LYNCH, Patricia. The Bookshop on the Quay. Illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. London:
Dent, 1956. First edition. pp. vi, 186. Green cloth, title in gilt on spine. A fine copy in priceclipped
pictorial dust jacket. Scarce. See illustration on previous page. €175
Patricia Lynch (1898-1972), children’s author, was born in Cork, her childhood memories began in her
scholarly grandfather’s tall, ramshackle house in the city, overlooking the Lee, where her lovely,
enigmatic mother tells her tales of Irish legend and of the roving father she does not remember, and
where she attends convent school, or plays truant, with dear Dinny, the washer-woman’s small son, and
gets lost, and is brought home by the tinkers. The family moved to London, she was educated there and
in Scotland and Belgium. Her first book won the Tailteann silver medal in 1932. She wrote over fifty
books which were translated into many European languages.
The story opens in the living-room of the Four Masters’ Bookshop on Ormond Quay in Dublin on an
autumn evening when the bookseller Eugene O’Clery, his wife Eilis, his schoolboy son Patrick, his
nine-year-old daughter Bridgie, with her beloved cat Mog and her rag-doll Migeen, together with the
O’Clery’s faithful old servant the widow Flanagan, are seated for high tea, reading books propped
against milk-jugs (the room is full of books) or staring out at the traffic by the Liffey, and at the people
haunched against the cold east wind blowing in from Dublin bay.
Into the setting, with the picturesque figure of Dean Swift and the misty spire of St. Patrick’s in the
background, comes the young hero of the story, Shane Madden, an orphan who has run away from his
home in the country in search of his dashing but unreliable hero, uncle Tom.