Social historian Donal Fallon has been in the trenches documenting Dublin for a while now, originally through the Come Here to Me blog before he transitioned to his Three Castles Burning podcast. Now he’s teamed up with New Island to expand his takes to print through the prism of 12 city streets.
Using the pithy epigraph from William Curry’s Ancient and Modern Dublin written in 1820, that “‘This city,’ says the tourist, ‘presents the most extraordinary contrast of poverty and magnificence to be in Europe,’” Fallon charts how Henrietta Street was once considered the most fashionable and exclusive street in the city before ‘barefooted, ragged urchins’ romped, giving way to a Tenement museum there now.
Elsewhere, we discover how Engine Alley in the Liberties was once Indian Alley, “local lore has it that pronunciation played a role in the metamorphosis; imagine the local children in a game of ‘cowboys and injuns’, while Ship Street is more about sheep than ships.
It’s truly a fascinating dive into the foundations of our city with loads of ‘Did you know?’ moments to crack open down the local.
Three Castles Burning: A History of Dublin in Twelve Streets, is out now via New Island, €15.95.
Fancy a deeper dive? Check out our 2020 interview with Donal here: The New Nostalgia: Donal Fallon – Three Castles Burning.