Saturday, December 08, 2018

In Search of Former Homes

Being Ireland, where everything is preserved, I thought to gallop around in Google to see again the homes I had lived in through my life there and was pleasantly surprised to see all, as expected, are preserved. Astonishingly, considering I am going back 75 years, they are almost exactly as I remember except for one notable exception.

First is the house my parents shared with his mother, where they got pregnant with me. My father and his 5 sisters were raised in this tiny home.

Mum had a huge falling out with her mother-in-law and left a few months before I was born to go live in this flat on the second story. To the best of my knowledge a chemist was on the main floor in those days. My father was the town clerk in the town of Midleton, Co. Cork.


I was a total handful at 3-1/2 when my brother was born so I was sent to live with my grandparents in the country for a while. The bones of the house still stand but it is much changed with the sprawl of development all around and the acreage where I went with granda to get the rabbits lost forever. The hedge at the front and the chickens in the yard and the long hawthorn hedge at the right hand side where Granny would dry the clothes is now just a memory. The road was also widened in front of it and an addition put on the house at the left. I have fond memories of Granda riding a bike home from work and bringing me sweets and many evenings out front with music and dancing on the flagstones. He was a strong Republican to the bone and a massive supporter of the Irish language and Sean nós.


This is the house (on the left) where 8 of us lived in one of the newest suburbs in Cork city. We moved there when I was 6. I remember moving day well. My mother lit a fire with cardboard and newspapers in one of the upstairs bedrooms but she was very sad leaving her sisters and friends. The city must have been terrifying for her. Dad had a good job at Cork County Council.

After I married I moved to Dublin where my husband was working (I lost my job upon marriage - the good old days) and we planned our emigration to Canada for many reasons of which I have written about. Here is where we lived in Dublin on the Rathmines Road, 2nd floor flat, with the turquoise (ha!) door. Shared kitchen, working fireplace in the one room, bathroom down the hall, 24/7 screaming baby on in the first floor flat.

And onward I went to a new life in Canada.

I have no regrets.

29 comments:

  1. I stayed in a hostel run by nuns on Lower Mount St. which looked almost the same as your Rathmines Road/turquoise door. The photo above it looks almost exactly the same as the house I grew up in, in the suburbs of Limerick. Small world!

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    1. I think they had a template for those ridiculous houses Molly. Large families, 2 bedrooms and a "boxroom" where I slept while my 4 brothers shared the 2nd bedroom. The kitchens were tiny and inadequate. When my sister was born (I was nearly 14) we shared the boxroom on bunk beds with our wardrobe out in the hall.

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  2. Wow.
    My mother only lived in the one house after she moved from the UK to Australia. A few years after her death it was bulldozed and replaced with a McMansion.
    My nasty self is pleased that the wisteria they also bulldozed has cracked the concrete driveway and returned.

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    1. Good on the wisteria, EC. Karma can be delightful.

      I must say I was delighted to find these memories still standing.

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  3. You had a very good haul from your Google Gallop, WWW - I enjoyed reading and seeing the results.

    I wondered if I might be able to find some treasures on a similar gallop. Amazingly I can remember a few full addresses of significant childhood and later abodes of mine. In most cases useful photos at Google are from a distance, or at an awkward angle - but I might be able to dredge a blog post out of the results, for some future date. Thank you for the idea! :)

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    1. I was glad it occurred to me T and knowing the UK and Ireland, more value is placed in heritage. I do believe that I was the 5th generation to walk through the door my paternal grandparents' home. The males in the family were workers on the local lord's estate.

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  4. Interesting childhood. David's parents were born and raised in Canada, and immigrated to the USA before their first child was born. They made their final move to Hawaii in 1956 and are buried here, too.

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    1. What part of Canada Gigi, or do you know?

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    2. My mother in law was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and my father in law was born in Boiestown, New Brunswick.

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    3. They met and married in Calgary when they were both working at a business school there.

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  5. What fun checking out former residences. I recall physically visiting a few of mine briefly the year my husband died when I had occasion to visit the Midwest area — including the house where I was born, the movie theater I used to attend which has been preserved for stage productions with visiting name performers now. Other houses where I lived were visited, also. So many memories stimulated as you recount.

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    1. So true Joared, non-stop memories as I visited these old haunts, the first school I attended was across the road from my paternal granny (that is now levelled, a huge old convent with walled garden and its own chapel, etc.)and I would stop at her place for sweeties.

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  6. How lovely to see your old homes still there. I can view mine via google earth, but only get the bird's eye view.

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    1. I wonder why that is River? You can't zoom in? Do you put in street/road address?

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    2. I can zoom in, but street view doesn't come through well. everything looks odd, like a pixelated cartoon, not at all like a photo.

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    3. Maybe if you wait a minute, mine took a while to upload and then I had to travel about to get the home itself. Good luck!

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  7. It's astonishing nowadays to see the cramped homes that huge families used to live in (some still do of course due to straightened circumstances). Our family only numbered four but my first childhood house was still pretty pokey. We didn't move into a more comfortable home till I was 13.

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    1. You'd never have survived (as a boy) in our house Nick. My brothers were constantly stressed from 4 living in such a small room with bunk beds on each wall. I had utmost sympathy for them. I must do a cruise of Canadian homes soon. First chance I got I was in century old-mansion of a place, spread out. Bliss.

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  8. My turn to get caught up with you! Past life surroundings, current life surroundings, and moose meat! All nice to see -- except the moose meat. I try not to mention the moose that walk across our yard, so that hunters won't know where to find them. Cool photo! I've never been that close to a moose. -Kate

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    1. Yes soon, I will cruise around former locations. If they have survived LOL

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  9. I shall now endeavour to use google to do exactly what you did.

    I however spoke to a relative who still lives in the village from which my family emigrated, and I asked about the homes there. Without exception all of them have either been razed or modernised and I have been invited to visit to check for myself. The last I went there was 20 years ago! I can't travel any more but, the google option seems intersting.

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    1. Yes I didn't expect to see them all standing so nicely, Ramana, good luck on your hunt.

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  10. I shared a flat in Rathmines Rd in the sixties!
    Given its post code it’s probably worth a bob or two now.
    Loving your posts as always. X

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    1. OMG Anne we might have passed each other, we were there 66-67 for a few months.

      I was desperately lonely. I could have used a friend.:)

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  11. I was there 1966/67 too! Ate a burger in batter every night at Dino’s chip shop. I was in my 1st 2 years at the National College of Art in Kildare St. Emigrated to the UK in 1970 although like most irish people didn’t realise it was going to be for more than a year! X

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    1. Gawd those burgers in batter were soooooo good. And the battered sausages and mushy peas.

      Lovely we have that road in common now :)

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  12. Hello.
    I tried checking my old homes on Google Earth, and was sort of fortunate to find the first between vacation and demolition. This was "The Projects", left over from WWII housing. I have small memories of the interior, but several sharp memories of the outside. The next time I looked, they were gone. Leveled.

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    1. I hope you took a screen capture Joanne. I must do a Canada post of homes soon before too many changes :)

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  13. That's really cool that all your old homes are still there. I looked up my old homes on google maps but one has been razed (the Naval base was decomissioned) and another burned down.

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