I was born at 75 Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire in May 1947. I grew up there and remained living in the house until about 1963 when I went on to study as a Christian Brother in Carriglea, up on Kill Ave, which was once a notorious Industrial School. I hope to describe what that time was like, up until I entered the Brothers, because after that I was rarely home and lost touch with friends, neighbours and the "progress" of Dun Laoghaire and Patrick Street in particular.
My Father was Stephen Cahill, a plasterer, daily 7o'clock Mass goer, Church collector and very involved in Church Ceremonies and Processions. The Church I refer to is of Course St. Michael's Catholic Church, whose spire towers over you as you walk down the lower end of Patrick Street.He was also very involved in The Irish Artisan Golfing Association. These were Tradesmen that were "allowed" to play golf on Dun Laoghaire Golf Course at restricted times in return for services to the Club. These services included keeping the course clear for "the Members", and keeping kids from stealing golf balls or damaging the Course. My Mother was a "stay at home Mam", which was the "Normal" thing then. He maiden name was Merriman and she was born in Monalow, where the Clonkeen Road met the Foxrock Bray road. All farmland then, near Cabinteely.
I was the sixth of seven children, Sean, Brian, Kit (Catherine), Rita, Stephen, Me and Ann my little sister.
Number 75 was about half way up the street from the Church. My earliest memories are of all the neighbours and their children. On the same side as 75 was Quinns Funeral works (up the lane), the Merrigans, the Costelloes, the Darcys' and the Mooneys'. Up from 75 on the same side were the Hollands, the Groves, the Kielys, the Cummins' (Builders), the Geoghans, the Brocks and further up the Mulligans, beside what was then the Telephone Exchange.
On the other side of the Street, starting opposite, lived the Cowaps, the Doyles, The Patchells, Mackens Yard(Builders), a few houses up to Moore's Lane, then Lumsdens, more houses, Scoop Johnsons place, Mahony's Boatyard, a few other houses whose names elude me now and finishing up at Tivoli Road. A large gum tree grew on the corner. (Now I am surrounded by them.)
So a lot of children, all around the same age range I suppose. There were many games played as the seasons changed and children grew. Many bicycles races, trolleys, hoops, marbles, Conkers, skipping, robbing orchards, playing on Mackens roof, playing cricket outside on the carpark area of Mackens yard, football on the street. Swings made from ropes twisted around the light poles.
The most important shops were Billy Flynns, beside Catchpoles Arch, Maheddys, a veggie shop and another sweet shop on the corner of Cross Avenue. Near the top of Patrick Street were two shops which were open but closed in those years, Geoghans, and Mulligans. The former was a grocery shop, the latter, a public house.
The lower part of Patrick Street from Cross Avenue down to the Georges Street was mostly shops and business. Starting with Sean Taggarts, groceries, wine and Spirits and gladly accepting JamJars and empty drink bottles for halfpennies..(Money for the Pictures, 4d), next down was Mr Cumiskey, Bootmaker, and next The Clinic, (the stuff of nightmares). Beside the Clinic was the Grocery Store of Tom Connolly. This shop featured a scale model of a ship called "The Leinster", which was sunk by a German Submarine during the war.
Beside Tom's was Mellons, which was two shops joined by a doorway inside the shops. From there a couple of offices, a Turf accountant, Bunty Sodens Vegetable shop, Beside that was a house I think before the lane to Mulgrave Street. Then an Antique Dealer and Finally the Leinster Bank.
The other side down from Cross Avenue there was the Butcher's Briens, a sweet shop, some houses, another shop (which became JJ Arthurs), Tedders Chemist, a Barbers, a Dry Cleaners, and the Hamiltons, a cake shop. Next Rhineharts, and Costelloes who had two shops, then the Lane to Convent Road. A Turf Accountant, a Hardware shop, McDonalds Ice Cream and then the Ritz cafe followed by Mays, the Newsagent.
Patrick Street was two way traffic, the buses, 45A to Bray, were all single decker, with a bus stop at Cumiskys and at the top of the road near Tivoli Road and one opposite that one and one just before cross Avenue and at the Ritz Cafe.
A couple of other shops which frame my childhood were Furlongs and Barnes on Convent Road and Hicks on Georges St. Many people on the other site could not understand the part that Hicks played in a lot of our childhoods. It was just after the war and Ration Cards were still in usefor a long time after. To be able to get meat of any sort was great, and hicks supplied a lot to the town, so much so that people queued back up Convent road to make sure they got their quota on a Saturday. Hicks is woven into the hard times...