begins work as a footman in one of the houses of the `dying aristocracy’. Thus begins his foray into the upper echelons of Irish society.
The Adventures of an Irish Footman is an irresistible narrative which describes a fading part of Irish society that MacBain subverts with wry humour. MacBain finds himself in a precarious niche: the borderland in between `upstairs’ and `downstairs’. Here, he rubs shoulders with a cast of characters from the bohemian socialites to the chancer `Sketchly’ and the hippes with their dewy-eyed `morals’. MacBain’s memoirs run the gamut of Irish social classes, from his friendship with County Monaghan small farmers and tenants, to working with a dubious cast of actors and producers on a film set at Castle Leslie, to eventually marrying into the circle of the `idle rich’.
An irresistible story told by a charming storyteller, this memoir sheds light on an era of Irish domestic industry, and Irish social history, that has all but been forgotten.