Tell us, Mary, about the morning that Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh arrived [at the bookshop] together...Mary King recounted the confrontation which could have put Sarajevo in the shade. We all held our breaths for the fireworks. But they greeted each other cordially, and Patrick suggested they adjourn to Mooneys for a libation. "They b-barred me, we'll try Searsons", Brendan stammered. "I've a problem there", Patrick growled. Between the two of them, there was nowhere local they could go. They had to trudge off like a pair of delinquents to the wilds of Ballsbridge.
For forty years from 1949 to 1989, Parsons Bookshop was a Dublin literary landmark and meeting place. Situated on the crest of Baggot Streets Grand Canal Bridge, it defined the Bohemian quarter of writers and artists known as Baggotonia. Owned by May OFlaherty who was ably assisted by Mary King and three other ladies, Parsons Bookshop played a major role in Irelands literary and cultural development. In this affectionate chronicle of a very special establishment, Brendan Lynch describes the Dublin literary and artistic scene from the fifties to the eighties. Parsons was a second home to Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh, and other literary customers included Flann OBrien, Liam OFlaherty, Frank OConnor, Mary Lavin and Seamus Heaney. Artist customers ranged from Louis le Brocquy, Patrick Scott, Patrick Pye, Michael Kane and Brian Bourke to the ultimate Bohemian, Owen Walsh, who occupied a local studio-cum-boudoir for the lifespan of the bookshop. Archbishops of various denominations also worshipped at this shrine to literature, while political visitors ranged from senators and government ministers to Taoisigh Garrett Fitzgerald and Jack Lynch.
With numerous anecdotes, stories and personal reminiscences about some of Irelands greatest literary figures, Parsons Bookshop provides a warm and amusing account of life in Bohemian Dublin. Parsons, where one met as many interesting writers on the floor of the shop as on the shelves! Mary Lavin. The shop felt a little bit like a domestic establishment. It was an emporium, of course, but it wasnt entirely a public house. Something told you that this was a slightly privileged zone. . . . You were welcome but you were there to behave yourself. And the books for sale gave the same sort of message: they werent exactly neuter products, but bore the stamp of Kingly and Flahertish approval. Seamus Heaney
About the Author
Brendan Lynch is a former racing cyclist, driver and Grand Prix reporter. A committed pacifist, he spent time in Brixton prison for his Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activities. He has written four books including the award-winning Green Dust and contributed to over seventy media outlets worldwide, from The Irish Times to The Observer, The Times and The European. Keenly interested in Irish writers, his features encouraged the establishment of the George Bernard Shaw Museum and the James Joyce Cultural Centre. The Irish Times described his last book, There Might Be a Drop of Rain Yet as a tender, thoughtful and beautifully written memoir.
- Additional Information
Author Lynch, Brendan Editor No Print Format Hardback, Paperback E-Book File Formats none Paperback ISBN 1-905785-11-9 Hardback ISBN 1-905785-14-3 E-Book ISBN No Date of Publication November 2006 Number of Pages 264 Illustrations Not specified