By Pat Boran

The Invisible Prison

Poet Pat Boran’s best-selling humorous memoir of growing up in 1970s midlands Ireland.
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Memoir, Prose


Subtitled Scenes from an Irish Childhood, Pat Boran’s bestselling prose memoir is an evocative and humorous portrait of small-town Ireland in the late 1960s and early 70s, made up of short self-contained scenes which combine to form a unique record of a time and a convincing portrait of a young mind coming to terms with the limits of received wisdom. Part memoir, part social history, part meditation on community itself, The Invisible Prison is, most of all, a celebration of the freedom, innocence and joys of childhood.

“Gentle… affectionate… good-humoured… heart-breaking…” — The Irish Times

“He writes with a poet’s sensibility… Each individual chapter feels like a short story in itself.” — Peter Sheridan, Books of the Year, Liveline, RTÉ Radio 1

“Resolutely amusing and emotionally resonant, Boran’s memoir captures all the excitement and natural curiosity of childhood… ” — Sunday Business Post

“Pat Boran’s autobiography, The Invisible Prison, makes the cut for its beautiful, poetic script reminding us what the essence of childhood is all about” — Des Kenny, Books of the Year, Sunday Independent

ISBN 978 1 906614 15 7 Paperback
Also available in Hardback
140 x 216 mm, 262 pp
Nov 2009, reissued 2018

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About The Author


PAT BORAN was born in Portlaoise, in the Irish midlands, and has long since lived in Dublin. He has held a number of posts as Writer-in-Residence with libraries and third-level institutions. He has published more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, most recently Then Again (2019), Waveforms: Bull Island Haiku (2016) with photographs by the author. A Man Is Only As Good: A Pocket Selected Poems appeared in 2017. Editions of his poetry have been published in Italian, Hungarian and Macedonian, with a selection issued in Portuguese in 2018, translated by Francisco José Craveiro de Carvalho. Pat Boran's non-fiction includes the popular writers' handbook The Portable Creative Writing Workshop (various editions) and A Short History of Dublin. His memoir The Invisible Prison: Scenes from an Irish Childhood, was published to considerable acclaim in 2009. A former editor of Poetry Ireland Review and a former presenter of The Poetry Programme and The Enchanted Way on RTÉ Radio 1, Pat Boran has edited numerous anthologies, among them Wingspan: A Dedalus Sampler (2006), Flowing, Still: Irish Poets on Irish Poetry (2009), The Bee-Loud Glade (2009), Shine On: Irish writers supporting those affected by mental ill health (2011), the 2014 Dublin One City, One Book choice If Ever You Go: A Map of Dublin in Poetry and Song (co-editor Gerard Smyth) and, with co-editor Eugene O'Connell, The Deep Heart's Core: Irish Poets Revisit a Touchstone Poem (2017). His distinctions include The Patrick Kavanagh Award in 1989 and the US-based Lawrence O'Shaughnessy Poetry Award in 2008. He is a member of Aosdána, the Irish affiliation of creative artists. (See also