Kay O’Reilly (b. 1937) and Geraldine O’Reilly (b. 1959)
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Kay O’Reilly (b. 1937) and Geraldine O’Reilly (b. 1959)


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Track 1: Kay O’Reilly discusses her background as a member of the Travers family from Kilkenny. She left for Dublin in 1952, where she found employment in Jacobs, first working in the Training Room and then as a packer in the bakehouse where she worked for 6 years. A description of her work on the conveyor belt as a packer is provided. She was one of a team of female staff. Track 2: Kay recalls the three forewomen who were in charge in the packing room – Miss Barton, Miss Balfe and Miss Jacobs. Her memories of the piecework involved and the precise nature of the skill involved in packing the product correctly and safely. She discusses her memories of those biscuits that were ‘easy’ to work with – Marietta, Nice and Goldgrain, and of the difficult–to- handle Buttercreams. The chocolate-coated and cream-filled biscuits came off the conveyor belt into a timber box and were carried upstairs to be finished in the Chocolate Room. Kay winces as she remembers burnt fingers in the evenings from handling hot biscuits all day. She recalls the floor manager, Miss Moate, whose role included checking each employee’s work. Track 3: Kay’s daughter, Geraldine, recalls that in 1976 when she was 17, she began work in Jacobs’s new Tallaght factory, as a packer in the Chocolate Room. Geraldine worked for Jacobs for 32 years and the combined service of the two ladies is 68 years. Kay explains that, when her family were reared, she returned to work in Jacobs. She recalls the recreation hall in Bride Street, and she and her daughter compare notes on the differences between the early days in Bishop Street and the new factory in Tallaght. Track 4: A discussion of their trade union membership, and the unpopular uniforms they were required to wear. Kay describes the different departments of the factory, which tended to remain separate from each other. Track 5: Kay recalls that she left Bishop Street on her marriage in 1958 and returned in 1971, starting in ‘The Mallow Room’. Geraldine explains that in 1991 she became a section manager, and she explains her role in that position. Mother and daughter reminisce on the final day of the Tallaght factory.

Additional information



Audio series:

W. and R. Jacob Oral History Collection


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

4.73 MB, 8.15 MB, 17.63 MB, 9.18 MB, 13.54 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



Packers, W. and R. Jacob

Recorded by:

Maurice O’Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore