“In the 50s and 60s, Ireland was so much different than today. My father died when he was forty-six and left behind his wife and ten children, so I had to grow up pretty fast. I started working when I was about six or seven, I had to collect turf and deliver it to old people and widowers. Most of the time we didn’t even have a trolley to carry it around, so we had to find unwanted prams and use them. If we finished that we’d call door to door asking for bottles and jars to return them for a bit of money. I finished school when I was thirteen, and because there were no jobs here, I went to London and had to use my brother’s birth certificate to get a job. When I was going around looking for a job I saw these signs on the doors like ‘NO blacks, NO Irish, NO dogs!’ Dublin was so different. People would be walking on the streets. In London, everybody seemed to be running somewhere. I was very lucky because I found a job quite fast, even though I didn’t get much money, just enough to pay rent and feed myself, and the rest I sent home.”

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