Paradise Alley – By John D Sheridan – first novel about the 1913 lockout published by Seven Towers


Paradise Alley By John D Sheridan

Paradise Alley

by John D Sheridan was first published by Talbot Press, Dublin in 1945.  This new edition, published by Seven Towers, includes an introduction by Sarah Lundberg and Joe Mooney with details from the real school records and memories of the pupils who were there – Tommy Devlin, Larry Kane, Maisie Lynch, Teresa Mason, and former Republic of Ireland kitman Charlie O’Leary.

Cited as the forerunner to Strumpet City by the Irish Times in 1980 Paradise Alley gives a close up view of the stark poverty in Dublin’s dockland slums in the first half of the twentieth century, as well as looking at the violence of the 1913 lockout, through the eyes of the school master Anthony Domican and the words of those around him, including his pupils. John D Sheridan backdrops the manure factory, coalyards and warehouses of the docklands with sailboats in Dublin Bay, and tempers the pain of everyday life with hope and his characteristic humour.

This publication sees a new departure for Seven Towers, venturing into literary tradition as well as local history.

Sarah Lundberg, publisher at Seven Towers says ‘When we first started Seven Towers we were very conscious that we were stepping into a long established and important literary tradition, and we hoped to honour this tradition’s history while also becoming part of its present and its future. This publication forms part of that, enabling us to bring part of Dublin’s literary tradition into the present, and stretching out non-fiction wings at the same time.’

This book is also an exciting venture for East Wall – local historian, Joe Mooney says ‘East Wall is celebrating Pride of Place this summer and we wanted to do something really important, for East Wall and beyond. Celebrating our community through bringing this literary work to a new audience achieves this, showcasing East Wall and John D Sheridan and what he achieved in literature as well as what East Wallers can remember through his book’



There is no shortage of Writers in Ireland. Whether they hail directly from Ireland or come here to live and work and hopefully stay, the diverse nature of styles and influences and historical experiences inherent in their work is fascinating to listen to, and certainly at events like this, which is a census of such different writing styles, one hears everything.

At the IWC on Wednesday 22nd Feb 2012, there were literally hundreds of writers coming and going from about seven o’ clock till ten in the evening , some reading, many buying large numbers of the Census 3 anthology, proud parents delighted to see their offspring get their first publication, Writers with many books to their name checking the text and pleased to see friends they admire in the same book as they, others who have been to so many launches, or indeed are dropping by to say hello to buy a book and wander off to another event, got to meet the people for the few minutes they were there they hadn’t seen in years or weeks . Writing is that most uncertain and isolate of existences. Hence these moments whether it be a celebration of the launch of a rather big book like Census 3 or a smaller reading, the mere fact reading and celebrating the written word is not just a key element of the creative process. It is that. But it connects one with others who are beavering away at their own work. Mr Eamonn Lynskey, poet, wit and raconteur, who edited this particular tome, led the proceedings, that is, after the managing director, Sarah Lundberg, welcomed the throng of poets, thinkers and scriveners, and spoke of the challenges and joys of bringing out the third on the Census trilogy. (Word has it there will be a forth). Eamonn introduced six readers, as I recall, including Seamus Cashman, Lucy Hattaway, Clar Ni Aongusa, John Sexton, Hugh Mc Fadden, among others. The readings were representative and excellent. With 94 authors, it was impossible to have even a quarter of them up on stage. I thought it a good thing, though . A launch is pretty much a celebration, where people can meet and socialize and buy books. So accompanying these words are many pictures. There are more. I keep getting welcome emails with more pictures. A good time really was had by all.

Finally this is my big opportunity to plug a friend of ours. The Irish writers Centre needs your support. It’s a fantastic place. Join them. Go to their gigs. Support them. They really went way beyond the call of duty to make us welcome and make the night such a huge success.

All photos are copyrighted to the generous and gifted Rafael Joacim

Oran Ryan