Jan 28 2012

The Outing

Published by at 11:24 pm under News

It was the middle of July,  summer  1958. I was 12 years old. My Mam was working  in Bachelors  on Bannow  Rd  at the time . Her job was picking peas  (BAD ONES) My Granny looked after us until my Mam came home from work at 5.15pm. Granny made our dinner in the day and Mam made the tea when she came home from work at 5.oclock.  My Mam was standing at the table cutting  a  batch loaf. We were having homemade jam with the bread.  The loaf went far because it had to. It was cut down the middle so that everyone got crust with their two slices of bread. My favourite was the bottom crust. If I didn’t get what I wanted I would swap it with my older sister Kathleen, but not before she had a bite from her slice of bread before she gave it me.  My Dad came home from work at 6.00pm. As he walked in the living room I saw him give a nod to my Mam. With that she got all excited. She was clapping her hands  goodo.  A wide smile on her lovely face outshone any I had seen for a while.

We were all waiting for the news from my Dad. Phyllis got as excited as my Mam. “Come on Dad did you get it”? She  asked . I wasn’t privy to this information. What was going on? I asked myself.  Are we  getting  a new motor car,  I thought to myself.   I also got very excited. “ Come  on Da, tell us the news”, I said.  My grin was better than my Ma’s smile by now. Well, the Da kept us all waiting for the news. He was really enjoying himself by now as he was getting bombarded with all sorts of questions. I don’t remember eating my batch loaf bread and jam that evening.  Then I asked him had he bought us a motor car? He laughed till he cried. I  thought  I had hit the  nail on the head.

“I  have got us a motor car alright. But, only a loan of one for a weekend.” He said.  ‘Are we all going away for the weekend” I asked. ” No, you’re not going away. Just me and your ma with Auntie Nan & Uncle Paddy. Gussie and Gussie’s  May, as  well as Gussie’s May’s
sister,  Patsy and her husband Joe. I was so disappointed.  I couldn’t  go out  now  and tell all my pals on the road that we were getting a new motor car.  Or, going on holidays.  I was always a dreamer.  And worse still, me ma & da were leaving us for the weekend. It was later that evening when me ma said they were going on an outing to Killarney for the August bank holiday Monday. Which was in a couple of weeks’ time? Oh, the house was in an
uproar for a fortnight. The Queen & Princess Margaret were in the ha’penny place compared to my Ma & Auntie Nan. First they went into town to have a look at a new outfit for the trip to Killarney . Guinney’s  was the first stop. The clothes from Guinneys were alright for around Dublin…..but not for a day out in KILLARNEY.  The next trip into town was thefollowing weekend.   Roaches Stores or Clearys.  Only the best for   “The Outing” to Killarney was the order of the day.

Eventually the outfits were bought. It took the whole day from 10am till 5.30pm, as  well  as  buying  the weekend messages.  Mam got off the bus at our stop, which was just across the road from our house.  I was looking out the window to see if she was on the next bus.  She got off  the bus with the bags in front of her. A  buff coloured paper bag with handles showing  “Clearys”  written in big bold letters on it.   And another  bag from “ Roaches
Stores”.  I couldn’t wait to see what my Mam had bought for herself. I got the Mam  a cup of tea and then she opened the bags for us all to see the famous outfit.  A beautiful  Dress from Clearys.  White background, with pink and blue small flowers all over it. Buttons all down the front with a swing skirt. A knitted jacket with  lovely  turned back sleeves in a blue/grey stripe from Roaches Stores.  New lipstick, New Powder puff, New Nylons and underwear.  And last but not least a new white handbag.  “Try them on for us” I asked. “No”. She said.  You will have to wait till I am leaving for Killarney. She was laughing out loud about
the whole day out shopping for “The Outing” to Killarney. “ What did Auntie Nan buy?” Says I. “Oh”, the laughing got louder now as she said,  The same as mine . We are going as twin sisters “  I thought it was the funniest thing I ever heard.

My Dad had got them their  new white wedge-heeled  sandals  from his work.   I went to bed dreaming about what my Mam would look like in her new outfit. There was lots of planning
and to-ing and fro-ing between the houses on Carnlough Rd. The craic was mighty. You would have thought they were going to America.  The hair was permed down at the lower shops on Faussagh Avenue, the Saturday before August  Bank Holiday. I went with my Mam to the hairdressers just so that I could have a look at how the perms were done. Gussie’s May was already under the hairdryer. Her head was a mass of tiny perm rollers.  Auntie Nan was in the middle of having the perm solution and perm rollers put into her hair. I can still smell the perm solution.  The chat and laughter was infectious.  Three hours later they rolled out of the hairdressers on top of the world. “We’ll pick yous up at 7.00am “says my Mam  to Auntie Nan & Gussie’s May “ For feck sake, Silky, you would think you were well off.” Says Auntie Nan. They all roared laughing at the idea of it.

Auntie Nan was my Mam’s sister; she was married to Paddy Byrne. They lived at 224 Carnlough  Rd.  Gussie who was Paddy Byrne’s brother,  was married to May. . we knew her as “Gussie’s  May”. They lived in the last Keyhole on the top end of Carnlough Rd.
Patsy was  May’s  sister and her Husband was Joe . I think they lived in Ringsend.  We lived at 466 Carnlough Rd.  My Mam was called Rosanna, (Silky) was what she was known by…..but that’s another story.  My Dad was called” Paddy Hogan”. To distinguish him from  Paddy Byrne. At last the day arrived. Gussie’s  May couldn’t wait to be picked up by my Dad, so she and Gussie arrived at our house at 6.30am on August Bank Holliday Monday. The loud laughter of Gussie’s May woke up the Hogan household.  I ran downstairs to see them
leaving.  I was wondering how long it would take to get to Killarney…..so I asked my Dad.  “All day if you go by car. Three hours if you go by train”  He said. I was even more confused now. He was kidding me I thought.  “Ah” says he “we are going on the train. But, because the busses won’t be running till 10.oclock we need the car to get us down to Amiens St Station in time for the 8.0clock train. ( More  like arriving in style), he meant. There are
loads of people going on the same excursion with us, all from Cabra West”.

My Mam looked  just GORGEOUS in her beautiful new outfit.   My Dad thought she was the
best thing he ever saw.  She had the make- up  and the lipstick on. The new dress and jacket fitted her like a glove. Her hair was  as perfect as when she left the hairdressers on Saturday.  She looked taller in her new wedge sandals.  The pearls were put around her
neck and the earrings  were clipped on her ears by  my sister Rosie. Then, my sister Ann sprayed her with perfume for the finishing touch. Off they went and I was wishing I was going with them.  I waved them off along  with all my sisters standing at the front  door on a
beautiful sunny August morning in 1958. I couldn’t wait for them to get back to hear the stories they would tell us.  It was the next day before we saw them again. They had a fantastic time and the weather was better than they could have asked for.

We got the story on and off for the whole of the next week.   Both my Mam & Dad had the rest of the week off for their summer holidays from work. “ The Outing” was a terrific day out by all accounts. There was tea and scones on the train, a sing song, a glass or two for the men and lots of laughter. I wish I could tell you all that happened on that  August Bank Holiday Monday  in Killarney…..but  I will let the photo  speak for its self.  My  Dad took the picture.   It was a shame he wasn’t in the Photo.  But the Picture of   “THE OUTING”  tells its own story of how much fun they had.

Love Mary H T.


(My thanks to Martin Coffey for the wonderful  job he made of bringing the photo back to
its former glory.)

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