Thursday, May 08, 2008

You'd be lucky to get a go on a see-saw

Saturday morning I was looking out the back window here in D15 and saw this in a neighbour's back garden:

Yep, that's right. A bouncy castle. In someone's back yard. Not in a fairground or a parish field day but out the back.


It got me thinking about home. I was due home to see the mammy for her 68th birthday on Monday and quite suddenly I got a bit ... not so much apprehensive or nostalgic but wistful I suppose.

I grew up in south Kilkenny, far away from the bright lights and big smoke of Dublin. Darren blogs fondly about Talbot Street, but I think I must have been 18 before I even ventured south of the Liffey - I still remember the first time I discovered Grafton Street at the tender age of 11. I remember thinking it was the coolest place on earth, at least to my eyes.

It wasn't that we hadn't travelled - it was just we hadn't travelled much, through a combination of my travel sickness and the lack of necessity of going to Dublin. We'd spent summers in Galway, done the beaches of Wexford, visited Santa in Waterford and so on.

As someone reminded me recently, 'twas far from caramel lattes I was reared.

In many ways my youth in Graiguenamanagh (15 letters, 15 pubs) is completely different to my life now. The reaction of my city friends now to learning that my first cinema film was The Land Before Time (1988) and the second was Jurassic Park (1993), that I'd never been on a yacht or sailboat in Dun Laoghaire, or been on the Dart till I moved to Dublin, been abroad till 21 or to Funderland until I was 23 (though we did have Leisureland in Galway and the now gone Celtworld in Tramore...) is always funny, but not much different to many other people from down the country really. We were poor but we were happy.

But we didn't have bouncy castles out the back :(

Can you imagine? Every kid from miles around would be over, bouncing. Most of the "cool" kids who didn't want to be seen with the small, pale, non-sporty, big-eared bookworm would swallow their pride (or pretend to) for a go. The parents would have congregated. There'd have been queues! You could probably have charged.

Most Irish children are better off now. Better books in (some) schools, much better TV programs, more libraries, internet resources and facilities and - yes - parents who can afford bouncy castles out the back. And good for them.

Heading home to see the mammy had me thinking a lot about what I'm doing now and how far I've come. I mean it's all very well to be swanning around to launches, concerts, movie festivals and the like but I find it helps to remember that me father is at home, getting water from a stream for his few cows

and that while a bouncy castle out the back garden in Blanchardstown is all well and good while it's sunny, overall, I've always got these views to return to

and I wouldn't give memories like this up for the world.

Bouncy castles last a day; being a culchie lasts a lifetime ;-)


  1. Bouncy castles are fun for a day. Memories last a lifetime.

    I hope your mum had a great Birthday.

  2. A fantastic post. Brought a smile to my face this morning - I can't wait to come down to visit Kilkenny.

    (And Land Before Time is the first film I remember seeing in the cinema too!)

  3. Wow, that's a great post Darragh, maybe I'm feeling particularly emotional today but that post brought a tear to my eye. All the money in the world can't buy you a happy childhood.

  4. @grannymar - thanks, I think she did. She's not very well at the moment but she's in good spirits and that helps a lot.

    @darren - thank thee kindly sir. Kilkenny should be great fun.

    @maz - awww, bless you for saying so. It was quite late when I wrote it and I didn't know quite how it would be perceived but I appreciate the feedback :)

  5. I thought the land before time was based on Kilkenny? Ohh ho ho ho ho.

    Very good post though, started making me feel nostalgic. Keep it up! :D

  6. That puts life into perspective. Visa cards can pay for most things - but being a culchie is priceless :-)

  7. Hi Jane, thanks for dropping by and welcome. More of my culchiness will be evident in the next while, I promise!

  8. @anthony - sorry I missed your post on this but welcome and thanks for the compliment - appreciated :)