After that long train journey to Dublin on Newry General Holiday, Amiens Street Station was a welcome sight. The passengers, women and men with children’s hands held tightly in theirs surged up the platform past the ticket inspector and invaded Dublin.
Our clan always made first for Woolworths in Abbey Street, up a flight of stairs and straight for the restaurant. It was self-service, a set-up totally alien to us. But great stuff!! The food was all displayed there before you and you could pick and choose at will.
With the hunger pangs satisfied we all headed for the shops. I don’t think we ever left the O’Connell Street area. If it wasn’t Nelson’s Pillar, it was Cleary’s or a tour of all the shop windows. The kids would finish up with hurley sticks, balls or skipping ropes: often enough the older people would slip into one of the local hostelries for a wee sup. The favourite one was Mooney’s, the pub with the clock. There was no way we youngsters were allowed into a pub in those days so usually one of the teenagers was delegated to usher us around to see the Pro-Cathedral.
This walk was a certainty for us. Not that we wanted to go! We had no choice! After a boring and argumentative half-hour, it was back to Mooney’s. By then a lot of our neighbours had congregated there. This caused a further delay until everyone was satisfied that the craic and the drink were exhausted!
Finally, satisfied and happy, it was back to Amiens Street Station for the long trek home. There would usually be a sing-song on the way home. Some tired souls dozed off.
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