Aug 19

Sean O’Casey, St Vincent’s hospital and The Great War wounded

“I thought that no man liveth and dieth to himself, so I put behind what I thought and what I did , the panorama of the world I lived in- the things that made me.”    Sean O’Casey (1948)


Hume street hospital 1915

Between 1939 and 1955 Sean O’Casey published six volumes of Autobiography. The first three in particular contain much about his life as a North Dock resident. Throughout this anniversary year, marking 50 years since his death, we intend to present short extracts from these works, concentrating on sections which are most relevant to the area. This extract occurs while O’Casey was in hospital for surgery on a tubercular growth on his neck. Jim Larkin had sent him to St.Vincents hospital “where the union had several beds”. Here, “armed with a request from the union, he became No 23 in the St. Laurence O’Toole ward of St.Vincents under a sister named Gonzaga, a delightful woman , most popular with the patients; always lenient; always cheerful, with a gay greeting for everyone.” He finds himself amongst wounded soldier’s home from the trenches, and ponders on those fighting and dying.


The Young O'Casey

 If only one knew, he thought, there’s a helluva lot of moaning in the world today; and it would grow; grow till the common people came to themselves. Humanity’s music would be as sad as ever, but it wouldn’t remain silent much longer. New thoughts were being born, not only in a cry, but in smoke, flame, and cannon-fire. Half the Christian world had just discovered that the other half no longer deserved to live. The slime, the bloodied mud, the crater, and the shell-hole had become God’s kingdom and a never-ending line of duckboards led to where they could see Him even as they themselves were seen. Our Father which art in Heaven, Thy kingdom of Communism come! In every ravine, on every hill, through every golden cornfield tens of thousands of Irish wriggled and twisted to death, their dimming eyes dazzled by the flame from a scarlet poppy, their dulling ears shocked by the lilting notes from a rising lark. The ghosts of them who fell at Dettingen, Fontenoy, and Waterloo were clasping their colder arms around the newer dead.

The whole city was sadly coloured now with the blue of the wounded soldier. They were flowing into St Vincent’s as room could be made for them. Mr Tobin, the head surgeon, had lost an only son in Flanders, and it seemed he couldn’t see enough of forms similar to what his son last looked like. Every free moment he plunged into the middle of those well enough to talk, and would stand there silent, for he was almost stone-deaf, and could hear only a shout given into circular disc with a delicate connexion to a rod stuck in his ear. Where did you get your blighty, son? he’d say to a wounded man, sticking the rod into an ear, and inclining the disc towards the soldier’s mouth. When he heard the faint echo of the place’s name, he’d murmur, Ah! my son spent his last moment a long way off; but yours was near enough, son; near enough. He seemed to think when he was close to them, he was closer to his son. When on the roof of the operating-theatre, a group of them sang Tipperary, Tobin was in the middle of them, trumpet in ear, his old, slender wavery hand trying to keep time: trying to conjure up the ghost of his son from the songs and stories of the wounded men. You wouldn’t get a mother doing it, thought Sean. She’d feel it too deep. She’d conjure up her boy’s ghost out of the coloured shadows he left behind him. Neither in noise of song nor murmur would she bring back the sad, sunny dust of his shape again, but in the deep and bitter loneliness of remembrance.

wounded troops feb 1915_headline


Extracts from “Drums under the windows” (1945)


All six volumes of Sean O’Casey Autobiographies, republished by Faber and Faber, are currently available in both print and kindle editions.

If you have a favourite Sean O’Casey extract please bring it to our attention.

Contact us at


Aug 11

East Waller is finalist in fashion awards

01 Aimee Chan

Local woman Aimee Chan is one of the eight finalists in this year’s Persil Irish Fashion Awards. This is the 15th year of the competition, and the winning designer will receive €10,000 and the chance to have their creative outfit manufactured and sold in Dunne’s Stores.  The final will take place in September on TV3’s Xpose, where all the finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their talent. Additionally, the outfits will be displayed in selected Dunne’s Stores nationwide throughout September.


 Aimee, a student at NCAD and a talented designer has lived in East Wall since she was two years old. Hailing from a creative background she is heavily influenced by her Chinese ancestry. Explaining her love of the fashion industry, she says “At 11 years of age, I was brought to a fashion designer’s studio in Hong Kong, where I got my first proper glimpse into the fashion industry. That was when I knew that fashion was an area that I wanted to work in.”


Aimee is yet another East Wall success story, and we wish her the best of luck in the finals. We will update this story in September and let you all know when Aimee’s designs are on show in Dunne’s Stores.

Aug 10

School Garden Clean up

The East Wall Men’s shed will be hosting a clean up of the side garden of St. Joseph’s Co-Ed school this Tuesday , 12th August . All welcome to come along and join in . Meet at the school at 10am . Please pass details on to anybody who may be interested in taking part or getting more involved with the Men’s shed activity .


For more details on the East Wall Men’s Shed project , check out their facebook page :

Or contact them at –


Aug 04

East wall men’s shed

 One of the most exciting new developments in the community in recent times was the establishment of a local “men’s shed” group.

mens shed


See link to their face book page for further information

Or contact them at –

Aug 04

Sarah Lundberg R.I.P.

Sarah Lundberg , a member of the East Wall History Group , and  active on other community initiatives , sadly passed away last month . Her death came as a great shock to the community and she will be sadly missed .

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The East Wall History Group will present a full tribute to Sarah during this years local history festival in October.

Jun 23

John Moran – Photographer

01 (1)

It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing of John Moran, resident of Island Quay, and a great friend of the East Wall History Group. John was a political activist, journalist and photographer. Here is a small selection of beautiful visions of our community, as captured by John. (All images reproduced with permission).

02 (1)03 04 05


 06 0709 10John Moran R.I.P


Jun 16

Pub Quiz

Pub Quiz

Jun 16

Dublin’s legal quarter – history walk


May 21

“Gotchie Lit” – By Brendan Laird, an original East Wall Poem.

This is a special event for our community website , as for the first time we publish a piece of original poetry , written specially for presentation here .It was written by Brendan Laird , and it beautifully captures a child’s eye view of an adventure filled world.(For those who don’t know their old Dublin slang , a ‘gotchie’ is a watchman ).  Enjoy -

01 watchmen hut

The Gotchie is about a specific-ish time and very specific place; about half way up/down Forth Rd depending on your perspective. The three ‘childer’ in the poem are myself and two others. The other boy knows who he is and has read the poem and the girl who finds herself in an imagined scenario shall remain un- named as she probably never saw the inside of a hut, but found herself there because she was real on/off presence on Forth Road all those years ago.

 The Gotchie got his name from the way Dubliners substitute the first letter sound with a G on some words, e.g.  Gaylah for Railway, Gooter for scooter and not as some commentators would have it , that when he apprehended you he would say ‘Got ye’ ! That’s my perspective anyway. The style of the poem is very course,  puns and turns of phrase are used to capture a time. Pop Moran and Leo Hallissey are to blame, two teachers who employed spoonerisms and all sorts of wordplay to get us and themselves through the day- I call it East Wall Gas Meter. The Gotchie knew everything it seemed and we as kids bestowed on him a status that was not in his job description. We loved it when the roads were being upgraded or when the street lamps were modernised.Cable television did away with bird laden TV aeriels as they prepared for long hall flights. It was a very different time when seasons were marked not by changes in weather but by passed on games that had bicycle hoops,scunchers , caps in bolts and ice pop sticks that became rafts in a deluge. I hope my poem re captures those times.

Brendan Laird

02 watchman hut figure

  Gotchie Lit




Three of us-


out playing.


We see smell feel, draped hession


festooned from barrell to barrell, plank to ground


like sacked sentinels or burlapp’d warders


of those in need of concrete engraving.


Hearts initialed, partially committed, not quite set, not yet stone.


Yellow sodium looking down on man-operated


oil burning lowly in crimson tin and glass.


Time cools on this evening before the clock steals a sacred hour from itself


and us-


He watches from a greeny tarp, warmed by pipe, book, baby power and brazier.


He senses players out seeking shelter.


Voices without, a voice within.


I hope yis are not lousy! Bellows He.


Three tentative inquisitors are paged .


Names in lieu of feed admission are pondered by the ad hoc census taker.


Plank for a seat.


Old Holburn vieing with toasty batch and


like us, he’s had his fill.


Great goalkeeper!


Saw him comin’ in from work on his bike.


Gave me the sports final.


We had a great chat.


Isn’t your Nanna great to be mindin’ you all the same?


Liberty House?


I know the names of course, 


Was Faithfull Place further back.


From good people yis are,


never forget that now, says he.


Delighted, glowing , inflated with recognition.


We are-


the latest hits of our generation, the pick of our pops


and every bar of our mothers.


Semi strange to each other in the flame warp, we seem.


He glorifies our names unlike sir, miss, sister, father .


Swelled heads are we with spokes and sayin’s


big enough to be served in the top lounge.


Trinity tongued we are so school’s


out for the likes of us!


You couldn’t hold a factory of candles to her, him or me.


Is the transistor not better than a book?


Are ye not ragin’ yer missin’ the Monkees?


Did you ever see the banshee?


Is it true the yanks are not the goodies anymore?


If you walk on the cracks will you marry the devil?


Tells of shells, cinders, bits of old fashioned jars beneath us.


Underground ghosts creep up through our soapy soles.


He affirms the who and the what of us.


Seeds bred, raised and read


like shards of cursive script needin’ joinin’ up.




Blue glass bottles. Load o’ molluscs!


All kinds o’ things o’ the past, troved and kept.




Nelson’s Pillar, bits of him, too rough for jacks.


Lustre lost now, taken for granite- a cut below.


We are fortified chisellers of tar and cement.


Seasoned players of spokeless hoops.


Sea breezy sulphur smells in summer


promise outdoor baths.


We know not yet the depth of our knowledge. Rapid we are in our thoughts.


Chaste kissers, loser gets a goozer.


Collocka one two three!


You’re on it!


No I’m not! Didn’t touch me!


Fire mocks with hisses at the piney kindling.


We hear-


a late oil truck growling by our camp. 


The Mex gate cranky in a corrugated accent ,like a night porter thinking of an early house.


Sounds already making memories of themselves for us.


He opens a place kept page.


A black and white dog eared snap .


A younger him, no cap, a woman, two girls an’ a boy.


We are the story here!


Page turners us. No need for pictures and


hard words to spell.


Can’t be put down, coming through a letter box near you, pressed and heralded, everything rhymes.


Can this be our club?.


Will you be here tomorrow night?


Stoney Road. Says he.


The downtrodden childer are fallin’ through the cracks and the divil is


riflin’ the gas meter for the grushie.


Not as brainy as this side o’ the tracks, not nearly as smart as youse. He says.


Sap happy are we and


triumphal thoughts arch our backs. Those new foundlings won’t be in our street league.


No way Danno!


He’s our Gotchie. Do you hear?


Listen here youse-


No cemented love hearts or


boot boys rule, okay!


He keeps ello him.


Keeps sketch for etchers, he does.


Coloured red lit our road, he did.


Gas funny by fire light, he was.


Unsolicited pearls shelled out for nothin’, we got.


Outside the tent, we are now.


Freezin’ speech puffs of see yis with


a quick barrel drum tattoo to remember an’ feel the sound.


Deep intake of lamp oil so I’ll never forget.


Cool one handed vault of the front gate with a


big boy spit in a privet. 


Taller now.


Crépe feet on the ground.


No tippiers needed now- level with ten in number and years.


Key turned, weather board an’ waggin’ tail of Captain tellin’ on me.


Gotchie lit road.


Gotchie hut, paged shut.


Gotchie lit lamp smell forever.




Brendan Laird






May 21

Rockin’ Road festival 2014 – 25th May


This Sunday is the 5th annual ‘Rockin’ Road’ festival, a fund raising event for Childvision. All monies raised go to benefit visually impaired children, and over the years this event has made a hugely significant contribution. It is also boasts a great music selection and is a real family event, well organised and well behaved. Don’t miss it!

02 byob logo03 running order


Older posts «


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: