Sep 22 2017

‘Would you ever know all the same?…’

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The Bed

I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old and the Ma’ brought me into town on the bus, into Temple Street hospital and on the way we stopped in to the Pawn Shop in Dorset Street with a few shirts and a waistcoat belonging to the Da’. Anyway, after we were finished all our business and that the Ma’ says “Come on and we go down and visit me Aunt Kitty“. Now, this woman wasn’t in anyway related to us at all, she was an old friend of the family going back years that the Ma’ always referred to as her aunt. Aunt Kitty lived up in the top flat in a tenement house on Summerhill. Oh I hated having to walk up all of them stairs but the Ma’ used to say, if you count them going up there’ll be less coming down. Now the room that Kitty lived in wasn’t very clean or that, she didn’t have much in it, just a single bed that was all stained and damp, a big Po under the bed that was half full, an oul armchair with all the red horse-hair sticking out of it, an old sideboard with a Statue of the Blessed Virgin and the Sacred Heart Picture beside it. And of course a packet of Woodbine cigarettes. I used to stand looking out the window while the Ma’ talked to Kitty. And then one time in particular I heard the Ma’ say to Kitty “What do you mean, my Granny was in prison“? Now, years later I asked the Ma’ about that comment and she said that old Kitty must have been hallucinating at the time, because her Granny was never in prison.  So in recent times I was reading through some old newspapers and came across a murder case that had happened in Dublin a very long time ago. As I was looking at the names of the people involved in the murder I came across my mother’s Granny being mentioned. And murder it was alright, involving two members of my family and one of them being a Madam in the Monto. Some poor unfortunate fella was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. Anyway, I eventually managed to research all of the background to the story, along with original Prison Records, Arrest Records and the like and decided to publish it all in my latest book, “Murder in the Monto”. Would you ever know all the same?

Monto Murder Book 2017

Sep 04 2017

‘When I was a little boy’…Ray Hawkins

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This is Ray Hawkins who is home on holiday all the way from Australia. He’s nearly fifty years living “Down Under”. And here he is up along the canal in Cabra West remembering all the fish he nearly caught in the Naller all those years ago when he was a Young Fella.

‘Lonely I wander through days of my childhood
They bring back to memory days on the canal
Fishing and diving and robbing the orchard
I was the Lone Ranger and Tonto my pal.

The roads where the children played games all together
Swings on the lamp-post and Kicking-The-Can
Cowboys and Indians we’d seen on the Pictures
And every Sunday we’d go to the Grand

Lonely the house now where I lived with my Granny
Nobody calling to come in for my Tea
Gone are the neighbours and all of my school friends
Everything’s changed now there’s nothing to see

The ghosts of my childhood are still with me however
Down memory lane I now walk with each one
The Baths and the Silverspoon and a swim in the Tolka
Those were the days when worries I’d none.

So lonely I wander through days of my childhood
Some sad and some happy but great memories too
I’m grateful for all that I have been blessed with
My wife and my family and each one of you…’

Sep 04 2017

‘Old habits die hard…’

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‘Still picking “Blackers” along the Royal Canal, can’t resist them at all. “I come up here every year and pick them, been doing it since I was a little fella. I shoulda brought a Jam Jar with me. The Da’ used to bring me up here on the cross-bar of his bike of a Sunday. Then we’d take them home to the Ma. Sure they’re free and they’re good for yeah”

Sep 01 2017

‘Tea and Milk…’

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‘Now if I had a half a crown for every time a cup of tea was made in our house years ago I’d be living on Millionaire’s Row in Castleknock . When we had the original old cast-iron fireplace in the kitchen the Ma’ always kept a pot of water on the hob, just in case of visitors. “Ma’, me Granny’s comin’ down the road”.Quick , get that pot off a the hob and make a pot of tea“. And in an instant there it was, a fresh pot of tea waiting to be poured and Granny hadn’t even got her coat off. You wouldn’t get that service in Woolworth’s Café. And poor oul Granny sitting beside the fire and she spitting out her false teeth into a hanky and shoving them into her handbag. “Them bloody teeth are after killin’ me coming down that road. Every time I took a step they were digging into me gums. They don’t fit me right” says she, as she rubs her gums with  a blob of Margarine out of our butter dish. “A fresh cup of tea will fix that” says the Ma’. And so it does in the same way that the cup of tea fixes everything else in this country. Sure if those politician up in the Dail drank more tea should the country would be a grand place to live in altogether…’

Sep 01 2017

‘The Fire…’

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Bedroom Fireplace gs 026 (1)

“Ma’, can we light the fire in our bedroom ’cause we’re freezing”? “No you can’t, put another coat on the bed and youse’ll be grand”.

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