Rebecca’s Bus Ticket

Rebecca Cassidy, known as Rea

My name is Rebecca. I was born in 1936. I lived in a small village in Co.Kildare, about 10 miles from Dublin city. There was a bus to Dublin every hour, with a few more in the mornings and evenings for people who worked in the city.

I was the youngest of eight children and my oldest sister was twenty one years older than me. She was married and had had her first child when I was almost two, so I was an aunt before I was two years old.

There was no running water in our house. I remember going to the village pump with my sister for drinking water. You can see these pumps in some villages still, but not in use now. The river Liffey ran past our garden and we had a gate on to the river bank. We used river water for washing.

With my two nephews, I fished in the river for minnow. We also played with other girls and boys. We played hopscotch, skipping, and games, one called “Pussy Four Corners” and “Blind Mans Bluff”.

I had to get the bus to school. The fare was 2d (that is in old money, less than 1 cent in new money). The bus had a driver and another man we called the conductor. The conductor collected our fare. He had a folder with all the tickets – different colours for the different prices. The 2d ticket I got was blue. He also had a little machine to punch a small hole in the ticket he sold. This showed it had been used and could not be used for another journey. He wore this machine on a strap which hung around his neck.

Rebecca saved this ticket

At Christmas time boys could ask Santa for a conductor set, an “Airfix” model of an aeroplane or a truck. (This came in pieces and had to be glued together). Girls could ask for a doctor or a nurse’s set, a shop, (this included a cash machine and little bottles and packets with pictures or names of what would be in them) or a doll and a pram. Both boys and girls could ask for books, balls, jigsaws, paints and crayons for colouring, and bikes.

I loved my school days. Girls and boys were together in school until we reached 1st class when we made our First Holy Communion. After that the girls stayed in the convent school and the boys went to the boys school. We could continue in school for 7th class, where some girls learned book-keeping and typing. Others studied for the exam to get into the Civil Service. I did this exam and got a good high place, but there were always far more job places for boys than for girls, and I didn’t get a place. Instead, I went to a college specifically to learn shorthand and touch typing.


Rebecca kindly donated her story, and well preserved CIE bus ticket to the Museum of Childhood Ireland in October 2023