Cyril Duncan

Growing up in Ireland

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Growing up in Ireland (by Cyril Duncan)

I’m talking about Hide and Seek in the park. The shop down the road, Hopscotch, Donkey, skipping, handstands, stuck in the mud, football with an old can, Dandy, Beano, Twinkle and Roly Poly, Hula Hoops, jumping the stream, building a swing from a tyre and a piece of rope tied to a tree (if you live in Dublin the lamp post), building tree-houses, climbing up on to roofs Tennis on the street the smell of the sun and fresh cut grass.


Hubba Bubba bubble gum and 2p Flogs, macaroon bars and woppas, 3p refreshers and wham bars, superhero chewing gum, golf ball chewing gums, and liquorice whip, Desperate Dan and Roy of the Rovers, sherbet dips and Mr Freezes, marathon bars and everlasting gobstopers. An ice cream cone on a warm summer night from the van that plays a tune - chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe Neopolitan.

Wait…. Watching Saturday morning cartoons… short commercials. Battle of the Plants, Road Runner, He-Man, Swapshop and Why Don’t You?

Transformers, How do you do? Bosco (Sandy). Forty Coats and the Little Hobo and Lassie, Chucklevision, the Muppet Show, McGyver, Scarecrow and Mrs King, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, or staying up for Knight Rider and Magnum PI.

When around the corner seemed far away and going into town seemed like going somewhere.

road runner

A million midget bits, sticky fingers and mud all over you, knee-pads on your jeans, Cops and Robbers, rounders, tip the can, Queenie-I-O, climbing trees, spin the bottle building igloos out of snow banks walking to school no matter what the weather, running ‘til you will were out of breath. Laughing so hard that
your stomach hurt. Jumping on the bed. Pillow fights. Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles.

Being tired from playing …. Remember that?

The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team. Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
Football cards in the spokes transformed any bike in to a motorcycle.
And don’t forget the Marietta sandwiches we’d make by buttering a cupla Marietta biscuits and stickin’ them together. And that quare oul mixture made in a tall glass with HB ice cream and Taylor Keith red lemonade.

hb ice cream


I’m not finished yet………….
Eating raw jelly, orange squash ice pops.
Remember when …………there were two types of sneakers -
girls and boys and ‘Dunlop Green Flash’ and the only time you wore them at school was for ‘PE’. Gola football boots.

green flash

It wasn’t odd to have two or three “best” friends.
When nobody owned a pure bred dog, when 25p was decent pocket money, when you’d reach into a muddy gutter for a penny, when nearly everyone’s mum was at home when the kids got there, when it was considered a great privilege to be out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

When any parent could discipline any kid or us!
Getting them to carry groceries and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.

When being sent to the Head’s office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited a misbehaving student at home. Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn’t because of muggings, drugs, gangs etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! And some of us are still afraid of them!!!

Remember when …………..

Decisions were made by going “eeny-meeny-miney-mo”. Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming “Do Over”.

“Race Issue” meant arguing about who ran the fastest. Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in ‘Monopoly’, The Game of Life and Connect Four, Atari 2660s and Commodores 64s. The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was germs. It was unbelievable that Red Rover wasn’t an Olympic Event….

commodore computer

Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a biro barrel pea shooter or an elastic band. Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better. Taking drugs meant orange flavoured chewable vitamins. Ice cream was considered a basic food group.

Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true. Abilities were discovered because of a “double dare”. Older siblings were the worst tormentors, but also the finest protectors.

If you can remember most or all of these then you have LIVED!!! Pass this on to anyone who may need a break from their “grown up” life…………….
I DOUBLE DARE YA!!!! Bagsy it, no returns.

Cyril Duncan
14th September 2004

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