I got £15 for my communion and £30 for my confirmation. My ma got me a sleeping bag from the communion money - as she did for all of us. Out of the confo money I bought a whole pile of orange summer clothes from Penney's and a feast of sweets/choc/crisps for a week.
Our local shop was a van, one of those iron crates they use for long haul freight. In the mid 80s we used to get food 'on tic' and pay it back on Wednesday's - dole day after my dad was made redundant. Wednesday was great cause there'd be a big shop with special treats, like thrift-brand yogurt and crisps.
The shop would sell 'loosie' cigarettes for the kids and the local chipper would give half-portions of chips if you didn't have enough for a full single.
My secondary school trip was trip was to the Burren in Clare.
My primary school trip was an Aer Lingus flight to Shannon, a trip to Bunratty castle and the train back to Dublin. Getting on a plane at this stage, it might as well have been a trip to Mars.
Career guidance in my school was primarily to go do a secretarial course. My two best friends did. They didn't last. A sister of a girl in my class had to fight for the right to apply to do medicine.
Only 1 girl from my primary school class went straight onto college. Most went back to college later on. I was second to go back, 8 years after leaving school.
Two past friends of my siblings have since been murdered. My sister had a junkie boyfriend who killed himself.
My brothers and sisters and their friends all smoked hash. As a kid I wanted to join in and so I sometimes rolled the joints for them.
Anyone showing signs of wealth was a subject of intimidation, like the girl in primary school who got a television for Christmas, or the secondary school girls who went on foreign holidays. I remember joking with them about the way air hostesses had to point to things, pretending I was cool with the whole flying thing, when really I'd only seen this on my one flight to Shannon ten years before.