Track 1: Brendan Callaghan’s father, Thomas Callaghan, worked at the old Clondalkin paper mills as a greaser, and later served with the Army Corps of Engineers at Baldonnell before being transferred to Islandbridge. Brendan explains that Thomas was involved in the War of Independence and the Civil War, taking the side of Michael Collins. Brendan initially attended school at the convent in Clondalkin, followed by his schooling at the monastery. Mr Ryan was the headmaster at that point, he says, and an unpleasant teacher, Jack Hassett, is recalled. It was a two-room school with three teachers, he explains. Brendan played football for the Round Towers on the team with Carl Welsh and Harry O’Brien with Oliver Larkin in goal, and the great support they received from the locals is remembered. Track 2: Brendan started work with farmers, digging potatoes and making hay. He recalls the bombing of Dublin by German fighter planes and the prisoners interned at Glencree, and says that internees were also held at Newbridge. During the war, he was a member of the Local Defence Force along with his two brothers. His commanding officer was Joe Keogh and Brendan remarks that the Irish Army put them on exercises at the monastery. An occasion when the group went on manoeuvres at Newcastle is also recalled.
Track 3: In 1946 he began work at Clondalkin Paper Mills where he worked as a turbine operator and he describes his work at that time. The turbines were used to generate electricity for the boilers which produced steam to dry the paper. He recalls Hugh Hurrel, his shift foremen. Brendan was living at No 1, St Brigid’s Cottages on the Naas Road at this time, and he says that he cycled everywhere. There was little road traffic in those days, though there were private buses, and Brendan recalls some accidents on the road. His mother was Julia Mooney from Robin Hood, and she reared ten children with no electricity in the house, just gas and paraffin oil lamps. Brendan recalls the dry battery radios and the cinema, and he has fond memories of the cowboy movies and the audience interaction during films. The older women who wore shawls would get a bus to Inchicore and a tram into the city centre to Thomas Street. He remembers people talking of the elderly being put into St James’ Hospital, nicknamed ‘the Spike’. He also remembers the food during the war, mentioning Shell cocoa and buying loose tea and fish at Thomas Street. Brendan worked at the paper mills for about 36 years, and he explains that he started work with the fitters on the night shift. He remembers the heat in the workplace, and he talks about disentangling the paper from the hood over the cylinder. The men took great pride in their work, he says, and he talks about the introduction of electricity to Clondalkin and the excitement this engendered, though there were also many blackouts. Before the advent of television, Brendan used to listen at a neighbour’s window to the GAA matches on the radio and to music on Radio Luxembourg. The Callaghan genealogy is discussed, including the Fagan family from Kildare, and he remembers his grandmother Fagan who was good to him. Most of his own siblings emigrated to England, he explains. He recalls his young days playing soccer for Camac Celtic and Gaelic football for the Round Towers, and while examining old photographs, he names some of the players on his team. He also remarks on some photographs taken in the turbine room at the paper mills.