Jason Byrne shared a hilarious story about his dad and a Guinness factory “blast” on the March 18 episode of RTÉ One’s “The Tommy Tiernan Show,” leaving the audience in stitches.
Byrne, a 51-year-old comedian from Dublin, told Tiernan how his father worked for Guinness as a cooper before the metal barrels were brought in.
“They all had contracts up until they were 65, and so that means they couldn’t be sacked because the union was very strongly against it,” Byrne says, setting up his story.
“So my da said it was just a load of fellas walking around Guinness with nothing to do.”
Byrne explained how his dad and five mates would head to the pub, leaving one person to “watch the button” in the Guinness factory.
“In 1989 or something, the gas plant [at Guinness] blew up,”‘ Byrne told Tiernan. “You can check it, the whole building went up, onto James’s Street, blew up all over the place, destroyed the gaff.”
Indeed, footage on the RTÉ Archives includes a 1986 report about the blast where thankfully there were no serious injuries (nor a shortage of stout.)
— RTÉ Archives (@RTEArchives) September 13, 2016
Byrne continued: “My dad and his mates all sauntered out of the pub, no phones then, no nothing, didn’t have a clue what had happened. They had just seen the smoke and walked up.
“And my dad of course being my dad, he’s a messer as well, sees all the firemen doing stuff, my dad walks up to them and he goes ‘what happened here?’
“And your man [the fireman] goes, ‘oh my god, get back, there’s like gas and everything, we think there’s five fellas buried in the rubble!'”
At this point, Byrne, Tiernan, and the audience are laughing, but Byrne continued: “It doesn’t end there!
“My dad’s standing there, with a fag [cigarette] in his hand, of course, around an explosion.
“My dad said he said to the man, ‘Do you want a hand looking for them?’
“The man says, ‘Oh yeah, that’d be great.’
“My dad goes, ‘No problem, here they are – one, two, three, four, five.'”
Of course, the tale had another twist.
Laughing, Byrne continued: “This is the whopper now, because then my da said, ‘Oh, Jesus, Mick Murphy was in there,’ because he was the one fella around the one button.
“My dad said when he was about to tell the fella, he looked to his right, and Mick Murphy walked up the road, with a newspaper under his arm, he was having a s–t at the other end of the brewery.
“My dad reckons that’s why it blew up, because no one was watching the button.”
Still – another twist.
“But here’s the best Irish bit, and only in Ireland – the six of them got compensation. Compensation! There was a dinner for Guinness’s six brave men!
“The survivors who weren’t even there!”