Jul 05 2014

Granny Burke from Broombridge…

Published by at 7:01 am under News

Ah the poor oul Granny, what did she ever do to deserve all us Coffey’s as her grandchildren and especially us boys? You see, my Granny was put into an orphanage when she was just a little girl, even though her Mammy and Daddy were still alive and her only surviving brother was put into Artane when he was only eight years old. They were cruel times back then when my Granny was a little one. She was an oul Dubliner at heart even though she was reared by the nuns down in the country in Tipperary. Now I have to tell yeah that she didn’t have it easy with them nuns. Sure didn’t she lose the sight in one of her eyes after falling over the bannisters in ‘The Home’? Her Ma’ and Da’ lived in the Monto in Dublin and their little baby boy died in a fire in their tenement house. That’s why my Granny ended up with the nuns. When she was growing up and wanted to dance at the crossroads in Tipp’ the oul Parish Priest would arrive out with a blackthorn stick and he’d be spittin’ and cursing at them for wanting to do ‘Unholy Things’. For God’s sake all they wanted to do was enjoy having a bit of craic. I think the priest wanted to be doing the unholy things, well that’s what my own Ma’ used to say anyway.
Now the Granny eventually arrived back in Dublin where she met up with her mother, the Da’ had died without ever seeing her again. She married my Granddad Burke in Our Ladies of Lourdes church in Sean McDermot Street and they lived happily ever after. In 1951 she was widowed and offered a house in Cabra West, ‘All the way out in the country again’ is what she said at the time. You see my own Ma’ and Da’ had already moved out and she wanted to be near them. I wonder how she would have felt back then if she had known that there were 15 Coffey’s waiting down the line to arrive on her door-step.
Now I remember my Granny as a very strict woman and I suppose she got this from being in the orphanage and she didn’t seem to like us boys at all. Maybe that’s because of the oul priest in Tipperary. Anyway some of my older brothers used to go up to her house and torment her something terrible. One day she came charging down Killala Road after two of them and ended up being locked inside our chicken run out in the back garden. Another time we had a seat out of a car in our house that we used as an armchair. Now one day when the Granny was sitting at our table talking away to the Mammy I was sitting on the car seat and caught my two hands underneath the metal frame of the thing. There I was roaring crying and too stupid to lean forward and release my hand when in mid-sentence Granny leaned over and gave me a belt on the back of the head. Well meself and the oul car seat went flying across the fireplace and that’s how she solved most problems with us Coffey’s.
Now the poor oul Granny eventually died in 1964 without me ever having a chance to get to know her as a person. From all accounts it seems that inside she was a very gentle woman with a great big heart of gold. What a pity I never got to know her like that. She had a hard oul life and none too easy with all us Coffey lads tormenting her. But do you know what it is, I’d love to be able to give her a great big hug and not be afraid of getting a belt from her. She’s up there now in ‘Granny Heaven’ next door to the Ma’ and Da’. I bet she’s probably gummin’ for some spare ribs out of the butcher’s shop in Moore Street, she loved them of a Saturday night with a glass of stout you know. To all you out there who have good memories of your granny, treasure them and pass them on to your children and grandchildren…

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