In this extract Hugh Smullen talks about his early childhood. He remembers living with his grandparents and being very privileged compared to his siblings as they were better off than his parents. However after his father died he returned to live with his mother and remembers real poverty. However he points out that life went on, he just had to accept this kind of life which was pretty common of the time.

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So when you went to Blessington Street … that was with your father’s parents?

That was with my father’s parents, that's right.

So they all died around same time …

They all died in and around the same time, yeah. It was terrible the whole world feel apart for a while then, that… you see I had a great time living with my grandparents, because I got everything that the others didn’t get …

Yeah, because you were the only one.

Yeah, I was the only one and you see there was a double reason for me living with them, you see, well I lived with them … they just wanted, say, a child there as a companion, something around the place and then as I grew older I was handy then for getting the messages or getting in the food and things like that and they were absolutely wonderful and em … they were very good to me now like and both of them, they used to go out all the time, they’d go to Bray and Howth and they’d bring me and then they’d go in and have tea and scones, you know that thing? So I was very, very lucky to have this for a number of years and then when they died I had to move back then and all this then … then I was back to real poverty, you know and em but we didn’t mind, we just had to go on … you just went on, like, it was the kind of life that you accepted


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Childhood, Relative deprivation



Date Added



"Hugh Smullen talks about the poverty that was prevalent in Dublin during his childhood.." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #122 (accessed February 23 2018, 4:47 am)