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These islands

Dublin's Parnell Street was derelict before the Africans began to move in, in the mid-1990s. Now the Asians have replaced them and we have a minister for integration

By Colin Murphy   December 2007

“Them days was before the Africans came to Parnell Street”—so the character Janet introduces her story of life in Dublin in the early 1990s in Sebastian Barry’s new play, The Pride of Parnell Street.

Them days was before I came to Parnell Street too. The street is one of the main axes of north inner-city Dublin but, before the Africans came, it had become a byword for dereliction. In 2003, after three years living in southern Africa, I moved into a flat around the corner from Parnell Street, on Mountjoy Square.

This grandly proportioned square saw its heyday in Georgian…

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