A Snap Shot of Cabra History in 1950′s

In the fifties and early Sixties thousands of people emigrated from Cabra to England. Many families like the Fitzsimon’s of Bannow Road or the Bradley’s of St Attracta Road who all embarked to England in search of work or a better life never to return home.

The Mongey family of 64 Dingle Road all went to Liverpool in 1959. Having returned home on holidays in 2011 Dermot Mongey paid a visit to Cabra and Finbars club house.

He met old friends and neighbours and left a few photographs of his family and pictures of Cabra in 1950 at the club house. Due to contact through the website Dermot was asked to write down a short note about his child hood in Cabra in 1950s.

Pictured above: St Finbars primary hurling team 1952-1953.

This is a story from Dermot Mongey of his life in Cabra West in his childhood and teenage years before he went on the boat to England.

It gives a snap shot of the history of Cabra and its people in the fifties and sixties which is long gone. It also contains information on the teachers and sports men who taught thousands of Cabra children over many decades.

Dermot Mongey was born at 64 Dingle road Cabra West in 1943. Most of the residents of upper Dingle were settle there after the bombing of the North Strand by the Germans in 1941.

The next door neighbors of the Mongeys were the Rock family. Mrs. Rock was godmother to Dermot when he was baptized in Cabra in 1943 at Christ the King Church in Cabra East.

Her son Richard would become the famous singer Dickie Rock in later years. Dermot has great memories of his school years, he first went to the Dominican Covent on Rathoath Road in 1947. Two of the teachers he remembered there were Miss O’Malley and a Nun named Sister Mary Oliver.

Dermot left the Dominican in 1951 and went to St Finbarrs National School on Kilkernan Road Cabra West.

Dermot spent six years in Finbarrs School and he can remember the teaching staff that was there at that time. Mr. Mc Carty was the head master, Mr. Mc Guigan his teacher, along with Mr. Doyle, Mr. McGuire, and Mr. O Halloran, Mr. Mc Auliffe, and Mr. Byrne.  Dermot’s sport career started in the school.

He played for the hurling team and football team for four years. The Finbarrs teams reached two Marino Cup semi finals and were beaten by Brunswick St in 1956 and Westland Row in 1957. Dermot was captain on all occasions.

The schools sports were held in Croke Park in those years and Dermot represented the school in both handball and running. In one of his proudest moments he was picked for the Dublin schools hurling team to play a Belfast selection in Croke Park in 1956.

He also played in Casement Park in the returned leg in Belfast.

Pictured above: The Dublin primary schools hurling team which defeated Belfast primary schools.

Describing life in Cabra in the early fifties Dermot gives a great description of the activities that went on. He states…”The children played on the roads as there were very few motor cars around. I remember a Mr. Fox from our end of Dingle road having a small car. Soccer matches lasted for hours on the road which was played with a ball called a bouncer.”

There was a hurling roads league been run at that time and he played for Dingle Road who was manage by Mr. Brady. He also played Gaelic football and hurling for Fionnbarra club and his manager was Mr. Kehoe.

Like all children Dermot had his heroes. In soccer it was his neighbor Patsy Dempsey who played league of Ireland for Shamrock Rovers. He would go down and see him play in Grangegorman sports ground. In hurling his hero was Jim Kavanagh the famous Fionnbarra full forward who he watched playing in the Bogies.

Pictured above: Naomh Fionnbarra Senior Hurling Team 1969. Back Row: J.Cullen, D.Moyles, D.Massey (RIP), Sean Reid, A.N P.Myles, S.Myles, R Sheridan, P.Keogh, N.Cassely, F.Walters. Front Row: S McCarty, M.Brown, J.J Brown (RIP), P.Brady,  T.Mullane,  J.Kavangh (RIP), J.P.Byrne (RIP), P.Lynch.

Pictured above: Confirmation day for for St Finbar primary school pupils, February 25th, 1954. Dermot Mongey, back row 1st l-r, Paddy Smithers 8th l-r, Maurice Rowley front row 6th l-r.

Dermot spent a lot of his time in the Cabra play ground (The Layer) and played many sports. He was elected as captain of the play ground in 1956 which was a great honor at that time.

You got a chance to go over to the Lord Mayor in the Mansion House to receive your medal. The Lord Mayor that time was a man called Robert Briscoe. Dermot remembers that Joe Carlon of Faussaugh Ave the Manchester united player was also captain of the play ground.

One of the big moments in Cabra that he remembers was the opening of The Most Precious Blood Chapel on December 6 1953. He sang in the choir that day after been practicing in Cannon Burkes house for seven weeks to be ready.

The organist at that time was a Mr. Mc Eyoy. After leaving Finbarrs primary school Dermot went to Cabra Technical School in 1957. The teachers he remembers there were Mr. Finneacta, Mr. Bunion, and Mr. Fahey. He played on the tech soccer team.

Pictured above: Home Farm Team 1959 Season, Dermot Mongey is fourth from the left, front row.

In 1958 Dermot joined Home Farm soccer club. He won a 16a league in 1958-59 seasons. He made new friends at Home Farm from Cabra East like Mick Conroy and John Whelan. Both had brother who became Irish international and professional footballers.

Dermot remembers one of the saddest days in Cabra the funeral of Liam Whelan in Christ the King Church in 1958 which he attended. Snooker was very popular at that time and he played at Cross Guns, Cabra Grand and Bachelors Walk snooker halls. It was one shilling and three pennies per half hour.

In 1959 Dermot and all his family moved to England. They went to New Brighton which is on the other side of the Mersey River from Liverpool. Dermot continue on his sporting activities and joined Richmond Boys football team. He played the 1960/61 season and was spotted by a scout from Bolton Wanderers. He got a trial but he was not picked.

At eighteen years old he moved to London and it was there he met his future wife Maura Clancy who was from 105 Dunmanus road Cabra West. They were married on March 12 1966 at the Church of the Holy Trinity Brook Green London.

Maura original was born in Cork and had moved to Cabra. She had gone to London with a friend of hers who was a singer in a band to play over the seven weeks of lent. It was at this time that Dermot was introduces to his future wife.

Dermot has spent 53 years of his life in England yet he loved the place were he was born and spent his teenage and child hood years. Cabra was home for him and in his thoughts it still is. His memories give a very good account of the teachers of the time who taught the children of Cabra over many decades. They also give a mention to the men who ran local teams and some of the local sports heroes of the Cabra sport world in 1950s.

Handball was a very strong sport in Cabra right through out this period. The picture also shows one of the main equipment that was in the playgrounds at that time. Local social history is very important for local areas in Dublin like Cabra.

Pictured above: Brunswick Boys Club, Liverpool, 1960, Dermot Mongey is 3rd from the left in the back row.

Pictured above: St Finbars team beaten by Westland Row in the semi final of the the Marino Cup.

Pictured above: Cabra playground in 1955 medals being presented by Irish International athletic star.

Pictured above: Press cutting featuring Dermot Mongey, May 16th, 1957.

It is also very important that this history is documented and kept in an archive for future generation. Hopefully Dermot Mongeys snap shot in history will be a spur to other people to tell their story of life in Cabra. The club wants to thank Dermot and his family for the pictures and information.

The club is in the process of creating an archive for the club and for the wider Cabra area.

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