Memories of Grandad: cycling through traffic and throwing beermats at the pub ceiling

Family Fortunes: My grandmother is now almost 100 years of age, but can still recall that day vividly

‘I wanted to go for a long cycle, so Grandad said that we would go to Blackrock. I wasn’t quite sure where Blackrock was, but I knew it was far away.’

‘I wanted to go for a long cycle, so Grandad said that we would go to Blackrock. I wasn’t quite sure where Blackrock was, but I knew it was far away.’

 

When I was a child I enjoyed going cycling with my grandfather and one trip in particular stands out in my mind. I wanted to go for a long cycle so Grandad said that we would go to Blackrock. I wasn’t quite sure where Blackrock was, but I knew that it was on the southside of Dublin and, therefore, must be far away.

As my grandparents lived in Clontarf, part of our route involved riding on the cycle track on the Alfie Byrne Road. When we reached the end of it I became frightened when I saw lorries whizzing by on their way to Dublin Port and realised that we’d have to cycle right beside them.

I wasn’t allowed cycle on the road – however, Grandad told me that I would be fine as he would be with me and then added, “but don’t tell your Mammy you were on the road”. He then began to cycle off and, as I was afraid of being left alone, I followed him, although I was terrified of the traffic.

When we reached Blackrock Grandad bought ice cream cones for us and we sat on a bench in a park and ate them. We then wandered around for a while, but before beginning our trip home Grandad decided that he’d like to have a pint so we went to a pub.

The ceiling in the pub consisted of horizontal wooden beams on which a kind of carpet had been created caused by patrons throwing beer mats up through them. Grandad decided that we’d play a game and try to add to the “carpet” by throwing beer mats up and seeing who could get them to land on the beams. Obviously we shouldn’t really have been doing this, so whenever the barman looked over in our direction Grandad said “snakes” and that was the cue to stop throwing the mats.

We spent some time in the pub before cycling back to my grandparents’ home. When we arrived my grandmother was frantic as we’d been gone so long she thought that I’d had an accident.

She is now almost 100 years of age, but can still recall that day vividly and says that she kept looking out the window every few minutes to see if we were coming back. Needless to say, the next cycling trip Grandad and I went on was a lot shorter.

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