Break of day in Portmarnock   Photo: Éamon ÓMurchú


John O’Connell remembers a Childhood Injury

We played rough chase, football and fisticuffs in the yard. Fist fights were a regular and these continued up the back way after school. It was strictly fist fighting and all you ended up with might be a bloodied nose or a shiner. We enjoyed these boxing bouts. 

I always took short cuts wherever I went. This led to thorns in my bare feet, which became infected, and I had  boils, until they burst and out popped a black thorn. Johnny O Connor, the chemist in Market Street was our port of call for cuts when the need arose for a spot of disinfectant. One morning  after the threshing I was piking chaff and stuck a prong through my bare foot. My father told my brother to burn the pike, meaning the prongs, in the fire. It was a superstition that, if this was done, my toe would not fester. My mother tackled the ass and in to the car with poor John and down to Johnny O Connor to clean and bandage my toe. 

When we got home all hell had broken loose as my brother had burned the whole pike in the fire, and it had a new handle that cost 1s 6d. 


Then and Now




President Biden and poet Amanda Gorman share more than a love of poetry. As children they each had difficulty with certain sounds and stuttered at times.

Stuttering is a speech fluency disorder about which there are many misunderstandings. It is now seen as a neurological disorder and it often has a genetic element.

It used to be believed that people who stuttered were anxious diffident people. Not so. 

Forcing someone who is left handed to use his right hand will cause him to stutter. Not so.

People who stutter are behind their peers in school achievement . No so.

People who stutter are as intelligent, as funny, as confident and as talented as the general population. What sometimes happens is that children who stutter adopt habits to distract themselves from the parts of their bodies involved in speech. They may tap or click their fingers or slap their foreheads or blink in an effort to “get the words out”.

We have come a long way in our understanding of speech difficulties. Biden and Gorman are proof that such childhood difficulties are no bar to rising to the top in your chosen field.


Faces in the Crowd

Margaret Dillon takes a stab at some of the names in this old ballroom photo:

First row from left; Toddy Enright, in the middle of the first row,  Gerald lynch?

The man kneeling is Michael Kennelly, Michael’s sister Sis,  is behind the man with glasses. Just behind Sis is another Kennelly brother. Next to him is one of PJ Maher’s brothers.To his right is Mrs Harris and husband Jimmy.

2nd row  4th from left Bridie Leahy , 5th Finbarr Mc Auliffe? 6th Peggy Walsh and behind Peggy is Tom O’ Connor, next to Peggy is Phil Quigley Chute?,   3 along from Phil is Toddy Enright’s sister,  her husband, John O’Connor is behind her.

3rd Row 4th from left Stan? Kennelly , 6th Michael Mulcahy, 8th Finbarr McAuliffe 9th Amidee Crowley

Back row on right hand side; Mossie Walsh and wife Kats,  ? O’Connell (small sq) Carmel ?Heneghan , and 6th from right John Cahill.

Kay Caball had a go at remembering names as well . Here is her contribution. There is some overlap with Margaret’s

Front Row:  Well you know Michael Kennelly, 2nd from right. Behind Michael Kennelly is Jimmy Harris. Maybe his wife ? Murphy, Mairead O’Connell, Main St, P.J. Maher.

2nd Row: 2nd in- Vincent Moloney and his wife Angela (Carroll), Bridie Leahy (Leahys Corner House the Square).  Patsy Walsh’s sister who married Sean Sullivan next door,  second lady after that with the black stripey top is Marie O’Hara who later married Finbar McAuliffe, second next to her is ?? but she married Johnny O’Connor, Chemist Market St.