Jun 19 2018

‘The Coffey Sisters…’

Published by at 8:19 am under News

‘These are my two eldest sisters, Chrissie who was born in 1939 and Vera who was born in 1938, less than 12 months apart. My father had a joke about that. The photo was taken in about 1953 as they posed on my Da’ oul motorbike of a Sunday afternoon. The Da’ always kept the bike parked underneath our parlour window and he’d throw an oul piece of tarpaulin or Tarpolium as we used to call it. over it to keep the frost off. There was less than a year between Vera and Chrissie, they were both born in my Granny Burke’s flat in Cumberland Street. Vera was first and only weighed the same as a bag of sugar. She was so small that my Granny used to put her into a drawer to sleep at night and during the day she was kept in a shoe box. They were both educated by the nun’s in Cabra West. At 17 years old Vera left home and emigrated to England to study nursing and she is still living there today. In later years she studied and graduated with a Masters Degree in Industrial Law. As young children we didn’t look forward to her coming home on holiday because she always made us wash our hands before sitting at the table for our dinner or tea. When Chrissie was 13 years old she went to a clothing factory to tell the man there that her pal had changed her mind about taking a job with him. He told her she could have it instead and so the following Monday morning she started off her working life in the Rag Trade. In later years she ran her own very successful Clothing Alterations business in Abbey Street, Dublin across the road from the Abbey Theatre, winning contracts from most of the big shops in Dublin such as Clerys and Arnotts. She made all of her own clothes and wedding dress. She told me recently that as a teenager she never went dancing twice in the same dress. I clearly remember watching in wonderment as her and our Ma’, with paper patterns and scissors at the ready, being busy cutting and sewing in our kitchen. As well as making her own clothes she made dresses and Holy Communion outfits for all of my sisters and their wedding dresses as well. When she retired she took up painting as a hobby. So there you have it, two of my seven sisters and their little story…’

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