Growing Up So High
A Liberties Boyhood
'Franner Boy' and author Seán O'Connor published Growing Up So High in 2013. This 'paean of a Liberties boyhood', was described by literary critic, and by chance 'Franner Boy', Gerard Smyth, as a 'wonderful homage to the character of the Liberties and its people' in his review of Growing Up So High in the Irish Times, September 2013.
Seán's account of the sounds, smells, and characters of the Liberties area of Dublin includes a chapter, 'Franner' specifically devoted to the author's time in Francis Street School. The following is an extract from that chapter...
It was a damp September day. The chapel yard at the side entrance to Francis Street School was crackling with the excitement of boys back after their holidays. The quieter ones, like me, were slightly overwhelmed by the thought of starting in a new school. 'New boys, go to the top floor, classroom number eight,' a voice was intoning at the door. I stood on the threshold, fingering the crumbling brown brickwork around the doorway behind me and surveying the teeming action inside before taking my first step into this historic place.
(Reproduced by kind permission of Seán O'Connor)
Seán has continued to be a very close friend of the school. Seán visits on a now regular basis, with one particular highlight being his GUSH walking tour with groups of present day 'Franner Boys' through the area Seán grew up in and in which these boys are now growing up. An account of this walking tour was printed in the Irish Times in 2014 and may be viewed here.