Yet Another Ireland

There I was making a cup of tea with a tea bag and I got to thinking of all the things, of my lifetime,  that have vanished apart from fleeting memories of them. Here’s a few that might or might not jog a memory, draw a smile, a sigh or …

#1. Green public telephone boxes with button A and button B. (I saw one in a garden out in the middle of nowhere the other day.)

#2. The Riordans on RTE television

#3. Making a ‘trunk call’ and having to dial the operator.

#4. A time when there were no mobile phones and not all that many houses with telephones.

#5. Wooden tennis rackets

#6. The coming of the ‘hole in the wall’ that gave out money and how you’d say ‘Thank You’ ’til you realised what an eejit you were talking to a machine.

#7. The move to decimalisation

#8. When shops were shut on Sundays and from 1-2 for lunch.

#9. When you went to the chemist to collect your photos and get a new film.

#10. The doctor who dropped in after tea to check on ‘the patient.’

#12. Telegrams

#13. Butlins Mosney by the Sea

#14. Bedsits

#15. The border posts between the Republic and Northern Ireland

#16. When 99.99% of people in Ireland were white

#17. Days before Funeral Homes

#18. When JFK was revered in Ireland

#19. Showbands coming to town

#20.45s and LPs

#21. The washing-up ritual

#22. Talk of joining the Common Market

#23. Charles Mitchell reading the News on RTE

Charles Mitchell on RTE ~ Photo: Wikipedia

#24. That first big green car wash when you forgot to close the window

#25. Jim Figgerty


#26. The Catholic Church ban on its adherents attending Trinity College, Dublin without special dispensation.

#27. Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls

#28. When Sunday Mass included the priest reading out a list of who had given a donation to the church and how much it was.

#29. The first moon walk

#30. Listening to Radio Luxemburg under the blankets (no duvets then!)

Maybe you have a few or hundreds to add to the list?

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 sense of place.

27 thoughts on “Yet Another Ireland”

  1. #5 Wooden tennis rackets! I had mine forever, and we had to put those wooden braces on them to keep them from warping! I finally threw it away as it seemed to make no sense to keep toting it around.

  2. Public telephones in the space between the mens and womens at the diners, or in the drugstore or soda shop, watching Lawrence Welk and his champaign polka band with my grandparents, shops closed after six on Sat night and all day Sunday, visiting England for the first time and having to de-decimilize- how many shillings was that in a pound, please-boarding houses with snoopy landladies, tennis courts open on saturday at the high school so you could play for free, my first Irish-American clan meeting, and first clan wake. Where people suddenly spoke with a southern brogue, and a few spoke Irish. And Why oh why do they always sing Danny Boy- priests during mass telling the congregation to vote for Kennedy or pay a hue fine to the church, listening to Johnny Rabbit, my favorite DJ at KMOX St Louis play Herman’s Hermits, while hiding my head under the blankets so no one would see I had a transistor radio with an earpiece on. the kind people of our little Irish, Welsh and German town who always had time, and a smile, and a gentle word for a child.Thank you for your memories. they brought back some of mine.

  3. I still have my landline phone (no cell phone) I’m not into ATM machines for $$ either…like dealing with the real person at the bank…I do place orders via the computer…don’t do mall shopping…I use to go to the library but not so much now…order thrift books via the computer from two booksellers…Once in awhile I place a grocery order via computer and have it delivered at a fee…but I still like to go to the grocery store and use the other when necessary. I was appalled at #28 the reading at church of the congregations donations and identifying who gave what…so much for confidentialty..Over her donations are usually put in envelopes assigned to each member of the congregation with a number for the 52 weeks of the year..

  4. I don’t remember all of these Jean, but some do resonate, like the time before mobile phones (we didn’t have a phone so I had to go to a phone box to make a call), vinyl records, shops shutting on Sundays. I often watch a quiz show on TV and am amazed by some of the things the contestants have never heard of, like someone today who’d never heard of Paul Newman! It makes me see a difference in the generations even though I’m still relatively young, at 45.

  5. Don’t know about Ireland but what has changed lives in Scotland are the internet, out of town supermarkets, automatic washing machines, the contraceptive pill, tights (no more suspenders that dug into you and stockings that wrinkled), computers, reasonably fashionable clothes that can be worn by all ages (when my mother reached forty five she seemed to disappear down a granny hole and reappear in clothes worn by old folk), television, fridges and freezers, cheap air travel, the removal of slum housing (although many were replaced by stuff that reverted to slums within a brief timespan), a much wider range of foods…the list seems endless.

  6. Oh joy, it’s reminiscence time! I love that list, Jean, and am guessing that we must be from the same generation.
    Now what can I add?

    –Being 14 and reading Sergeanne Golon’s “Angelique” bodice-rippers under the blankets with a torch after lights-out at boarding school. The books were banned in the school, which added to my enjoyment of them. We didn’t have duvets, just linen sheets and good old-fashioned scratchy blankets D:
    –My mother using the mangle board for wringing the water out of clothes.
    –Falling in love with Terence Stamp as the disreputable Sergeant Troy in the film “Far From the Madding Crowd” and watching it about ten times.
    –UFO watching
    –Going to London for the day to visit Carnaby Street and Mary Quant’s boutique in Knightsbridge
    –No central heating in my bedroom and sitting in front of a Belling fire to get dressed in the mornings, while Jack Frost covered the outside of the window and foot-long icicles hung from the gutters.
    –Feather dusters and frilly aprons
    –Green grocers visiting your street and selling produce from their vans
    –Buying clothes on approval
    –Sewn in name tags
    –The annual dog license fee
    –weighing machines with iron weights

    This is very addictive. Could go on forever…

  7. Very good Jan. Certainly I remember, as a child, the ancient telephone exchange in Dunmanway and the equally ancient woman who had to place all the calls (and listen to half of them).

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