Dublin Bay

A guide to Dublin Bay

A guide to Dublin Bay by John Givens

Liffey press €20 ISBN 1 905 785087

The author is described as having executed essays on branding and communications strategy and digital design. The latter gives a clue to the nature and extent of the research on Dublin bay - it looks like a cursory trawl through the internet. The bay is described from a number of viewpoints which is an interesting technique but the data is shallow and the reader is none the wiser after reading the item. It might be suitable for an American “doing” Ireland in 48 hours. For example the Martello towers are treated in two pages with the mention of some in Cork Harbour. The chapter fails to capture any sense of the political and military atmosphere of the Napoleonic invasion scare much less the landings at Mayo and Bantry and the subsequent Shannon line of defence. Of course the James Joyce tower gets a sound-bite for the Americans passing quickly by. While three books are acknowledged as sources the writer omits any references for further research or investigation. I suppose that is the scribblers’ protection of their sources which seems to be such an excuse for sloppy research and lack of hard fact. Illustrations are clichéd and just succeed in breaking up the text. Measured against works like Vincent Capranis’s Dublin from the Dart this is shallow travelogue rushed together to fill a commercial opportunity. Liffey press must indeed be short of publishable material. Poor value at €20

reviewed by Eddie Bourke