In particular I would love to have known more about their early married life in Ireland in the 1930s. My Nan was a Nottinghamshire lass but found herself working in Ireland as a lady's maid for the brewing side of the Guinness family. It was in Ireland that she met and married my Grandad in 1929. At the time of the marriage Grandad was a bus driver and family lore tells of how he took a fancy to my Nan and used to give her free lifts in his bus. From pictures I've seen of him as a young man, I can fully understand why she would accept them!
|My handsome grandad in his driver's uniform|
A year after their wedding, their eldest child was born. He was followed by four more children in the space of five years. The three eldest, including my mother, Mary, were born in Longford, where my Grandad came from. Their fourth child, my Uncle John, sadly died when he was a tiny infant. He had been born in Carlow. The youngest child was born in Dublin. This was a family that obviously moved around a lot as it was a case of going where my Grandad found employment.
Russborough House was built in the 18th century by Joseph Leeson, a property developer and important art collector, who later became 1st Earl of Milltown. His art collection was so substantial that when it was bequeathed to the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin at the beginning of the 20th century, they had to build a new wing to house it.
|The workers flats at Russborough.|
|The Russborough estate and distant Wicklow Mountains|
But they weren't to stay in this idyllic location. By 1938 most of the family had upped sticks and moved to Central London where they were to stay for many years to come. The Irish accents that the children would have brought with them were to be sacrificed in an effort to fit in and not appear too 'different' to their peers (unlike me 40 years later). The family never lived in Ireland again and its only in the last couple of years that I was to pay my first visit there. I made sure I visited Russborough to see where my mother had spent her childhood years. Rest assured, the quarter of me that is Irish is determined to go back.
|Tiny terrors - my aunt, uncle and mum at the front|