shamrock2 Irish Jokes An Alternative Web Site

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I originally published this page for my own indulgence, however it has become a meeting point for all those Dubliners around the world to share their childhood memories. Based on my memories growing up in Dublin, the games, pastimes and other doings. My reason for doing it is because as the years go by the lights get dimmer.   The memories become muddled and confused, so pen to paper and they may be saved yet.  I would be delighted to add your memories to this page, from any part of the country will do, chances are they will also be some of my forgotten memories.  Please Email me with any stories @


The Memories

Red Rover

    When we played this game it was not for the faint hearted.   Sore bodies were often the result of this game.  The secret to remaining unhurt was to target the weaklings in the opposition.  Anyhow here is how the game went.

    This game involved 2 teams of equal numbers, lining up opposite each other.  Each team member holds his neighbours hands. The game then starts by someone on the opposite side calling a person from the opposing team by saying "Red Rover Red Rover we call Rory over".  Rory then runs at the opposing team and attempts to break through.  If you break through you go back to your own team and take a member of the other team with you.  Otherwise you join the opposition.  The team with the largest group in the end wins.


We played soccer day and night, rain hail or shine.  Most games were non league or unofficial.  This meant finding the most dangerous or unlikely place to play.   Pearse park was at the rear of my home, it had numerous playing fields.  Not for us though, we played on the road, using a 3.0ft gate on either side of the road for a goal.  We even used to use a single lamp post as a goal.  It was okay to use a passing car as a shield or even to pass a ball off it. Considering how hard we made it to score a goal, the Republic of Ireland Soccer team should have beaten all comers.  I remember a day when we were using the Star picture house car park as a pitch.  The Garda arrived a took the ball.  On opening the back door of the squad car to throw the ball in a bigger and better ball rolled out.  The game went on.

Janey Mack

Janey mack me shirt is black, what'll I do for Sunday.  Get into bed and cover your head, and don't get up till Monday

Snatch the Bacon

I played this game when I was in the scouts (20th Troop Rathmines).  It could also be a rough game, especially if someone had it in for you.

    The game went like this, the bacon, a few rags tied together was placed on the ground.  Two teams stood parallel to each other.  The bacon in the centre.  The idea was for one member of each team to go into the centre and snatch the bacon.  The trick was to snatch the bacon without being touched by the other team member. You could not touch the other team member until he/she had actually touched the bacon. Getting back to your own lines with  without being touched was the object of the game. When played vigorously, a whack on the back or skinned knees we not uncommon.

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Kick the Can (Tip the Can)

A great game which could be played with as many mates as wanted to play.  Playing at night added a great element of surprise.

You needed an empty can, and some one to be "on it".  The can was placed in the middle of the road.  It was fairly safe in the 50's and 60's, few cars on the roads.  The person who was "on it" closed their eyes and hit the can on the road for say 20 times.  The rest of the gang hid.  This was usually in a neighbours front garden.  A player was captured if you could spot a player, name them and the location they were hiding. e.g.  Bang the can 3 times and say "Michael Curran in Mrs. Green's garden".  He was then captured.  You often had to walk away from the can to search for other players.  At this point someone could jump out of hiding and "Kick the Can". The person "On It" had to tag the runner before the can was reached. If  the can was kicked those who were captured   hide again and the  person who is "On It" has to go through the whole rigmarole again.

Tip the Can  were some one would be on and would have to count to a certain amount of time, the others would hide and we'd have to get back to the pole and scream "tip the can" before the person on would catch up. usually the fat or stupid person use to be on. It was gas!!

Emma form Cabra


The Stephens Green Chase.

We lived just around the corner from St Stephens Green, in fact coming from flats we regarded The Green as our very own back garden – not bad eh! At one point in time The Green was full of deck chairs whichh people could rent. There were two types available, a traditional cloth type and a little green wooden stool built onto a black metal frame. The wardens would patrol the park collecting the money and issuing little tickets. Now as kids we had no interest whatsoever in relaxing in these chairs yet we would position ourselves in a row of chairs, knowing that a warden was around the corner – Why? For the chase of course.
Martin Mulvey

Relieve -E-O

A chasing game called “Relieve – E – O”. 2 teams involved, those chasing and the chased. The team doing the chasing would seek out members of the other team. When somebody from the other team was captured he/she would be brought to a “den”. They would have to remain within the boundary of the den. The chasing team would have to leave a sentry to prevent other members of the team who are been chased from sneaking close to the den and then charging through it shouting “Relieve – E – O” and which point any captives were free to make a run for it.

Martin Mulvey

  Kit E Kat (Tip Cat -Northern Ireland)

    This was a strange game and my memory of it is vague.  Even the name may not be correct.  Anyhow this is how I remember it.  You needed 2 pieces of stick.  One was placed on the edge of the path (kerb), half on the path, half over the road.  You then used the second stick to hit the stick on the kerb.  When the stick was hit it flew up into the air and you then attempted to hit it again away from the kerb, the further the better.  The hitting stick was then place at an angle between the road and the kerb,  your mate then tried to knock down the hitting stick with the other stick.  So there it is, did I dream it or was that a game. 

The following was sent to me by Raymond Black it's a description of how they used to play it in North.  "Hello there from south Texas, I enjoyed your site it sure brought back a lot of fond memories of the ould sod. I was born in the wee North and recall what u called kit-e-kat as tip-cat, only difference was we drew a half circle on the sidewalk and when the 'cat' was banged as far as possible. The batter would see how many strides it took to get to the den. The opposing team had to do it in one less.

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Box The Fox

    Simply put this game was robbing an orchard.  My favourite orchard was out near Clondalkin , where the apples used to hang over the edge of a tall wall.  We stood up on our bikes and filled our bellies and pockets.  It was the only one that I robbed with some what a clear conscience.   The apples were on "Public property". 

A Story from Des Farrell

I will never forget the time Christy McCormack and me got over our pigeon loft in to Talbot's untouched veggie garden, sure didn't we scalp it. We both tucked our jumpers into our trousers scoffed as many apples as we could until we almost looked pregnant, got back into my garden and the only place we had to hide them was in the pigeon loft. Next thing you know oul man Talbot is looking over the wall from a ladder asking us if we fine lads had heard anything. We must of went pale in the mush he had a very suspicious look after he eventually finished with us. Then we went inside got a load of plastic bags
and packed half a dozen apples in each one. Off we went around the neighbourhood selling these gorgeous cooking apples. Sure enough it went over so well all the women were talking about the beautiful apples they bought from Farrell and McCormack that Mr. Talbot decided to knock on my door to get some apples. Me ma copped on straight away told him she sent me away to the
nuns then beat the bollox out of me. After she got the confession I was dragged by the ears across to McCormack then we both got the bolloxs beat out of us.  To this day I hate apples,                            

Thunder and Lightening (Knick Knacks), (Thread the Knocker)

   This was probably one of the most dangerous games we played.  We relied on our ability to run faster than an adult.  There were 2 variations on the game.  The first was to knock on a door like "Thunder" and then run like "Lightening".  The second was to tie a piece of black thread onto a door knocker and hide in the bushes.  You then pulled the thread and watched the confused owner come to the door and shake their heads.   The second time you did it, you ran like lightening.

My name is Emma I'm only 18 but when I came across your website it brought me back to my childhood because we played the exact same games but there was two I couldn't find on it. The first game we always played was Knick Knacks, this was when we would knock at peoples doors and just run away and see was there a chase which there usually was. we use to always knock at weirdos houses and they would chase us round the whole of Cabra (were I'm from) and we thought there was nothing like it!!


Swinging On Lamp Posts

 A good solid rope and a coat or jumper were required for this.  This was usually done on a steel lamp post.   You tied the rope around the post where it narrowed and changed diameter.  The rope was tied in a loop and the coat or jumper used as a seat.  You then got into the loop and ran around the pole, sitting on the rope when you reached speed.  You swung around the pole until you ran out of rope.  Many a cyclist or passer by was whacked when this game was played.

Beds or Piggy Beds

   There we many variations on this game and it was played equally by boys and girls.  Here is my idea of how it was played.  A rectangular box was drawn in chalk on the footpath, the Bed. This box was divided into an equal number of box's, say 12.  Each was numbered from 1 to 12 as shown in sketch.   Some of the boxes had the word rest written in them.  The more boxes the more rest areas. An empty shoe polish tin was filled with sand, earth, the Piggy. Sometimes we put a semicircle at one end of the box and wrote SOAP in it, I have no idea why.

    The game went like this,  a player threw the Piggy into bed 1.   They then hopped on 1 foot into bed 1 and attempted to push the piggy to bed 2.   If the Piggy landed on a line or your foot touched a line or you put your other foot down, your attempt was over. You could hop as many times in a bed as you wanted to.   Resting was allowed in 3,6 and 9. If you could push the Piggy around to box 12 without any faults, you then threw the Piggy to Bed 2 and off you went again.

 Additional Information from Dymphna Lonergan @ Come In/Tar Isteach :Beds. when we played you could only hop once and at the beginning of the game you had to decide if 'inchies' were allowed. If your hop didn't land you close enough to the piggy you could move your foot back and forth til you got near enough. After you had completed a round successfully you could buy a bed. You wrote your name on it and everyone else had to jump over it, You could rest in it. Of course if you got 2 beds next to each other you almost had the game as the others had to take a flying jump to try to leap over two beds without touching the line.

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I also remember playing marbles was a big thing when I was a kid. Along the channel or up against the wall with a big ball bearing (steely) or a big glass marble (gullier) used to hit the smaller ones. I recently saw some in a shop and found myself wanting to buy some. Ridiculous at my age.
Love the site.
Best Wishes
Maureen McCann


Raymond Black, now living in Texas but from the North reminded me of this game.  In Dublin we called it Conkers.  During the chestnut season we used to collect the largest nuts we could find.  We then bored a hole through the middle of one and threaded it onto a piece of string.  A couple of granny knots was used to hold it on the string.  The idea of the game was for one participant to hold their conker by the string and allow it to hang.  It had to be kept still, no swinging allowed.  The other participant had to hit your conker with their conker.  After each hit you changed places.  The conker that remained in one piece was the winner.  If your conker was responsible for cracking 2 other conker it was called conker no 2 or conker 20 and so on and so on.  Damaged fingers and knuckles were often the order of the day.  If you really had the shits with someone you could always get one good belt on their hands and say sorry.  We also used to think that placing the chestnut in the embers of a fire would harden it.  Any thoughts from you old Conkers out there.

Curbs (It's how we pronounced kerbs)

I'm originally from Crumlin and it was so nice to read stories with stuff  from Crumlin in it. My favourite game was CURBS. One to four people played. You needed a soccer ball to play this. I would be on one footpath and my brother on the other. We would throw the ball different ways trying to hit the curb and have the ball come back to you.  Using two hands was 1 point, one hand 2 points and throwing it back over your head was 5 points. Can't play this with my kids in New Jersey there is no  curbs.

German Jumps (South Armagh)

"German Jumps"  Don't ask me how it got its name, but this game was a real winner among boys and girls growing up in South Armagh.  Coloured elastic bands in packs were bought from the local shop and they were tied together (half the fun) to form a complete circle.  Enough bands are used so that if you stretched it between two people it would range between seven and eight feet.  Once completed two or three or four people would enter the circle of elastic bands and using their ankles stretch out the bands so that the other players could jump over the lines of stretched out elastic bands.  The object of the game was to be the last person who could successfully jump the elastic lines as they were moved higher and higher on the occupants of the circle, i.e. from ankles to the backs of the knees, backs of thighs, waist, etc.....
It got a little scarier the higher it went because the jumper could snap the elastic easily with a jump while being held around people necks.....ouch!

Brad and Marcell Chappel

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A penny a packet of Rinso    

I was reading your games section and I remembered I loved to play "balls" with my friends.  You needed two tennis balls and a wall (a porch was best) and juggled/threw the balls whilst singing a rhyme.  The only one I remember is:


A penny a packet of Rinso                                       

Over a packet of Rinso                                               

Uppy a packet of Rinso                                            

Downy a packet of Rinso                                             

Dashy a packet of Rinso                                             

Archy a packet of Rinso   

 Thanks to Vanessa Martin from LA  , however I think she came from the posh houses to have a porch.  However I do remember the sweet smell of Rinso every Monday when my Mother did the washing, boil the water and use the hand mangle.    

I sent a letter                              

This is one for the girls.  We played it at the top of the street.  I sent a letter to my mother is what we called it.  A group of girls sit down in a circle some distance apart, the girl who was on picks up a bit of rubbish from the ground (now known as "the letter") and ran around the outside of the group as everyone sitting down closed their eyes and sang :

I sent a letter to my mother on the way I dropped it (the girl who is on drops the letter behind one of the girls) someone must of picked it up and put it in their poc...o....ket

On finishing the song the girls sitting down all look behind them whoever has the letter picks it up and tries to catch the person who is on before they get back to the vacated seat.  If the person who is on gets the seat she gets to be on again, if she gets caught then the other person has a go at dropping off the letter.

Trisha, Essex UK

123 O'Leary

Well I remember this as a game played with a ball and a wall.  I think it was mainly a game played by the young wans.  The idea was to sing the rhyme 123 O'Leary and bounce the ball under one of your legs against the wall then do it again to another verse of the of O'Leary. So on and so on.  Any ideas out there of how it actually went.

The following explanation come from Yvonne Yvonne Nargang . Canada, formerly of Rafters Rd Crumlin

The first round goes like this:

123 and Over 456 and Over 789 and Over 10 and Over catch the ball.
Second round: 123 and Uppy 456 and Uppy 789 and Uppy 10 and Uppy catch the ball
Third round: 123 and Under 456 and Under 789 and Under 10 and Under catch the ball ( Under the right leg)
Fourth round: 123 and Bouncy 456 and Bouncy 789 and Bouncy 10 and Bouncy catch the ball
Fifth Round 123 and Twirley 456 and Twirley 789 and Twirley 10 and Twirley catch the ball
Then repeat these four rounds doing Doubles: 123 and Over Over 456 and Over Over 789 and Over Over 10 and Over Over catch the ball. then you go on to Triples and so on. It's a game we'd play all day on the back wall of our house at 128 Rafters Road in Crumlin Dublin Forgot and left out one round #5123 and Twirley 456 and Twirley 789 and Twirley 10 and Twirley catch the ball.

Here is further discussion about the game from Joyous Vincent

T I have looked for several years for the game 123 O'Leary.  What I can remember is the combination of two you have posted.  Not sure about the wall, but this is what I remember:
You take turns until you miss.
123 O'Leary ( leg over the ball from inside out)
456 O'Leary
789 O'Leary
10   O'Leary
Than you would change to the other leg.
Then you would do something with the arms.
I do believe when you make a mistake you lose your turn, but the other person would start over again.  I would love to know if someone may know if their is a book on 123 O'Leary.
Most of the time it was the girls that played this game.


Writing this time to see if ya'll ever heard of 'hoying' in the south. It was a gambling game and the players stood in a ring around a big rock having thrown pennies like washers towards it. The nearest got first spin with two coins tossed in the air, the spinner called odds or evens. Each player put a ten bob note under the rock and whoever made the right call collected the lolly. I have seen 50 quid under the rock which was a lot of money back then. It was usually played on some wasteland and somebody was elected to keep watch for the peelers.  Trust life is still good and that u are enjoying ur great country. Kind regards. Raymond Black.  


The Mowl

It entailed throwing pennies or ha'pennies into the small shores outside the house {small covers for the water shut-off valve} You stood at the edge of the kerb and lobbed the coins into the shore. It was usually played for money.

Thanks to John Kinsella late of Drimnagh now in Donegal


This involved the hanging onto the back of a moving vehicle and getting a short ride.   This could have been as slow as the Coal man's horse and cart or as fast as a laundry van.  Some other vehicles, Bolands or Johnson Mooney & O'Brien bread vans, Dublin Dairies vans, Swastika or White Heather laundries.   As a side issue I worked as a delivery boy for the White Heather laundry in 1965 and the run we made in an electric van was identical to the one that Eamonn MacThomais of "Gur Cake & Coal Blocks" fame did on a horse and cart.  I wonder did we have the same customers.

I found your site by accident and can I just say its fab! I’m 25yrs from Dublin, but I remember playing most of the games you have listed. Although I don’t see Ship/Sea/Shore…does anyone remember it? Here’s my memory of it…. A gang of us would play it. You would use both sides of street. One kerb would be Shore, the other kerb would be Sea and the middle of the road was Ship (luckily enough there wasn’t as many cars back then). One person would be IT and would stand on one side of the road on the wall of a garden so they can see, be seen and heard etc. Everyone would gather at Ship. Then IT would shout a destination…say Shore and everyone had to run there, you would start of slowly running to each destination as called out and then IT starts giving multiple destinations to catch people out eg SHORE/SEA/SHIP/SHORE/SHIP etc and if you went to the wrong destination you were out. This could all get very confusing and tiring as the destination list grows longer and more challenging…especially if IT calls a double eg SHORE/SEA/SHIP/SHIP/SHORE …you had to jump on the spot if your already there. If everyone is at SHIP then IT could call out directions such as Scrub the Deck and everyone would have to get onto their knees and pretend to scrub, or Land Ahoy and everyone would have to lean on one leg with their hand over their eyes acting it out, this could be done also within a series of destinations eg SHORE/SEA/SHIP/SHIP/SCRUB THE DECK/SHIP/LAND AHOY/SEA etc…  it was a great game, and the object was to be the last one IN and then you got to be IT. No wonder we were so fit back then!!  

Tracy Peacock, Dublin

Going to the Baths

   In Dublin local swimming pools were known as baths.  I guess this came from the fact that in both of the baths in Dublin one could actually have a hot bath in a proper bath.  The 2 locations I remember were The Iveagh and  Tara St. baths.  I first started going to Tara St. in the evening with the Scouts,  hundreds of scouts would be there.  They only used to ask what troop you were belonging to, I used to bring some friends who were not in the scouts.   Once in there a quick run through a cold shower and into the pool.  Kicking and splashing under instruction from a scout leader.  I think this only occurred in the winter months as during summer there was a bigger demand on the pool.  The Iveagh was visited on Wednesday afternoon, half day from school.  A session lasted an hour, it took 10 minutes to get in and the swimming ended after about 50 minutes.  Then the next group came in.  After the swim a nice big slice of GUR cake bought from the shop on the corner.  Mind you the most lasting memory of the baths is the state of our eyes from the chlorine.  They must have used massive doses, because it took ages before our eye returned to normal.

Going to the Baths II

I enjoyed going to the baths a lot and once I discovered Tara St. there was no going back to the colder waters of the Iveagh. Less chlorine too ! I used to go to Tara St. as often as I could and especially on Friday afternoon, this was approx. 1962 .  One particular Friday I'll never forget was when the 50 mins. swimming was finished everyone was supposed to get out of the pool to make way for the next crowd of swimmers , already queuing outside the door on the pavement of Tara St. However on this Friday, some hardchaws decided to stay in and continue swimming. I don't know if this was a spontaneous show of bravado or a planned action. Anyhow , the baths attendants were not too pleased. They had these big sticks and they lashed them into the water on either side of the pool . The sticks were too short to actually reach these local lads ( Pearse St and Ringsend )  and the crowd of people drying themselves cheered and whooped every time the lads escaped the attendants, there was about ten of them and very capable swimmers they were too. The next crowd of swimmers were delayed about 25 mins. by the time the rebel swimmers got tired and gave up under threat of being barred for life, their clothes and towels were left on the path not far from the queue waiting to come in. The lads probably got a few clatters as well. After the baths I would go to a shop in Townsend St. for a gur cake and a bottle of orange (Taylor Keith) Home on the 83 bus and my Ma would send me up to the chipper for a one and one for my tea. Fridays were rapid. ( pron. rapeh )


Kevin Horan , Armagh Rd. Crumlin. Now living in Denmark since 1976


Going to the Seaside

   Portmarnock, Howth, Dollymount, Blackrock, Seapoint and of course Sandymount.  I cannot remember how many times our family queued in Middle Abbey St for bus to the seaside.  Thousands of screaming chiselers and demented mums, dad was usually at work.  How did we ever get into the water, the howling winds of Dollymount, the distance to the water and the mushy sand at Sandymount , the rocks at Blackrock.  Soggy and sand filled tomato or banana sandwiches, going for hot water to the Martello tower.  Later in life as a teenager a ride on the push bike from Crumlin to Blackrock baths was the way to go.  A jump from the first platform to the icy waters below, then swim like hell to the edge.

Catching Pinkeens

Down to the Lissadel shops in North Drimnagh, 3d for a jam jar with a string handle, a piece of bamboo and a bright pink net.  Then down to the Grand canal to catch pinkers.  They always seemed to be plentiful then.  I seem to remember the canal as a relatively clean place.  Recent visits have changed that idea.  Then we would bring the pinkers home, put them in a bigger jar and feed them grass.  Funny that they were always dead the next morning.

Swimming in the Locks on the Canal

   If my mother ever read this she would belt the living daylights out of me, I'm still not too big she says.  I remember performing this act on 2 occasions.  The first time as a dare, the second time for a bet.   Those locks are extremely deep, dark and cold.  it was only after hearing about a drowning in one of the Locks did I realise how stupid it was.  I always remember three distinct groups around the locks, spectators, performers and potential performers.

Getting Chased by Bang Bang.

I remember he used to ride on the platform of the 50, 50A, 50B and 77 bus routs.   We used to wait at the bus stop near the Star picture house on the Crumlin Rd.   He would have a door key in his hand and shot every one as he passed by.  I remember one time when I was brave enough to approach him he offered me a ten bob note, at least that's what I thought it was.  It turned out to be a corner of a note.   When he seen that I had been tricked, he hopped away laughing.  A harmless soul I believe.  I hear he ended up in the Iveagh Hostel calling himself Lord ????.   Does any one know the end to this story.

This story comes from F Scally regarding Bang Bang

Came across your site. Great stuff. Am expatriate living in Northern Ontario, Canada. Born and bred in Dublin. Glasnevin area. The dead centre of Dublin.  "BANG-BANG" died a number of years ago. In his seventies, think. Speaking of  the man, I was in a Musical society that practiced over Walton's music store just up from Parnell's monument. Bang-Bang used to jump on the back platform of the double decker buses, hang on to the rail post and holding a big old fashioned key like a gun he would lean out and go "BANG-BANG" at all and sundry. (It was great way for him to get free bus rides all over Dublin). One evening, as I was watching from the rehearsal room window, a matronly, upscale looking woman got off the bus, catching sight of bang-bang coming towards her along the footpath she went around the back of the bus and up along the outside to avoid "yer" man. Unbeknownst to her, bang-bang had seen the woman's action and lay in wait for her at front of the bus. Just as the woman got to the front, bang-bang jumped out, pointed his key(gun) at her and yelled "BANG-BANG." Taken by surprise the poor woman was a goner. Her handbag flew up in the air, she fell to her knees and almost fainted with fright. The busman rushed to help her. Unperturbed, bang-bang jumped on a bus going the opposite way and merrily continued his "shoot-em up" journey. Apart from the fright of her life, the woman was unhurt but if looks could kill, bang-bang should have been a dead man! 
Bang Bang appeared on the scene in the twenties in Dublin. His favourite hunting ground was the trams, from one of which he jumped, turning around to fire "bang bang" at the conductor. Passengers & passers-by
took up the game and soon an entire street of grown-ups were shooting at each other from doorways and from behind lamp-posts. The magic of make-believe childhood took over and it was all due to the simple innocence of "Bang Bang".  He was a very young man at this time.  "Bang bang you're shot", he would yell. "If yeh don't die, I'm not playin' "  People were very fond of him and seemed to come across him very often
in different parts of the City.
The following is the text of an Irish Independent item on "Bang Bang" at the time of his death on January 12, 1981. 
 "One of Dublin's best known and beloved characters , Tommy "Bang Bang" Dudley has died in a home for the blind. He was 75.  He was an institution in Dublin during his lifetime. He carried a huge jail key with him around the City, mockingly pointing it at strangers and shouting "bang bang."   Despite progressive eye disease, "Bang Bang" maintained his daily beat in the City frequently causing mayhem by jumping on the buses, slapping his rear hind as if he was on a horse.  Only recently he told friends on his sick bed in Clonturk House for the adult blind in Drumcondra, Dublin that he got the idea for his "bang bang" characterizations from the many cowboy films that he had attended in his early years. He lived in various parts of the city during his lifetime, in Mill Lane for 41 years and in the Bridge foot Street flats..............
Full funeral arrangement will be made to-day!    (One of the Irish Diaspora originally from Glasnevin) 


Keep up the good work.

Bang Bang (The official story)

The following text was taken from

Bang Bang (real name is believed to be Thomas Dudley) was an eccentric elderly gentleman in Dublin in the 1950s and 1960s who achieved fame as a character in the city. A fan of cowboy films, Bang Bang used to travel the buses and trams of the city staging mock shoot-outs with passing people (hence his nickname). Dubliners, who enjoyed his good natured antics, used to participate in his games, sometimes "returning fire" by pretending they had a gun in their hands and shouting "bang bang" back at him, or by falling down "dead" on the city streets when he suddenly appeared at the back of a bus or tram and "shot" them. On occasion Bang Bang even interrupted plays on stage by "shooting" the actors, generally to the amusement of actors and audiences alike. "Bang Bang" died in 1976 but is widely remembered by some of the older Dubliners.

Little is known about the actual man in question. It is suspected that he may have had some form of mental illness. Comparisons have been drawn between him and San Francisco's Emperor Norton I of the United States, who was so revered in his eccentricity that the police used to salute the "Emperor" as he walked the streets in full imperial uniform.

Bang Bang has entered the folklore of Dublin as an eccentric but harmless individual who amused the city's citizens with his games. He still is mentioned in books and broadcast programmes. In the 1970s the Abbey Theatre performed a play about the history of Dublin entitled From the Vikings to Bang Bang.[1]

He is mentioned in the lyrics of a children's "skipping song" We all went up to the Mero published by Pete St John. One verse reads:

And we all went up to the Mero, hey there, who's your man
It's only Johnny Forty Coats, sure he's desperate man
Bang Bang shoots the buses with his golden key
Hey hi diddley I and out goes she


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Picking Blackers (Blackberries)

Up the Long Mile Rd as far as Robin Hood.  A bucket or a couple of cans in the hand.  Picking black berries so the Ma could make jam.  Don't eat too many you'll get cramps, if you eat them without washing you'll get worms, at least that what the mothers usually said.  I believe they just wanted to ensure a reasonable supply of the berries.  Black berry pickers were easy to spot, sore hands, ripped cloths and black and blue mouths. Not many place left to pick blackers, of course we can now got to Dunne's or the likes and buy our jam. Of course the juiciest blackers were always at the top of the bush.

Pushing Bicycle Wheels (Hoops)

It amazing how far we used to run pushing an old bicycle wheel with a piece of stick.   The stick was used to beat the wheel along and used to guide it around corners.   The wheels were usually just the outer ring with hub and spokes removed.   However if you were lucky enough to get a tank with all the trimmings, everyone got out of your way.  With the full wheel it was like the chariot race in Ben Hur.  Scraped and greasy legs were the order of the day..

Having a Cuppa with the Gotchie (Watchman)

Who remembers the Gotchie, I think that's what we called him.  He was the Corporation watchman who spent his lonely nights in a small wooden box in front of a big coal brazier.  Toasting bread and drinking tea out of a big tin mug or maybe a milk bottle.  I often pinched some tea sugar and milk to make a cuppa with the gotchie.   Then helping him light the oil lamps for the road works.

Well I guess I did not imagine the name, thanks to Brian Rennie of Dublin, who says his mother remembers the "Gotchie"

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Hiking to the Dublin Mountains.

Pine Forest, Lord Masseys and maybe Larch Hill if you were a scout. Sunny summer Sundays, meet at the Classic cinema in Terenure and off up through Rathfarnam.  Half way was a small shop for a packet of Tayto and an ice pop.  Then maybe into Masseys, run around the dark and enormous pine trees, they seemed huge.  Light a fire, boil the billy, fry an egg and rasher and maybe some spuds in the fire. Try to catch the last 47 from Tibradden or Mount Venus.  Explaining to your mother how you ripped the arse out of your trousers. A walk up through Tallaght village and onto the Hell Fire Club.  Some great stories about that place.  Remember the Evening Herald used to run it's "Ghost Stories" on a Tuesday night.

A Visit to the Phoenix Park.

Catch the number 23 at Our Ladies Children's Hospital, hop off a the swing gates on Cunninngham Rd.  Spend a couple of minutes swinging.  Up the hill and over to the Wellington Monument.  Climbing up on each ledge and hoping not to fall off.   Then over to the hollow, sneaking up on fellas with their moths and watching the goings on.  As I got older I was being watched.  Then off to the strawberry beds and a game of hide and seek and maybe a sneaky look at a few more courtin couples.  Funny it always seemed to be sunny when we went to the park.

Making Ice Slides

Winter found us making slides on the road or paths.  Late in the evening just as the frost was coming down, we would get a wet sack of similar and mark a wet line along the road.  Later that night or next morning you would have a slide of black ice.  If it was on the road many a cyclist came to grief and the slide was usually destroyed by the traffic.  However if the slide was on the footpath then it was up to the oulwans in the street to pour salt water or ashes from the fire over them.  The craic was great with skinned elbows and wet arses.


Funny enough the books of my day used to show only girls using skipping ropes.  Well we paid no attention to this, some of the skipping we did was not for the feint hearted.  We often used what we called Guinness ropes, big buggers that had to be swung by two people using both hands.   Whilst the rope was swung, we would line up, run into the rope and skip to the verse of a  rhyme.  It was often done with 2 ropes "French skipping" I have been told it was called.  Missing the beat meant getting a beating from the ropes.

Collecting Turf for the Pensioners

Winter allowed us to earn a few bob by collecting Turf (Peat) for old age pensioners.  Each pensioner received a docket from the post office for 2 sacks of turf a week during winter.  We used to get an old pram, trolley or cart and collect and deliver it.  However it was not always as simple as it seems.  You had to negotiate a price for the delivery, when this was done the pensioners used to check the sacks to see if they were full and dry.  You see the lads in the turf depot used to hose the turf down "to keep the dust down".  And as wet turf weighs more than dry turf, there would always be a few sacks left for the lads.  So when you got it back to the customer you did not always get the agreed amount.


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Doin a Bitta Nockin Off

I loved your site, found it by chance, I'm a Celbridge man myself, been in Argentina for 33 years, went to school in the Mhuire at Parnell Square, keep up the good work.   Would "knocking off" in Wooly's and Moore Street qualify for inclusion in the games we played.    Some ould biddy on Moore St. caught me stealing her oranges one day and she says "ah jasus sonny if ye ast me fur dem I'd giv dem to ye fur nuthing an ye wudnt have to be robin".  They were great people.   All the best squire,

From Michael Geraghty, now living in Argentina.

Trolleys or Go Carts

Rosarie who grew up in Cork reminded me of this past time.  We used to build a "Box cart, "Go Cart", "Trolly" there were many names for the contraptions.  Anyhow they were made from wood, four wheels, ball bearing or pram type, a long bolt, a couple of nails and a good strong piece of string.  They were either steered by using the string with hand movements or using your feet on a moveable front axle.  You might need some imagination to see this one.  Up to the top of a hill a down you went.  Brakes, no such thing, use your feet or hit something.  Home to the mother with the soles out of your shoes, a clip around the ear, cardboard to plug the holes and off you went again.


Up To the Shops for Sweets

Whilst the memory may dim the smells and tastes of my childhood are still with me.  Remember the "Lucky Lump", a block of rock like substance covered in a pink sugar.  In every box there was supposed to be one that contained thruppence.  I never got one or see anyone get the money.  On the subject of "rock" did you ever buy a bag of broken rock from the dealers outside the school or pictures, where did they get the stuff.  My Mother used to say it was the sweepings off the factory floor.  How about the good old reliable "Gob Stopper" two for a penny, lasted all day and guaranteed to make any dentist happy.  Cleeves toffee, sold by slab or broken by the shopkeeper with a penny and sold for 2 a penny.  "Fizz bags" a glass lollypop in a bag of "acid", brings tears to me eyes to think about it.  Speaking of acid, how about "acid drops" sucked until the skin came off the top of your mouth. Throwouts, that name reminds me of chocolate toffee's, once again 2 a penny.  How about a "Big 5 bar" bigger and better than a Mars bar. Golly bars, who ever thought of that name, ice cream on a stick, choc ice, patsy pop an orange drink on a stick. Flash bars, trigger bars, eat the chocolate from around the edges first. Liquorice pipes, a little blob of red on the top for the flame. The picnic bar was originally called "lunch bar".  Spangles the square sweetie with the dimple.

Going To The Chipper

Where else in the world is a fish and chip shop called a Chipper.  One and one long ray, or one and one smoked cod. My father told me that the "One and One" came from the days when many Italians had moved to Dublin to open "Chippers".  It was just after the war and there was a communication problem.  So the Dub's being as they are with the English language devised a little bit of code. One and One Ray was a "single of chips and a piece of fish.  On the subject of singles, it was a single or large single.  Does anyone know where this term came from.  Do they still pinch the bottom of the bags so less chips fit in.  My mother would never eat the chips that she cooked herself so she would sent me around to Captains Rd for her fish and chips.  By the time I got home with them there were even less chips in the bag, very hard to resist.  Who makes the best chips in Dublin? it used to be Burdocks at Christchurch.

The following is from Martin Mulvey

Best chipper in Dublin – what about “De Masio’s”. I’m not too certain about the spelling but they were located in Marlboro St which runs parallel to O’Connell St. I had an aunt who lived in Townsend St and would visit every Sat evening. She always arrived with chips from De Masios and a cake from the Kylemore bakery.

Martin reminded me of when I worked for the White Heather Laundry and delivered laundry to the north side we used to get hot Gur cakes from the Kylemore Bakery.


"Trick or Treat" never heard the words uttered in Dublin, we said "Help the Halloween party".  We dressed up in anything we could find, an old sheet, Mum's or the sister's cloths, crepe paper costumes and if you were really really rich maybe a hire costume.  Mind you hire costumes were few and far between in our neighbourhood. Fruit was the order of the day, it was funny how some of the fruits like the coconut only appeared in Dublin in the middle of winter. Colcannon for dinner, mashed potato with curly kale and plenty of butter, salt and pepper. Mum would wrap a sixpence or truppence in a piece of greaseproof paper and put it in the pot of colcannon.  It was the luck of the draw who got it on their plate.  Then we had the barmbrack with the brass ring hidden inside, get the ring and you were the next to be married.  The only games I remember playing were bobbing for apples, apples in a basin of water, or trying to bite an apple suspended from a string. Today it seems that people associate Halloween with America,

The following text was taken from :

The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
                   October 2002


The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration marked the end of Summer and the start of the Winter months.

During the eighth century the Catholic Church designated the first day of November as 'All Saints Day' ('All Hallows') - a day of commemoration for those Saints that did not have a specific day of remembrance. The night before was known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time, became known as Halloween. Here are the most notable Irish Halloween Traditions:

Colcannon for Dinner: Boiled Potato, Curly Kale (a cabbage) and raw Onions are provided as the traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the potato for children to find and keep.
The Barnbrack Cake: The traditional Halloween cake in Ireland is the barnbrack which is a fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in each cake. If you get the rag then your financial future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you
can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting the ring is a sure sign of impending romance or continued happiness.

The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not developed any spots then the person who placed the leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health until the following Halloween. If not..... The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to wander the earth but asked the Devil for some light. He was given a burning coal ember which he placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.

Thus, the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the lantern in their window would keep the wanderer away. When the Irish emigrated in their millions to America there was not a great supply of turnips so pumpkins were used instead.

Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children would dress up in scary costumes and go house to house. 'Help the Halloween Party' and 'Trick or Treat' were the cries to be heard at each door. This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back to Celtic times. On the special night when the living and the dead were at their closest the Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in case they encountered other devils and spirits during the night. By disguising they hoped that they would be able to avoid being carried away at the end of the night. This explains why witches, goblins and ghosts remain the most popular choices for the costumes.

Snap Apple: After the visits to the neighbours the Halloween games begin, the most popular of which is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string and children are blindfolded. The first child to get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their prize. The same game can be played by placing apples in a basin of water and trying to get a grip on the apple without too much mess!

The Bonfire: The Halloween bonfire is a tradition to encourage dreams of who your future husband or
wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a cutting of your hair into the burning embers and then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations.

Blind Date: Blindfolded local girls would go out into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they could find. If their cabbage had a substantial amount of earth attached to the roots then their future loved one would have money. Eating the cabbage would reveal the nature of their future husband - bitter or sweet!

Another way of finding your future spouse is to peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the single apple peel could be dropped on the floor to reveal the initials of the future-intended.

Anti-Fairy Measures: Fairies and goblins try to collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but if they met a person who threw the dust from under their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged to release any souls that they held captive.

Holy water was sometimes anointed on farm animals to keep them safe during the night. If the animals
were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows Eve then they would be spat on to try to ward off
any evil spirits.
Happy Halloween from Ireland!"

Memories from a fellow Crumlin Man

I had a good chuckle reading some of these stories. I grew up on Bangor Rd. in Crumlin but it seems like half my life was spent in the Castle snooker hall or  trying to rob a few sods from the turf depot. I also remember playing a lot of Gaelic football in Pearse Park. The only reason the Brothers didn't kill me was because I was a fairly decent full forward. I wasn't that good at hurling as I had to use my brother's caman and he was seven years older than me. It was like trying to swing a telephone pole. Somewhere in the Fifteen Acres in the Park there's probably still a couple of teeth lying around from the poor sod who I accidentally hit in the mouth with the stick. It used to come in handy though when we had to run the gauntlet after a match in Ballyfermot.
    Sundrive Park was another great place. When I was a small boy there used to be a dump there and you could find most of the parts for a decent pushbike (minus the tyres, tubes, chain and saddle, of course). My brother and his mates used to pay me to be a lookout for the pitch and toss school on the hill in the park. I can still remember the Saturday afternoon matinees at the Apollo Theatre on Sundrive Road. Two pictures and a follyin-upper for fourpence. When they took out the wooden benches and put the cushioned seats in the price went up to sixpence. The ushers used to cram two kids into every seat. Lash LaRue was my favourite. One time some thick decided to show "Hans Christian Andersen", starring Danny Kaye, as not only the main feature, but the only picture that day. The riot that followed when we copped on was nothing short of spectacular. To this day I still hate Danny Kaye.
    There is so much more I could mention but I'd be here all night. I'll close with a question. When I worked for the dairies on Captain's Road it was called Dublin Dairies and then became T.E.K. Dairies. Now I know that Tel El Kebir was the site of a WWII battle but what does that have to do with Dublin? Was the owner a former British soldier, perhaps?
    Keep up the good work.
    Paul Anderson,
    New Jersey, USA

Sick, Dying, Dead and Buried
The idea of the game was someone had the ball and  would shout out sick dying dead and buried at which all the kids would run as far away as possible but they had to stay where they were one the saying was out. Then the person with the ball would try to hit some one and if they did that person would be sick and the three more hits would make them out but if the person catches the ball they are then in control of the game and it starts again with the saying until all players except one is out and they are the ultimate winner. Takes ages and knackered us out.

Valerie Roche

Raised in Crumlin

Wow, what a great idea for a page...found this by accident....born and raised in Crumlin, windmill road to be exact. I remember playing all of the
games mentioned....curbs was a good one....I had completely forgotten about that....remember the hoop? a old bicycle wheel and a stick, keep ya busy for hours...I think we used to call the door knocking thing "knock dolly" least we did on windmill road...the gotchie, the turf depot, all good
memories, the Star and the riots there when the bay city rollers came to Crumlin, for some reason I remember a candy called "spangles" a square thing that was rock hard, the old ladies selling sweets and <rock> outside St. Aggies school...anyway thanks for the laughs and the good memories..... from a 42 year kid

Jim Ward

123 O'Leary

I was hoping you would remember of this game - I would like to teach it to my granddaughter.  If you learn more, please let me know.

My recollection is:
You each take turns until you miss.
123 O'Leary (leg over ball from inside out)
456  "
789  "
10    "
Boys (catch the ball)
123 and up (hit ball up and bring down with hand)
456 etc
123 O Basket (make circle with arms and ball must go     through)  
456 ETc
123 O Loop (make circle with arms and go over ball)
123 O'around (bounce ball and make a complete turnaround
   bouncing the ball on return)
456 Etc
123 ? ( I can't remember the name - but you swing your leg over the ball from outside in)
456 Etc
After you complete the first round  with no errors, you complete the sequence with an O'leary before each action - i.e. 2 O'learies. O'leary and up, O'leary and o'basket, etc.
You can go through the whole sequence of double actions.
I believe when you make a mistake you lose your turn but the new turn starts at the same verse you were on previously - you don't have to return to the beginning.  

Lynne McCaw


Your web page was sent to me two days ago. I was born in Brunswick Place
(off Pearse Street) Dublin. I now live in Detroit Michigan USA for 25
years. I write constantly about Dublin and a Dublin man I will always be.
It helps if you read this poem with a flat Dublin accent.
          _______________A poem by Peter P. Fallon_______________

    You have no imagination, says she, when you're writing down a poem
        The stories that you write about are yours and yours alone
     There's the one about your Mother and that certain way she smiled
         And the cobblestones of Dublin back when you were a child
  Of your school days and the music and of things that changed your life
      And how you met a life long friend, who since became your wife

     But when me mind begins to wander, says I, it only knows one road
        And it travels back to Ireland just to lighten up the load
          I search me heart for memories of  life in Dublin town
         Be it tragedy or beautiful, I just have to write it down
    Then with words I paint the pictures that are so colorful and clear
   Of love and life and stress and strife, of a smile and a little tear

      Things like, one particular Sunday when we all went out to Bray
        And me Father pumped the Primus stove to make the pot-a-tea
   Then out came the corn beef sandwiches, for me "Da'" that was a must
         And the "Marietta biscuits", and the "bread-n-jam" for us
       And we all shivered on the promenade in "togs" and overcoats
        Watchin' all the crashin' waves and countin' all the boats

    And things like, the games we played in The Phoenix Park around The Monument
     Or when we paddled in the puddles for endless hours at Sandymount
          Or the time I watched me Mother with a baby on her knee
       Although I was almost five years old, still wishing it was me
     Or when I walked along a country road and linked me Father's arm
       And believed as long as he was there I couldn't come to harm

  But what about the birds and bees, she says, and the moon up in the sky
        You never write about them things, but surely you could try
        A nice poem that's like a melody, that could be sung by all
 Things like, a picnic in St. Stevens Green  or County Wicklow in the Fall
   Or the view from the Dublin mountains, when we went up there at night
     To see the city when the sun went down and all you see are lights

  Haha!, now you're gettin' personal, says I, now you're talkin' from the heart
        I knew that you would understand when you had played a part
Things like, the time you went out courtin', and he first kissed you on the lips
   The night you huddled at the bus stop and you shared a "bag-a-chips"
     Or when the family came together when your dearest loved one died
       And that loving arm around you, to console you when you cried

   You see, these things I see as beautiful, are deep inside our hearts
   And these poems are just the records and just little maps and charts
  They say, a picture paints a thousand words, and with that I must agree
          But how can you get inside me heart and paint a memory
         And I never saw a picture that for me could mean as much
       For the pen to me is mightier, than the swishing of the brush

             So I sit with pen and paper, whenever I have time
       And write whatever's in me heart, be it prose or be it rhyme
             With no imagination, but with feelings real to me
                I take another voyage across the Irish sea
     And if just one word has touched you, the rest is all worthwhile
     For me, nothing is more beautiful, than a tear and a little smile


QUEEN-E-I-O, O'Grady Says and Mr Fox

Wow; just came across your site. What memories. I was born in Crumlin but my parents moved to Malahide when I was only 6mts old. I went to school in O'Connell's nth Richmond rd played all or most of the games you described. Did you ever play QUEEN-E-I-O

Where some one was elected "It" every one else lined up across behind "its" back "it" threw a ball over his head and every one scrambled for it. They all lined up again with their hands behind their backs and shouted out "Queen-e.i.o who has the ball is she big or is she small" "It" would then turn around and try to guess who had the ball if he guessed wrong he would still be "It" .If he guessed right the one with the ball would be made "It" and so on. (It was a kids game) and who can forget O,Grady says do this where every one had to do what O,Grady did when he said  "do this" and if he said "do that" and you did it you were out and so on ,til the last man was out and he became O,Grady and on and on. Magic stuff. or Mr Fox where a kid was elected Mr Fox and all the kids lined up at a wall and Mr Fox went out about 10 ft from them and turned his back and started to walk away, all the kids would follow saying "what's the time Mr Fox" and he would say maybe 'ONE O CLOCK" This would be repeated over and over while sill walking away from the line up wall After a few "what's the times" Mr Fox would say "dinner time" turn and try to catch as many of the others as he could be fore they reached the safety of the touching of the line up wall and so on until the last man is caught and automatically becomes "mr Fox".  Ah; memories I could go on and on.

Thanks to George Heaphy


The Grushy

Another former Crumlin kid here, love the site brings back some great memories. One thing I didn't see mentioned was a "Grushy". The grushy was a great way of making money or getting a broken jaw or both. Basically all the kids off the neighbourhood congregated outside the house of someone who was about to head of to the church to get married. Before leaving the groom/bride would throw a handful of coins in the air while shouting "GRRUSSSSHHHHY" and all the kids would scramble/kick/punch for a piece of the grushy. A good grushy could make of break you, you could make a few bob or break a few bones.........


Moving to Ballyfermot and other stories

In 1948, the corporation offered my parents a new house in Ballyfermot Dublin Ireland. The news delighted Ma, but the Da wasn’t keen on the idea and grumbled,  “Ballyfermot is out in the sticks and it is too far from the inner city.” But Ma persuaded him to take the house, because it was a tight squeeze in our small cottage in Summerhill with eight children Liam, Michael, Lar, Mag, Ann, Helen, myself and Maria was only a baby.

We were all very excited about moving into our big bright new house on Thomond Rd. Our furniture arrived on a big truck and we helped to carry all the bits and pieces into the house.

Upstairs we had three bedrooms and downstairs there was a large sitting room, small kitchen, bathroom, an outdoor toilet and our very own back and front garden.

We shouted, “I’ll bags this bedroom.” But Ma gave the boys the biggest bedroom because they were older.

There were acres of fields with trees to climb and ponds to explore in the Californian Hills. We had the Memorial and Phoenix Parks on our doorstep and there appeared to be millions of kids running around on the road shouting and playing games. “Was I go’na enjoy me self or what”?

There were no houses from Kylemore Rd to Cherry Orchard and it was a boy’s paradise to play war games in the trenches.  (foundations).

We spent hours playing cowboys and Indians with our homemade guns and bow and arrows. We made gats (slings) with the fork of a tree branch and a piece of rubber from a bicycle tube. We put a stone into our gat and we thought it was great fun to aim our gats at cats and dogs, bird’s or at each other.

It was around this time I remember seeing Guinness’s horses pulling huge big carts full of beer barrels up Stephens Lane. One horse pulled the cart, but when the cart got to the end of the hill they had to yoke up another horse to pull the load up the hill. The horses in the Budweiser Christmas ad remind me of the Guinness horses.

Although we were warned about the dangers of scutting, every kid scutted busses and lorries. (Hold onto the back) If the driver caught us he jumped out of his cab and gave us a clout on the ears. We wouldn’t tell our parents because we’d get a clout for scutting and another because scutting wore the toes out of our shoes.

Horse Racing: We’d put a long rope around the back of a kid’s neck and carry it back down under their arms. We steered our horse from behind, by holding the ends of the rope. As our horse galloped along, we’d shout pulling the left-hand or right-hand rope, “Yup, Pie! Horse, right, Yup, Pie! Horse left,” or to stop our horse, “Woo!!! Horse Woo!” (Yuppie now has another meaning)


Playing Conkers:

We’d throw branches up to try and knock the chestnuts down off the trees in the Phoenix Park.  We’d bring them home and punch a hole in them with a nail. To make them hard and dry out the sap we put them in the heat of the chimney for a few days. Then we thread about twelve-inches of string through the hole and we’d go out on the road and try to destroy everyone’s chestnuts. We tossed a coin to see who got the first shot, the winner made you hang your chestnut down about twelve inches. Holding his conker in one hand and the string in the other, he’d try to smash your chestnut by making a swing at it. If he succeeded, his chestnut was called conker number one. But if he missed, you got two chances and the game continued. If you had a conker number 9 or 10, your reputation got around and everyone wanted to conquer your chestnut.


The Da’s Shoes:
It was great to wake up in the winter and find everything covered in snow. We knew the schools would close and we’d be able to make a big slide in the centre of Thomond Road.  

One year I only had a pair of rubber Wellies (Wellington boots) and Wellies were useless for sliding on ice. So I sneaked into the Da’s room and nicked a loan of his good leather shoes.

We poured water on the ground to make the slide slippery. As soon as it froze over, we’d make a run at the slide, jump onto it and glide for about twenty-five yards before we came to a stop.

When I was finished sliding, I was sneaking the Da’s shoes back into his bedroom and I was shocked when I saw a big hole in the sole of each shoe. Oh! I knew I was in trouble’ No! I was in double trouble. First with Ma because she couldn’t pawn a pair of shoes that had holes and secondly when Da saw the state of his shoes, he took an action that prevented me from sliding for a week.


Catherine and John O Rourke

Soccer Tennis and Dublin Olympics

I remember growing up and every summer around Wimbledon we would play Soccer Tennis on the road. We used the breaks in the road that were lined with Black Tar. It was a great way of passing the day and was always competitive. Back in those days cars were less and it was easier for us to play, especially in Cul De Sacs. Then to finish we always played Kerbs to finish out the night.

Olympics -  Backers (Old Fields off Griffith Road)
One year back in late seventies the older lads organised a mini Olympics in backfields (now houses) known as the backers. A track was set up with yellow caution tape and the games began. The craic was excellent and the boys were in great form. The older lads gave out medals (old medals they had won at school).
John O'Rourke
Formerly of Finglas now Allentown, PA.


Elastics, Sardines, Hop the Cob

It's a great idea for a website, can't wait to go home and see if my boyfriend remembers any of them. I know most of the games listed although no one has yet mentioned the game played with a tennis ball and an old stocking or cut off leg of tights (girls only game). I remember playing this against the playground wall in Palmerstown and my Mam ready to kill me for ruining all her tights! The ball is put in the toe of the stocking and the girl stands with her back against the wall and swings the ball from left to right bouncing it off the wall saying a rhyme and up and down between her legs and over her head.

Another great large group game is sardines. It's like hide and seek in reverse. At the beginning, only one person goes and hides while the rest of the group close their eyes. The idea is that if you find the person hiding, you must jump in/lie down beside them without anyone else noticing, then someone else will come along and jump in with the 2 of you etc. until there is only one person left with the gang of you cramped in a tiny corner - very funny.

At about the same time that we discovered snatch the bacon, we also played Hop the Cob which resulted in many bruises. 2 teams stood facing each other with designated numbers given to each person. When the numbers were called, the two opposing people would have to hop to the middle on one leg with their arms folded high on the chest and try to knock the other over or at least make them put their two feet down but always keeping arms crossed.

I also remember playing another girly game, elastics where one person stood at each end with the elastic around their ankles forming a rectangle and we would take it in turns to jump over them changing England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, stamp on the rails..then raise them higher and higher until it was impossible.


Spin the Bottle, Penny for the Black Babies, Blind Man's Kiosk


Found you site by accident loved it ! 

I didn't see any mention of kiss chasing or Spin the bottle ...I use to  kiss chase the lad's on Galtymore road and leave my mark on them with my mother's Avon lipstick sample's !! and god bless Premier Dairies for the big glass milk bottle's Dare truth kiss promise or command and if it landed on you ,you got to chose which forfeit you would take ...Happy days..I moved from Drimnagh to Donabate nth co Dublin I'm here and smiling at the memories I got from reading here..........and do you remember a penny for the black babies I gave 1p every month but never got the Black Baby!! and the 1p dinner's off the nun's was another treat we use to pretend to be starving to get one.... 

I have fond memories of the blind man who worked the Kiosk on the circle beside Mourne road church we use to ask him the time and without fail he would tell us correctly .....I was to thick to know he knew what time it was by the sun on his face and because we done and asked him the same thing every school the same time12 -12;30.......and he would sell us loose cigarette's one puff was a "pull" 3 pull's was called a drag......sharing was caring ah and the phone box's were a good money spinner stuffing the refund money  chute with paper and letting the coins from them build up and the collecting it at school break......and the rag and bone man....balloons for rag's and those blow out thing's with a feather on the end.......Swimming in the canal....beside Lyon's tea factory getting stripped down in the bush's so the lad's couldn't see us.....never dawned on us that the people in the offices there, were getting a grand view of us stripping because they were behind us... 

Thanks again.....regards Linda Foley.....Donabate Co Dublin

There was also a Blind man's Kiosk on the roundabout at the junction of Armagh and Clonard Rd's Crumlin.  A picture is shown below:


WW2 and Rationing

Just discovered your wonderful site. During WW2, I went to Francis Street School. Things were rough. Everything was rationed. My father, who did not drink nor smoke, just had to have tea. It seemed that he could not function without it. Tea was like gold. One day at school I overheard a boy say that his mother could get loose tea at a small shop that I passed each day on the way to school. I ran home all the way to tell my mother and the next morning I took her to the shop. Although there was nothing on the shelves except empty boxes, the place was packed with women shoppers, obviously locals. My mother did not think that the owner would sell her any tea as she was not a customer. I urged her to try anyhow and she got in line at the counter. The customers never said anything to the owner, just pointed to under the counter. My mother did the same and got a half-pound of tea. For the couple of days, my father acted normally.

Tom Fergus, NY

Lollipop sticks and Cigarette cards

My name is Paddy Kelly I lived on Clonard rd till 1977 I'm now in Tallaght. I remember most of the games mentioned did not see the one about the lollipop sticks and cigarette cards .we would throw them at the wall and if yours landed on theirs you won, the shops on old county road we would each walk by the veggy stall and take a potato .when we thought we had a stone weight we 'd spend the mothers money on patsy pops and broken biscuits kit kat.   Similar to others, two teams faced each other from each side of the road one big bloke would give a little fella a jockey back the little fellas tried to drag each other of the big blokes back it didn't give a shite how bad your cloths were torn you had to hang for the honour of your team it usually lasted till somebody got hurt does anyone remember swimming in mollys hole or pussys leap or the tank under Old Bawn bridge a penny wafer of the rippler or pigs feet in molly furlongs if you do ya mus be frum crum( b) lin. I loved reading about the old games brought a tear to my eyes may somebody out there remembers me. my nick name was Wacker, I was motor bike mad I'm still on wheels but there on my wheelchair, I'll watch this spot more often.

bye and god bless

I'm quiet surprised no one mentioned the "Baino" in the Iveagh Trust Buildings it was probably the first crèche in Ireland all though we thought of it as a  free meal after leaving the Iveagh baths our Saturday wash this to was provided by the Lord Iveagh trust who happened to own the Guinness brewery in St James gate Dublin the flats have been modernised the baths are now a health gym but Guinness is still brewed in St James gate Dublin ,they say its the water that gives it a unique taste,  the hostel for homeless men is still there the Iveagh market is closed for refurbishing , and Francis street is full of antique shops and only one pub but the Tivoli is now reopened I remember when people kept pigs in the back lanes around Francis street O'Keefe's the knackers what a whiff Paddy Kelly WACKER

Wacker Kelly Tallaght Dublin

The Banshee and the Beano

I'm originally from Crumlin, reading all the games mentioned on your brilliant site brought a big happy memory back. I played most of them so i must have been a right tom-boy. Stannaway road was a big long road and we lived at the top so with a car coming slow every hour we could get great use of the road with all the games mentioned. My favourite was skipping and swinging on the lamp post, sometimes with two or three ropes. one of us would have to stand against the post with hands joined to let the other put up ropes as high as we could. ( The higher the bigger the swing) how did the post stay up. There was always a different game every week. When all the kids were out on the summer nights it all ways ended with kick the can, and you would hear the mothers calling the kids name one by one to come in. I used to love bringing my read comics, dandy, beano, bunty, judy, etc, to my friends door to swap them. It used to be great when they had some I wouldn't have read bring them back over to my house to get stuck in. We all shared in those days because we learned from our Mothers. It was a common thing for the children to be sent to one another's house for milk or sugar till the mornin, or maybe a few bob. Does anyone remember the time there was supposed to be a banshee in the girls school in Armagh Road? we were all scared out of our wits they even closed the school down for a few days.

Phyllis Cavanagh

The good old days ... This'll take you back. . .

I'm talking about breathing heavy playing Hide and Seek in the park or your local field, the shop down the road had all you needed, Hopscotch, Donkey, skipping, handstands, Kick the Can, red rover, rounders, stuck in the mud, playing with your friends until your mum had to come get you for your dinner, skipping, Roly Poly, Hula Hoops,

jumping the stream and laughing at the one who fell in, Building a swing from a tyre or a branch and a piece of rope tied to
a tree (If you live in one of Dublin's concrete jungles, the lamppost), building tree-houses, climbing up onto roofs.
Tennis (with wooden rackets) on the road with chalk outlines, the smell of the sun beating down on the tarmac and fresh cut grass..
Hubba Bubba bubble gum and 2p Flogs, toffee logs, macaroon bars and woppas, 3p Refreshers and wham bars, superhero chewing gum with the "lick it, stick it" tattoos, golf ball chewing gums and liquorice whips,
Desperate Dan and Roy of the Rovers, sherbet dips and Mr. Freezes cool pops, Marathon bars before they were called snickers and JR ice pops.
An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune, chocolate or vanilla or strawberry, a 99 or maybe even A screw ball.

Wait ...

Watching Saturday morning cartoons ... short commercials, Battle of the Planets, Road Runner, He-Man, Swap shop, and Why Don't You?,
Transformers, How do you do?, Starfleet, Ulysses, Forty-coats with his fifty pockets, the Littlest Hobo and Lassie (great dogs), The Muppet Show, MacGyver, Scarecrow and Mrs King, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, or staying up for Knight Rider and Magnum PI,
Dreading the Glenroe theme song cause it was Sunday night nine O'clock and time for bed with school in the morning and not a lick of homework done.
When around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like going somewhere.
A million midget bites, looking forward to picking scabs off your knees, sticky fingers and mud all over you, Using a Doc leaf to soothe nettle stings, knee-pads on your jeans, Cops and Robbers, Rounders,
Tip the Can, Queenie-I-O, climbing trees, spin the bottle, walking to school, no matter what the weather, running till you were out of breath (which, by the way, used to take a lot longer).
Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt, Jumping on the bed.

Pillow fights, Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles, tumbling down a grassy hill, Being tired from playing...remember that?
The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.

Water balloons & eggs were the ultimate weapon and when you had some it caused a dizzy excitement. Jamming a plastic milk bottle between your back tyre and frame transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
And don't forget the biscuit sandwiches we'd make by buttering a couple of rich tea biscuits or digestives and chocolate spread and sticking them together, mmmmm...tasty!  And that queer oul mixture made in a tall glass with ice cream and fizzy drinks.

I'm not finished just yet...

Eating raw jelly, orange squash ice pops......

Remember when ...

There were two types of sneakers - girls and boys, and the only time you wore them when at school, was for "P.E.", Gola football boots,
Hi-Tec and Sizzlers were the range.
It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends and calling one of them "sneaky off" cause they played with someone else, when nobody owned a pure bred dog, when .75p was decent pocket money, when you'd pick chewing gum off a wall and put it in your mouth (don't deny it, you did it), when nearly everyone's mum was at home, when it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.
When any parent could discipline any kid or use him to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
When being sent to the head's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. The words, "Wait till your father gets home" put the fear of God in you.
Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of muggings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! and some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Remember when....

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"
"Race issues" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly",
the Game of Life and Connect Four, Sinclair Spectrum's, Atari 2600's
and Commodore 64's.

The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs.

It was unbelievable that Red rover wasn't an Olympic event...

Having a weapon in school, meant being caught with a biro barrel pea shooter or an elastic band, at worst a gat.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better, taking drugs meant orange-flavoured chewable vitamins, or taking cough medicine that did make you drowsy .

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true..
Abilities were discovered because of a "double dare".
Being a rebel by writing the word SEX in big letters made you feel wickedly mischievous and
Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the fiercest protectors.

Sent in By Tracey from Dublin

The Brothers and the Strap

I came across your site and was enthralled by the stories, being born on the "coombe" I also attended Francis St in the 1940's and I have lots of memories of that time. My abiding memory is of a Brother King who dealt very harshly with the kids in his class He slashed me across the face with his heavy leather strap leaving a mark that I carried for weeks. In those days nobody would question a brother regardless of his actions the only kindness I received while at that school was from a Mr Ling. Bang Bang I remember well and also the various games mentioned on your site, swimming at the Iron Bridge and fishing in the river Dodder were my preferred pastimes. I left Dublin many moons ago and now reside in London. Yet at times the memories come flooding back to haunt me.

Danny D London

Johnny 40 Coats

I can remember most of the what your guests writers have contributed and some of the places mentioned. I lived on the south side of Dublin between Rathmines and Ranelagh, Upper Mt Pleasant Avenue to be precise, near Belgrave Square, where the number 12 bus dropped us up to Palmston Park to play, where that bus route terminated. From the Avenue I could cut through Gulisten Cottages and the Ash Truck Depot [Garbage collecting trucks]
where they ware garaged, through the Town Hall and on to Rathmines Road, coming out facing the Library, and the Town Hall Clock, where a character call Johnny Forty Coats would be sitting out side begging from people passing, as young boys we ware fascinated by this man, who looked old and dirty and smelly, and larger then life because of all the coats he was wearing  he would chase us away if we didn't give him something, so on our way home from school, which was St Mary's BNS Richmond Hill, On Fridays we would bring him fresh jam sandwiches which we had pinched earlier that day from the school, Monday was Cheese, Tuesday Meat, Current buns on Wednesdays, [about four currents per bun] and Thursday Meat again, we also got a small bottle of Milk [I think a quater pint] and some times we gave it to Johnny, does anyone remember this guy

Tony Cooper


Wonderful site, I came across it looking for a recipe for Gur Cake!

 We played a version of RelivEiO called ”sticks”. I don’t know if this was local to our area, Prospect Square in Glasnevin. Two teams usually mixed but sometimes the boys against the girls. The defending team set up four sticks at the base of a wall, three like a tepee splayed at the bottom but joined at the top and the fourth crosswise on top. The sticks were about ¾” square and about 10” long. The trick was to jam them together so the attacking team could not dislodge them with a tennis ball. The attacking team took turns throwing the ball, if I remember rightly you had one shot each, from about ten or twelve feet away.. If you did not dislodge the sticks you switched sides and you became the defenders. When the attackers scattered the sticks all the attackers ran away and the defenders had to retrieve the ball and use it to touch an attacker, either by running up to them with the ball or throwing it at them, and put them out of the game. In the meantime the attackers remaining in the game were trying to reset the sticks and if they managed to set the sticks back up they won that round and the whole thing started again. We could play this for hours but the fun was the taunts and real Dublin humour that would be hurled back and forth.  

Jack Higgins

Toronto Canada

A few more Memories from a Dub

Originally East Wall D3 now Washington DC. Some memories- robbin' the coins out of the 1916 Memorial near Parnell St. Walkin' up and down Henry St. (throwin' shapes) on Saturday. Lookin' for junk in the "dumps" at the Tolka (now filled in and a hightech development centre). Hiding out in Brian Boru's cave (Clontarf). Meetin' yer mot under Clery's Clock.

Tony Weldon -
Washington DC

Hugh's Brothers, Lamb's Jam, Selling Shamrock.

The gates to Lambs was facing the Hugh's brothers dairy's Hugh's make the best ice cream then and still do to day but sadly to say its no longer owned by the Hugh's family but it still retains the HB name .lamb's fruit farm was at the foot of the Dublin mountains it grew a selection of fruits apples black currants and red currants ,strawberry's raspberry's loganberry's goose berry's strawberry' & raspberry's were picked into buckets so as not to loose the juice, but the women put water in to make it heavy you were paid by weight if water was not available they done their *** in the bucket ,that's why we made our own jam's. 

Every morning at 5.30am we'd be called by the Ma we have a big plate of porridge to last us till 12 0'clock ,for every pound weight of blackcurrants we got 2p.My Mother got the picker's to go on strike for another 1/2 penny more which we got at 12noon we headed to a big barn with real long wooden table and long stool they supplied boiling water only .the local chipper would bring-about 200 bags of chips in the booth of his car ,this work would continue till all the different fruits were harvested hard work fresh air and all the fruit you could eat . the few pounds earned ,the Ma would spend it on bus fares bringing us and our friends to sandymount every day for the last two weeks of our holidays .even in sandymount shed pick cockles and bring them home.

Every year about 2 weeks before St Patrick's day we would go up the fields in Tallaght and pick shamrock and leave the clay on it to keep it fresh till we sold it out side the Church's . on St Patrick's day the most we earned was 300 hundred pounds which was a small fortune then ,I Learnt a lot from my ma about making a shilling when other people moaned about having nothing she sat it there to earn go do it ,she sold fish .went to jumble sale and bought men's suits cleaned and pressed them pawned them and sold the pawn ticket .she had 11 0f us my Da worked in the Hammond Lane foundry he was an iron moulder was my grandfather uncles cousins and brothers .I escaped I went to the tech. Every time I see the old toilets with the Hammond Lane foundry printed on them I think of my Da.

WACKER Paddy Kelly Crumlin


Jackstones, Thread the Knocker. (Thunder and Lightening).

Nice nostalgic site, Other Dublin games were, "Jackstones" "Thread The Knocker" and, "Bunkin' In" to the Cinema......... God Be With The Days,

James Molloy France

Traffic Lights.

I love your site. Brings back some great memories. One game I remember fondly is "Traffic Lights" which as follows: 
One person was designated as "it" and they stood at one end of the street, while the rest of the players would stand at the other end. "it" would turn their back on the other players and say "Traffic Lights, Traffic Lights, 1, 2,3" and as soon as they were finished, rotate around to see if any of the players were moving. The objective was for the other players to creep up to "it" without being seen moving, only moving when "it" had their back turned. The player who reached "it" first was the winner. Sometimes "it" would say they rhyme fast, other times slow, just to try and catch the players out. Great times indeed......
Sean in California. (formerly Artane)

44th CBSI Crumlin.

Meeting outside St Agnes Church after Sunday Mass, to go off hiking over the Military Road, past Kippure mountain and stop for a few moments beside Lemass's monument. I was in the 44th CBSI (circa 1950/58), and helped to build the scout hall standing in the Church grounds. We put a 'time capsule' into the wall with our names and some coins etc.

I remember church parades when I blew the bugle and my mate beat the drum at the mass. We were popular and in great demand then; being invited to 'perform' at the May processions in Crumlin, Donnybrook and also Blackrock College. It was great for lads from Crumlin to be taken around in a big car to these venues outside our area. 

I lived in Derry Road and before the surrounding estates (Derry Drive & Park were built), we played 'cowboys & Indians' amongst the boulders that littered the fields behind the CBS school on St Agnes Road. I attended this school and as someone mentioned we used to buy sticky apples from the cart of dealers on the corner of Cashel Road. I enjoyed the memories your website has given me and will continue to watch it. 

Paddy Doyle. Coventry, UK.

As I went into Woolworths
The game we played in Crumlin was "as I went into Woolworths" we had two teams on each side of the road standing on the kerb, about 5 on each side, one team would say "as I went into Woolworths I bought a P  O  C" meaning a packet of crisps, this is an easy one to keep it simple, the team that said it would cross the road and stand near the kerb of the other team, if the opposing team knew the answer the would shout it and if they were right would grab as many members of the other team that they could, in the meantime the other team would try to run to safety of there own kerb, those who were caught joined the other team, if the team could not guess it they were given one of the words but at the same time move back one step away from the other kerb, nearer to safety, eventually moving all the way to safety if not successful with the guessing.
Another game we played was "Gestapo", the same as hide and seek but you could hide in the following roads also, Saul, Downpatrick, Slane etc,  everyone would hide , one person would look when they found someone he joined and 2 people started looking for the rest growing in numbers. he would tell where he had seen others hide, the teams we had could be over 20 people and would take hours to play, sometimes I would sneak home, watch TV and then sneak out again when the game was nearly over.
Another game "Doing the gardens"  this involved as many kids as you could, we would then run through as many front gardens as we could jumping over fence after fence, bush's, walls, whoever did the most won, all neighbours would come running out but you had to keep going, some gardens were in in penetrable, big bush's , dogs etc, if you got through them you were a hero!
I also remember Bang Bang, Johnny forty coats, Does anyone remember "WIGGY" and "BANJAXED"?, Wiggy collected slops for pigs and you would get a penny for each bucket, thing was he would throw the penny into the bottom of the smelly bucket he had just emptied, I can almost still smell having to pick that penny out.
Banjaxed was one of many sweet sellers who roamed the streets selling cheap sweets, I'm sure he once sold me anti-acid  powder pretending it was sherbet!
I remember everything on your site, the grushy, Blind man's Kiosk , Kick the Can, Kit E Kat, Swinging On Lamp Posts etc
great to hear them ALL again'

I'm now living in Sydney Australia

Joseph Kelly
p.s. playing KERBS with your ball it always ended up egg shaped!!


Pitch 'n' Toss, Bang Bang and Gur Cake

Hi there!

What a great site! It really brings me back me back to my young days on Dublin's northside and in Dun Laoghaire. Just to pick up on a couple of items Firstly -Being chased by Bang Bang - he went blind in later life and spent his last years in a home for elderly blind men in Ormond Rd, Drumcondra, which is attached to St Joseph's School for the Blind on Grace Park Rd. I know this for a fact as my late father spent his last years there too, having been in St Joseph's as a boy.

My late mother owned a bakery on Collin's Ave in Whitehall and she made Gur cake which consisted of the leftover cakes and bread, with added dried fruit and water, placed between 2 layers of pastry and baked. It was then covered with a marble-effect icing. Delicious and probably very unhealthy but its unique characteristic was that the taste varied dependent on what went into it at the time.

Has anyone mentioned Pitch-and-Toss schools? They took place on pieces of waste-ground and were very popular with those who had nothing better to do in those times of high unemployment.

Keep up the good work!


Tar On the roads and Toffee Apples

I read your web pages, I think they are great. I was born in Dublin, I lived on Rafters Road Drimnagh before I came to Nottingham some 50 years ago.
I remember in summer on Rafters road playing with the tar between the road cracks, it was great fun. putting caps on gate latches, and seeing who could make the loudest bang. Swinging on the lamp posts, playing on the gypsies horses at the "Dump" at the end of Rafters Road. Watching my Brothers and sister swimming in the canal, diving off the lock. I never did, I couldn't swim then, (still cant) telling ghost stories on doorsteps. having a "Jant" on the cars as they went by. hanging around the shops at Lissadel Drive. buying toffee apples from Mrs Gorey on Rafters Road, she used to make her own sticks to put through the apple. I was eating one day, and the stick slipped and went through the roof of my mouth, (ouch) It put me off toffee apples for life.
I remember when the voting cars took my family to vote for them, no one bothered to vote, but just wanted a ride in a car. ha ha.
I used to love the sandwiches we got at Our Lady of good Counsel school, and the small bottle of milk. best meal of the day. some days we got a currant bun...lovely. I still go over to Dublin as often as I can, I still love the place, and the memories I have. 
all the best, keep up the good work.

Paddy Doyle (Nottingham, England)
This is a picture of Our lady of Good Counsel School, Mourne Rd Drimnagh. Sent in by Paddy Doyle.


The Star, buttermilk and Halloween

Hi again Henry,
I think I have become addicted to your site, I check it out every time I come on the computer. Here's some more of my Dublin memories, in particular Drimnagh  loved going to the Star picture house on matinee mornings, the noise was deafening, but to see Flash Gordon, and the 3 stooges, and Roy Rogers on the screen was fantastic. I remember one year on St Patrick's Day, Roy Rogers made an appearance on his horse in the parade on O'Connell Street, it was great, that was me hooked, I was going to be a cowboy when I grew up. I nearly make it.......... I became a bricklayer, ha ha
My Granny would take me into Dublin to pick up her pension money, she would go into a pub and have a couple of porters, while I was outside with a bottle of lemonade.
She would then take me into the Maypole dairy shop on O'Connell Street for a glass of buttermilk, it was disgusting, she said it would build me up, it always made me feel sick.  But I still loved my Granny, and looked forward to our trips to town. We used to go to my uncle Frankie's for Halloween, we would play games, bobbing apples, having barney brack cake, with a 3penny piece baked in.  It was great fun. we always had a great big bonfire in the middle of the road on bonfire night, good job there wasn't much traffic around then. My Father, Mick Doyle, (I'm sure a lot of your older readers remember him) used to play pitch and toss at the Lissadel shops area, and they had a lookout, I remember he got arrested once, but got let off with no charges. I remember seeing my first Blackman, he was walking down Rafters road, and me and my pals were all playing out, we were curious, so we followed him from a distance all the way down to the 22 bus stop, he must have been amused at us all. It must be a Dublin thing, but why did everyone seem to have nicknames in my time there. there was "Bubbles" Duke, "Wacker" Smith, "Shauna" Dowling,"Pop" McEvoy etc etc. I was christened Patrick, but was never called that, from the day I was born I was "Paddy" right up to now. I remember the tinkers calling out "rags, bottles, and jam jars" as they came down our road. I remember seeing Bang Bang, we used to hide behind the bushes and jump out and shout bang bang to him, to give him a fright, we were very cruel. but we didn't know any better. I also remember the grown ups telling us not to pick up combs from the street, as the had been left by the Banshees, they said that they had used it to comb their hair whilst they were wailing through the night. Jasus how did we ever sleep at night? ha ha.
all the best for now, Paddy Doyle (Nottingham)


St. Ignatius Road

Hello Dubs,
Without doubt, St. Ignatius Road, where Dorset Street ends and Drumcondra begins, was the best place in Dublin in which to be brought up...
We had the Royal Canal and the banks right behind us, we were ten minutes from Dalymount Park, ten from Croke Park and about fifteen from Tolka Park where I faithfully watched Drums beating Rovers, Bohs and the rest on Sunday afternoons and then went to the Drummer cinema that night...also, we could be down in O'Connell Street by bus in five minutes or in fifteen minutes on foot...
All the games mentioned by the other Dubs in your great site such as conkers, relieve e i o, kick-the-can, etc. were played by us but what was great about being beside the canal was that in those days it used to freeze every winter and we could go sliding on it....also, we made slides on the frozen lane behind our house where Jamsie Halion's hob nailed boot hit me on the back of the head when we went on hunkers and gave me a case of concussion so that my sister, Jess, had to bring me to the Mater for treatment....
In the Summer we got onto our roller skates and headed for the long incline and short steep hills opposite the Bishop's Palace...
One antic that gave the neighbours a good laugh was when Frank Cluskey - later Mayor and TD - got into longers and went
arm in arm down the street throwing our legs out far for everyone to admire the new trousers...
That's it for now....Up Drums!!
Ron Black

Dollymount Ave

All you ex Dubs,
Great memories from the "good old days".  How did we ever get spread all over the Globe !!!!
I  remember meeting a Corporation watchman, may have been "Gotchie" at the end of Dollymount Ave probably during the days when the road was being extended beyond St Annes towards Sutton and Howth.
Also have great memories of visiting St Annes estate before it was open to the public. We used to need a pass to get in, which was only available to locals for some reason.  Remember visiting the dogs walk above where Belgrove used to play their matches. In those days there was always matches to be seen and teams to be folleyed I.E "The Wall" or East Wall for the uninitiated. There was always rumours that there were tunnels that went from the old Bishops house all the way to the O Brien Institute in Marino.. 
Used to swim off the slip at the end of Dollymount Ave and also cast night lines to catch fish when the tide would come in.
Going across to the Bull Island and trying to find golf balls in the dunes from Royal Dublin. Someone once told me they used to hide in the dunes and steal golf balls. Can you imagine if they ever got "cot".
If anybody remembers an individual called "butts" who I think was an Irish scholar of some note.  

Jimmy Shiells Myrtle Beach S C

White Horse Pub Drimnagh

Does anyone remember the little farm near the White Horse Pub? It was near the canal in Drimnagh.
My Mother used to send me to the farm for some fresh milk straight from the cows, and a freshly baked loaf of bread.
The smell of the fresh bread was too much for me, and by the time I got home to Rafters Road the bread was a lot lighter, as I has picked away at it, and hollowed out the bread from inside.
I used to get a hiding, but it was well worth it.
Also just to let you know, I will be visiting Dublin next year for my 60th birthday, and all my family will be coming over with me, I cant wait to show them the city I love so much, as most of them have never been to Dublin before.
Paddy Doyle, Nottingham


A Childhood Ditty
Green white and yellow,
Me Mother kissed a fellow,
the fellow died,
me Mother cried,
green white and yellow.
(what was that all about?)

Paddy Doyle, Nottingham

Has anyone got any ideas where the ditty came from


Lisadel Drive, North Crumlin/Drimnagh


I remember Lissadel Drive very well, I was always being sent to the shops for "messages" I used to love going to the chipper for a one and one, and some red lemonade. Unfortunately the shops are now gone, they have built houses on there now, and the little lane that you could cut through from Rafters to Lissadel is also gone, what a shame, ah well nothing stays the same "sigh". My brother Michael used to court a girl from Lissadel, her name was Rose McEvoy, she came from a big family, loads of brothers and sisters. Michael and Rose got married, they also had loads of kids, Rose was a great girl, she ended up living in our house in Rafters Road, and used to get me ready for school, which wasn't easy, as I hated going to school. I remember one day Rose had spent her last few bob buying me a plastic mac for school, as I hated wearing coats I threw it on to the back of the fire, it made a great blaze, and nearly made the house go up in flames, what a ungrateful little bastard I was, eh? ha ha Rose's Dad was a great character, his name was "Pop" McEvoy, he used to stagger up Rafters Road after a session at the White Horse, all us kids used to wait for him, and when he saw us, he would fumble into his pockets, get out a load of pennies and toss them into the air. jasus there was a great scramble, you had to be tough to get any pennies, Pop would laugh out loud at the commotion. He had a great laugh on him.
bye for now Henry, the memories keep flooding back.

Paddy Doyle, Nottingham

Mickey Mouse Toffee

WOW - what a treat! What a FANTASTIC surprise to accidentally find this website. I was searching for Cleeves Toffee - and found your site. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!

I want to be included and will add more "memories" later.

My brother used to buy me what he called "Mickey Mouse Toffee" at a little shop next to (or close to) the "half mile store" on Crumlin Road, I think - it was near Yeates Halfway House? I then learned from Angela's Ashes that the slab of toffee was called Cleves Toffee - what memories!!

I'll be back to this site when I get back!!!

Mahalo nui loa (thanks to you all for creating such a memorable place for us all)`

Jean (Originally from Dublin)

Hello there, How do you do?

How Ya'
What a trip down memory lane! Most of those children's games lay half forgotten in a distant part of my mind. Thanks for the trip and I didn't even need to flag down a C.I.E. bus.  I left behind Sycamore Road, Finglas, 30 years ago but you know what they say 'You can take the girl out of Dublin but you can never take Dublin out of the girl'
I am totally addicted to Dublin and Dubliners and am lucky enough to have been able to get back there on a yearly basis, sometimes from Bahrain, Egypt and most recently Canada. I miss the colourful characters and language. I never fail to be entertained by the conversations I sometimes overhear. I am convinced the likes of Joyce and O'Casey just had to stand around with a sharp pencil and a bit of paper and listen to the people.   Here is a sample:
There was a reception being held in a Dublin hotel, wine, cheese and swanky accents. Pat decided that he needed to use the toilet in the hote l while on his way to meet the girlfriend under Clery's clock. He somehow found himself quite by accident, amongst the fundraisers with his hand around a free glass of wine. Anyway check out the following conversation between North-sider Pat and South-sider Desmond.

Tina Donnelly.

Hello there, How do you do?
My name is Desmond O’ Dowd  
I am an architect, How about you?

I’m great, tanks
Me Ma calls me Pat
I’m a painter just like me Uncle Matt…

 Watercolour or oil?
What school?
What style?

Rembrandt, Rubens or Cezanne
Who’s your preference?
Young man,

I never heard of them guys
But tell me this
Are they unionized? 

But what 21st century painter
Hasn’t learned of the masters?
O  Them bastards!

 Ah, bollocks!  I just paint
Walls and doors….


Dear Henry,
What's the matter?
Have ya' been out on the batter?
Ya' told me you'd post me poem
And here I am  miles from home
Searching  thru' your brilliant site
The bloody thing keeps me up at  night
I'm Looking for me published name
And me 25  seconds of fame.
I told the Da, he looking too
I'll have to get him on to you
A boxer he was in early years
With broken nose and cauliflower ears.
Ok,  I'm no Wilde or Swift
But I thought ya' might get me drift
Give Desmond and Pat
A chance to shine
No plagiarism here
They're entirely mine.
See ya'

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Updated 02-Jun-09