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Hidden City – Adventures and Explorations in Dublin by Karl Whitney

Hidden City – Adventures and Explorations in Dublin by Bus, Train and Tram: In the Sewers and Underground Rivers; Along the edges and behind the hoardings

Karl Whitney
Penguin Books

No this makes for an interesting tale or two. Dublin behind the scenes. Karl has put together a tourist book with a twist, Dublin beyond it’s cathedrals and parks.

As someone born on the northside of Dublin to parents both born on the same northside of children from that northside I feel a strong affinity to the Capital City. My Dublin however is not St Stephens Green or open bus tours, it’s St Annes Park and the grey streets of Donnycarney where I grew up. My first real venture to the Southside of the City was as a teenager with my first paid employment, cleaning a garden of a rich person that knew someone who knew someone. The far side of the River Liffey was alien to me, a world apart.

Hidden City takes us to places many tour guides don’t. Places like the grey streets of tallaght or walkinstown and the underground tunnels in the liberties or sewage pipes underground. Read between the lines here and your mind can conjure up so many images of Dublin, or so many books that could make good stories.

If you are at all interested in this Nation’s Capital then make this your tour guide. For me, as a native, there is something missing – maybe it’s just because I live in this hidden world that it doesn’t seem all that interesting.


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The family fang – reviewed

The family fang by Kevin Wilson published by picador books

This is a smart story. The concept behind the whole thing is compelling. 2 people interested in challenging people’s perceptions in the name of art become husband and wife (for real after many times doing it for their art) and have a family.

The conundrum that follows is the plot that holds this book together. They were artists before being parents, can that order ever change? They bring their children into their world and have them as active participants in their prank world for exhibitionism. Child A and B then become young adults and seek to experience the world outside the fang creative art way. This is when the parents really need to decide what is more important

Along the way there is reference to black flag and bad brains which is enough to pique my interest for a hundred pages and some scenes of madness that makes you wish you had been there to witness it. Except it never happened of course, this is a book after all. Flash mobs created for the art world on an unsuspecting public by the family fang are described in great detail.

My problem was I didn’t get to like the two kids. Buster became a failed writer and Annie a failed actress. It didn’t matter to me whether they cold turn things round. Their failures brought them back to their parents and the story takes off from there.

It had enough to want me to keep going to page 396 but my relation was to the parents who had the dilemma and I kept flicking to see what ultimate art experience lay in store for them, if any. I didn’t really care how it effected their children and what it brought into their adult lives. Maybe you would though.


6/10 one for the charity shop or library for sure



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