A brief biography of May Smullen, one of the participants who volunteered to be interviewed for the Bridge-IT project.

Item Type


Birth Date



Blackhall Parade, Dublin City


Factory worker, mother.

Biographical Text

May Smullen was born in 1930 and grew up in the North inner city of Dublin in Blackhall Parade. She was the second youngest in a family of seven children. She had two sisters and four brothers. They all shared two rooms of a house in Blackhall Parade which included a large drawing room and a kitchen. May’s grandmother lived close by on King Street. She remembered that every Sunday she would visit her grandmother who would give her a penny pocket money with which she could buy 12 honey bee sweets! May’s mother died very young when May was only 11 years old. This was a difficult time for May and her family. Her sister who was then 19 years old gave up work in order to be at home to help her father look after her younger siblings. Her father worked as a postman and May remembered his uniform, in particular his smart jackets. She remembered that her sister was very skilled in tailoring and when her father received a new jacket from work she would transform his old jacket into bomber jackets for her brothers.

May left school at 14 and started working in Burton’s Tailoring Factory until she was 18 after which she worked in Lever Brother’s soap factory until she married at 23. She has very fond memories of her working life, in particular the friends she made there and the characters she worked with. She met Hugh when she was 16 years old and she remembered when they were courting how they would go for long walks all around Dublin. They married when May was 23 and they lived in a room at the top of a house on Mountjoy square. In 1957 she moved with her young family to her current address in Finglas. She has five children and 18 grandchildren.

About this item

Date Added



"May Smullen." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #292 (accessed March 20 2018, 7:44 pm)