Mar 20 2019

‘The Pictures of a Sunday…’

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‘Do you ever remember going to the Pictures of a Sunday after your dinner? There was always at least six of us Coffey kids sent off to the Cabra Grand every Sunday. I remember the Ma’ and Da’ waving us off and they both with big smiles on their faces, glad to get rid of us for a couple of hours or so. The excitement was great altogether as we met up with all our little pals who were heading in the same direction. The eldest of us had the money to pay  for us all into the Pictures and we each had two pennies to buy ourselves some sweets with. I always got a pennys worth of Cleeves and a pennys worth of Bulls Eyes, they lasted the longest. There was always a great big queue outside the Picture House, no matter what time you arrived at and you couldn’t jump the queue either because some “Squealer” was bound to tell the Usher when he came out and he might “Bar” you from going in. And nearly everyone had their favourite seats that they liked to sit in. “Here, Young Fella, that’s my seat, get out“. When everyone was settled in the manager would phone up to the projector room and the lights would dim down as the music began and then the Big Roaring Lion would come up on the screen. We’d all let out a great big roar of approval and the Usher would run up and down the aisle shining his torch at all the faces and telling us all to be quiet or he’d throw us out. Then a great big hush would come over the place and we’d all quieten down as the big screen was filled with a cartoon show followed by a trailer and then a man from Scotland yard, who was sitting behind a big desk, would come on and tell us about him and his pals catching all the crooks and robbers in London. We’d sit there with our mouths open as they chased each other across the screen shooting bullets everywhere. “Look out mister he a hind yeah” some lads would shout up at the screen. I well remember sitting there when the big film came on and it was a story with Hayley Mills in it and she thought this man was Jesus. I think it was called “Whistle down the Wind” or something like that. Now, that was the moment I first fell in love with Hayley Mills, I was nine years old, she was my first Moth. I remember hiding in the toilets so I could stay back and watch the film a second time just so I could watch her again, I had it bad I can tell you. So. then it was time for us all to go home for our Sunday Tea with an apple tart the Ma’ had baked while we were away. Sundays were always a great time for us…’

Mar 20 2019

‘Willie Lynch…’

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‘Willie Lynch from Drumcliff was probably singing before he could talk as a baby. Willie took up the guitar at a very young age and has never left it down. He’s one of the all time greats from Cabra West who was born to be an entertainer. In later years he travelled to the great U.S of A with his guitar under his arm and continued to charm the birds out of the trees by making a successful career in the entertainment business there. Three cheers for Willie Lynch..Hip hip hurray…’

Feb 01 2019

‘Standing Room Only…’

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‘Do you ever remember sitting on the bus on your way home from work and it lashing rain outside? You could smell the wet and damp off everyone. I remember one time I was sitting in by the window and falling asleep from the rhythm of the bus when this great big man sat in beside me and nearly crushed me to death. And to make it worst, he stank of drink and started singing, at 6 o’clock in the evening!!! And there I was just settling into a nice little snooze. Then the Busman had to come along rattling a load of coins in his hand, “Fares now, ladies and gentlemen, please...”.

   And then there was what the Da’ used to call “The Television Seat”, you know that long seat up at the front? You’d be looking down at everyone with their long wet faces on them. The Busman’s pal would always stand in under the stairs where the pram and newspapers used to go. And he’d even hit the bell sometimes for the bus to stop for people. And do you ever remember that trick the Oul Fellas used to do jumping off the bus backwards as it was moving? I tried that one time and nearly killed myself when I fell on the road and went flying along after the bus. “Here mister, gis a roll” and out he’d throw one of them paper rolls that he used to put in the ticket machine and you’d be thrilled if you got one. 

   They were great buses for getting a scut on and those Busmen were the best, they knew everyone and always talked non stop. Sometimes they’d be whistling some tune or other and then they’d start singing it out all over the bus. “Fly me to the moon…“. Bring them back, that’s what I say…’

Jan 24 2019

‘The Grotto…’

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‘Do you ever remember the original Grotto in the grounds of the church, I wonder  are these the very same statues as back then? I remember when they buried Canon Burke in that Grotto. It was real holy and all. You’d nearly feel like taking your shoes off when you walked near it because it was so holy. As young children these were the kind of things that kept our innocent little minds focused on doing good and wanting to be holy. The same as the May Procession or the Corpus Christi Procession when all of our neighbours would pull together to have the roads cleaned and painted and some houses even had shrines up on the shelter over their hall doors or in their gardens. And people like Mister Courtney from Lower Killala Road who was a carpenter, would help build the Altar and things. My mother would make veils out of her Net Curtains for my sisters to wear on their heads while they walked in the procession. They never let me walk in the procession, I was probably too giddy anyway. Innocent times but great memories…’

Jan 01 2019

‘In Dreams…’

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‘Wouldn’t it be gas all the same if you opened your Hall Door and found yourself looking out at a scene like this one in the above photograph? This one was taken on Dingle Road and they’re all wearing their Sunday Best. Most people were very proud of their little two up two down house that they had where they openly displayed their best Net Curtains and kept their hedges all trimmed and proper. Some of them had a two bedroom “Parlour House” with a toilet upstairs while others had three bedrooms with the toilet downstairs. Do you ever remember some of the mother’s sweeping down the passage inside the gate and then sweeping the footpath outside, some of them even swept the roadway outside their house. And we had neighbours who’d be up at the crack of dawn cleaning the brasses on their Hall Door, dressed in their overcoats and head scarfs. The railings were usually painted silver or black or maybe you had a house with a wall instead of a railings, they were considered the “Posh Houses”. And do you remember the Buntings going from the top bedroom window all the way down to the railings for Corpus Christi or for the May Procession? Some families had a little Altar on the shelter over their front door where Jesus or Holy Mary could see the procession. These were great occasions for bringing the whole community together with neighbours helping neighbours to have their place looking the best in case the parade passed down by  their house. Now I know that a lot of unsavoury stuff went on behind some closed doors and oftimes spilled out into the front garden but in general, most families behaved themselves. There was hardly a road in Cabra West that I’d walk down and wouldn’t know someone or other, maybe a boy or two from school or someone that played the guitar or maybe a Young One that knew one of my sisters, “Young Fella, here’s Young Ones”, and you dodging the Young Ones with their skipping ropes and piggy beds. And do you remember the Young One with the patch on her glasses because she had a weak eye or the Young Fella with the metal things on his legs because he had Polio? And the other thing you had to be careful of was the gang of Young Fellas running down the road with their Hoops and the clink clank noise from them as they rolled along the footpath at 100 miles an hour. And mind you don’t get a kick in the head from them Young Ones with their swings on the Lamp Post. Each road was almost like a small village where everyone knew everyone and each others business as well. If you wanted to play on another road besides you own you had to be invited by someone living there or have a relation down that way. I remember an Oul Fella who used to come around on his bicycle with a grinding stone attached to it for sharpening knives and the scissors and that. And of course there were the women who sold the fresh fish of a Friday with a bread board on top of a basket with wheels, Herrings and Mackerel and she scraping the scales off a the fish for the Ma’. There’s no end to the memories that a photograph like this one brings to mind, for me they were great times…’


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