A whole new world

"I was born and brought up in the west coast of Ireland in a small village which consisted of 15 houses two pubs and four small shops."

By Sarah

I was born and brought up in the west coast of Ireland in a small village which consisted of 15 houses two pubs and four small shops.  The village was very close to the beach which is where we spend most of the day. The local school was within walking distance so each morning the children would walk to school on their own, school started at 9 o clocks and finished at two for the younger children and three for the older ones. We had three breaks during the day and at lunch time we were given Bread and jam with a mug of hot chocolate. The school day was very structured and if you misbehaved you were slapped with a cane.

The school holidays were very popular with the children as they consisted of a month off at Christmas and three months off during the summer. The reason the summer holidays were so long was most of the children came from farming back grounds and therefore their parents relied on help when the crops needed harvesting.

Life in a village was very much a large family where everyone helped each other the older children used to take the younger children for walks and a lot of the time they were children of another family. Sometimes the farmers had more milk than they needed and they would give it to someone who had a large family.

Many of the time books were passed from one house to another so they were well read and tatty by the end.

Secondary school started when you were twelve and the local school was a convent run by nuns.  School was much the same as any but politeness and discipline were very important eg doors were always opened when staff left the classroom and if you met a teacher on the stairs all children stood still until the teacher passed.

I sat my intercert  when I was 15  and as I didn’t want to continue at school I decided to look for a job . As my two sisters were already settled in England and loved it  I decided I would like to join them.

My first memory on coming to England was flying over London and seeing the lights it was like fairy land to me it was magical  as I had never seen anything so beautiful .  The arrival at the airport was scary as there were so many people and so many colours which were all new to me. The journey to where I would be staying was fascinating as there were so many houses and traffic bearing in mind I had only ever lived in a village. The main difference I found living there was that people didn’t speak to each other. I spend most weekends going to the Irish dances which enabled me to meet other Irish people and settle to living in England.

My life on the whole settled down, I enjoyed working in the city apart from the journey into London.  The most difficult time for me was during troubles in Ireland as it wasn’t always easy been Irish and living in England I remember once being visited by the police as my brother had been over for the weekend and one of the neighbours had reported seeing an Irish car outside the house however the policeman was extremely apologetic and embarrassed and I ended up feeling sorry for him.  Thankfully things have settled down and I have now been in England for 36 years married an English man and have  three children and loving every minute.

This page was added on 21/11/2007.

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