“We had a variety group and we used to practice down in the hospice in Harold’s Cross, that’s where the stage was. We got so friendly all together that someone suggested that we should go on holiday together. Now, holiday at the time meant a caravan down to Rush or Wexford so the idea of going on a real holiday sounded marvelous. Marcella in our club had a daughter who worked in the Cook’s Travel Agency and she said she would get a good offer for us. We decided to go to Lourdes in France. Throughout the whole year, we were paying in a few bobs every week, and we were able to go to Lourdes. It was the most marvelous place we had ever been, the first time on an airplane, the first time in a hotel. Fifty years ago it was a big deal! I was so impressed that at the end of the travel when we came back, I wanted to bring everybody to get the same feeling I got. We couldn’t take everyone obviously so we decided to take the children from the group with special needs. There were four it would’ve cost us 1,000 pounds to bring all four. We obviously didn’t have that much money so we decided to do a fundraiser walk. I went up to the police station to inform the police and asked if we could do anything like this. They said we certainly can and they could even clear the traffic for us. We were sponsored by all the members and different businesses and we made the 1,000 pounds. We could bring all the four children but one of them wasn’t fit to travel so we gave the money to the parents. Anyhow, when it came to going to Lourdes we didn’t know that the Pope decided to come to Ireland. It was in 1979. We hired a minibus and the fella decided to bring us through O’Connell Street. It was full of Irish Flags and the Pope’s flags… We felt like royalty and off we went to Dublin Airport. We were the last flight out that night so they had already the red carpet down for the Pope coming in, so there we were like, things getting better by the minute! We felt like royalty going on out on our little holiday! We landed in Lourdes and the next morning in the hotel they put us up a big television in the foyer, one we had never seen before. The national anthem was so loud in the hotel, we all stood to attention. The guests in the hotel were looking at us and there we were watching the Pope in Ireland on a TV from Lourdes. That’s one of my best memories and I love to remember this time.”
This story is was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of The Harold’s Cross Ladies Club with the help of @DCCCultureCompany.
Harold’s Cross Ladies Club is a group of 30 women between the age of 75-95 who I was lucky to get the opportunity to work together creating a book filled with their portraits and stories. The book called ‘Life Lines’ was published at the end of last year and distributed to the family and friends of the ladies. It also became part of the Local History section of the library.