A local guide shares the fascinating history of Ballybough, from kings to pirates

Sean Deegan is the founder of In The Shadow of Croker, a fascinating tour of Ballybough that uncovers the area’s history that many might have overlooked.

From pirates to kings to legends of the Irish rebellion, this area is filled with intriguing stories and tales and allows guests to experience the area as more than just the neighborhood in which they can find Croke Park.

While the stories you hear are nothing short of surprising and thought-provoking, what makes these tours even more special is the passion that radiates from guide Sean, who grew up in the area and has a obvious love for the neighborhood he calls home.

Sean Degan

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Standing outside the National Handball Center on an unsuspecting Sackville avenue, Sean shows us photos of where we are, illustrating what it looked like in the past.

Sean Deegan during his In The Shadow Of Croker tour of Ballybough showing a man in a green jacket photos and posters on a brick wall
Sean Deegan on his In The Shadow Of Croker tour of Ballybough

As you pass abandoned apartments and gated plots overgrown with grass, you wouldn’t even think you were passing an old pigsty. In fact, given the central location of the area which is only a stone’s throw from O’Connell Street, you wouldn’t dream of it being home to farm animals, which it indeed was at some time.

Once Sean told us that, it took us on a captivating journey through the years.

Speaking of his tours, Sean told Dublin Live: “The history of 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.

“Almost everyone involved in the 1916 uprising, Tom Clarke, Cathleen Clarke, all lived in this area. A lot of people who were executed in 1916, those people were based here.”

Sean Deegan on his In The Shadow Of Croker tour of Ballybough holding paper with writings and photos of the area
Sean Deegan on his In The Shadow Of Croker tour of Ballybough

He added: “It’s also a social history of the neighborhood, explaining the street names.”

Sean is perhaps one of Dublin’s most insightful tour guides with a personal attachment to the street and the places he tells guests about. Sean’s love for the region is evident as he passionately paints the Ballybough of yesterday.

In The Shadow of Croker can be reserved through Sean’s social media accounts, @intheshadowofcroker on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Sean also has a website where you can book.

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