OverviewThe Liberties of Dublin is a neighborhood famous over the centuries for the sturdy independence of its people. Here Sean O'Connor, born in Francis Street into a family of 13 children, recalls his childhood and the unique and colorful district of his origins: the neighbors who lived there: their traditions, their talk, and their 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 highly acclaimed Irish novelist Joseph, tells his story with honesty, warmth, and style, and the often wry wit of his home-place. The bells of medieval churches toll through its pages, over the skipping songs of his sisters, the juicy slang of his schoolmates, and his personal stories of family life, culminating in leaving school to go to work at age 13 and later becoming a member of the Irish Bar. Growing Up So High is an evocative and tenderly written testament of one Liberties boy, and a moving, vivid, and life-affirming picture of his own extended family as part of a proud community and its all-but-vanished way of life.
Author BiographySeán 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 13 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.