Artful characters

Dublin street personalities of the past. Images by Rory Campbell

Do you remember the guy who used to camp down at Sandymount Strand that locals called ‘Moses’?

Did you ever speak to the man or ever find out his background? Or how about the man who used to live down in Ringsend Dump and travelled through Sandymount and Donnybrook with his bike, draped with items people had thrown away and creating so much noise as he went due to the wheels not bearing any tyres.

Or any other ‘street personality ‘ for that matter, walking the streets of Dublin who was part of its fabric but perhaps you never stopped to find out more as you went about your day.
A book released two years ago called Walking-Class Heroes? Dublin’s Remarkable Street Personalities, 1955-2015 recalls these characters to our consciousness and is proving to be a very successful venture for its author Rory Campbell. Campbell self-published the book under his imprint Killiney Hill Press and told NewsFour that local book shops, and the National Gallery shop, are re-ordering from him – in some cases up to their eighth batch.

Campbell’s artistic endeavours in the past have allowed him to investigate other cultures and traditions throughout Europe through the Arts Council. He has held painting exhibitions both here and the UK and was a regular contributor for his cartoons, illustrations, graphic design images and written material in national and international journals. The book also found itself in the hands of Vincent Browne recently when TD Pat Carey presented it to him at his television farewell.
The project, according to Campbell, has been ongoing for 14 years on and off and he says he released the book, which covers 1955 to 2015, in a niche 60th year celebration of these enigmatic individuals. Alongside the description of these characters, Campbell fills up the opposite page with a portrait of the character. Campbell generously explains his method of how he did his sketches at the rear of the book as a final note to the reader, like a tradesman passing his knowledge on to an apprentice.

Walking Class Heroes? by Rory Campbell €30.00.

By Paul Carton