February 6th has a strong echo in my life as it was the day in 1967 that our family moved from Castleblayney in Co. Monaghan to Drogheda in Co. Louth. I was nine then and that was one of five moves that we made from when I was 3 to 18 years old. ( I also moved away from home when I was seventeen to go to College but that’s a different kind of moving.)

These moves were all within Ireland and were part of father’s job in the bank. Both he and mother had been in the bank from the early 1940s and had moved numerous times in their single days ~ their paths crossing when they were both based in Kilkenny City for a while.

As a kid, I found moving from place to place rather exciting and remember being full of excitement as I bade everyone in Castleblayney goodbye and watched all our belongings, which were packed in tea chests, being loaded into a huge big removal van.

Bank House, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan
Bank House, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan

There’s no doubt that all the moves brought us very close together as a family ~ we only had each other until we made new friends. Going to new schools was daunting, especially landing there in the middle of term and having to get to grips with new teachers, new sets of rules and and, of course, all the existing pupils who tended to be curious about any newcomer.

Apart from family, tennis was the other anchor that made moving manageable. Tennis courts are the same size no matter where you go and the rules of the game are the same. It was always such a relief to get sorted in a tennis club and be able to feel at home hitting forehands and backhands like always!

We never knew how long we’d be staying in any one place ~ it ranged from 10 months to 8 years ~ but it was pretty certain that a transfer was never too far off. This never stopped me from putting down roots and getting incredibly attached to places but there was always that feeling of being a little bit on the sidelines.

St. Patrick’s Day always made me feel this ‘outsidedness’ more than any other. I can vividly remember watching St. Patrick’s Days Parades from our Bank House window in the middle of Drogheda and feeling that I simply didn’t belong in the town. To this day, I’ve never be a part of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade! Perhaps, this year I’ll get stuck into our local one here in Tramore, which is the place I was born and the place to which I eventually returned full-time in 1991.

More than anything, all the moving as a child, brought it home to me how every single place has lots and lots to offer; new people, new landscape, a depth of local history. Much of this can be taken for granted by people who have always lived in the same place but through new eyes it can be a whole new adventure.

The Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
The Viaduct, Drogheda, Co. Louth.

It certainly doesn’t surprise me, after all this, that it is very often people who are ‘blow ins’ who blog or write about the wonders of places.

Are you a person who moved around as a child or did you spend your childhood in the one place? 



Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

23 thoughts on “Transfers”

  1. Darn…not as a child I moved. My parents or should I saw my mother is still in the same house after approx if not more 65ish years. In the last 22 years I have moved 9 times into homes and 2 times into an apartment because we were in transition between houses. I don’t think I will be doing that anymore. The old bones can’t take it. lol

  2. We moved around ten times from the time I was a baby to when I went to high school. I too looked forward to the moves though it was hard to make new friends as I was quiet, and kind of a home body. Since marrying we have only moved five times in the 56 years that we’ve been married.

  3. Born in Blyth, Northumberland, the first big – and I mean BIG move was to Africa when I was 4 1/2 years old. I remember having dreams about houses on stilts over Amazon-like rivers where crocodiles snapped below, waiting for you to fall in and feed them! It was a happy move to Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia – exciting and yes, Mum and Dad joined the tennis club too. Later, the move up to the Copperbelt (Kitwe) in 1961 was also exciting, but I knew more of what to expect. I still count myself very privileged to have grown-up in such a wonderous place. Thanks to my beloved parents. After many, many moves around between UK, Africa, Australia and Ireland… I’m back in Oz.

  4. Though the rest of the family, did move around a lot by the time I was born they had settled in to the what I and all those who came after me (Nephews, Neices and such) looked upon as home base!! It was sold about 5yrs back and for some reason it broke my heart and the hearts of all the nephews and nieces. Hey ho!! My hubby though moved about a lot as child being part of a police family!

  5. We were a sedentary lot until I left home at 18 and then overdosed on moving around to compensate – I am not sure I would have coped too well with moving schools. Two fine images Jean – funny how it is the cars more than anything else dates the photo so precisely – the wonderful parallelogram Ford Anglia … and the very fine Boyne Viaduct 🙂

    1. Robin, ‘overdosing’ on moving sounds pretty dramatic.
      You were right to wait until after you were done with school. It’s amazing how much schools differ even if they would seem to have lots in common.
      I agree wholeheartedly about the cars ‘dating’ places. The Anglia always seemed very snazzy to me!

  6. I spent my entire childhood in a small town in southern New Jersey, USA from 1-18. Perhaps that’s why I’ve enjoyed moving as an adult- 8 times; each time brings new learning adventures.

  7. Hope I will be able to come to St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Tramore too 🙂
    Moved once, when I was twelve. It was solely my mother’s idea, and apparently a wrong one. It started a chain of events that changed the direction of my life completely.

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