Life, Living, Becoming...
Gerry Coughlan


Have you ever smelt the Liffey at low tide or seen a tinker begging on O'Connell Bridge or followed the aroma of Bewley's coffee from College Green or walked across the Ha'penny Bridge or stared at Cuchulain's statue in the GPO while you waited with your Ma to buy a stamp or turned into Moore Street to be faced by the smells and noises of the vegetable sellers or missed the last bus and walked home or had a butcher's knife held to your throat for 7p in Parnell Square or been kicked, as you cowered, on the ground outside a dance for some loose change?

Growing up in Dublin, Ireland in the 1970's was great and when you had the odd gauntlet of skinheads to face at least once a week, sure it made a man of you or at the very least, you learnt basic street survival.

I never knew Temple Bar, The Point, Wood Quay, U2 or Riverdance. I left Dublin in February 1976 at the age of 16 and set off by boat and plane for the jungles of Africa - or so my sister and I thought. My step dad had got a transfer to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was the land of milk and honey and we were all off to make a fresh start. Little did we know that South Africa had its own problems and just a few months after we arrived it boiled over. As a school-going teenager, it would be a few years until all that had happened would sink in.

These stories document anecdotes and memories from my childhood in Ireland.

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© gerry coughlan 1998 - 2012 gerry coughlan