A Young Woman’s Tale in the Heart of Dublin

Maura Rooney Hitzenbühlerthe-lane

In the repressive Fifties, an outsider in an impoverished, tightly knit Dublin community defies the odds to live her dream of independence
Until very recently, if a woman became pregnant out of marriage in Ireland, her future was grim. The child was usually taken away, often sold to America; the woman was incarcerated in a convent, one of the infamous “laundries,” and everything was swept under the carpet. Young, pregnant and alone, the unlikely heroine of The Lane devises a remarkable strategy and employs a fair amount of courage to take a different path. Not only does Kate sidestep scandal, she manages to keep her child and support them both, feats unheard of in Ireland of the day.
The place is as important as the story. Tucked behind major roads, rows of squat cottages were built to house workers in the very heart of Dublin. What these neighborhoods lacked in amenities they made up for in fraternity. Our girl Kate, now the mysterious wife of an absent husband, becomes ensconced in the Redmond Cottages (a real place that has since been demolished) on the lane off Bath Avenue (a road that has survived.) Her nurse’s training and her small son endear her to the close clan on the lane, including a reclusive old man, who shares his own secrets with this brave young woman. It seems all the characters in The Lane go to extraordinary lengths to fit into Irish society. But, more astonishing, they go even farther for love.
In the tradition of Maeve Binchy, The Lane paints a clear and poignant picture of Dublin in the Fifties— its people, their hardships and their humor. The Lane draws a sharp line under the restrictions on Irish women and shows how one woman prevailed.
Maura Rooney Hitzenbühler was born in New York, the fourth of seven children of Irish immigrants. When her mother died in childbirth, Maura, only four years old, and her brothers were sent to Ireland and England, farmed out to relatives, never to be a family again. The Lane is based on her memory of the forgotten places and insular society of Dublin in the Fifties.
On returning to America, Maura became a writer and traveled extensively through Asia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. A frequent visitor to Ireland, Maura lives and writes on Cape Cod.
The Lane: A Young Woman’s Tale in the Heart of Dublin
Maura Rooney Hitzenbühler
Paper, 300 pages