Growing Up So High: A Liberties Boyhood

Author(s): Sean O'Connor

Biography | November 2020 | October 2020

Sean 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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A moving, vivid and life-affirming picture of a boyhood, an extended family, a proud community and an all-but-vanished way of life.

"Open any page at random of Sean O'Connor's "Growing Up So High" and you are instantly swept up in a swirling cornucopia of the sounds, sights and sensations of a Dublin childhood, rendered as fresh now as when first experienced by the wide-eyed boy who drank in every experience decades ago. This is a memoir for any lover of Dublin to test their mettle and memories against: an account of an impressionable, mischievous and inquisitive child growing up in a large extended family within the Liberties of Dublin, whose teeming laneways and close-knit community acted like a second extended family, forever expanding his knowledge about future mysteries of adulthood and past stories of previous lives lived on those streets. It is a love poem to family members, neighbours and friends who turned that innocent boy into the man he is today, all vividly brought back to life within the pages of this vibrant memoir of a vanished Dublin." --Dermot Bolger

Sean O'Connor was born in 1938 in Francis Street in the famed Liberties of Dublin. He is the seventh of 13 children in a family whose roots in the Liberties extend to 1750. He left school at age thirteen to go to work, and eventually became a Chartered Engineer, holder of a Master's Degree in Science (Trinity College), a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Ireland and a Member of the Irish Bar, winning major prizes for Engineering Design on the way. He is married to Viola, lives in Dublin and is the father of five children: novelist Joseph, art-historian Eimear, singer-songwriter Sinead, psychotherapist John and music industry publicist Eoin. Growing up so High is Sean's first book.

General Fields

  • : 9781444743098
  • : Hachette Ireland
  • : Hachette Ireland
  • : 0.276
  • : May 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Sean O'Connor
  • : Paperback
  • : 352