Those Were The Days...
August 28th, 2008
It is that time of the year when the children are preparing to return to school, and it revives memories of bygone days when kids used to walk to school, when they walked or cycled home for lunch, when it was unheard of to be driven to school. Those were the days of corporal punishment, so you needed a good excuse if you were late. "The two wheels fell off my bicycle, sir" did not cut much ice with the teachers. The slogs were part of life, and while they hurt for a while, they did not do us much permanent damage. Galway was a small place then so 'mitchin' was seen as an act of great courage or an act of madness. Secondary School was a five and a half day week, and there was a lot of homework but there were compensations if you had a penny or two... It was Keogh's shop for the Jez boys, Heaney's on the corner of New Road for the Pres girls, Heffernan's shop for the Bish boys, Mitchell's shop for the Taylors girls, the St. Mary's boys frequented Cahill's or Mary Ellen O'Connor's, Cunningham's and Kirwan's in Abbeygate Street were the haunts of the Mercy girls. Kirwan's was run by twin sisters Claire and Aggie Kirwan. Their twopenny ice creams were cut with great precision, the block would be marked with a marker and the knife would glide down at a 90 degree angle (you rarely got an extra sliver). Some of the St. Pat's lads went to Brennan and O'Dea's and the Brendan's fellows to Danny Griffin's. Do you remember Peggy's leg, penny bars, liquorice pipes, sherbet dips, peppermint sticks, Setanta made ice-pops, macaroons, Trigger bars, those chocolate marshmallow buns that were tuppence halfpenny each or you got two for fourpence halfpenny, and then there was clixsaw that could stick your teeth together for hours. You could buy single woodbines and borrow matches in these emporia and 'butts' were for sharing.
So today we have for you a 1945/46 school class from the 'Mon', the Monastery School that was located Market Street. They are, back row, left to right; --- Connor, Michael Molloy, Greg Scally, Michael Fitzpatrick, --- FitzGerald, Mixe Naughton, 'Count' McCormack, Tom Creane, Peter Kinneavy.
Middle row; Raymond Donnellan, Packie Duggan (Bohermore), Joe Flaherty, ---- Flaherty, Frank Connor, Frank Hardiman, Tom Coady (Bohermore), -------------.
In front are ---D'Arcy, Paddy Fortune (Mainguard Street), Pat Geraghty (Abbeygate Street), Sean Veale (Flood Street), ---- Folan (Quay Street), Sean Casserly, Michael Monaghan, Des Mannion (Bowling Green), Michael Haynes. Brother Christopher is standing on the right.
About that time, Brother Rupert was in charge of a very good 4-part choir in the school that sang plain chant. They were drawn from two classes and sang in the Pro-Cathedral and in UCG. It must have been a big occasion in UCG because they were given a treat afterwards... a cup of tea with saccharine tablets. There was no sugar available then. This group also did a number of plays in An Taidhbhearc.
Our thanks to Bertie McLoughlin who sent us this photograph from London.
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