Archived Messages - Oct 2013    

from Sylvia Lachmann - 25/10/13

Dear Sean

I have just finished reading your book and it was such a delight I feel I must write and tell you so - though I am sure you will be getting many similar messages.

I got it when it first came out here, but after reading the first chapter I reluctantly had to put it aside because all sorts of things cropped up. But then I got back to it a few days ago and have absolutely gobbled it up! It's such a lovely, lively, compelling read. A vivid, graphic picture emerges of past events in a remarkable family, time and place, and how
your enthusiasms, curiosity and zest for life and culture triumphed over hardships. It's a wonderful read and I am recommending it to my friends, and am passing it on to Peter


Best wishes



from Claire Murphy - 17/10/13

Viola, Please, let John know how much we are enjoying his book in the community, especially those brought up on farms - what a different world they are introduced to. I see the book is holding its own in the top 10 best sellers. As for myself, while reading I was reliving my own life. My mother had the pork shop, Cooke's in Upper Camdem St. and when she married my aunt Mary took over. Every Saturday we walked down to 'The Shop' to get our ham, rashers and sausages for the week, plus a great ham bone for Poppy the dog. Sorry Shonny I got to the Tattoo! We also went cockle picking in Sandymount and once got caught by the sneaky incoming tide and were luckily carried out by 2 men who happened to see us. I was a pupil of Peggy Medler in Adelaide Rd we went there from Scoil Brid in Earlsford Terrace. The Black Babies is probably what first inspired me to enter religious life and go to Africa. Have you read Clare Boylan's 'The Black Baby'? It's about one Christmas in the Dalkey area when a knock came to an old ladie's door and when she opened it a smiling black woman introduced herself as, 'I'm your black baby'. The story gets better and better. I too visited the 7 churches around the Stephen's Green area, and my sister trained at the Grafton Academy and we had musical evenings in Granny's house on St. James' Terrace, Dolphin's Barn. Thank John for enabling me relive my childhood as I read of his. There was no mention of the lamp lighter who came evenings and early mornings to put on and off the street lamps. Perhaps they had gone when John was born. I thought the chapter given to his mother's written record and his sister's recollections was inspired. The first time I've seen that happen in a memoir.



from Shay Flynn - 04/10/13

hi sean

thanks for your reply.
yes you may put my e mail on your site.

also may I share some memories with you of francis st and the iveagh market which you may also put on your site.

francis st school
I started in carmens hall school just across from the rd from francis st school. which was the school for high and low babies.
my first teachers name was a mrs treacy who at end of year went to south Africa which to us at the time was going to the moon

in 2 year class I got a school report which said, dear mr and mrs Flynn, does seamus know there is school on mon evenings.
I never went in to school on a mon eve as my dad had a half day on mons so I went home with him at lunch[ then called dinner time as all had their dinner circa 1 pm].

3 rd class
most had a idea it was all right to turn up for school any time up to 11 am, yes official time was 9 pm , but we used to go in the back way to avoid the head brother at the front door.
however he soon put one brother at the front door and positioned himself at the back stairs, he caught so many of us out and that leather he used was so sore on your hand

I have class photo from 3 class taken in school yard circa 1956. [yes I know I said I did my primary in 1957.having dug out my primary cert it was done in 1959]

at the end of 4 th class we were all kicked out of the school as it was deemed to dangerous to be used. the whole school was sent to various other places in Dublin city centre area.

5 th class on our own we were in the very old building right hand side of old Michael and johns church which is now a theatre.
that buiding had not being used for years
the teachers name was mr mcgee
at the end of the year I was wanted in my fathers shop to work so I missed the last two weeks of the 4 th class.
this entailed that during my summer holidays, which were spent with my grand mother in meath, I did not know where in Dublin I was to go to school for the 6 th year. that , I have to say did not worry me .

I discovered at start of school year I found out that 6 th class was in a dance hall in dolphins barn
on fri eve when school was over we had to take out all the desks and chairs to a shed at the back of the hall.
on mon , at start we had to take the pop posters down from the walls and take chairs and desks back in
for start of school.
I did my primary cert in that hall.
the teachers name was br logue from derry.
I still have a photo of us all taken at the back wall of the dance hall.

the school football team was mad. no coaching , just go out to synge sts gtound in dolphins barn and play.
we always lost, not surprising.
all the players we used to say were want to be s. yes any where but on the field

iveagh market
dad first had a butchers shop at the wash house end of the marlet.
at the other end , Hughie mattews end there was a large shop called producer, consumer whose idea was to sell veg straight from the farmer to the customer,
it soon folded,
dad moved up there to a area 3 times larger than what he had.
there was a very long counter which all the meat was displayed in the open.
he had tree large fridges .
he had 6 butchers working for him at one time
joe Flanagan had a grocery shop opposite him.
Hughie Matthews shop on the right in the corner.

in those days all meat was wrapped in newspaper.

my dad operated a system where people bargained for there piece of meat.
at times some would go so low in their price , he would roar at them saying, who do you think you are

in the early sixties there was a corporation strike and the workers put a picket on the market.
dad set up a tempory shop in luigi reas ice cream shop in francis st , beside o horas.
I was given the job of bringing the meat from the fridges in the market to the new shop on a hand cart passing the picket.
I suppose I was so young , circa 14. no one said any thing to me.
when strike was over he returned to the market.
in the late sixties there was a long bus strike which entailed the people of ballyfermot could not come into him to buy meat.
so again I was sent to ballyfermot with the meat in the boot and back seat of my fathers car to sell it. the driver, mr walsh and I.
we would stop and knock on doors asking did any body want to buy meat.

the fridges in the shop were never locked and when dad went home in the evening anybody could I suppose take any thing but no body ever did
the cash register had the coins always left in it, also never touched.
of course we had paddy Munroe employed by the corporation who was the care taker looking after things.
how things have changed.

I recall r t e did a piece on the market.
it was on a fri 16 march.
with the market being closed on the next day sat , st patricks day all the weekend business had to be done on the fri.
how ever when the people arrived to buy meat in the market , seeing the the cameras they did not want to be seen shopping there and ran away, so dad did no business at all that weekend. his comments on r t e were at least unprintable

we had the local guys.
bang bang
jitters, who lived in off cork st, when he died , it took the corporation 2 weeks to clean out his house
Brendan behan who drank in lamberts some times
e t c

shops in francis st
o horas, who discovered the shop was to be demolished in the new road widening when they went to see the plans in the corporation, no body had told them.
meanys sweet shop
farringtons. one of whom became a champion irish dancer
lamberts pub, rough was not the name for it.
tivolly cinema. harry was the usher there and the we would have fun calling him fat harry at one end of the cinema to see him rush over with his torch flashing around the crowd roaring , who said that. then some one else would shout the same at the other end sending him going over there then.
moores butchers shop which became keatings, who founded the large meat plant now in clonee
mc guirks butchers shop
carters grocery shop. one of whom used to call to me in my butchers shop in parnell st , because he worked for the weights and measures dept and his job was to go around shops to check their scales..
who could forget sams junk shop , the first of its kind in Dublin, where almost any thing could be got

hope you enjoy the memories, some of which you may also recall.




from Tanya Donohoe - 04/10/13

Hi Sean,

I am writing this on behalf of my mam Elizabeth (Betty) Donohoe nee Brierton, she just recently finished your book which she thought was fantastic, it brought back some great memories but most of all she was absolutley delighted to discover her brother Paddy mentioned in the book, it took her right back especially the part about the sports day and the part about Myra Hall she remembered it all so well.

It was especially poignant for my mam as she and Paddy were so close growing up but unfortunately Paddy passed away 25 years ago shortly before his 50th birthday. She was telling Paddy's daughters about the book and they are really looking forward to reading it.

Thank you for making my mams day and congratulations on the book.

Kind regards



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