Tales of Communion money past

Claire Hughes similing at the Liberty Market. Credit: Paula Bowden

With communion season in full swing, little girls and boys are donning their white dresses and tiny suits in preparation for their big day. Over the years, the tradition of receiving money on your communion day hasn’t changed, but the amount definitely has. We took to the streets to find out what Liberties locals spent their communion money on all those years ago.

“I’m not that old, but in my day you were lucky if you got enough to buy some comics like the Beano and the Hotspur,” said Geoff Buckley, owner of the New Dandelion on Meath Street. “They would have been the big thing our age and maybe a football or something like that. Not like today with all the millionaire kids going around, the Celtic Tiger kids.”

Pat Cummins from the Sweater Shop on Thomas Street told The Liberty, “I spent my communion money in Dublin Zoo on a Teddy Bear and I gave the rest of the money to my mother and father.”

Pat was not the only Liberties local who gave his money to his parents. Giving up your communion money either voluntarily or by force was a trend of the time. David O’Connor and Glenda Sarsfield had similar memories.

“I didn’t get to spend it cause my mammy got it,” said David. “In those days, not that we were unfortunate or anything like that, but at the time, any extra money that you had went to mam and it was divided out and spent on house bills and things like that. So I helped out on me communion.”

“I was the same,” said Glenda Laughing. “Mine went on the food bill that week.”

Local woman Claire Hughes made the most money of anyone we spoke to but she also didn’t get to keep it for herself. “We had to give it to our mother. I made, I think it was ten pound back then.”

Saddest of all tales was Leonard Fagan’s of Jas Fagan Tailors.  “I got three pound and sixty pence for my communion,” said Leonard, who makes communion suits for a living. “I put it in my savings box and I think my Mam took it.”

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