These 87 black & white photographs taken by Alen MacWeeney in Dublin in 1963/5 are spontaneous images of Dublin and Dubliners in all areas of the city, a street odyssey reflecting a cross section of the people, their habits and behaviour, ten years before Ireland joined the European Union and the wider world. The text on facing pages is composed of social commentary gleaned from a posting of each of the book’s photographs on Dublin social media platform Down Memory Lane, eliciting a flood of 70,000 responses during 2020. These photographs of Dublin and Dubliners in 1963 have pertinent social and historical value as attested by their placement in numerous US Universities and museums.
The text offers a novel way of understanding and appreciating a full gamut of Dublin personalities through their reactions to the posting of these photographs during the current pandemic. The responses ranged from wonder and incredulity to heated derision, offset by the hilarity that characterize Dubliners. The richness of the commentary will be of interest to any Irish person curious to glimpse Dublin life in the ’60s and to gauge the reactions of Dubliners today. MacSweeney’s work partakes of the tradition of reportage by Walker Evans, Cartier Bresson, Robert Frank and Richard Avendon, to whom he was apprenticed in Paris during the late fifties.