21st November, 2002

This weeks ‘Seen, Read and Heard’ is totally different from any others I have written before. A chance meeting in the ‘Mills, where the Douglas Weekly office is situated, led me to write this piece and hopefully trace some class mates from a different era.
On Monday morning I left the office to drive to a meeting, when a voice called out, “Michael O’Hanlon”. I turned, and even though it must have been40 years since I last saw him, I recognised Teddy Burke, from Ballinlough. The balck curls were replaced with grey, but the friendly smile was still the same. We exchanged pleasanteries, and then Teddy told me that he possesses a photograph taken in the late ‘50s, when we were both going to the Model School (Scoil Barra). “We’re both in the photo,” Teddy said, “And there are a lot more faces in it that you might remember.”
A few years ago I met an old classmate, James Quinn from Albert Road. James was running the petrol service station and shop on the South Link road (a few hundred yards from Anglesea Street Garda headquarters). James also had a photograph of us as primary students (I’d use the term ‘inmates’!!). James told me that he would leave it in the shop and that I could collect it when I dropped in at a future date. I did collect it and it was a photo of two classes who had just received their Fannia pin, which meant that we were all native Irish speakers. Our parents had to give a half crown to pay for the emblem. James listed a few names, and I put the picture in the ‘Weekly, hoping it would bring about a response, which it did. Not a great response, but I was able to mention a few names, as people told me that they knew a few of the kids in the photo.
Anyway, to come back to the present. Teddy called back to the office at lunchtime with a photograph, but it was the same one I already had. However, we spent about an hour going through as many names as we could, and the old saying, “Two heads are better than one” is certainly true.
As pupils we came from all parts of the Southside - Blackrock, Ballinlough, Douglas, Ballyphehane, Turners Cross, City Centre, etc...
Together we got through the old photograph, and we tried to identify as many as possible. Teddy might not know the boy in the photographs, but he’d tell me that the boys family owned the Mercier Press, and on we went. There are two Slyes in the photo, Maurice and Jim, Dessie Dwyer, Tom O’Keeffe, who ran a Texaco service station and repair unit opposite the entrance to Kent Station on the Lower road (Tom’s at the end of the front row). Other names mentioned were Ward, Patterson, Niall Brett, Teddy McGarry, Kennedy from Ballinlough, Brendan O’Riordan, Billy Heaphy (Heaphy’s pub, next to the school), Carpenter, later to run the Overdraught restaurant in Minane Bridge, Freddy Waters, whose family ran a timber business, opposite to the entrance to the South Infirmary. Other names that Teddy remembered were Draper, Dick McGrath, from Boreenamanna Road, whose father was manager of the Capitol cinema - We all wanted to be Dick’s friend because it meant free passes into the Capitol, and upstairs to the good seats!! The names continued, Barney Aherne, Rory Delaney (who died tragically in the 1968 plane crash off Tuskar Rock), Michael Aherne, who played with the Regal showband, the Langford twins, whose family lived on the South Terrace, Brendan O’Driscoll, from Marina Park, working with the Cork Gas company for 40 years, Michael O’Riordan, whose family home was opposite Johnson & Perrotts Car Sales (the house at the lights leading into Ardfallen estate) - many years ago Michael told me that he was going to California. I remember another few names, Connie Slattery, Jim, Noel and Paul Flynn, for Victoria Avenue - I think Paul is in the landscape business.
Teddy had one nickname that he remembered, “Happy”. Sean Cronin is in the front row (fourth from the left). Sean now runs the very successful Cronin’s Bar in Crosshaven. If only my memory was as good as Frank Downey’s, I could rattle off every name in the photograph.
Finally, once again, I print the photograph, and guys, a lot of you are granddads - I hope you are well, and to the relatives of those who are no longer with us, I hope my memories of my schools pals will bring a little comfort to you, as they have to me. If there is anybody in the photograph that you recognise, please let us know here in the office, who knows, we might organise a class re-union!!
I almost forgot - I’m second on the right on the back row, the little angel in the polo neck pullover.
I just remembered another name, Danny Flood, who was a very good sprinter in school races. I was picked to run for the school at the Mardyke, but the polio outbreak at the time made my mother lay down the law, and we were moved to Myrtleville, for safety. I could have been a contender, mum!!

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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