Philomena Cassidy: Grattan Street, Healthcare, The Marsh



Philomena Cassidy: Grattan Street, Healthcare, The Marsh


Phil grew up in a tenement on Grattan Street and worked in O’Gorman’s Hat Factory and Dunlop’s before getting married and starting a family. She gives a very detailed description of the lanes, houses, shops and families on Grattan Street and the surrounding area of the Middle Parish.

She discusses a variety of childhood games, a strong sense of community and friendly relationships with neighbours that have lasted a lifetime.  

Phil recalls the dispensary, subsequently the Grattan Street Health Centre. Inside patients waited on benches for the doctor who tended to their area of the city. She also remembers the dispensary caretaker and pharmacist who lived in the dispensary building.

Her family’s daily routine is described including going to school, family meals and shopping. Her father was very strict about timekeeping, especially when Phil and her siblings were attending dances. This timekeeping came in useful at work where lateness resulted in docked pay, and where there was no sick pay.

Rationing in the 1940s is described, including the amounts of various foodstuffs allowed per person, and how it was circumvented by a neighbour who travelled to England.

Phil speaks of the diseases which we common when she grew up including tuberculosis. She also mentions her relatives who contracted diphtheria and measles and how they were treated. Refers to the vaccines for these diseases too.

Phil would have liked to stay working in Dunlop’s after her marriage as she enjoyed working with the people there but it was not an option. Nonetheless she enjoyed being with her own children at home and watching them grow, something she thinks happens less today.

Specific pawn shops and their locations are also recalled, how they functioned and their role in helping people make ends meet.


4 September 2019




Cork Folklore Project Audio Archive


Cork Folklore Project






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65 Minutes 2 Seconds


Cork Folklore Project Hub, North Cathedral Visitor Centre, Roman Street

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Time Summary

0.00.00 - 0.00.22


0.00.22 - 0.02.23

Tenement House Growing Up- Conditions and facilities

Grew up in 44 Grattan Street, a tenement house. 4 or 5 families in the house. 6 children in her family, and 6 in another family. Another family with 2. 14 children in the one house. Very happy, great neighbours.

Shop underneath their house: “shop on the lap” they called it. It sold sugar, milk, tea. The people who ran the shop lived in the shop as well. A 4-storey house including the attic. The people who lived in the attic had their kitchen on the ground floor. They had no sink, there was one toilet shared by the house and one tap in the yard. There was no electricity, or gas. They used oil lamps, primus store and a coal fire. Everyone lived like that so they “didn’t know any better”.

0.02.23 - 0.06.27

Neighbours, Shops and Streets on  & near Grattan Street

Next door in 45 Grattan Street was Gamble the tinsmith. Similar type house arrangement.

46 Grattan Street was O’Callaghan’s Pub, even though the owners got married they had their whole family living above the pub. Phil doesn’t think that arrangement could be called a tenement because the house contained all one family.

Then there was Peter’s Street, and the Mechanics’ Hall where the Community Centre is now. Fr Lynch from St Peter and Paul’s was good to the poor and he gave the children of the parish a party in the Mechanics’ Hall where children were given a suitable present, eg. a doll. The children looked forward to that each Christmas.

Beyond that there was the quarry all the houses previously there were gone. After the quarry there were 3 or 4 tenement houses before you came to Henry Street. Same type of houses. There was also Bobby Lloyd’s shop on the corner sold pots, pans and kitchen utensils.

Then Henry Street, and across the road from it was Henrietta’s Shop run by Johno (Johnno) where they got milk or bread.

There was a lane behind that with a terrace of houses. There were two pubs beyond that one called Crosses and the other was Kellehers. Beyond that was Francis Street with Randy Hourigan’s shop on the corner.

Beyond that was the corner of Bachelor’s Quay where the Doll’s House was with steps up to it which was also a tenement.

Around the corner was formerly Dolly Perry’s Nursing Home but was turned into tenements when Phil knew it.

Then there was Grenville Place where George Boole had lived, and that area had tenements.

Then you returned to Henry Street. The old part of the Mercy Hospital was also there.

Then there was Moore Street, Coach Street, and back to Grattan Street.

All that area was the circle in which the children were allowed to play.  

0.06.27 - 0.07.52

Playing Children’s Games

Played tops and whips. Cat and Dog. Piggy. Skylockers.


Long strip of crepe paper with some sand in the centre and tied with string. And put string onto the end of it and threw it up in the air and hope that it would come down again and not get caught in the electric wires.

Had to make their own enjoyment not like today where people can just press buttons.

Chaineys & Playing Shop

Used broken coloured glass (calls it mixed spice) to play shop on the footpath. Everyone was the same and everyone joined in. People pretended to be buying some of their shop items which were the pieces of broken glass.

0.07.52 - 0.10.49

More Neighbours, Shops and Streets on  & near Grattan Street

Phil runs through the buildings and streets on Grattan Street from her house but going in the other direction to which she did before.

No 43 Grattan Street’ The People’s Dairy which had eggs, milk, buttermilk, bread.

Beyond that was a wholesale place called O’Connors and he had shoes for the shops he was wholesaler for. Above his place was a tenement.

No 41 Grattan Street: The M Laundries (M Laundry) with a tenement above it with 3 families.

No 40 Grattan Street was the fire station and everyone knew it, and the firemen because they were local.

No 39: Barber shop with tenement above it.

Next was another barber: Gerry Kane, with tenements above it.

Next Roddis which sold pots, pans and tin things.

Next was another shop.

Then Broad Street and on the other side of it was another tinsmith, another Gamble. There were 3 Gamble brothers from Grattan Street, all of them tinsmiths.

After that was a quarry and the houses were gone.

Across the road was the old St Francis Church.

Coming back down Grattan Street from there was the Third Order Hall.

Then a laundry with more tenements.

Then another tinsmith.

Then Moll Hog’s Mrs Hourigan, a sweet shop at the corner of Broad Lane.

Then the Rambler’s Inn, a pub. When that was vacated the Franciscans took it over for their accommodation and they took over the fire station when the new church was being built.

Then there was a shoemaker called Rice with tenements above it.

0.10.49 - 0.11.35

The Dispensary/ Grattan Street description of the building and who lived there

And then “the Quakers” or the dispensary now Grattan Street Health Centre.

The Morrissy family [see CFP_SR00760_Morrissy_2019;] of the chemist on one side of the arch on the dispensary facing onto Grattan Street, and the caretaker lived on the other side, her name was Nellie Long but she was known as Mrs Healy.

Morrissy family had two girls and a boy and Phil “mixed with them”. 

Phil’s family had no garden so they played in the courtyard in the dispensary, which she describes as “a big airy place” there was lots of space compared with where Phil lived.

0.11.35 - 0.14.28

More tenements after the dispensary, continuing tour of Grattan Street.

Then “Moll Murph’s” (Moll Murphy) the potato lady.

Bridgie on the corner selling sweets.

Then Peter Church Lane, down which there were tenements, even though they were only small houses. The McCarthy’s were the only ones to have a house.

The grandmother of Terry McCarthy lived down the lane. Terry had recently died at the time of the interview. He sang with the Dixies and sang with Michael Ring junior.

Then there was the graveyard [St Peter’s Cemetery] which they knew as “The Proddy Woddys”, down the lane from that was a school and St Peter’s Church which is a centre now on the North Main Street. Phil says they “never mixed with them” ie Protestants.

After that was Buckley’s builder’s yard over head was the Manning’s family with some families members married.

After that another tenement with Murphy’s on the ground floor and Buckley’s on the first floor. Then more people above them.

After that another tenement with the Healey’s lived.

Then the quarry and then Coleman’s Lane which had houses and the Kenny’s lived in the first house. Tiny houses.

Back on Grattan Street there was Looney’s Shop which sold everything: butter, eggs, bread etc.

Then there were two more houses Frankie Scannell lived next to Looney’s Shop and worked in the Fire Station.

After that another tenement with 3 or 4 families and then it came to Adelaide Street.

0.14.28 - 0.17.41

Memories of the Dispensary

“But the Quakers was nice, it was an airy place” big, huge high ceilings. The garden was inside a bit. [Phil refers to the Grattan Street Health Centre/ Dispensary building as ‘the Quakers’]

The big door was never open, the side door was open, but there was a bell on the door and you could ring the bell.

Inside were the doctors. The dispensary had about 8 doctors, 4 on either side, in a big hall with rooms off of it. Benches outside each doctor. No appointment. Every area had its own doctor. Phil had Dr Cagney. There was a Dr Moran for another area.

You got medicine on the way out from the chemist, in a little hole in the wall. If you wanted cough bottle you brought your own bottle. It wouldn’t surprise Phil if you received tablets in a matchbox. You had to queue up to get that.

You’d bring your bottle with you from home.

Two or three benches outside each doctor’s door. It was like one big dance hall. There was no appointment but you knew what time he would be there at. And if you had to call the doctor he would come to you at home.

Dr Cagney was abrupt but a very good doctor. Mark Cagney who was a presenter on TV3 [now Virgin Media One] was related to Dr Cagney. Phil says Dr Cagney was fabulous, but abrupt: “you’d be afraid like”, “you wouldn’t ask him questions” “the glasses would be down there” [Phil puts her glasses at to the end of her nose and looks over them doing an impression of Dr Cagney.]

0.17.41 - 0.19.00

LDF (Local Defence Forces) Training & Uniform

The LDF (Local Defence Forces) used to train in the dispensary building [during WW2]. They had a “browny” uniform and a hat with a slit in it. Something like the Slua Muirí.

They may have trained in the courtyard because there was space in “the Quakers”. They had to dress up in their uniforms.

Mr Burns (or Byrne’s) who lived in Phil’s tenement was in the LDF.

0.19.00 - 0.19.26

Sense of Community, Safety and Togetherness

Everyone went to school together and brought each other. There was great harmony, great neighbours and a very happy childhood. It was safe to walk the streets then in a way it is less so today Phil thinks.

0.19.26 - 0.20.47

Daily Routine, School, Shopping, Streetscape

Had breakfast and their mother would bring them to school St Maries of the Isle. She would walk with them as far as across the street from the courthouse [on Washington Street] and after that there were no roads to cross so they could walk on their own from that point. Their mother would meet them again at that point for lunchtime to take them home.

There was much less traffic than today, mostly horses and carts. The horses and carts with milk churns came to the Nolan’s next door. You brought your jug to the dairy, Nolan’s Dairy and filled it up with milk.

During school they went home at 12:30 for their dinner. And her mother would meet them and bring them back at the start and end of lunch.

0.20.47 - 0.22.07

Father, Work, Parenting and Strict Timekeeping

Phil’s dad was working in the Munster Arcade as a draper’s porter. Everything was within walking distance. He had to wake up at 6:45 to be in work for 8:30, he was a great timekeeper. When Phil and her siblings started to go to work her father said “one call now and one call only for the morning.” (meaning that he would call/wake them once only in the morning.) They had to go to Dunlop’s for 8am. Mother would bring the younger children to school. He would do the “first shift” for the working children. He was very strict, “you wouldn’t get around him. If he said no that was it.” A good father. She thinks it was possible to say no to one’s children back then but that is no longer the case today. Her mother was a bit softer. You dare not miss your call because you didn’t get paid when you were out of work. You didn’t get paid even if you were out sick.

0.22.07 - 0.23.22

No Sick Pay, Simple Remedies for Sickness

Recalls a young man feeling sick at work. Someone suggested he go home but he said he couldn’t because his mother would kill him! So if you were out of work you were out of pay, so there was very little sickness as a result! “If you were sick you got your Tanora and your aspro” [Aspirin/ Disprin/ Panadol] that was the medicine they had from the chemist.

0.23.22 - 0.27.43

After School, Food, Dinner, Rationing

After school they would eat or go out to play. They had dinner in the middle of the day, when they came home at lunchtime from school. Might have bread and jam later- if you got jam you would be delighted. They were never hungry.

Dinner would be stew. Something in a pot big enough for the whole family 6 children and the two adults 8 altogether. They didn’t have chops or steak. They had tripe and drisheen. You ate it whether you liked it or not because there was nothing else.

Ration books from 1939-1945 butter was made up in 12 ounces. 16 ounces in the pound. The rations allowed 12 ounces for 2 people, 6 ounces each for a week. Tea was rationed. Mr Burns went to England (where Phil thinks the rationing may not have been as severe?!) and he was able to bring back the Van Houten’s Cocoa and his wife Mrs Burns would always share it with Phil’s family whatever they had- it was like Christmas.

Doesn’t think that eggs were rationed- if you had the money you could buy them. Cannot say whether bread or milk was rationed.

Sugar, tea, butter were rationed. There were vouchers for shoes issued by the Health Board. And you would get the vouchers from the Dispensary, (“The Quakers”).

Phil’s mother would know about the vouchers, Phil was only a child at the time so wouldn’t know much about it. She says that if they did get vouchers they wouldn’t tell anyone because they were “very grand” she says in a joking posh accent. She says that her mother was a proud woman and “it was bred into us I’d say.” She didn’t want people to know that she was getting the vouchers, even though everyone else was in the same situation.

0.27.43 - 0.30.53

Visiting the Doctor. Siblings with Diphtheria. Relatives with Measles

Phil says “you’d have to be nearly dying” you’d have to have the measles or diphtheria to go to the doctor. You wouldn’t go for a cough or a cold. You’d go if there was something wrong with your ear or your eyes. Otherwise you’d get “Tanora and an aspro” and then you got better.

Went into the Dispensary for her ear- doesn’t remember going to the hospital.

3 of her siblings got diphtheria. Her brother Paddy had to be hospitalised. Dr Cagney was their doctor for that. Diphtheria and whooping cough were prevalent at the time. Then injections were made available.

Remembers other people in her family getting the measles, light was kept away from their eyes to prevent them going blind although Phil says she doesn’t believe that that is what would cause the blindness. But they kept sufferers in a dark room. It was a 9 day disease- 3 days coming, you had it for 3 days and then 3 days recovering from it. Measles and diphtheria were contagious but she doesn’t know about whooping cough. There was a three-in-one vaccine for those three diseases. Phil’s mother made sure that they got it from the dispensary.

0.30.53 - 0.32.44

Worklife: O’Gorman’s Hat Making and Dunlop’s

Worked in Dunlop’s “in the packing” and worked in O’Gorman’s making the berets the hat factory in Shandon maybe in the old butter market. Phil thinks it was a shopping centre or souvenir shop after it was O’Gorman’s Hat Factory. They started up the “berett” (beret) part of the business. Phil describes the hat as a being similar to a “Tammy-Shanto” (Tam O’Shanter) a hat worn by Scottish men, except that it did not have the tassel on it. She worked there for three years and then went to Dunlop’s because there was more money there.

In the hat factory they made/knitted berets and shrunk them to the different sizes: 8 and a half, 9 and a half and 10 and half. They were knitted on a machine and put into something to shrink the wool which tightened up.

Phil was involved in the setting up of that process and ended up being a supervisor. She then went to Dunlops to do the packing.

0.32.44 - 0.38.06

Working in Dunlop’s, Wellington Boots, Timekeeping Discipline, Stopping Work once Married, Reflections on Staying Home to raise Children.

Phil was an “inspectress” (inspector) in the packing section in Dunlop’s. She inspected the wellington boots to see if there was any flaw in them which needed to be repaired. Then they were packed into the boxes and sent out.

The men made all the wellingtons and they arrived as a finished product when Phil got to inspect them. There were no women making the wellingtons. The men made them “down the dips”. Phil was inspecting the boots at the top of the heel where there might be a gap which needed to be filled in with some soft rubber. And if it wasn’t done properly she would send the boot back again for repair. She was strict because if there was something wrong with the boot the shop would send it back in any case. And you would be in trouble if it was sent back from the shop as it indicated that you had not been doing your job. “You’d be just called over the rope!”, “and if you were out sick you didn’t get paid while you were out either”.

You had to clock in 8am, clock out at lunchtime, clock in after lunch, clock out going home 5pm. If you were five minutes late you were docked pay for quarter of an hour. Phil says that this discipline is good, though it is less common today: “it’s bred into you. You just accept it. You wouldn’t do it today!”

That’s where the time keeping her dad had instilled came in useful.

Cycled to work down the Centre park Road four times a day because they would go home for lunch- lunch was one hour.

She worked for 3 years in Dunlop’s and 3 years in O’Gorman’s.

She was in Dunlop’s when she got married, and she had to leave they would not allow her to work now that she was married. She would have liked to have kept working because she was “with a very happy crowd- very nice people.” Phil reflects that it would not happen today, and that men who got married were able to continue working. At the time Phil says they didn’t know any better because it was the same for everyone. Phil thinks they were better off at home with their children. Many people today would want to be at home with their children but they can’t afford it with the cost of the mortgage and other expenses. Phil feels sorry for people today who can’t be with their children- “there’s no money would pay you for that. You fit ‘em out for the world. And hope for the best after that. I know the best of them like might go astray. But at the same time you do your best.”

“I thought it was lovely being at home with your children- you saw ‘em grow up”

Phil says nowadays people have children before they get married.

0.38.06 - 0.39.08

Diseases: TB, Tuberculosis and Recuperation

There was TB at the time though none of her family got it. When you were recovering you had to go to the country to Sarsfield’s Court which was the heart of the country that time. There was Heatherside in Doneraile in North Cork which was a place for recuperating from TB you were there for 6 or 9 months until the TB was gone. Phil says thank god none of her family got TB she jokes that they “must have been well looked after with our bread and butter and our eggs.”

0.39.08 - 0.42.55

Houses, landlords, house ownership, shared water pumps, class distinctions, comparative wealth, protestants, graveyard, relations between Catholics and Protestants

All McCarthy family lived in the one house in Peter Church Lane though they may not have owned it. Phil says she thought they were very well off but the people who got married were still living in the family home. There was a pump at the top of the lane as they had no taps in their houses, they had to fill their buckets at the top of the lane. Doesn’t think the McCarthys who lived in the first house in the lane had a tap either.

Mr Cronin owned Phil’s family’s house. He was a railway man living in Glasheen. He came every week for his rent. You made sure you had your rent. He was a very nice man. You didn’t feel they were above you. People had their rent there was no ifs and buts. He worked in the railway he had a black uniform and the railway badge. He was only an ordinary worker but he owned 44 Grattan Street. Phil has met some of his family since and says they were all ordinary people- you didn’t feel that they were above you or below you even though they might have a little bit more than you- you never felt that. The have and the have nots. Even mixed with the Nolans of the People’s Dairy. Mixed with everyone except the Protestants (‘the Proddy Woddys’). Phil thinks that there was a caretaker for St Peter’s church living down the lane.

One of the bars in the railings of St Peter’s (Protestant) graveyard was bent so they were able to get in there as children “you’d be hauled over the ropes” if they were caught. They weren’t allowed in there by the Protestants but also their parents did not wasn’t them in there. “Times were different. Sure we think nothing of Protestants now.” “The Catholics and the Protestants were miles apart long go.”

0.42.55 - 0.44.38

Family of the Pharmacist that lived in the Dispensary

Mr Morrissy was the pharmacist that lived in the dispensary he made up the prescriptions. There was a hatch in the wall where people queued to hand in their prescription and wait for the medicine to be handed out.

Never called anyone by their Christian name only as Mr, Mrs or Miss. The owners of Leaders shop on the North Main Street were known as Mr & Mrs and their daughters as Miss. Phil has been to visit one of the daughters recently and she still calls her Miss Leader. Went there for communion and confirmation clothes. Everyone got to know each other and grow up together. Miss Leader knows Phil’s family as “the Walls” she doesn’t know them by their married name.

0.44.38- 0.48.57

Pawns and Pawn Shops

Jones Pawn Shop, Kiely’s on Liberty Street where St Anthony’s Stores is now which is opposite St Francis. There was also a St Francis’ Stores on the corner of Sheares Street near the corner of the Courthouse which is a barber shop now.

Jones Pawn shop on the North Gate Bridge, and Kiely’s may have had another shop on the North Main Street.

Put in your clothes on a Monday and took them out on the Saturday. That gave you money for the week but you had to pay then on Saturday when you got the clothes out of the pawn.

“They were hard times but ‘tis what everyone did.”

Imagines her family used the pawn but she wasn’t told about it.

You had to be back for a certain time to collect the items pawned and if you weren’t they kept the item. And that is how they had the old gold to sell.

You could put something in for a month but you had to return on time to redeem it.

The pawn shops “had lovely stuff” they were like antique shops they had such beautiful things in them. Lovely gold watches, rings. “You could admire them in the window but you couldn’t go in and buy them because we didn’t have the money.”

They wouldn’t take shoddy stuff from you, they wouldn’t give you money for them. You could put an item in for 6 months.

Everyone did it, it was nothing to be ashamed of it.

As times got better the pawn shops faded out.

The pawns definitely made money, Phil believes they were always very wealthy. Phil jokes that the pawn owners may have lived in Montenotte but she doesn’t know where they lived.

People that had money were buying things from the pawns. Thick rings.

0.48.57- 0.50.38

A Treat

Sweets. On a Sunday her dad would give them a shilling between 6 children so 2 pence each after their dinner. But they didn’t dare ask for it. Once their dinner was finished on a Sunday the children were wondering “would he ever pay us?!”. He chose when it was time to pay them. There was 12 pennies in the shilling. They got a lot for their penny- ten sweets for a penny in a shop. They looked forward to it.

Types of sweets: Bulls eyes, clove rock, peggy’s leg, black jacks.

You could get a half a penny’s worth of sweets if you liked. There were also farthings- a quarter of a penny.

0.50.38 - 0.53.24

What Happened to the Dispensary?

The dispensary faded out, as people set up their own medical practices. The Health Board took it over, the doctors faded out and set up own places.

Phil’s husband had to go to a doctor and the first visit was €200, though the price was less for subsequent visits. Phil often heard of €100 or €150 for a visit but thought that €200 was too much.

Phil said that you didn’t have to pay going to the doctor or to the dispensary, but evens till they didn’t go unless it was necessary.

The dispensary was a busy place. Doesn’t know where people who had money went to the doctor because they didn’t know anyone who had money.

Lovely looking place inside, it was well done-up. It was “a big hall and you’d have rooms off of it four on that side and four on that side and you had two benches outside each door. You just sat on the bench then and took your turn, and hoped for the best.”

LDF trained there certain nights a week and they had to wear uniform.

0.53.24 - 0.54.11

Meets old neighbours from Grattan Street to this day, eg Byrnes, Mr Byrne was in the LDF, there were 6 in that family who live in the same house as hers. Only 2 of the Byrne’s left, 3 in Phil’s family. Still meet and socialise to talk about old times and the fun they had. They made their own fun.

0.54.11 - 0.56.52

Protestant Graveyard at the back of St Peter’s

They went in through the bars. “There were all tombs, like tables: you could have a meal on one of them. They were fabulous!” “There were no small headstones.” “There were headstones, but nothing poor about them”

Fr Walsh from St Peter and Paul’s had the Don Bosco troupe/troop there to do plays for the stage like Father Matthew Hall. There was a place where the school was, “the Protestants were kinda fading out” and Fr Walsh set up the Don Bosco troupe and they had instruments. The Lynches were there: Pat Lynch, and Stevie. They had a hall beside the graveyard. They played instruments, sang songs and practiced there. They performed in small places in Cork, and they did Christmas shows down the lane.

Fr Lynch used to do the parties for the poor children at Christmas. The parties were in the Mechanic’s Hall (now The Middle Parish Community Centre) upstairs where there was a stage.

0.56.52 - 0.58.54

Mass, Religion, Dances, Strict Timekeeping

They went to mass in St Francis but they were baptised in St Peter and Paul’s as it was their parish church. All her brothers were altar boys in St Peter and Pauls, and the girls were in the choir in St Francis.

Her mother had the children involved in everything they were never left “go wild”. They were also in the Girl Guides or the Boy Scouts. She kept tabs on them.

When they went to dances in St Francis Hall they were given five minutes to come home from the céilí on Saturday night from 8-11pm. If you went to the Arc (the Arcadia), facing the railway station it’s now apartments where the dance was 8-11 they were allowed half an hour to walk home. It was safe to walk home at that time, there would be no cars or buses after 11pm. If you weren’t there on time her mother would start walking towards them “I often met her!” says Phil. “What kept you?” her mother asked in case she had “been with the fellas”.

That was the discipline that they had which they took with them and tried to instil in their own children “and do the best you can” doesn’t think it is easy to do that today.

0.58.54 - 0.59.14

Christmas Party

Phil doesn’t think that there was a Christmas party in the dispensary, only one in the Mechanic’s Hall [her sister Mary Mulcahy had mentioned a party in the dispensary, see CFP_SR00729_Mulcahy_2019].

0.59.14 - 1.02.08

Swimming: Outdoor Baths- Storage, Separate Days for Men and Women. Kingsley Hotel Flood

They went swimming in the outdoor baths, they were not allowed in the Eglinton Baths because it was stagnant water. But they were allowed to cycle or walk up to the outdoor baths.

They brought the togs and towel under their arm, and often had a picnic up there were a flask and sandwiches. Phil says she remembers the summers being lovely but that they are probably the same as they are now! Monday, Wednesday and Friday the baths were open for women, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday was for the men. There were boxes all around the pool where you togged off. Your clothes could be stolen and you’d have to walk home in your togs. That never happened to Phil as they always had someone minding the box, or they swam in front of the box.

They built a hotel [the Kinglsey] over those baths, and her husband is mad about that because they could have made a 50 metre pool there. At the time it was 50 metres one way and 50 yards in the other direction. Thinks the only 50 metre pools are in Limerick and the Aquatic Centre in Dublin.

There was a flood in the Kingsley Hotel, which didn’t surprise Phil because that was where the swimming pool was with water from the Lee.

1.02.08 - 1.05.02

Meeting her Husband. Anniversary.

She met her husband in O’Gorman’s hat factory- but she “wasn’t going with him” then. Two or three years later she met him in the dances and “he used to dance me” and then they “became a couple and that was it. The rest is history.” They celebrated their sixtieth wedding anniversary on the previous Sunday.

They didn’t do anything for the anniversary as Phil didn’t feel ready for it due to a number of family bereavements. But she had a small celebration at home. Later on she will have a bigger celebration, there will be plenty of time for that she thinks.

“60 years with the one man” Phil says “I’m doing a line for 66 years!” [‘doing a line’ is Cork slang for dating someone.]

Phil says that she doesn’t remember when there were Quakers there but it was always known as “the Quakers”. “but what kind the Quakers were now I have no idea.”


[Interview Ends]


Cork Folklore Project, “Philomena Cassidy: Grattan Street, Healthcare, The Marsh,” accessed July 17, 2024,