Dublin The Heart of the City by Ronan Sheehan and Brendan Walsh
Dublin The Heart of the City
Ronan Sheehan, Brendan Walsh
The Lilliput Press
Brendan Walsh captures the impish grins of Dublin chisellers as they play in the ruined north city centre. His wonderful but undated black-and-white photographs provide a perfect counterpoint to Ronan Sheehan’s narrative of the neglect, despair and poverty that afflicted the communities living in “the beating heart of the city”.
Now deservedly reissued by The Lilliput Press, the 1988 edition ended with hope that the Dublin docklands could be developed for the benefit of local people; what we got was the IFSC. Hope had grown in the 1980s with Tony Gregory’s “Summerhill deal” and community activism against crime and drugs; now the north city centre has gangland warfare.
Sheehan has a cold-eyed but warm-hearted socialist perspective, linking crime directly to poverty and stressing the shared neighbourly spirit that thrived even in the bleak 1930s but has now been dissipated by consumerism. Despite the heroin and the violence, Sheehan believes fervently in “the traditional spirit and energy of the Dublin working class”.