Brendan’s gathering of stories have been passed from generation to generation and include stories that give his home city its unique character.
They range from the strange to the profound, from the tragic to the festive, from season to season and age to age.
But, most of all they are about Dubliners and their city, every one, told by a Dublin storyteller.
Dublin Folk Tales is published by the History Press.
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The Pigwoman of Dublin
Why do Dubliners call the Steven’s family bequest the butcher’s hospital and why do they insist to this day that founder Griselda Stevens was born with the head of a pig?
Sack em ups
In Dublin long ago you were not safe in your grave when grave robbers were afoot. Then, irate citizens took a hand in minding the dead, with surprising consequences.
A young boy sees long-ago warriors pass his suburban home, a girl grows faint on nearing a green field and a businessman sees shadows flit in daylight trees. Why?
Two Mammies and a Pope
Two Dublin matrons greet the Pope when he comes to Dublin to see them and a million others. Naturally, they attempt to visit him on their package holiday to Italy. No.
Once upon a time in Dublin it cost a ha’penny each to cross Ha’penny Bridge. Then a pair of travelling tinsmiths came up with their own solution.
Billy the Bowl
A legless young man with a charming smile beguiles maid servants on their way into town from Meath. But people are being killed on the road and suspicion turns to the charmer.
Matt Talbot’s bed
Everyone admires endeavour wherever it is to be found. But when a man runs out of wood for relics of Matt Talbot on Rutland Street Upper he turns to a fraught solution.
A martyred bishop becomes a ghost and celebrates a mass in a city cemetery where the faithful flock to see his spirit. He lies there still, beside a busy Dublin, but is quiet, for now.
Sheridan Le Fanu Ghosts of Chapelizod
Before Dracula is born of a Dublin writer, a young boy plays in Phoenix Park at Chapelizod. The man, Sheridan Le Fanu writes ghost stories centered on the graveyard.
Rev Jackson dead in the dock for a day
Bad enough that a defendant’s head is seen to be on fire in court; but the presiding judge tries to sentence him to death, until he is told the man is now dead by his own hand. Dead.
The bones of St Valentine may be blessed with bi-location,by being in Dublin and Glasgow. But what happens when a suitor arrives in the wrong house with a proposal?
Molly Malone may have been two women born centuries apart, or none at all, and anyway, Dubliners sing her praises at the drop of a glass, whoever she was.
Wakes and phantom coachmen
Dubliners stay indoors when hooves sound outside a death house. But one suitor calls on the new widow, too soon, and departs in the night.
A boy loses a new shoe to the river Liffey. Undeterred, he and his pals tramp to the shoemaker seeking a free replacement. The cobbler is not amused.
Bang Bang roams the streets of Dublin with a large key shooting anyone who catches his eye, and most people obligingly fire back.
Robbing the guests
In passing the night in a strange bed you do not expect to wake up with less than you had when you went to sleep. But then a guest pays with a cheque, to redress the balance.
A bald man has a few drinks too many and finds himself in a barber’s chair in a window in night-time Temple Bar while his barber friend conducts a haircut on his wig.
Cash-strapped Dubliners who cannot afford a honeymoon stay indoors for a week. Neighbours separate them when they attack one another with new matching hatchets.
A gang of teenagers commit the perfect crime when they stick-up the television rental collection man. But things take a turn for the worse when they reach their hideaway.
A black pig prowls the streets of Dublin attacking unaccompanied women until a visiting blacksmith is mistaken for a woman walking on her own one wild and windswept night.
The spirit of a faithful dog lingers on past its own demise to remind us of its heroic master drownded trying to save crewmen from a sea storm in County Dublin.
A tall man from Nottingham tells locals, before he is hanged in Dublin, that he is Little John of Sherwood. Is he buried in two countries; is he a liar; or just a great shot with a longbow?
Tragedy on Ireland’s Eye
On Ireland’s Eye, a bathing wife turns up dead in the water, and her husband is charged with murder
Dead cat bounce
A man cycles to place a bet on three sure-fire winners with a dead cat on his lap. Should you accept a deceased feline from a neighbour? And how many lives can one cat have?
Phoenix Park North Strand bombing
Irish budgies could beat German bomber pilots at their own game, according to some Dubliners after the North Strand and Phoenix Park is bombed from the air.
Marsh’s Library and the runaway teenager
A ghost wanders around a library seeking an elopment note from his niece in a book left there before she suddenly departs for romance, and more, with a vicar in Castleknock.
A baker takes sympathy on a man who takes fits in his shop by slipping some money into his pocket, but soon runs out of dough and interest.
A bedridden woman of many years arises from her bed to chase a hapless coalman’s apprentice when he empties coal on top of her in a dark tenement room. A miracle.
Lugs Brannigan, the city’s most famous detective, offers wrongdoers a choice of a private boxing bout with him, or, an appearance in court.
On Christmas Eve thieves try to rob a post office when all of its funds are disbursed. Instead, they eat cake and drink from bottles until the woman of the house discovers them.
The devil himself came to the Hellfire Club in the mountains above Dublin as everyone knows, but why? And is he there still?