Dublin In the Rare Old Times

Halfpenny Bridge

By Aine McDonnell

Ring a ring a rosie, as the light declines. I remember Dublin city in the rare ould times

This is the chorus of a song that reminds me of the city that has in many ways shaped my life and who I have become.

This city is our nations’ capital; Dublin.

O'Connell Street

It is a place in which I have spent much of my time both as an adult and as a child.

When I was a child I spent many years; thirteen in fact, being treated in Our Lady’s Hospital For Sick Children in Crumlin, having first been transferred there as a new-born.

It was a place I had and still have mixed emotions about.  As a child, a trip to Dublin almost invariably was a trip to Crumlin. Whether it be to an outpatient’s appointment (if I was lucky) or more often to be admitted; the sense of dread I felt, when I knew I was being admitted, was at times overwhelming and always frightening.

Going through the doors of the hospital the sense of fear and foreboding rose. This was not helped by the giant dollhouses which lined the corridors that led you to your ward.

Another event which made a hospital stay seem so unfair was the nightly appearance of the nurse with the trolley. She came around and took all your food and drinks and any sweets you had! You did get some of it back but most of the time you would not get it all back.

These are just two of the lasting memories of that time in my life but they have stayed with me all these years later.

College Green

As I grew older my trips to Dublin declined for a while but they started in earnest again when I turned 20 and began studying in University College Dublin. I was only in college for a year but my time there helped me realise I needed to become more independent and self-reliant.  I found out about a centre which I could go for a week on holiday and I decided to try it out.

This was the start of my change of attitude to the city in which I spent so much of my formative years; to being one of terror and fear to one of independence and joy.

Over my adult years I have made many a trip to Dublin’s fair city and with each trip I have become freer, more independent and at peace with myself.  I have met many people along the way, all of whom have made an impact some negative and some most definitely positive.

Some have made more of an impact than others helping me grow in independence and confidence and showing me that anything is possible, if you just give it a go.

For me, Dublin has gone from being a place of negativity and fear to one of pure freedom and joy. I will marvel at how this city has changed me over the years for as long as I am on this earth!

Stephens Green



  1. Your memories of childhood really resonate, and your love of the city as an independent adult is inspiring and warming. Lovely piece!


  2. Great piece and a lovely journey back in time. Well done. I’m looking forward to reading many more of your journeys here. Keep up the good work.


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