The Liberties - Maurice Curtis’ new book about his roots

By Samantha Derenthal

The Liberties is the most culturally and historically significant neighbourhood in Dublin, according to a new book by historian Maurice Curtis.

Maurice Curtis is a Dublin native with roots in the Liberties, he has written several books on Irish and local history.

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The Liberties by Maurice Curtis 

The Liberties takes the reader on a tour of this area of Dublin 8, with the author guiding you through the places and people that have contributed to the neighbourhood’s lasting legacy.

From the area’s beginnings in the Middle Ages, this book spans the centuries, giving a full picture of the history of life at the heart of Dublin City, and the rich community that has given it it’s unique character.

With dedicated sections on the biggest landmarks in the area, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church, the Guinness Factory, Powers Distillery and Jacob’s Biscuit Factory, alongside photos of the everyday lives of the people who lived in the area, Curtis gives the reader a tour of the history and the character of this vibrant area of Dublin.

As Curtis says, “so much has happened here and still happens here that the area is absolutely crowded with remnants of Irish life”.

The stories in the book build a unique sense of the character of the area, such as when Berite Ahern brought former Russian, president Mikhail Gorbachev to The Liberties during a state visit, and, on seeing Gorbachev pop into a butchers’ shop on Meath Street, a local woman exclaimed ‘they’ll have to call them Gorbychops now!’.”

The Liberties has seen both booming prosperity and the devastating poverty of tenement life, witnessed the 1913 Lockout and the 1916 Rising; and has changed over time due to industry, immigration, and modernisation.

Packed full of historical photographs that are brimming with life and character, the commentary accompanying these pictures provides an insightful glimpse into what lies behind the stone walls of Dublin’s oldest shops fronts and cathedrals, from one of Ireland’s most avid social historians.

Paperback versions of this book are €19.99 and will be launched on November 20.

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