June McDonnell chats to Mick Foster & Tony Allen about their Christmas memories

As a child Mick Foster couldn’t wait for December, a month of celebrations and anticipation. The excitement always began on his birthday, which fell on December 6th. His mother would make a fuss and he would get a few cards from relations, nothing major, he says, but more excitement was still to come!

On the 8th of December, Mick’s father would take out the Baby Ford and head for Dublin, and the annual visit to Santa in Clerys. Absorbing the atmosphere of the season they would stroll down Henry Street amused by the banter of the traders as they hollored get ‘the last of the cheeky Charlies’.

Going to Woolworths to get a whipped ice-cream cone was another great treat. They would then wander around different shops getting a few more presents and experiencing the magic of Dublin at Christmastime.
Home to Mick was just outside Ballymore Eustace, but Christmas was always celebrated in Moneygall with his maternal grandmother.

About mid-December Mick’s mother would cycle into Ballymore Eustace to, as she described it “get a few things for Christmas”. These ‘few things’ could include Brasso or Silvo to brighten up the ornaments and also ‘blue bag’ to whiten the curtain nets.

Also purchased on this trip would be presents to take with them to Moneygall. Granny usually got an nightdress or crossover apron, and Auntie Moll would get slippers.

All very practical presents!

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own