Dec 11 2019

The Tolka…

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Young boys swimming in the Tolka River near where Lemon’s Sweet Factory used to be in Drumcondra.

Dec 11 2019

‘Waiting on the 22a…’

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‘I remember a boy in my class from town named Noel Grace and he used to travel by bus from town to Finbar’s School. HIs Granny had a stall in Moore Street. We all thought he was very posh because he had to get a bus to school. He sat in the desk nearest the classroom door…’

Dec 01 2019

‘The Addison Lodge…’

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The Addison Lodge is no more, it’s recently been demolished. It’s here that I held most of my book launches and all of my Cabra Reunion Nights…’

Nov 29 2019

‘A Cabra West Wedding in 1970…’

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Nov 26 2019

“The Catechism…”

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‘I used to love my Catechism when I was a young fella, I always felt real holy when I’d have it in my hands. “Who made the world”, I used to love it when the Nun would ask us that question because I knew the answer off by heart. There were so many questions and answers we had to learn for our First Holy Communion. And I remember the Nun giving us a little bit of an ice cream wafer and telling us to pretend it was Holy Communion. I got a clatter off her because I asked her did it have some of Jesus blood in it. There were two classes of boys making their First Holy Communion and we had to go into their classroom and stand around the wall because there was no room at any of the desks for us to sit down. My little legs used to be killing me from all the standing because one of them was broken when I was knocked down by a car at four years years of age. We used to get crayons and colour in the pictures in the Catechism and I remember my pal who was sitting beside me in the desk giving Baby Jesus red hair.
I always remember the Da’ use to bring home brown paper from work and we’d spend the whole time after our tea covering our school books with it. And because there were so many of us kids in the family some of us had wallpaper to cover our books with. We’d have to borrow the Ma’s good scissors from her sewing box to cut the paper with and she’d always get the Da’ to sharpen it with a file from out of his shed when we were finished. We used to use wet soap to stick the paper on the books, we didn’t have any glue but the Da’ had a small bottle of “Gum” that he used for sticking postage stamps with, the stamps that arrived on Christmas Cards that hadn’t a Post Office mark on them. We used to put any left over brown paper on our school copies as well. You’d be real chuffed the next day in school and you taking out your school book with the brand new brown paper on it.
I used to draw an Angel on the brown paper on the front of my Catechism and it would take me ages because I wanted it to look special for God. And I remember the Nun told us one time that if we were good Catholics there’d always be a Priest nearby if we were knocked down by a bus and we were dying. So after that, if I ever saw a Priest while I was out and about I’d never cross the road in case I was hit by a bus. Now I have to tell you that there was no Priest around when I was knocked down at four years of age but maybe that’s because my brother Noel was bringing me with him and his gang to rob an orchard.
I couldn’t wait to make my First Holy Communion because I knew once I did that I’d go straight to Heaven if I died. Every night I used to lie in my bed, next to my two brothers, praying to Holy God to let me see what Heaven was like, I nearly went religious mad at that young age. But I still love looking through the copy of the original Catechism that I have and think of all the stories of when I was a young fella…’

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