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Dublin – The Making of a Capital City

By: David Dickson

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This special edition is limited to seventy-six copies: lettered (A – Z) and numbered (1 – 50), clothbound, cased and signed by the author, David Dickson. The Numbered Edition is priced at €125. The Lettered Edition is priced at €175.

This all-embracing biography of Dublin, the first undertaken for more than thirty years, traces the social, economic, cultural and political development of the ‘second city of empire’ and its emergence as one of Europe’s great capitals. It explores Dublin’s first thousand years as a modest urban settlement, then focusses on the last four hundred, from the seventeenth-century court city via the parliamentary metropolis of the eighteenth, the politically and religiously polarized town of the nineteenth to the embattled centre of a new nation in the twentieth. It concludes with a magisterial analysis of the vast city-region that had taken shape by 2000. Dublin was always a hybrid place, a melting pot for Viking and Gaelic, Anglo-Norman, New English, Ulster Scot, Huguenot and Jewish, whence came much of its cultural singularity.

Irish independence was a mixed blessing for the new capital: Dublin’s rulers were for the most part not interested in urban regeneration or architectural flamboyance, and its cultural institutions atrophied for half a century or more. But industrial policy from the 1930s accelerated migration to what became greater Dublin, the poorly planned low-density megalopolis that had fully taken shape a generation before the Celtic Tiger growled. Building on modern research, David Dickson’s Dublin provides an entirely fresh account, much of it unfamiliar. Ambitious, detailed, inclusive and richly illustrated, it captures this tantalizingly complex story in a single volume.

‘When such a scholarly, encyclopaedic exploration of our capital city as this highly readable new study by David Dickson is published, one benediction the reader may feel is about to be bestowed upon them is that, because Dickson’s narrative ends on the cusp of the millennium, in 2000, we will be spared all references to that most cursed expression: “the troika”.’

‘Dickson’s Dublin is a magnificent work of scholarship in its own right, delving into archives and records, but he remains cognizant of the ongoing growth in research elsewhere. He therefore presents his overview as “a report of work (of many people’s work) in progress”, which draws on the current proliferation of academic research “to present a synthesis of our understanding of the elevation of the city”.’ 

The Irish Times


David Dickson is a Professor in Modern History in Trinity College, Dublin and has published extensively on the social, economic and cultural history of Ireland, including his award-winning Old World Colony: Cork and South Munster 1630-1830 (Cork, 2005). He was elected a Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2006.



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Weight 1.5 kg
Dimensions 138 × 235 mm
Publication Date

May 2014

Page Count



Leather Finely Bound