Sean Deegan is the founder of In The Shadow of Croker, a fascinating tour of Ballybough that unveils the history of the area that many might have been oblivious to.
From pirates to kings to Irish rebellion legends, this area is teeming with intriguing stories and tales and allows guests to experience the area as more than just the neighbourhood in which they can find Croke Park.
While the stories you hear are nothing short of surprising and thought-provoking, what makes these tours extra special is the sheer passion that exudes from guide Sean, who grew up around the area and has a clear love for the neighbourhood he calls home.
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Standing outside the National Handball Centre on an unsuspecting Sackville Avenue, Sean shows us pictures of where we are, depicting how it looked in the past.
Walking past abandoned flats and gated patches overgrown with grass, you wouldn’t even think that you’re passing a former piggery. In fact, given the area’s central location which is merely a stone’s throw from O’Connell Street, you wouldn’t dream of it ever being home to farm animals, which it indeed was at one stage.
Once Sean told us that, it led us onto a captivating journey back through the years.
Speaking about his tours, Sean told Dublin Live: “The history in this area is fantastic, from Brian Boru to the Jewish Cemetery [and] famous footballers such as Patrick O’Connell, who was the first Irishman to captain Manchester United.
“Nearly all the people who were involved in the 1916 Rising, Tom Clarke, Cathleen Clarke, they all lived in this area. A lot of people who were executed in 1916, those people were based here.”
He added: “It’s also a social history of the area, explaining the names of the streets.”
Sean is perhaps one of the most insightful tour guides in Dublin with a personal attachment to the street and locations he tells guests about. Sean’s love for the area is evident as he passionately paints a picture of the Ballybough of yesterday.
In The Shadow of Croker can be booked through Sean’s social media accounts, @intheshadowofcroker on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sean also has a website through which you can book.
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