Monday, 13 February 2012

Hard times, hard times come again no more...

On my way to the library I spotted  these daffodils struggling to break through a thorny bush.
Where there's a will there's a way.

In this little essay, Vincent Carmody reminds us that children of the boom are not the first to experience hard times. Been there, done that.

The euphoria of what was the Celtic Tiger has long since vanished and people are now readjusting to what many foolishly think is living life on the bread line. As one who remembers growing up in Listowel in the 1950’s, I can recall that most people just had about enough to live on, but they just got on with their lives and as I remember would go out of their way to help each other. There was a greater sense of neighbourliness than there exists today. 
Then if you got a tear in your pants, there was a patch put on it, likewise socks that were holed were not replaced at once, they were darned. Shoes when needing repair were taken to a shoemaker and only when he would deem them irrepairable would a new pair be bought. Many (myself included) would take off our shoes and go barefoot during summer days.

Most families would deem themselves very lucky to be able to go to Ballybunion on a Sunday during the summer. Spain, or any of the must go holiday destinations of our recent past were only to be found in school geography’s or atlases. Very few people owned telephones. These, when required, were availed of in certain pubs or shops who offered a public telephone service. Not every house had a radio and televisions were a generation away. Most fun was to be had outside the home and games were made up by children themselves. DVDs, Consoles, Nintendos and, dare I say Computers, were at the time, light years away.

Christmas came just the once in the year and was eagerly looked forward to. Santa’s gifts, for boys most likely guns and holsters, a hat and tin badge, games such as Snakes and Ladders and Ludo, or for the more mechanical, Mecano sets, and the girls, a doll and pram. These presents would be valued for the year and only discarded as a last resort, again when irrepairable.

Life back then was uncomplicated, ordinary people in the main requiring simple everyday things.

I would like to share with the blog readers some draw tickets which I have unearthed. It seems that no permit was sought; the details are as follows.

(1)                       TO BE DRAWN FOR        
                              At the market Listowel
                           On Sunday 8th March 1931
                            A splendid Silver Watch
                        The property of Michael Walsh
                          Tickets ………………6d each

(2)                                     TO BE DRAWN FOR
                                    At Michael Doyle’s Dromin
                                  On Saturday 19th May 1929
                                        A Splendid Bicycle
                               The property of Michael O Brien
                             Tickets ………………………1/- Each

              And the third one which I think is real social history.

(3)  No. 344                       BAZAAR AND 
                                  Grand Drawing of Prizes
                          Fé Comhairle Ceanntair Sinn Féin, Ciarraidhe Thuaidh

                   1. Photo of Austin Stack.      3 Six of our North
                                                                Kerry Martyrs.

                  2. Alarm Clock.                    4 A Watch.


   Drawing starts at 7.30 p.m. in the Hall at BEDFORD, LISTOWEL.
  on January 26th. 1930.
                                   EIRE  SAOR. EIRE SÉANMHAR.

A very different Ireland indeed. Thank you, Vincent.


Some photos to show that we still retain some of the old ways

Photo taken through Jimmy Hickey's cobbler's shop window.

 Sign on Mc Kenna's door

On Jackie MacGillicuddy's

Kay's Children's Shop

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