Sunday, April 12, 2009

Facts from a working class Dub growing up in 70s/80s

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.


  1. fab post really enjoyed reading it . I was born in 1949 and have a very different recollection of my childhood must write about it one day.

  2. Great insight Bonn, thank you for sharing this with us - it really puts what we're going through now in perspective. The way you'd RTE bang on that the economy hasn't been this bad since the 1960's or 1930's as they're suggesting more recently. I can also appreciate people's fears of going back to this situation on a such a wide scale after we've given ourselves all these new rights and entitlements and our basics would seem like sheer luxury to people in 70's Dublin! We still bemoan paying €50 to fly, well, anywhere with Ryanair and this is less than a quarter of today's dole pay-cheque.

  3. Nice one Bonn, I think I made £110 for my confirmation. I bought myself an MBK racer (in Fagor colors, same year Roche joined them) with my cash.