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Memories of Clonmel in the 50s and 60s_part 3

Some more memories of Clonmel in the 50s and 60’s by Noel Fanning

Noel grew up in Clonmel in the 1950s and 1960s. He has fond memories of his childhood in the town, where street lights were turned off at midnight and items were shared, lent, and handed down among friends and family. Noel particularly remembers the strong sense of community on Oliver Plunkett Terrace, where he lived, and the many fantastic neighbours and friends he had growing up. He recalls the sense of freedom he experienced during his childhood and memories of life on the terrace, which he shares with readers today.


Collecting milk in a sweet gallon from the Depot. In Dowd’s Lane before going to school.

The Santa parade to Ferryhouse on Christmas Eve with Mick Del and his band.

The spectacle of St. Mary’s sports, all the boys in their white shirts, trousers with blue & white ties.

Going to Dr. Murphy in the dispensary and bringing your own bottle to collect your medicine.

The milkman delivering glass bottles of milk early in the morning

Swopping 64page comics, picture cards & stickers.   Playing Snakes & Ladders, Ludo & Lotto

Collecting empty jam jars for your mother’s or you neighbours homemade jams.

St Patricks well, Clonmel

The school guard and the cruelty man on their bicycles.  The guard checking for dog licences.

Wearing coloured paper hats & rosettes for the matches.  One shower & your face changed colour.

Out with the handcart collecting waste paper to help fund the building of St. Mary’s School.

Watching the Grand National on TV’s in Gavin’s, Brady’s or the RTV shop windows.

Inkwells in the desks, pens with nibs and jotters.

Buying 6d. savings stamps in the post office.

Leaving the door key on a string inside the letterbox.

Queuing for the Oisin, Ritz & the Collins Hall.

Collecting butter-milk in a sweet gallon from the creamery for your mother’s homemade brown bread.

The tastiest chips smothered in salt & vinegar and wrapped in old newspaper.

Image from Canva

The religious torch-light processions through the town.

The newspaper sellers on the street, shouting “The Nationist, Tribune, Even Hearld & Press”

The street vendors selling delph etc. at the Main Guard corner on fair days.

The ragman giving balloons for old clothes.

Laughing till your belly hurt

People collecting the offal for the pigs.

Clinic Glasses.  Bobby Quane Boots. School skull caps.

The man with the grindstone attached to his bike sharpening knives, scissors & shears.

The men from the hill on their horses & carts delivering milk and country butter to the houses.

Running for a message or to put on a bet, for an elderly neighbour.

Newspaper cut in squares, and twine treaded through a hole in the top corner (Toilet Paper).

The big parade to St. Patrick’s Well on the 17th. March every year.  (Buses to the well)

The black diamond sewn to the sleeve of your coat when a family member died.

The sponsored Programmes on Radio Eireann. e.g. Waltons, Glen Abbey, Jacob’s, Fruitfield, Imco, etc.

Radio programmes; The Kennedy’s of Castleross, Mrs. Dale’s Diary, Dinjo. The Archers. The Navy Lark.

The Sunday clothes, shiny shoes & hair oil to hold the quiff in place.


Four boys from John Quinn collection

The Wren day when people dressed up and entertained in the houses & pubs.


Cats & dogs being fed scraps from the table & bones from the butcher.Mother’s patching clothes & turning collars.    Being dragged to Jumble Sales & Sales of Work.

St.Luke’s Ball, Bulmers Social, The Printers Dance, The Island Ball, The Vintners Social.

¼ lb. of loose biscuits from a big tin with a glass top.

Homemade Crabapple Jelly, Bread Pudding and Goosegog jam.

Rubbing dry soap on the inside of pants creases to make them razor sharp when ironed.

Preparing for and performing at Feile Cluain Meala.

Popular at this time: Davy Crockett hats, Winklepickers, Sloppy Joe’s, Basketball Boots, Duffelcoats, Bum Freezers. Beatle Boots, Drainpipes, Aran Sweaters,  Mini-Skirts, Crew Cuts, 45rpm Records, Slim-Jim Ties, Little packet of salt in bags of crisps, Signet Rings, Ronson Lighters, Cigarette Cases, Transistor Radios, Mrs. Cullen’s Powder. Fine Combs, Brooklax, Parishes Food Iron Tonic, Syrup of Figs, Andrew’s Liver Salts, Brilliantine Hair Oil, Mac Smile Razor Blades, Paisley print Shirts, Push Lawn Mowers, Sweet Afton, Player’s Weights, Woodbines, Craven A, Goldflake. Daz, Surf, Rinso, Morris Minors, VW Beetles, (Ford Prefects, Anglias, Consuls & Corsairs), Raleigh & Rudge Bicycles, New electrically heated hair rollers, Hot air hair dryers, Toothache Tincture. Sachets of Silvikrin Shampoo, Bottles of Iodine, Curly small pans & Grinders, Irel Coffee, Spotlight Magazine, Collecting Showbands autographs, Listening to the boxing & football on radio.  Radio’s Luxemburg & Caroline, Aluminium hot water bottles & lots more.


Noel Fanning 2013







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