Mar 03 2014

Ollie O’Malley

Published by at 5:46 pm under News

I was privileged to grow up in Cabra West. I was born on Bannow Road but raised on Carnlough Rd. Ma and Da had to move from a two bedroom house to a three bedroom house because I don’t think me Da knew where the babies were coming from and the family was just getting bigger. I think every Christmas me Da had to buy more toys because there was another one in the house. I went to Christ the King school. Don’t blame me, maybe there was no room in Finbar’s. But as a kid in Cabra, it was my world and I loved every minute of it, and I have great fond memories of the old West. I had a lorry load of brothers and sisters and lots of friends. Each season had its own games. Spring we would go Nesting, that was going up to the fields near the baths and climb trees just to look at the eggs in the birds nest. We would never touch them, just look at them in wonder and climb back down again and go do something else. Summer, well what can I say, there was endless games to play especially during the long eight weeks school holidays. And who doesn’t remember them. Those 8 weeks seemed to go on forever. But they were great. Autumn such a beautiful season, it was up to the park and conkers was the name of the game. And winter, even though there was snow, ice and frost and we shivered but we soldered on and dipped our sacks in the shores, wet the paths and roads and there was slides everywhere. My Da stepped off a bus one time and went on his ear, I’m sorry but all I could do was break my shite laughing. I don’t know whether he was drunk or it was the slide but I don’t think he felt anything. Good, or I would have felt something…the back of his hand. But time marches on and the parade of life keeps passing by and we all grow up and seek new horizons.

I now live in Australia. Moved to this beautiful place in the early 80’s with my beautiful wife and children. I am glad I came to Australia when I did because I also have great memories of Australia when I arrived in the early 80’s. The weather was, or seemed to be endlessly beautiful. It was very clean. Everything was very cheap. Petrol was only 30 cents a litre. People were very friendly. There was oceans of work, you could leave a job today and start another one tomorrow. Pubs closed at 10 o’clock at night and you would never see a drunk in the street. There was very little crime. I never heard anyone ever talking about drugs or anything like that. The kids played and lived life something similar to back home. They played in the streets the parks and the playground. But like I said that was back in the 80’s. But today things are a whole lot different. The weather seems to be all screwed up. Still great summers but still screwed up. It’s not as clean as it used to be. It’s not cheap any more, in fact it’s getting very expensive. There are way too many taxes, rates and yes we pay for our water, and that doesn’t come cheap. Petrol is now a long way from the 30 cents a litre, it’s now $1.60 per litre. I don’t know what that is in Euro, probably about 2 Euro. People are not as friendly as they used to be. Most of the old school are, but the young people are not very respectful. There is no longer oceans of work available. It’s harder to get a job. Most people employed these days are on contracts. Crime is on the increase. Drugs are on the increase. Violence is on the increase. Australian police didn’t have much to do when we first came but these days the police force have grown much bigger and they are kept very busy. The pubs and clubs now close at 5 o’clock in the morning and the violence on the streets, especially in the major cities, can be really bad. I no longer go into the city at night, I will either stay local or have a drink at home.

I have been back to Ireland several times and I see things are also not too good. When I’m home, in Dublin I still buy the Herald and have a pint and read about all the goings on. You know I’m glad I’m a kid of the 50’s because I have so many lovely memories and I’m glad I also immigrated to Australia because I have added to those memories and I have some great stories to tell my kids and grandkids. Hope you liked my story.

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