Jun 11 2012

Our House Plan

Published by at 9:34 am under News

This is the floor-plan of the upstairs of our house on Killala Road. Keep in mind that my mother had 15 children, seven girls and eight boys. Well some years ago my son went to visit my mother and asked her if he could have a look around upstairs. Now she thought he wanted to go to the toilet and was just being mannerly about it. When he came back down into our kitchen he asked my mother ‘Where did they all sleep’? The Ma’ looked at him and laughed. ‘Where do you think’ ? says she. At times the boys all slept in the back bedroom and I’m almost sure now that there are cells in Mountjoy bigger than that room. What with the farts, the smells, cigarette smoking and the belching is it any wonder half of us didn’t suffocate altogether. I was still sharing a bed with two of my brothers when I was nineteen years old.

And look at the size of the toilet for goodness sake, sure the ould tea-chest our dog slept in wasn’t much smaller than that. And what about the time that the chain broke and you had to stand on the seat to flush the toilet? My father and mother slept in the front bedroom along with all of my sisters. There was a fireplace in the front bedroom as well. The Ma’ kept her statue of Blessed Martin on it. We had no electric sockets upstairs.

Now sometimes the Ma’ would get a mad figary and change the bedrooms around. Some days you’d come home from school and find that the boys were sleeping in the front room and the girls in the back one with her and the Da’.  She’d have all the windows wide open and everything would be covered in the ould DDT powder. All the Hoppers would run for cover and hide in the edging of the mattresses. Half of the bedclothes were out on the line in the back garden, dancing in the breeze and lapping up the sunshine.

I can still recall the Ma’ telling me that ‘When we moved in here first it was like moving into Buckingham Palace. We didn’t know ourselves with all the rooms and space we had. Best of all was that we didn’t have to go out to the yard for the toilet’.  Our house was a Happy House filled with great memories both happy and sad. It’s where the Ma’ and Da’ were laid out for their Wakes, that’s how much they loved their little house in Cabra West.

We didn’t have double glazing, flat screen tellys, mobile phones, central heating, dish washers, conservatories, decking, water features, satellite dishes, a bedroom to ourselves, electric blankets, computers, banking online, shopping online, chinese take-away, pizza delivery, bank accounts, duvets or a car. But we did have a lot of love in our home. My father rarely took a sick day off work and he cycled everywhere in all weathers. My mother never lay down under a cold or the flu.  They were grateful for their little house and all that came with it. And like most couple of that era they made the most of what they had.

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