My most memorable journey to school was when I was six years of age. Walking to Stanhope Street primary school I encountered herds of cattle! It wasn’t a rural area, Stanhope Street is in Stoneybatter near Dublin’s city centre.
The reason why was because of the cattle market in Prussia Street, which was on my route to school.
Many of the cattle arrived by train to Cabra Cement Depot, and were herded to Prussia Street. I was so scared when they approached me that I ran into a house driveway and securely closed the gate to keep the cattle out.
To avoid coming across what my younger self saw as ‘giant animals’, I found out what days the cattle market took place, and I left home an hour earlier to avoid what would have been a frightening walk to school. Although the school gates were still closed on those early arrival days to school I was happy to discover how to dodge the cattle.
The cattle market closed in 1972 but by then the cattle were as familiar as family pets to me as I was so used to seeing them.
Also, by then I was cycling to my secondary school, St. Paul’s CBS in North Brunswick Street, better known as ‘Brunner’.
I began full time work in Guinness as a 16-year-old. Prussia Street, Manor Street and Stoneybatter was still my regular cycling route to work. Because of that I would give my younger brother a bicycle crossbar lift to my old school, and his then school, Brunner.
I’m still cycling and walking…
Aidan Herdman is now retired from his work at Guinness, and is a volunteer in the Camino Society office in St. James’s church in Dublin. He also enjoys walking Camino routes in Spain and meeting many international participants on those routes.
On behalf of the Museum of Childhood Ireland and Robert Burns, we would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to all of our wonderful participants for their time and their stories. We are thrilled to be presenting this project and we hope you will enjoy following along with us in the coming weeks.
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