It’s what you got in you, not what you got on
That ever will make you a gentleman, John!

By Eilís Uí Bhriain

That was a regular saying of my Dad’s, and it was later in life I realised he believed in the pure truth that lay between those lines. However, it was so important to folk in those days to take pride in dressing their best for their weekly worship/social outing to Sunday Mass.

The early mission of tackling the well-trained horse to the soft-seated Tub-trap, came in second to Dad’s own routine ceremony of preparing his own garb for Church-day. This outfit was aired only on Sundays or other special occasions and laced shoes were lying on back-kitchen table, shining from Mam’s elbow-grease brushing with Nugget polish.

The Sunday shave was a tame affair with a small basin of hot water to dip the soft brush and rustle up a soapy foam for a smooth Mac’s Smile shave. Then the attire consisted of a starched white shirt, draped with a tastily-tapered tie. Always matching the Sunday suit.

This select ‘good-wear’ three-piece wasn’t off the peg, but a carefully tailored finish, that involved several fittings at Barry’s Sealodge busy workshop and then a final ‘cat-walk’ fitting which called for Mam’s approval.
Dad had a Sunday hat of course to match his neat manly ensemble, and all the men gently lowered the hats and placed them on the sloping window sill at Church entrance.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own