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Little Republics

The Story of Bungalow Bliss

By: Adrian Duncan

Publication Date: 20 October 2022


Bungalow Bliss, first published in 1971, was a book of house designs that buyers could use to build a home for themselves affordably. It first appeared two years before Ireland was to join the EEC as a self-published catalogue by Jack Fitzsimons from his Kells Art Studios in County Meath. He and his wife designed and collated it and printed it locally.

Fitzsimons sold these books out of his car to newsagents, petrol garages and bookshops.

Over the course of thirty years, Fitzsimons sold over a quarter of a million copies of his catalogue. The first edition contained twenty designs – the final edition contained two hundred and sixty.

This guidebook of how to build your own home radically transformed housing in Ireland. Now, for the first time, author and structural engineer Adrian Duncan looks at the cultural impact that Bungalow Bliss and the accessible bungalow design had on the housing market, the Irish landscape, and on the individual families who made these bungalows their homes.

Little Republics: The Story of Bungalow Bliss will be published ahead of an exhibition about bungalows at the Irish Architectural Archive this winter.


‘Fascinating and poignant. It made me see the familiar architecture of the Irish countryside with utterly new eyes and unexpected tenderness.’– Sara Baume

‘Provides gentle questions about major unexplored assumptions about modern Irish society … evoke[s] the spare storytelling of the late John McGahern … builds a layered story that provides the backdrop to so much that became magical moments in modern Irish literature and drama … important, thoughtful and insightful.’ – Conor Skehan, Sunday Independent

‘Terrific … Duncan brings a poet-engineer’s eye to the houses and fleshes out the fascinating socio-economic background, the circumstances which gave rise to the bungalow boom.’ – Michael Moynihan, Irish Examiner

Adrian Duncan explains how Bungalow Bliss helped move Ireland to another level – read the interview in the Irish Examiner here

An extract from Little Republics on RTÉ Culture – read here

‘A beautiful book … to read something so hopeful about housing was a real joy’ Donal Fallon and Gavan Reilly on Newstalk

Listen to Adrian on RTÉ Radio 1’s The Ryan Tubridy Show here

‘He is equally sensitive to the psychical as to the physical properties of space … Little Republics shows the Irish people’s expressed desire to choose the form and manner of their own habitation, a fact too often ignored in the current discourse around housing’ Diarmuid McGreal, Totally Dublin

‘Duncan includes enough practical detail here to satisfy the technically enquiring reader, but this is also a memoir of Duncan’s childhood (his father was an engineer) and a look at Ireland hauling itself into the 20th century, even if only in its final couple of decades. The writing is, of course, a thing of beauty as Duncan’s writing persistently is. This book will undoubtedly find its place in our important history annals to come.’ Anne Cunningham, Meath Chronicle 

Exberliner Berlin Author of the Year 2022


Adrian Duncan was born in County Longford and originally trained as an engineer. He is a Berlin-based visual artist and filmmaker. His short fictions have appeared in literary journals both in Ireland and the USA. His acclaimed debut novel, Love Notes from a German Building Site, published by Lilliput and Head of Zeus in 2019, was shortlisted for the Dalkey Emerging Writer Award and won the inaugural John McGahern Annual Book Prize. His second novel, A Sabbatical in Leipzig, was published by Lilliput in 2020 and is forthcoming from Profile Books. It was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020. His first short story collection, Midfield Dynamo, was published in 2021 and was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Most recently, his third novel, The Geometer Lobachevsky, was co-published by the Lilliput Press in Ireland and by Serpent’s Tail in Great Britain in April 2022. It has been shortlisted for the 2023 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the 2023 Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year.


Also available as an ebook
Weight 0.4 kg
Dimensions 156 × 234 mm

Paperback with flaps, 172pp

Publication Date

20 October 2022

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