This picture brings back so many happy memories of childhood holidays in the country in Ireland. In Cloneygowan near Tullamore, Offally to be exact. The little village where my dad was born. We used to stay for a week with Uncle Tom in his white-washed, thatched cottage and have the best time imaginable. This was the cottage where my Irish grandparents lived and where my dad was born . In this picture, taken around 1956, is my mother, with me sitting on the old ginnet behind my sister Jean. Maureen, my other sister, is standing and that’s Uncle Tom.
Uncle Tom was the oldest son in my dad’s family and he inherited the cottage. There was no work to be had in the country and my father needed to earn a living so at the age of 16/17 he sold his bike and with the money from it he travelled to England to look for work. I don’t know if this was planned or done on the spur of the moment but I do know his poor mother knew nothing about it until he wrote to her from England! Can you imagine that? She must have been frantic.
In this picture are, front row, Maureen, Ken, me, Jean is standing behind Ken. The other three people were neighbours. Don’t we all look happy? That’s because we were.
I have only recently thought about this part of it – I don’t remember the sleeping arrangements. I’m thinking there must’ve been a lot of bed sharing going on. The cottage only had two bedrooms and there were six of us, plus Uncle Tom. I need to ask my sisters about that.
It also had no electricity or plumbing or any modern conveniences. There were no floor-coverings, I think the floors were the old stone flags. One lasting memory is the smell of peat burning in the old black range. I can smell it now, heaven! I can remember being taken to the bog by horse and cart to collect the peat… Like I said at the beginning these pictures bring back so many happy memories.
I could go on and on. No doubt my girls will read this and think, but that’s what you’re doing Mother!
Until next time.