In this extract Hugh Smullen remembers being made unemployed from the delivery job in the flour mills. At this time he was married and had just started a family. He remembers he started working in the coal yard delivering coal. However this work was seasonal and therefore unsteady. He recalls that things got bad in the coal so he was again looking for work. He recounts an incident where he found out from the union about a delivery job going up on the quays. He remembers running to the employers and persuading them to employ him before interviewing others who were also interested.

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Moving Image


So anyhow like when our first child was born and then Anthony was born then, he was born in … Christmas 1954, then things went haywire in the mills and I lost … jobs went and so then I went to work in the coal yard, I got a job in Ted Castle’s coal, I was driving lorries there, delivering coal and so I used to come in all white and now I’m coming in all black! Delivering the coal, so that wasn’t bad, you kind of had more money at that and that … I done that for some time but then that was only seasonal but I seemed to be lucky, like, when that went then I … I never signed on the labour, you know, I think I signed once but I never drew any money so then I … there was one day then...things were bad in the coal and I went into the union to know was there any work and so the guy in the union told me "they’re looking for a driver in O’Deere’s, the mattress people", he says, "it’s up on Wolfetone Street", now I was over on Burgh Quay at the union had an office there at the time and it’s now 25 past 12, you see and he says to me "there’s two other guys going up at 2 o’clock", he said "I told them about it, I’m just telling you now, they’re going for an interview", so I came out and I ran the whole way and I got there at about just ten to one and I came and I asked to see the manager and they said "we’re going to our lunch … " well I said "well I’m the driver from the union", like you know, "oh yeah", so slight interview, and "the lorry is full there, can you drive that?", "oh yeah, I can drive that", "will you be able to start … when can you start?", "I can start now if you want", "you can start at two o’clock"! Yeah, so I was there dead on two o’clock and I saw the other guys coming up the road and I was driving away! So, I was there for 32 years.

That’s fantastic.

Yeah… I was there for all that time.

That was good luck.

Yeah and I stayed in it...but then I often wonder...but I did I stayed there I was happy enough with what I was doing and …


30:22.2 - 32:55.4


About this item

Spatial Coverage

Wolfe Tone Street


Dublin City Life, Work and Family, Work



Date Added



"Hugh Smullen remembers the instability of employment and the various jobs he undertook." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #249 (accessed September 22 2017, 11:00 am)