Cónal published his Second City Trilogy under the name Irishtown Press which demanded of me to ask the question. When I did ask, I learned.
Cork was originally a walled city based around North and South Main Streets. There were gates at either end with bridges over the river – North Gate Bridge (Griffith Bridge) and South Gate Bridge.
The native Irish were not permitted or able to reside within the walled city and so created a community outside – not too far away, but outside.
In Cork, the native Irish created an enclave close to Shandon. This place became known as Irishtown, the town of the Irish.
I knew of an Irishtown in Dublin, close to Ringsend. Logainm advises that there are 20 such places in the country.
This morning, I had a very pleasant couple of hours around Limerick. As well as seeing the location of the old wall of Irishtown, I discovered that there was also an Englishtown. Upto then, I had assumed that the walled town or city was called Dublin, Cork, Limerick or wherever and the outside area called Irishtown.
“Later, however, as the Anglo-Saxon influence began to make itself felt, the Normans themselves came under pressure and laws were enacted to inhibit their assimilation into the Gaelic way of life. The city was closed to the Irish and they were compelled to live outside the walls, on the site of the present Shandon and Blarney Streets in the north and French’s Quay and Barrack Street in the south. Even to this day some of the older residents refer to Blarney Street as ‘Irishtown’ “
Limerick’s Life does provide some interesting history on the bridge between Irishtown and Englishtown.
I repeat, it is a bad day when one does not learn something new.