Saturday, October 08, 2016


Tim Carey
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Apparently nobody had ever done it before. A diary type history of Dublin city since Independence.

The Eureka moment was when Tim Carey found himself telling a pair of tourists, who were departing Merrion Row for Co. Clare, that they were heading for the "real Ireland". He didn't really believe that himself but it was the sort of thing people said and he found himself saying it.

That got him thinking about the place of Dublin in the real Ireland and this eventually led to him writing "Dublin since 1922", a book about the modern city which would capture its evolution as a capital, its increasing importance, its characteristics and the traits that define it.

And here we were, in the magnificent surroundings of Dublin's City Hall, on the floor of what had been the old stock exchange, but tonight people were trading compliments instead of stocks and shares.

The book is beautifully produced and well worthy of the exalted surroundings of its launch. I clearly haven't had time to read it but have dipped in and it is a great read. Based mainly on published sources and presented in diary format with a whack of relevant illustrations, it will not only introduce the stranger to the modern capital but will evoke nostalgia in the native reader.

My first reaction looking at some of it was "Jesus, was that so long ago? It feels like just yesterday". And I have enough years behind me to react in this way to roughly three quarters of the book, if you start with my birth, which incidentally doesn't appear to have made it into the final text. I nearly had a photo in the book but that is another story.

Ciara Considine

For me, Hachette was a French publishing house that did dictionaries and other Frenchy stuff. But there is now Hachette Ireland and the company, in one form or another, has been around since 2002. Their list of authors is extensive and you will recognise many of them.

The launch was introduced by Ciara Considine, the book's editor at Hachette. From all the compliments bandied about on the night, there seems to be wide recognition of a job well done.

She first introduced Dublin's current Lord Mayor, Labour Councillor Brendan Carr, who is, of course, our landlord for the night.

Brendan Carr

Brendan entertained us with slices of Dublin life and was enthusiastic in his praise of Tim's book which he was launching.

Joseph O'Connor

The guest speaker was Joseph O'Connor, and if you don't know who he is try here, and pick up when you come back half an hour later. Joseph had missed an occasion in Limerick to be here and this alone merited a round of applause from the audience. He entertained us with a witty and literary speech which everyone afterwards said they hoped would be published.

Tim Carey

Tim himself then took the floor, addressing an audience that included many of his own family. He spoke along the lines of the introductory paragraphs to this post and thanked the many people who had laboured hard to produce the final product.

Tim is the heritage officer with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council and he has been very proactive in this role both promoting and facilitating a wide range of heritage projects in the county.

Tim Carey

After the launch he was running the risk of repetitive strain injury as he signed copies of the book for an ever growing queue of people. Much, I am sure, to the frustration of those towards the end of the queue he was not only signing the books but was chatting at length to the supplicants.

It's one thing to get the author to sign your copy of the book, but the real aficionados then seek out the guest speaker as well. I have a copy of Tim's "Hanged for Murder" signed by the State Pathologist, and of "Grave Matters" (not Tim's) signed by the recently retired Dublin Coroner.

Joseph O'Connor

So I made straight for Joseph O'Connor. At first, he modestly claimed he had nothing to do with the book, but he mellowed when I suggested that his guest speech was an integral part of the process.

I then probably (mildly) embarrassed him by reminding him that he had introduced me to the biggest Mickey in the world in "The Secret World of the Irish Male" and that I still smiled every time I thought of it. [In fact, I have just now reread that piece from the book and still find it convulsive.]

He muttered that this thing was still following him around the place. Perhaps if I had given more thought to his prodigious literary output, to which I have linked above, I would not have alluded to this trivial matter.

I think all may have been forgiven, however, when it turned out that we were both Ballybrackers of a sort.

He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Limerick (since 2014) and he seems to be enjoying this enormously.

On this positive and happy note we parted.

De Buke

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