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Seán O’Connor was born in Francis Street, in the Liberties of Dublin, a neighbourhood famous over the centuries for the sturdy independence of its people.
Now, in this evocative and affectionate book, he recollects the unique and colourful district of his childhood: the neighbours who lived there, their traditions, talk and lore, the music and poetry of the laneways and markets.
Remembrances of the 1940s classroom, of bird-watching in Phoenix Park, of roaming towards adolescence in the streets of his ancestors are mingled with tales of ancient ghosts and the coming of change to the Liberties.
O’Connor, father of the novelist Joseph, tells his story with honesty, warmth and style, and the often wry wit of his home-place. This tenderly written testament of one Liberties boy builds into a vivid and heart-warming picture of his own extended family as part of a proud community and its all-but-vanished way of life.

Reviews

To open any page at random is to be instantly swept up in a swirling cornucopia of the sounds, sights and sensations of his childhood, all rendered as fresh as when first experienced by this impressionable, mischievous and inquisitive child...O'Connor's memory of vanished shops, slang expressions and street characters is so strong that here is a memoir for any lover of Dublin folklore to test their knowledge against ... [a] vibrant memoir of a vanished Dublin
Irish Independent
A joyous portrait of family life ... a wonderful homage to the character of the Liberties and its people
Irish Times
O'Connor vividly conjures the smallest details of this childhood world - a testament to his powers of recall. The prose is filled with moments of life ... An act of careful attention and reconstruction that will prove richly fascinating to anyone who grew up in Dublin in the middle of the 20th century
The Sunday Business Post