Sunday, December 19, 2010

Then and now...

This past fall, my cousin Steve went to Ireland with our Uncle Kevin, my father's youngest sibling (who lives in England.) Steve visited me last weekend and shared the photos from his trip, which made me more determined than ever to get myself to Ireland. I've already been to beautiful Scotland, and I have had more family visits to England than I can count! But Ireland is where my paternal grandparents were born, and where my Dad spent chunks of his childhood, much of it in what is lovingly referred to as the "family hovel" in Tobernabrone.

I have posted these old photos before, but now I have current ones to compare them to...

Some relative named Philip, my aunties Bernie and Anne, young Uncle Kevin and my paternal grandmother in front of the cottage at Tobernabrone, sometime in the 1940s.

The family hovel!

Various relatives and hangers-on, sometime in the 1960s. Nice oil drum by the front door, very classy. And what happened to the lovely stone wall? Is that... concrete?!

And in 2010...

A new roof, but the garden is very overgrown. Apparently some people in Dublin bought it, put the roof on, but ran out of money and nothing has been done since!

It hasn't really changed a whole lot over the years, has it?

Meanwhile, my paternal grandfather's family hovel in Wexford has gone WAY upscale!

The sunroom was not there when Granddad was a kid! :) And it was NOT a fancy place to live back in Granddad's day, but they've done a beautiful job on it since. I love the thatched roof. I had never before seen a picture of his home. I hope to see it in person one day.

It's funny, I have always loved the ocean and I adore stone houses. Maybe some things are just in your blood! You can see the ocean from this place, according to my cousin.

And before WWII, my paternal grandparents moved to England, to an Irish ghetto in Cricklewood, London. Here is Nanny (my grandmother) with one of her six surviving children in front of their council house on Horton Avenue. They had the end unit on the right.

And in 2010, my uncle Kevin (who may have been the baby in the carriage in the previous photo) stands in front of the house he grew up in. It hasn't changed much!

Steve and my uncle also visited my grandparents' grave, which I have not seen since 1976. We visited Nanny in March, and she died in December of that year, so when I saw it, only my granddad's name was there...

And a sad day back in 1966...

My aunt Anne and Nanny at Granddad's grave. From the quantity of flowers, I'd say he was well-loved.

After the kids had left, my grandparents got a council flat nearby, on Galsworthy Road. Here they are with my uncle Gerry, sometime in the 1950s or 1960s...

And in 2010, not a lot has changed. New windows, and no doubt a new roof!

Thus ends my nostalgic tour. But on the cottage theme, I want to show you the very lovely needle-felted picture I recently bought on Etsy, from textile artist Aileen Clarke in Fife, Scotland. I love her work and you should go check out her Etsy shop and blog.

Although it's a cottage scene from Scotland, it does remind me a bit of the family hovel in Tobernabrone. Aileen's work is exquisite.

Have a peaceful Sunday!


  1. wonderful wonderful wonderful

  2. Oh Natalie, your before and after photos are precious! We were not a million miles from Tobernabrone last year when we stayed with a friend in Mooncoin! Although my cottage scenes are essential Scottish, there is a very strong Irish influence. I lived and worked in Ireland for a while and have been going over there on holiday for 15 years now : ) I'm sure you will love it when you finally get there. Thank you for putting up links to my sites. I'm really glad you like your wee cottage landscape : ) All the best, Aileen.

  3. It's lovely to be able to compare photos from then to now.
    I wonder if that stone wall was covered in cement in the same era that people covered panelled doors with hardboard to get a more streamlined look. Was that in the 60s?

  4. Before and afters are always interesting whether it's people or places. Thatched roofs are so picturesque. Thanks for the tour.

  5. Aileen, Moincoin! What a romantic-sounding spot!

    Love my wee cottage picture, and we both love your beautiful stone cottage home.

    Little Blue Mouse, you have a point. It was indeed the 60s, as far as I can tell. Lots of home decor heresy in the 60s and 70s! :)

    Frannie, I just love thatched roofs. Apparently they are very expensive now, although they used to be what the poor used for roofing. NOt many thatchers around these days!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!