Memories of the Island Field

island-field-opening-1935

Opening of the Island Field housing estate May 10 1935

I was the first child born in the Island Field on August 29th 1935 at 76 St. Ita Street. I now reside in Canada.

I went to Gerald Griffin, and Leamys before being incaserated in St. Josephs Industrial School, Glin. Frank McCourt and Malachy also went to Leamys and on top of that he has family buried in St. Patricks where my sister Breeda (aged 12) rests. I spoke with Gerrard Hannan last year in his shop, read both Tis in me arse and Bards to Blackguards, I must say that the latter was very well done and I enjoyed it very much.

I am at present writing my own memoir, which I would like to have my children and grandchildren read. I have been a conservative individual in my expressions of my life to all my family, the hardships that I endured were and have been very well hidden, that is up to now. It is time to expose myself, mentally that is. I have three children, Michael, Karen and Valerie, and they in turn, have blessed me with grandchildren, two to each.

Limerick was, and is, a magical place to come from, even in the harshness of the 30s, 40s and into the 50s. Dulse, or better know as dilix was a weed, that without it, I would have starved. At half a penny a bag full, and mind you a small bag full at that, many a childs stomach was satisfied.

I speak especially of the children from the Island Field, an estate of displaced lanes people. My own parents came from Whites lane, I dont know where Whites lane is, and cared less, I was the first born in the Island Field and only knew of my street, St Itas Street, where I stood toe to toe with any kid who dared to walk on this hallowed ground of mine.

In the Irishtown, gypsys argued over the price of a donkey, ginnet, and even saddlebacked horses, caravans lined the straw shrewn street, which reeked of vomited fish and chips, and porter. Pachey Browns three brass balls glistened in the setting sun in the horizon of the parish of St Marys.

In the shadow of Clunes tobacco factory, my uncle Paddy hammered on the horseshoe anvil, sparks flying like fireflies to the roof of the corrogated ceiling above, as I swung on the bellows, urging every last pound of my frail body to impress upon him my manhood, hadent my mother told me that I was the man of the house now since my father had left for England, and I would be making my first holy communion next year anyway.

This beginning of a childhood was acceptable, the following years were not, the reasons affected thousands of children such as myself, England offered employment and richness to those fathers who had to abadoned us, while we learned to live in poverty, and a little sea weed known as dilix.

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