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Recordings: Christmas memories from Dublin's Tenement Buildings

StoriesTeatime Talks

Published 14 December 2022

"People that lived in Tenements - they say they didn't have much, but they shared a lot. They looked out for each other where they could. Especially at Christmas, you would go door to door and the different families in the one house would invite the neighbours in and you might bring a drink with you, or a small treat, and you would go to each room or each flat and share what you had."

In collecting memories about life in the Tenements, many past residents and their families shared stories about Christmas.

Tracey Bardon, who has met and listened to many past residents, and is herself part of a family who lived in a Tenement building, shares some of the stories that she has heard over the years - including Lily's doll, the "brand new" old bicycle and her granny hanging Christmas puddings in her windows.

Disappearing puddings, boiled eggs, German toys, traditions, Sunday cinema matinees - picture houses as they were known - and children playing cowboys and indians - Christmas in Dublin was always a frenetic time. 

Gillian Ryan leads tours around 14 Henrietta Street and on a daily basis hears stories and memories from visitors to the house. These are either stories shared by past residents themselves or are recalled by their family members. 

Gillian shares an extraordinary story that we are looking for your help with - did toy boats and planes that were made by German soldiers in an internment camp in the Curragh during the second World War get sold on Dublin streets as Christmas presents for children? See more details on that here.

On Monday 19 December 2022 there will be a special Teatime Talks event in 14 Henrietta Street. You are invited to join us for a festive talk, as we explore more Christmas traditions of Tenement Dublin.

From children's toys and games, to folk tunes and traditions, and seasonal food and drink, tour guide Gillian Ryan will join historian Donal Fallon in conversation, to share stories of Tenement Dublin’s Christmas past.

The event is free of charge and will include hot drinks and mince pies. Please note this talk will be at the earlier time of 3.00pm.

Book your tickets here.