Miscellaneous 1

Belgian refugees — a small number of Belgian refugees, displaced by the German advances through Belgium, were settled in Ireland during WW1. "During the four years of the war, over 2,300 refugees were received in Ireland for whom the Belgian Refugee Committee collected over £46,000 (including the proceeds of collections at the doors of Dublin churches). Some were placed in workhouses for lack of accommodation, in one case (Dunshaughlin, county Meath) the paupers were cleared out by the military to make way for 125 refugees. According to a Local Government Board report, 'public interest in the business chilled when Belgians showed little inclination to accept Irish hospitality, preferring to remain in England.' Perhaps there they were not reduced to displacing unfortunate paupers. At any rate, the number of refugees in Ireland gradually declined from 1,500 in June 1915 to 900 the following year and to 500 by the end of the war." – O'Brien, Dear Dirty Dublin, 1982.
sixpenny door — the main entrance to the church, where it was usual to pay sixpence into the collection box for Sunday Mass. The side doors were for the use of the poorer people, who might not afford the front-door "charge". "My mother seldom went to mass when I was very young, and she finally gave up going altogether when one Sunday she was refused admission through the front door of Meath Street Chapel because she put only a penny in the collection box. Oul' Bennet the collector pulled her up and told her to go around the side door with her penny. She took back her penny and from then on she made her own arrangements with God. This custom of having a 'poor side' was detestable to those who couldn't put a thruppeny-bit or a sixpence in the collection box and incidents between the poor people and the collector were quite usual" – Máirín Johnston, Around the Banks of Pimlico, 1985.
Yorkshire of Ireland — Tipperary shares with Yorkshire in England the quirk of being divided into ridings – three in Yorkshire, and, oddly, two in Tipperary. Oddly, because a riding means a third. In the 19th century there seems to have been some rivalry amongst Irish counties in pursuit of this epithet, with County Cork usually gaining the laurel. For instance, "... the County Cork, be it remembered, is the Yorkshire of Ireland" – The Irish tourist's illustrated handbook for visitors to Ireland, 1852. But Tipperary too had its supporters: "... the consequent confidence reposed in him by the people, to rally the whole county of Tipperary against the very high aristocracy in that Yorkshire of Ireland" – Select Committee on Bribery at Elections, 1835.
victorian recruits
"Recruits", Illustrated London News, 1881

O, why the deuce should I repine,
And be an ill foreboder?
I'm twenty-three and five feet nine,
I'll go and be a sodger.

Robert Burns, I'll go and be a sodger, 1782.

Karen Vaughan, Drummer Hodge 3
Flikr: Karen Vaughan, "Drummer Hodge 3", contemporary
They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest
Uncoffined – just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around;
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.
Thomas Hardy, Drummer Hodge, 1899.

HMS Malabar
Charles Parsons Knight, "The Last Indian Troopship", HMS Malabar, 1881
National Army Museum
British soldier, India, 1900
Photograph, ca. 1900, from Soldiers of the Queen.com
The Malabar's in 'arbour with the Jumner at 'er tail,
An' the time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders for to sail.
Ho! the weary waitin' when on Khyber 'ills we lay,
But the time-expired's waitin' of 'is orders 'ome to-day.
from Troopin', in Rudyard Kipling, Barrack Room Ballads and Other Verses, 1892.

Irish Times

Irish Times — Daily Irish newspaper, now the "newspaper of record" for Ireland.

It was founded in 1859 as a Protestant publication, and soon became the voice of the professional and propertied classes. Its political stance, as late as the 1930s, was staunchly Unionist – i.e. in favour of Ireland remaining a full part of the United Kingdom.

It was long the only "penny newspaper" in Ireland – in an era when papers usually sold for a halfpenny.

Wikipedia: Irish Times
IrishTimes.com website.

Consumption patient
Consumption patient

Consumption — an old name for tuberculosis (TB) which describes how the illness wastes away or "consumes" its victims. Fatigue, sweats, a persistent coughing-up of thick white phlegm, sometimes intermixed with blood, are further characteristics.

By the 1900s the infectious nature of the disease (through coughing, spitting) was known and feared, so that the "consumptive" became a figure to be shunned.

"Despite its status as a dirty, immoral sickness, every family was touched by tuberculosis - from the poorest to the wealthiest. In the late 1800s tuberculosis was still at the epidemic level that had characterized the disease for hundreds of years, and modern medicine had no hope to offer sufferers. A diagnosis of tuberculosis was, in effect, a sentence to a painful death, comparable to that of AIDS in our more recent history." – Virginia.edu: Every Breath You Take
Wikipedia: History of Tuberculosis
left-footer: "a Roman Catholic" slangOED; earliest quotation: 1944. left-footer: "a Roman Catholic" – Routledge Slang; "but there is also a suggestion that a left-footer is simply 'out of step' with the 'right-minded' user."
Walker, A Woman's Task
Catholic or Protestant? Watch how she digs ...
Francis S. Walker, "A Woman's Task", 1878
dig with the left foot: "be a Catholic" – Routledge Slang. ("from the Northern Irish saying that farm workers in Eire use the left foot to push a spade when digging" – Collins.)
dig with the right/left/other/wrong foot: "sectarian characterisation of an individual of another religious persuasion (gen. Catholic / Protestant) UlsterSlanguage.
cf. kick with the wrong foot: "to be of the opposite religion to that which is regarded as acceptable or to that of the person who is speaking" Scot. and IrishCollins.
left-legger is sometimes used by Irish Catholics to describe a Protestant, from the belief that Protestants genuflect with the left leg, whilst RCs genuflect with the right.
None of these idioms seems to date much earlier than the 1940s. Left-handedness, of course, has long been a designation of gaucheness and sinisterity.
Corpl PT Ross

Did I ever use the bay'nit, sir?
In the far off Transvaal War,
Where I fought for Queen and country, sir,
Against the wily Boer.
from The Ballad of the Bayonet, in Corpl PT Ross, A Yeoman's Letters, 1901.
Irish Character, H C Cook
"A Country Recruit" caricature, 1800

"I'm Paddy Whack, from Ballyhack,
Not long ago turn'd soldier;
In storm and sack, in front attack,
None other can be boulder."

— quoted as "Irish Song" in JC Hotten, The Slang Dictionary, 1873.

Dublin Evening Mail 1946
Dublin Evening Mail 1946, "buff" final edition of the day

Dublin Evening Mail — a popular halfpenny Dublin newspaper, 1823–1962. At this period it was controlled by William Martin Murphy, the Nationalist plutocrat, who in 1913 had brought about the Dublin Lock-out. The late edition – the edition that reported sports results – was printed on distinctive buff (yellow-brown) paper.

Wikipedia: Dublin Evening Mail

RMS Leinster
RMS Leinster passing the Kish Lightship, Dublin Bay

RMS (= Royal Mail Service) Leinster, one of the four mailboats, each named for a province of Ireland, that plied between Kingstown and Holyhead in Wales, carrying mail and passengers, and – in time of war – troops.

Storms and U-boat scares might delay them, but the journey time generally was about three hours. They departed Kingstown twice daily, at 8.15 a.m. and p.m. RMS Leinster

RMS Leinster was sunk by a German U-boat in 1918, with the loss of 500 lives.

Wikipedia: RMS Leinster

area steps

area — "sunken court, shut off from the pavement by railings, and approached by a flight of steps, which gives access to the basement of dwelling-houses" – OED. The area usually constituted the servants' entry.

spy caricature
"Spy" caricature, Vanity Fair, 1878 – "Edward Jenkins, Esq., M.P."

"The following persons are legally 'Esquires': – The sons of peers, the sons of baronets, the sons of knights, the eldest sons of the younger sons of peers, and their eldest sons in perpetuity, the eldest son of the eldest son of a knight, and his eldest son in perpetuity, the kings of arms, the heralds of arms, officers of the Army or Navy of the rank of captain and upwards, sheriffs of counties for life, J.P.'s of counties whilst in commission, serjeants-at-law, Queen's counsel, serjeants-at-arms, Companions of the Orders of Knighthood, certain principal officers in the Queen's household, deputy lieutenants, commissioners of the Court of Bankruptcy, masters of the Supreme Court, those whom the Queen, in any commission or warrant, styles esquire, and any person who, in virtue of his office, takes precedence of esquires. Add to these, graduates of the universities not in holy orders." – Brewer 1898.

Woodruffe, Kitchener
F Woodruffe, "Kitchener of Khartoum", 1925
Joy, Gordon
George W Joy, "General Gordon's Last Stand", 1893

General Gordon, the British Governor-General of the Sudan, had been defeated and killed by the Mahdi Sudanese army in Khartoum, Sudan, 1885. Gordon was a hero of Mr Mack's (cf Chapter 10.5 – he named his son Gordie after him).

At the Battle of Omdurman, 1898, Kitchener defeated the Sudanese forces, thus avenging Gordon.

Mr Mack's regiment, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 2nd battalion, was stationed in Egypt from 1885 to 1889.

Gordon's death as portrayed by Charlton Heston in the 1966 film Khartoum.

Vauxhall Prince Henry
Vauxhall Prince Henry

Vauxhall Prince Henry, manufactured by Vauxhall Motors, UK, from 1911 to 1913.

It was a somewhat disloyal car to be driving in 1915, as it was named after Prince Henry of Prussia, son of Kaiser Wilhelm, the current arch-foe.

"In its heyday, the road-going Prince Henry with 60bhp on tap could do 70mph." Cost in 1913 — £580.

Wikipedia: Vauxhall Prince Henry

settle bed
Seamus Heaney Christmas card
Willed down, waited for, in place at last and for good.
Trunk-hasped, cart-heavy, painted an ignorant brown.
And pew-strait, bin-deep, standing four-square as an ark.

If I lie in it, I am cribbed in seasoned deal
Dry as the unkindled boards of a funeral ship.
My measure has been taken, my ear shuttered up.

from Seamus Heaney, The Settle Bed, 1991.
Privy at Beamish Museum – Flickr: Calotype46

privy — the "privy" was the most common lavatory in Ireland and Britain well into the 20th century. In urban areas it was a shed erected in the back yard which contained a box fitted with a wooden seat. Underneath the seat, and sometimes buried in the ground like a modern but small septic tank, was a metal container. When you "went" to the privy, the usual procedure was to shovel up some ashes from the kitchen fire and take this shovel-load with you. Having done your "business", you scattered the ashes down the hole into the metal container, thus reducing any permeating odour (ash forms a kind of lime). The resulting mix was collected at regular intervals by contractors who sold it to the local farmers as a valued fertilizer.

Back lane at Beamish Museum – Flickr: Belinda Lee. W
"night-soil" collection, Staffordshire, England, c.1910

Modern terraced houses of the period were usually constructed with a lane behind giving access to the back yards. Privies adjoined these back lanes, so that small openings strategically placed in the privy walls allowed the contractors to remove the waste without bothering the residents. In England these contractors and their employees were called "night-soil men" (the speciality was often conducted at night-time), and "night-soil" is the usual term in SE for human waste so collected ((OED)).

A Dublin colloquial term for these waste collectors was "dung-dodgers"

Sean O'Casey gives a vivid account of their arriving in a tenement street:

Victorian night-soil
Victorian night-soil men
Suddenly, he heard a call of Johnny Casside! Johnnie Casside! ... Your mother wants you quick! Th' dung-dodgers are here! ... Johnny hated these dirt-hawks who came at stated times to empty out the petties and ashpits in the backyards of the people, filling the whole place with a stench that didn't disappear for a week. The whole street was full of vexation and annoyance. Women standing at their doors this side of the street were talking to women standing at their doors on the other side of the street, and murmuring against the confusion that had come upon them, upsetting all they had to do till this great fast of the purification had come to an end. – Sean O'Casey, Pictures in the Hallway, 1942.

Toilet paper was usually last week's newspapers cut up into handy (and also, readable) sections, and nailed, as a sheaf, to the inside of the privy door. Today's notions of reading "on the toilet" probably come from this practise: "He read on, seated calm above his own rising smell" – Joyce, Ulysses, 1922.
rugby 1910
Illustration 1910
rugby — "Football, which, as a game, is worth ten of cricket, is played in short flannel knickers with perfectly plain ends, bare legs, heavy hob-nailed half-boots of chrome leather, and a jersey. It necessitates a complete change before and after play, especially after, as a serious player, particularly of the Rugby game, is liable to have little of him visible, for mud, when the whistle blows 'time.' A very complete bath, with soap, is therefore indicated. Football in the Winter, and cricket in the Summer, are the only games treated seriously at good-class schools." – The Boys' Outfitter, 1920.
John Derricke, print "The Image of Irelande", 1581
— note the braigetori to the right

On this subject, Wikipedia as always is enlightening:

"The professional farters of medieval Ireland were called braigetori. They are listed together with other performers and musicians in the 12th century Tech Midchúarda, a diagram of the banqueting hall of Tara. As entertainers, these braigetori ranked at the lower end of a scale headed by bards, fili and harpers." – Wikipedia: Flatulist.

"A state system of primary education was introduced in 1831 and one of its main aims was the teaching of English. Children were strongly discouraged from speaking Irish.

"The 'tally stick', or bata scoir in Irish, was introduced into classrooms. Children attending school had to wear a stick on a piece of string around their necks. Each time they used Irish, a notch was cut into the stick. At the end of the day, they would be punished according to how many notches they had on their stick." — Irish Language in the 19th Century.

Irish Times report: 7th battalion RDF departing Dublin, April 1915

RDF marching through Dublin 1915
7th RDF marching through Dublin, April 1915

"Not for them the direct route along the Liffey quays to the ships. Diverting across Essex Bridge, they marched through the commercial centre of Dame Street, then College Green, passing the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College where many of the Battalion had been students and one a Professor. Spectators became dense as the marching column crossed O'Connell Bridge and right wheeled onto the quays skirting the statue of O'Connell the Liberator. Emotion rose when well dressed ladies from the fashionable Georgian and Regency squares of south Dublin mingled with their poorer sisters in shawls from the Liberties and lesser squares of north Dublin. Together, they joined their husbands and sweethearts in the ranks to keep step with them the last few hundred yards...

"Little boys strutted along side the marching column, chanting their street songs,

Left, right; left right; here's the way we go,
Marching with fixed bayonets, the terror of every foe,
A credit to the nation, a thousand buccaneers,
A terror to creation, are the Dublin Fusiliers."
Irish Times, May 1, 1915.