Jan 09 2013

The Da’…

Published by at 11:38 am under News

He really wasn’t a bad ould sort at all. He worked hard all his life to provide for the Ma’ and their fifteen children. He rarely took a sick day off work even though he cycled everywhere in hail, rain and snow. My Da’ began his working life in the Monto when he was about eight years old. When the old jarvey brought a client into one of the prostitutes in the Monto my father’s job was to mind the horse while the two men went inside. Other times he would run messages for the women, getting them cigarettes or bottles of porter. When he was twelve years of age he bought a licence to sell newspapers on the streets of Dublin. Any young boy caught selling newspapers without a licence was in danger of being sent to a Borstal School. This was a time when my father and most of his friends had no shoes on their feet and walked around barefooted.

I think this photo was taken some time after my father had retired from working as a Bank Porter for over 40 years. It shows me some of the changes that were happening in the family home at the time. We were moving upmarket from what we had in the house since moving into it in the early 1940s. A new style bathroom suite was being installed and a new sink was being fitted into the kitchen. On the right side of the above photo can be seen the old style Belfast Sink that once stood proudly in our old kitchen, the one in which we all got our Saturday night bath in at one time or another. This was a time when my parents would have had a few bob in the bank and in the Credit Union. So all the years of worrying about money and how to manage was practically a thing of the past, at last my father and mother could relax a little and enjoy something of the benefit of their years of struggling.

The one major thing that my father and mother passed on to each of their 15 children was a great sense of humour, quirky and all as it may be. Do you know there’s rarely a conversation between any of us that doesn’t include some story or joke about the Ma’ and Da’. Do you know there are times when I might say something and suddenly realise that it was something the Da’ always said or the way he said it. And my sisters are just as bad with ‘No, hold on, Mammy always did it this way…’ Ah sure where would we be without them. Now hold on a minute I think I can hear the Da’ singing…‘Bless them all, bless them all, the long and the short and the tall…’

No responses yet

Comments are closed.