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Can you remember what sounds there were when you were a child? Maybe around Moore Street, what sounds do you remember?

You could imagine it, it was… what’s the… there's a magical word, I can’t even pronounce it properly, is it cacophony?


That’s the magic word… sorry for knocking that… but the sound there was everything from ‘Dublin Bay Herrings’, you know, ‘penny the apples and oranges… carrots’, you know, but right up along the street there was that, you know, no I’ll tell you a funny story about such a thing, there was a writer in Dublin at the time, he used to write an article every week for the Saturday Independent called John D. Sheridan and my mother knew him because my grandmother had this shop in Moore Street, you see, and she knew people, my mother was great for, you know, people like that... but anyhow John D. came along and at the time the poor people would go to one of the dealers and they’d say 'three penny's worth of pot herbs', you know, you got a sprig of parsley, a sprig of thyme, an onion and a carrot for to help to make a pot of soup, but John D. would deliberately… he did this one day, he went along and you see with thruppence worth they wouldn’t even give you a bit of newspaper on it, you had to put it in your bag so he went along and he said ‘threepenny worth of pot herbs’ so they gave him the threepenny worth of pot herbs and deliberately he went to the next dealer with the pot herb still in his hand, you know, and he asked the next dealer for a penny onion, you know, now if you can imagine the voice and she screaming at him ‘go on and get your penny onion where you got yer feckin’ pot herbs!’…

So, lots of noise, lots of business.

That’s the way it was and then I tell you this as a funny incident about Moore Street, as I say my own grandmother had a big fish and poultry shop there, but in the front of the shop they had a stand and they had two boxes of herrings, this was now when the herrings would be in season, so there’d be a box of herrings there and a box of herrings right beside it, this was a trick of my mother’s believe it or not, who used to help in the shop… on one of them she put a big label ‘Dublin Bay Herrings’ and on the other she put ‘Howth Herrings’, now, the herrings were in the back, they’d come in and they’d probably all come from Killybegs or somewhere like that but people would… this is as true as goodness, people would come along and they’d say ‘give me a half dozen of Dublin Bay herrings’ and then they’d say ‘I wouldn’t eat them Howth herrings!’ or somebody would say ‘oh, the Howth herrings, give us a half dozen of them, I hate them Dublin Bay herrings!’ Now, God nor man couldn’t distinguish between them! That’s just to give you an idea, you know. But eh also, like, if you can imagine in our house we were all like picking up bits and pieces of the jargon of the street, like, you’d get something... you know, in Henry Street now for instance, especially during the month of Christmas, December, at that time they only… they weren’t as modern as they are now but there’d be only decorations, you know, all paper decorations, balloons and then there’d be cheap mechanical toys and as the years came on they were adding to the different things, now, I’m going to do this for you, this is my imitation of it ‘Bells, balls, balloons or tinsel, all Christmas decoration chains, get your cheeky Charlie balloons’! So you can imagine that… now that was the whole length of Henry Street and of course we were coming in and out from work and you’d… ‘did you see that …’, you know, we’d be imitating the… it was unbelievable, like, it was a pantomime there… I’ll tell you a funny story about Henry Street, this was the time of the advent of the Cheeky Charlie and cheap mechanical toys… Cheeky Charlie was a little guy on a little tricycle, you know, you wound him up and he spun around, now, I have to tell you I am interested in the Irish language but I’m not a fanatic about it… but I had this friend who was a great Gaelic scholar, professor of Irish, as nice a man as you could ever meet but anyhow, one particular Christmas, it must have been Christmas week or thereabouts, we met in Henry Street and we stopped to talk, now, he would never talk anything but Irish to me and I used to love it because I learnt more standing in the street listening to him, you know, but this day we’re standing there yapping away in Irish oblivious to all around us - ‘Bells, balls, balloons or tinsel, all Christmas decoration chains…’ you know, you’d have to hear it but however, what we didn’t realise… this young lad is down on his knees demonstrating these Cheeky Charlies for his mother who has a little stall beside him, we’re standing right in his way, nobody can see him, now we didn’t… I certainly didn’t see the child, I didn’t hear him, but anyway, the kid got tired of us and he tugged my friend’s trouser leg and he looked up and he ‘hey mister, lookit’, you see, and Sean Óg, I must say, he was an absolute gentleman, he would never speak a word of Irish if there was anybody in the company who didn’t know Irish, you know, he was absolutely fanatical about that… and it may have been with the flow that he was, you know, in full flow, he looked down and he said ‘oh, tá sé go hailinn’ which simply means ‘it’s lovely’, I don’t know if you… I’m not trying to be… ‘oh, tá sé go hailinn’ and the kid looked back up and said ‘oh Jaysus, a Frenchman!'

That’s great!

But that was… it was a great street to be in...


17:54.6 - 25:10.7

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Street life

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"Seamus Marken remembers the sounds of Moore Street and a story about Cheeky Charlies [add smaller file Seamus Marken 19]." Lifescapes: Mapping Dublin Lives, Item #343 (accessed March 20 2018, 7:41 pm)