Louis Powderly

S. Mac P.: Do you… do you remember the 1916 Rising, don’t you?

L. P.: Oh indeed, and I do.

S. Mac P.: What did you think of that when it happened? Of course you were fairly [young].

L. P.: Ah, I was sixteen at the time.

S. Mac P.: What did you think of the rebels?

L. P.: Oh well, I didn’t think much of them because, at the time the war was on, and everybody was talking about the war, and a lot of people were saying it was a shame to start trouble here and the war on and all that. But I… that morning, my father and sister had made arrangements to go down to friends in Rathnew in county Wicklow, and they went down on the train and they heard about it, about three o’clock, and that evening I went over to Amiens Street station and asked them what time the train would be coming in. They told me there was no trains coming to Amiens Street, they were going to Harcourt Street, and I walked up Talbot Street, into O’Connell Street, passes… passed by Clerys, and up Westmoreland Street, and from Westmoreland Street to Grafton Street, Stephen’s Green and when I got to Harcourt Street the people were coming down. Well, we always had a whistle of our own, and I started whistling, and I got the answer from my father. So we walked back the same way, and on O’Connell Street, there at Sackville Place, a young lad offered my father a lovely pair of brown boots for sixpence. He was after stealing them [laughter]. Then, about the pillar…

S. Mac P.: Yeah, but you saw, before we go on to that, you saw some other other looting too going on?

L. P.: Oh aye. All the kids went and got new clothes out of Clerys, and there was a Howth tram there at the corner of Earl Street and O’Connell Street, Sackville Street then, and, they went in, and they took off the old clothes and put the new ones on, and… walked out, with the new clothes on them. And then…

S. Mac P.: There was some, a woman taking meat or something?

L. P.: Ah, she’d half a side of bacon, in a ‘praskin’ they used to call it long ago, it was a sack apron. And she was coming down and who did she meet only Father O’Reilly.

‘Ah go back says he, and leave that where you got it.’

‘Ah Father’, she says, ‘after I carrying it so far.’ [laughter]

So he had to laugh and he had to let her go. And then, there was another woman, her boot came undone, and she put it up on something to tie it, and she’d pig’s cheek and pig’s feet in this apron. And some of the ‘go’ boys went and pinched one of the pig’s cheek, and she turned around: ‘Ye bloody lot of robbers!’ [laughter]

S. Mac P.: Were you sort of sorry to see the British pull out of the South then in 1920?

L. P.: Well, of course I didn’t… I hadn’t experience, but… there was a lot of people did… were very sorry to leave them…to see them leaving.

S. Mac P.: Yeah, and you might have been yourself, while you’d been a soldier?

L. P.: Yeah, I was sorry to see them because… Ah, there’s no use going over that sort of thing now. It’s over and done with.

S. Mac P.: You think… it might have been a better country if they’d stayed maybe?

L. P.: Oh, I think it would be. Seeing now they’ve sold the country over to the… the… what do you call it, the…

S. Mac P.: Common Market?

L. P.: The Common Market. And you’ve got to do what they say.

S. Mac P.: Your parents didn’t want you to join the army so, did you run away or something?

L. P.: Ah no, they didn’t.

S. Mac P.: Did they know you were joining?

L. P.: Ah, I just came home and said it, ‘I joined the Army’, and that was alright.

S. Mac P.: And that too, when you joined it was after the Rising so, like… the Irish struggle was just beginning and so on, but yet you didn’t… you hadn’t been brought around to the Rebel cause or…

L. P.: Oh no, because… all my family, they were all… we weren’t mixed up in that sort of thing at all.

S. Mac P.: Yeah, you never really sympathized with Republican politics did you?

L. P.: Oh no, as a matter of fact, I didn’t take any interest in them because I was always brought up, always, never to get into any trouble.

  • Informant
    Louis Powderly (L. P.)
  • Age
  • Address
    Killester, Dublin 3 (native of Findlater Place, Dublin 1)
  • Collector
    Séamas Mac Philib (S. Mac P.)
  • Date of recording
  • Recording context
    Informant’s home
  • Reference
    (audio) UFP0390
  • Faisnéiseoir
    Louis Powderly (L. P.)
  • Aois
  • Seoladh
    Killester, Co. Bhaile Átha Cliath (Findlater Place, Cathair Bhaile Átha Cliath ó dhúchas)
  • Bailitheoir
    Séamas Mac Philib (S. Mac P.)
  • Dáta Taifeadta
  • Comhthéacs Taifeadta
    Teach an fhaisnéiseora
  • Tagairt
    (fuaim) UFP0390
Street traffic and pedestrians on O’Connell Street, as viewed from Nelson’s Pillar [Tomás Ó Muircheartaigh, circa 1930]