The Little Book of Dublin is a compendium of fascinating and entertaining truths about the city, past and present.
Funny, fast-paced and fact-packed, here you will discover Dublin’s trade and industry, saints and sinners, crime and punishment, sports and games, folklore and customs and, of course, its literary heritage.
Herein lie famous elements of Dublin’s history cheek by jowl with little known facts that could so easily pass unnoticed.
A reliable reference book and a quirky guide, this treasure trove can be dipped into time and time again to reveal something new about the people, the heritage and secrets of this ancient and fascinating city.
from the introduction…
What’s the craic? is a question put by Dubliners to elicit information on anything from your personal wellbeing to economic prospects both personal and global.
It’s up you as to how to respond.
Ptolemy, the Alexandrian geographer, might have wondered what the craic was when he made mention of Dublin as a maritime city, in the second century, on a map he was fooling with at the time.
Nothing much happened then for about six centuries when lads from Scandinavia were marauding about the place in their longboats and they too wondered about Dublin Bay.
They saw a nice sheltered haven and a sound strategic site for trade, not to mention the chance to stretch their legs ashore for a while.
And so, it came to pass that in the ninth century the Norsemen, or Vikings, established a settlement at a deep dark pool on the Liffey that became known as the Black Pool or Dubh Linn, Dublin.
The settlement was somewhere below where Christ Church Cathedral now stands upon the hill above the modern Liffey.
Not far from there someone developed a ford of the river at what is now Church Street Bridge, or Fr Matthew Bridge, or, whatever you wish to call it yourself.
This was know as the hurdle ford, so Dubh Linn became known as Baile Átha Cliath the town of the hurdle ford, which name it keeps in Irish.
Dublin has two names, one for either tongue: great craic as lost travellers must often have said when wondering where they were.
Ireland was not devoid of people before this.
There were lots of clans about the place; but few paid any attention to the new lads until they started to take prisoners and sell them off to their cousins in other countries, as slaves, and to chase the local maidens.
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