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Tony's story (part 3, page 1)

Mourne Road is in the parish of Drimnagh a rather long road which runs from Dolphin Road way past the church and school and ends at the top of Mangerton Road, it was in fact the last stop on the 22 bus route which ran from there to Cabra on the far side of Dublin. From Keeper Road to Rafters was a great big open space known as Mourne Road field. It belonged to the parish council and I played many games there as a boy. Cowboys and Indians was always the favourite of many a young Dubliner -- I never wanted to be a cowboy since they always won the battles and the poor Indians were killed off in droves! I was always coming down on the side of the poor oppressed red man, so I never won at that game.

The wall that took you over the into the field ran parallel with a lot of the houses on Mourne Road and you had to be fit to get over it. It was about 6ft tall with a round coping stone at the top. The seat of your pants became shiny with all the climbing over the wall in the warm summer months! After Sunday mass lots of young men would set up their gambling school in the field behind the wall as it would shelter them from prying eyes and the local Gardai {police force] as it was illegal to gamble in public. I seem to remember they played games like dawn, a card game that was local to the area. Tossing two halfpennies that had an immaculate sheen to them was another game that you could bet on, the idea was you had to guess if they would both fall heads up or tails down. Great fun indeed, but I am sure many lost their wages and the rent money on such games of chance.

The field was a haven for young lovers -- it was on a par with such diverse places in America as Lovers Lane or Make out Point (not that I have been to these places but have seen them in movies). It was on the field that I saw my first horses being ridden bare back by young boys of all ages, this would have been a great adventure to an Indian like myself but I never got to do this. The summer time was a great time for the birds, I will never forget the swallows, they flew in a large group, winged hunters on the prowl for all kinds of insects and flies that inhabited the field. The smell of new mowed grass was like a magnet to the migrating birds and meant that a meal was on the horizon.


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