Hidden City

My non-fiction book, Hidden City: Adventures and Explorations in Dublin, is available in paperback from Penguin in the UK and Ireland. (Buy it from Amazon.co.uk)

It was published in hardback by Penguin Ireland in September 2014.

​It’s available in Polish as Dublin: Miasto nieodkryte (translated by Władysław Jeżewski, published by Wydawnictwo Magnum).



​Colm Tóibín’s review for the Guardian called Hidden City an ‘ingenious and affectionate book about Dublin’. Tóibín writes that, rather than peddling cliches about the city, ‘Whitney’s interest is in creating a map of the places that have become the real Dublin for most Dubliners’. He continues:

It would be great then if the Americans and the Germans who come to Dublin in large numbers, and claim to love the city, had Whitney’s book in hand rather than, say, Ulysses, or some official guide book, and began to pay attention to the city’s underground rivers and its great unfinished estates, not to speak of the strange bus routes and the many holes in the ground, the hidden and essential life of Dublin.

​The Guardian Review of 27th September 2014, in which Tóibín’s review was printed, chose Hidden City as its book of the week.

Neil Hegarty, reviewing Hidden City in the Daily Telegraph, awarded it five stars and called it a ‘marvellous book’. The Telegraph has since named it as one of the books of the year so far.

​Molly McCloskey reviewed the book for the Irish Times, calling it ‘an idiosyncratic and surprisingly nostalgic homage to a sometimes filthy, always flawed, deeply lovable city’.

​Ed Power, reviewing the book for the Irish Independent, awarded it four stars, saying ‘the capital has cried out for a book like this’, and called it ‘a fascinating travelogue that will make you look at Dublin with fresh eyes’.

​In another review in the Irish Independent, Paul Melia called the book ‘a wry look at the city which throws up many surprises’.

​Anthony Glavin’s review in the Sunday Times (Ireland) said ‘this captivating urban tale has soul, scholarship and insights aplenty’.

​Kevin Power’s review in the Sunday Business Post called Hidden City ‘warm, charming, sharp and informative… brilliant’.

‘Discover parts of Dublin you never knew with a copy of Karl Whitney’s superb Hidden City’ – Dermot Bolger, The Herald.

​John Gibney reviewed Hidden City for Books Ireland magazine: ‘it is hard not to read Whitney’s impressive debut without feeling an urge to take a cue from his observant curiosity by exploring Dublin—or anywhere else—with a similar eye’.

​Liam Heneghan mentions Hidden City in his Aeon article about allokataplixis (‘heightened and delighted attention to the ordinary, which manifests in someone new to a place’): ‘Not since Leopold Bloom defecates so leisurely in an early chapter of Ulysses has urban excrement been so vividly described.’ High praise indeed!

The 2020 Lonely Planet guide to Dublin called Hidden City ‘a stunning exploration of the city’s hidden nooks and crevices’.

Extracts, articles and interviews

Read an extract, on the weird world of Dublin’s sewage, and watch a video of me discussing the book and climbing into a sewer – both from the Irish Times.

​I wrote about my visits to all of James Joyce’s Dublin homes in a single day for the Guardian.

I wrote about my research into underground rivers and sewage for the Herald.

​Kevin Breathnach interviewed me for Totally Dublin magazine – we discussed some of the writers who influenced Hidden City.

​‘I basically write non-fiction to get out of the office’ – my interview with RTE TEN about Hidden City.

​I accompanied the RTE Book Show’s Regan Hutchins around Tallaght – we discussed Hidden City, suburban landscapes and psychogeography. (From 13:30)

Listen to me discussing the book with John Murray on RTE Radio One.

I talked about my home city of Dublin to Robert Hull in the Guardian Travel section.

I wrote about Dublin for the Sunday Express.

I discussed my writing methods for Writing.ie.

​I took part in an Irish History Reddit AMA about Hidden City.


About the book

​Dublin is a city much visited and deeply mythologized. In Hidden City, Karl Whitney explores the places the city’s denizens and tourists easily overlook. Whitney finds hidden places and untold stories in underground rivers of the Liberties, on the derelict sites once earmarked for skyscrapers in Ballsbridge, in the twenty Dublin homes once inhabited by Joyce, and on the beach at Loughshinny, where he watches raw sewage being pumped into the shallows of the Irish Sea. Hidden City shows us a Dublin – or a collection of Dublins – that we’ve never seen before, a city hiding in plain sight.

​Order at Amazon.co.uk or the Book Depository. Available in ebook format from Amazon or Kobo.

​Follow me on Twitter @karlwhitney or on my Facebook page.

Find out more about me.