Longford writer Adrian Duncan succumbs to bungalow bliss

Bungalow Bliss, first published in 1971, was a book of home designs that buyers could use to build themselves an affordable home.

It first appeared two years before Ireland joined the EEC as a self-published catalog by Jack Fitzsimons of his Kells Art Studios in County Meath.

He and his wife designed, collected and printed it locally.

Fitzsimons sold these books from his car to newsagents, gas garages and bookstores.

In thirty years, Fitzsimons has sold more than a quarter of a million copies of its catalog.

The first edition contained twenty drawings – the final edition contained two hundred and sixty.

This guide to how to build your own house has radically transformed housing in Ireland.

It gave a generation an option outside of emigration and housing lists.

Now, for the first time, author and structural engineer Adrian Duncan examines the cultural impact that Bungalow Bliss and accessible bungalow design have had on the housing market, the Irish landscape and on the individual families who have made these bungalows their home.

Little Republics: The Story of Bungalow Bliss by Ballymahon author Adrian Duncan is a reassessment of the Bungalow Bliss book and the tens of thousands of homes that grew out of it.

His first non-fiction work examines what these houses are: what they were made of, why they look the way they do, why they were so popular, why they were so hated, why they went out of fashion and what significance and value this aging housing stock has on the land today.

Little Republics: The Story of Bungalow Bliss is a 30,000 word essay, written for a general readership. The book has eight chapters with an appendix and there are over 80 color images and scans.

Adrian, who first trained as an engineer, is a visual artist and filmmaker.

Her acclaimed debut novel, Love Notes from a German Building Site, published by Lilliput and Head of Zeus in 2019, was shortlisted for the Dalkey Emerging Writer Award and won the first annual John McGahern Book Prize.

Her second novel, A Sabbatical in Leipzig, was published by Lilliput in 2020 and is forthcoming in the UK from Tuskar Rock Press (Profile Books).

It was shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award 2020.

His first collection of short stories, Midfield Dynamo, was published in 2021.

And he was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. More recently, his third novel, The Geometer Lobachevsky, was co-published by Lilliput Press in Ireland and by Tuskar Rock Press (Profile Books) in the UK in April 2022.

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