Feb 12 2011

Published by at 2:50 am under News

(Click on photo to enlarge)

This is a very early aerial photograph of the School for Deaf Boys in Cabra West. The local people always referred to it as ‘The Deaf & Dumb’. This name in no way showed disrespect for any of the pupils or staff from the school. Before the Church of the Precious Blood was built on Fassaugh Avenue many families from the area attended Mass in the small chapel in this school. When my older sister was getting married my father managed to borrow some long wooden benches from the school. He used them for seating arrangements in our backyard. I remember one time in particular when a young boy from Lower Killala Road was killed by a cattle truck after he had jumped off the wall of the Deaf and Dumb and ran straight out under the back wheels of the truck. The boy was looking back to see where my brother was who had helped him rob some rhubarb from the school. The young boy never saw the truck and the driver never realised what had happened until the Garda managed to track him down and told him of the incident. The Precious Blood church was packed with mourners and people from the area. The poor boy’s mother had to be carried out of her house to the funeral. As young boys we never had a reason to go beyond the walls of this institution other than to steal apples or rhubarb. There was a woman who lived in the gate lodge on Rathoath Road that we knew as ‘Mad Mary’.  Most times as you passed by her gate she had a Jack Russell dog that would nip at your heels while Mary tried to grab your hair. As young children we lived in terror of this woman. In my young days I never knew of anyone living in the area who worked in the school or had any dealings with it on a daily basis. I know that in the 1970s/80s a swimming pool built on the grounds of the school was opened to the public. It was then out of bounds to the public after the cost of building the pool was paid off. One time some of the people living in the Annamoe area  were issued with small cards from the school explaining how to sign ‘Hello’ to the boys as they passed through their neighbourhood on their way to the city centre. I’d be very interested in hearing from anyone from the Cabra area who may have worked in the school. In the above photograph, the field of sheep is where present day Lower Killala Road and part of Dingle Road  is situated. Anybody got any comments on the photo?

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