Jan 10 2013

The Playground…

Published by at 11:40 am under News

This photograph was taken in the ‘Girls Playground’ on Fassaugh Avenue in Cabra West. The ‘Boy’s Playground’ was in behind the Club House in the background of this photo. Because I lived on Killala Road this was always refered to as ‘The far Playground‘. And do you know what? the other playground was miles away as well up on Ventry Park. Of course they seemed miles away  to me and my pals because of our little legs, we first started going to the playground when we were about six years old or so. After school gangs of us would ramble off to the playground running and skipping along singing ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ and each of us taking a turn at sounding like a farm animal, ‘And on that farm he had a…‘ It was great craic altogether.

And do you know the Mammys never knew where we were. My own mother just assumed I was with one of the others in the family. The playground was a world of magic with the Monkey Bars, they were my favourite and swings and see-saws. We had all that space to run as wild as we wanted as long as the woman in charge didn’t give out. I remember her now as a stout kind of woman with a fresh country look about her but I suppose she was only in her early 20’s or thereabouts.

One of my pals broke his leg on the see-saw. He had his two legs under the seat part and the young fella on the other end jumped off without telling him. Down my pal came with all of his weight and he couldn’t get his legs out quick enough. Well the roars of him as the bone in his leg echoed a great big crack all over the playground. The ambulance that came to take him to hospital reminded me of something out of a Norman Wisdom film. We all dashed up the street to tell his mother what had happened and of course she was given a different version of the truth from each one of us. There was no such thing back then as compensation or going to court to make a claim, an accident was an accident.

Now we didn’t go to the playground everyday, it was a kind of seasonal thing that we did, you know like playing marbles or conkers. Our playground had a railway line running alongside it and that too was a great attraction for us young boys. Sure didn’t every Cowboy and Indian from the Cabra Grand Picture House travel through our neighbourhood on that train line.

You don’t see children today heading off to the playground with their pals or going down to the cattle market to ask the farmers for a cattle stick. I was kind of disappointed at not seeing any young lad around wearing a cowboy suit on Christmas Day. My sister had an Annie Oakley suit complete with gun and holster. It’s true what Bob Dylan says, ‘The times they are a changing…’.


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