Pat Griffin (b. 1929)
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Pat Griffin (b. 1929)


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There is a long tradition of helping the poor and needy in the Griffin family, and in West Kerry Pat Griffin worked as a Relieving Officer. His granduncle, known as Gerry “Buggy”, worked with Pat’s grandfather Dan at Dingle Poorhouse. Gerry “Buggy” was the driver of the horse -drawn ambulance for the Poorhouse and Dan worked in Admittance. A story is told about Dan Griffin’s terrifying experience one hundred and twenty years ago, when he was caught up in strong winds on his journey to the mainland from the Blasket Islands where he had been working. Pat Griffin’s employment remit included care of the population of the Blasket Islands, and he recalls the families there. He explains that he succeeded his father, Tommy Griffin, as Relieving Officer and he discusses the changes to his title, beginning with Relieving Office in 1947 and also Sanitary Sub-Officer, then Assistance Officer and later Health Board Community Welfare Officer. The train was the main mode of transport of cattle to Tralee after the Fair Days in Dingle, and Pat explains that farmers from distant Killarney walked their cattle to the fair. When he was a young lad he would help the drovers as far as Lispole on the return journey, and he recalls the stopping- off point Lack, beyond Inch, with an adjoining pound field for the cattle. He had worked at night at the fish curing factory as a young lad, cleaning the mackerel before they were barrelled for transport by train to Tralee and onwards. Two great disasters are recalled, namely the Black Fever of 1939 and the tragedy of tuberculosis, which affected many local families. Pat’s father, Relieving Officer Tommy Griffin, and his work at these difficult times are recalled.
Also mentioned is the number of local people who left to work on the beet scheme in England during the season in bygone years, and street life in Dingle in the 1930s and 1940s.


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Audio series:

Tralee-Dingle Narrow Gauge Railway Collection


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

59.81 MB

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Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore