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Can you remember any games that you used to play?

Can I remember! How many do you want?!

Oh as many as you have!

Well just for argument’s sake there was kick the can, there was relievio, now, this is going to knock you… there was a thing called, we called it Billy Hard Crust, I’ll explain that in a minute to you… we also had our own game, being from Moore Street, at the time the dealers used to get wooden crates of oranges and they were bound with a rope, right, and they’d take the rope off very carefully and they’d sell it to us for a penny or tuppence and this was a game we had with… every young fella would have a rope and you see you’ve got to try and imagine that, I’d love to have a blackboard to show you this but there was a warren of little lanes off Moore Street and we knew every one of them so everybody got out, all the boys ran, it was a kind of a chasing game and the other… say two guys would catch you, chase you and if they caught you they’d tie you up with your own rope and you’d be left there maybe in the door of some old place, you know, or a post or something, hoping one of your pals would come around and release you… that was one of the games. And then another time we’d have a game where we’d play chasing… do you know the… did you ever see the cigarette packages, the cigarette pictures that came in the boxes of tobacco?


… so we’d gather them up so the fella who was chasing, if he caught you, you had to give him one of these so it was up to him to chase you and catch you, now, if… while he was catching you and taking one off you one of your pals came up and caught him he had to give each of us two cards so you can imagine the movement of cards, some nights you might end up with a big bundle, some nights you might end without any, that was another one. But we had lots of other games, we used to play ‘harrying’ which was simply jogging up and down the street, we played football on the street, what else can I think of? We played handball, you won’t believe this, in Moore Street there was a big shop, a big, big delph shop and they had huge big plate-glass windows and we played handball up against them, until the inevitable happened and a fella went through one and got very badly cut up but thank God he lived… so that was about the games, I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head, as I say there was relievio… the girls had the same basically, we had the thing called Hop Cock a Rouchie, you’d have to see that to believe it… say, for instance, all the kids are lined up on the footpath, right, I’m out in the middle of the road, you see you’ve got to remember it’s not like nowadays with traffic, at that time there was no traffic, I’d stand in the middle of the road and I’d call you or some other fella and he had to hop out to me on one leg, I had to meet him and try to shoulder him till he put down his leg, now if I got him to put down his leg before he got across the road he was on my side and I now had two of us and it went on until all the others were… that was called Hop Cock a Rouchie…

That’s a great game.

Tough… but tougher still was this Billy Hard Crust, believe it or not I saw a picture of it being played in London in the street games, one guy stood at, say, a lamppost, like that, another fella came and put his head, forehead in the hands, now, we’ll say there was six on each team so the next fella came behind him and got his head down as much as he could, and you’ll understand this, almost up in his bum so to speak, the reason being that you didn’t want your neck broken, so you can imagine there was a line, now the other six went across to the other side and he shouted ‘Billy Hard Crust number one coming up’ and he came and he vaulted… now, the job was for him to try to get up to the guy… as near as possible to the guy at the lamppost until all six were up on the backs of the others… now, this is where the punch came, if a fella was on your back and he moved you had the right to pinch him, now, at that time we all wore short trousers so you can imagine the soft part of your leg there and these buckos with big nails and they digging into you so this is the way it went, now, if the group that were down collapsed the others got another chance, it was called weak horses, now, if you held them for a count of ten they had to get down and you got a chance to jump up on theirs, believe you me that was tough.

Yeah, my God!

I’m going to tell you… now, you asked me about games, now I can’t think of anything else off the top of my head…

No, that’s absolutely brilliant.

I don’t know how you survived your childhood!


12:08.8 - 17:54.6

About this item

Spatial Coverage

Moore Street


Childhood, Games, Street life

Date Added



"Seamus Marken has happy memories of many childhood games from 'Hop Cock a Rouchie' to 'Billy Hard Crust' [add smaller file Seamus Marken 18]." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #342 (accessed March 20 2018, 7:42 pm)