Bernadette M Redmond
I was born and bread and buttered in Summerhill a hard living area in Dublin. Being north of the Liffey we were ‘real Dubliners’. By the mid 40’s our Georgian and Regency terraces were advancing into decaying tenements but our wide streets were relatively traffic free and provided us children with an enviable freedom. They also provided hardpressed Mammy’s with hours of peace and quiet because apart from feeding any open beak that darkened the doorway the only time they saw their offspring was when they did a head count at bedtime. Even then it was not uncommon to find a cuckoo in the nest and one of your brood being scrubbed clean by a neighbour!
By my 18th year I knew that I was part of a generation whose future would be on a foreign shore. Ireland, an impoverished country with a dismal economic environment and De Valera’s deeply conservative theocratic government would not be able to meet either our aspirations or expectations in the furtherance of a career. Our exodus was rationalized by many families as a temporary expedient until things improved at home but I was realistic enough to know that my exile would be a long one.
Early in the New Year of 1957 I ‘took the boat’ to start my nurse training in London’s East End. Half a century later, after a long career in Public Health Nursing, and despite having Gypsy feet I have settled into retirement here.
The Qualter Family of Gortcloonmore
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