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.
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Table of Contents
Part 1 Small Don 1
1 The Adventures of Small Don 3
2 Lady Anne's Promise 28
3 A Rare Thing to Pray For 52
4 Franner 77
Part 2 Interludes 99
5 South of France-cis Street 101
6 Boxing at Shadows 126
7 Westering Home and a Song in the Air 150
8 The Sparrow's House 174
9 Family Voices 197
Part 3 Growing Up So High 221
10 So Far the Shore 223
11 Office Boy Required 248
12 When McGee Draws His First Week's Pay 276
13 Leaving the Liberties 299
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