Irene Dean’s first wage

At the age of fourteen and the eldest of five children I was excited at starting my first job in Dromalane Mill.

It was January so I was well wrapped up in fur boots – which my Granny had bought for me –  hat, scarf, and gloves which was provided by my Aunt Sue. The hat however I refused to wear. The 7.30am horn sounded from the mill as my Aunt Sue came to the door with me. A woman she knew and who worked in the mill was walking down Chapel Street.

 “Can you show our Irene where the reeling loft is, as this is her first day?” asked Aunt Sue. The woman was happy to oblige.

I settled in and enjoyed my duties;  these involved writing and distributing tickets for the different yarns.

The craic was great and we had many laughs and a lot of my school friends worked alongside me; Carmel Mc Keown, Mary Mc Shane, Delores Fearon and several others. Then there were the boys!

Now you know why I refused to wear the hat.

You worked a week in hand; I received my first wage packet of

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