It’s 18 months now since we moved house to Hollybank Road in Dublin, and soon afterwards one of our neighbours who’s lived on the street all her life told me that the house was the birthplace of the writer John D Sheridan.
He wasn’t an author I was aware of. Though, that’s not helped by what my friends describe as my phobia towards reading Irish writers of any kind (but that’s for another day). So, I started a little investigating.
My dad knew the work of Sheridan through his columns in the Irish Independent. He also thought that there might be a Sheridan book somewhere amongst the collection built up by my grandfather (more on that at a later date).
An initial review of Wikipedia gave very little away at all:
John Desmond Sheridan (1903–1980) was an Irish novelist, short story writer, and humourist. He was a frequent contributor to the Irish Independent newspaper. In addition to his novels and essays, he also published several books of poetry, and authored a biography of poet James Clarence Mangan in 1937.
Sheridan released several short stories. Most of his stories are of a humorous nature and are often about his phobias or pet hates. Sheridan also wrote short pieces of poetry which were used by elocution teachers.
The Wikipedia entry gave direction to the entry for Sheridan in the Irish Writers Online Concise Dictionary of Irish Writers. True to their word, the entry confirmed a birth in 1903 and death in 1980 (May, according to this ), but also included a listing of publications categorised as novels, a biography, and humorous work.
The only reference I can find to his birth or upbringing on Hollybank Road was from an Irish Times article online, Home is where the fiction is, which is undated as far as I can make out. As part of a series called “City of Words – Dublin and its writers”, the article had this short reference to Sheridan:
Walking Drumcondra Road, I think of Anthony Cronin’s great poem for his father set there, and of Patrick Kavanagh in a bedsit, waiting for John Betjeman to collect him during the second World War. Passing Hollybank Road, I recall John D Sheridan, who died writing an essay remembering his childhood there.
I seem to remember finding out somewhere that Sheridan died while living in Dalkey, but he was buried back closer to his home place in Glasnevin Cemetery (both to be confirmed when I can find my original notes).
I’m going to write more about John D Sheridan here as I find out more. As one particular website that makes reference to one of his books comments, there’s very little available online about the man. As a successor of his living in his old house in Dublin 9, I’d like to find out more about him so I”ll gather as much information together here as I can in the coming months.