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7 - The North Inner City

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2023

Christopher Morash
Affiliation:
Trinity College Dublin
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Summary

A defining characteristic of Dublin has been its repurposed Georgian buildings. Most of the north inner city was originally laid out as homes for the wealthy in the eighteenth century. However, by the nineteenth century the great city mansions of the north city were on their way to becoming some of the worst tenement slums in Europe; and much of the development of the twentieth century was focused on finding better accommodation for the tenement-dwellers. And yet the tenements and surrounding areas have produced a rich literary culture. The best-known example may be Seán O’Casey; however, there are others, including James Stephens, James Plunkett, Paula Meehan, and, of course, this part of the city is also closely linked with James Joyce’s writing, with substantial parts of Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners set here. It was also here that Brendan Behan grew up, and his work revolves around this area. In addition there are unexpected associations, such as the birthplace of Iris Murdoch. This chapter explores this literary world of the north inner city, in which sometimes extreme poverty and a vibrant sense of community coexist.

Type
Chapter
Information
Dublin
A Writer's City
, pp. 142 - 163
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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