Finglas author to release ebook ‘We lived in the Sky’

by Rose Barrett
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Remember the D11 Runners – the Dublin hit band of the 90s who hailed from South Finglas? 

Fronted by the twin Fitzgerald brothers, the late Joseph and his brother George, they were hot in their day! It was reckoned the band was the inspiration for Roddy Doyle’s hit book and film ‘The Commitments’ (1991). 

George, founder of D11 Runners will release a new documentary and audio book next week on Amazon titled  ‘We Lived in the Sky’. In fact, the author is also releasing ‘From Up in the Sky to Down on the Ground’ as an audiobook, a free-to-download ebook.

The book follows the lives of the Fitzgeralds as a new family, in a new flat, on the 10th floor, of the newly built tower of Ballymun in the mid-60s. George’s parents were in their twenties when they had George and Joseph.  “Da worked in L’Oreal, and we moved over from a room in Kimmage to the Towers in the ‘60s,” said George. “We stayed there till 1972 when we were moved to a new housing estate called Finglas South.

“What do I remember most about the Towers, which thankfully were since knocked down? I remember the dark stairwells, the broken escalators and the constant smell of urine that wafted up from the basement.

“The last lines in We Lived in the Sky, details our very first night in our new house, with our very own stairs, that nobody else could walk on but us.”

And Finglas South nurtured talent and creativity at every turn. “We were neighbourhood friends of the late Christy Dignam. The area produced Aslan, Brendan O’Carroll, Ronnie Whelan, Bono and so many more including Niamh Kavanagh (Eurovision Song Contest winner 2008) and of course, D11 Runners,” said George.

The brothers too were renowned boxers in their youth – and went on to win Dublin, Leinster and national titles. One year, the twin brothers won their bouts in separate sections, and ended up facing each other in the final. “Our parents didn’t want us to fight so we tossed for it, as I guessed correctly, I was recorded as the victor for Glasnevin BC. It was the same for the Caruth brothers, who boxed for Greenhills BC. I can’t remember if the Sutcliffe brothers had to do the same but I still have the newspaper clipping showing my win and Michael Carruth’s! Phil Sutcliffe by the way, is Conor McGregor’s trainer.

And the brothers shared music interests too, and went on to form D11 Runners, with both their wives Sandra (sax player) and Joe’s wife Jackie also playing with the band, along with a younger brother, Pat also joining.

D11 Runners, managed by a young Louis Walsh, suddenly became household names in Dublin. “We packed venues,” said George. “At the National Concert Hall, the Point Depot, at the biggest ever Lark in the Park, the Baggot Inn and the National Stadium.  We played with Aslan, Brush Shiels, Something Happens, The Cranberries, Brian Kennedy and Don Baker.  We even toured with Technotronics, Pump up the Jam national tour, also Bad Manners and The Specials who were huge in the UK.

“We were on the cusp of a big break, with two releases in the Top 20, and a Top 10 hit.  Eight record companies were interested. But after several heady years on the circuit, like our fictional counterparts, we just fizzled out,” said George. “The next big band to follow was Boyzone!”

Sadly Joe “a brilliant vocalist” passed away in 2012 from Motor Neurone disease.

A plasterer by trade, George and Sandra 

 Paper clipping recording George and Michael Caruth’s boxing win as decided by the toss of a coin.jpg

lived in Tyrellstown for a few years before moving back to Finglas, where they now live with their two sons, Daniel and Nathan. George continued to create after the band folded; he worked in Phoenix Radio, presenting ‘Motivational Journeys’, cataloguing community stories and successes.

“Sandra and I are now heavily involved in writing books and documentaries,” noted George. “She is my subeditor, and we make a good team!”

The highly published Ashley Brown series was another of George’s successes. His ebooks to be released over the coming week document the challenges of living in The Towers which were hailed as the housing solution for Dublin’s poor. We Lived in the Sky along with From Up in the Sky to Down on the Ground – available soon on Amazon. See also YouTube

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