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.