Theme 3: Irish Urban Life
Clondalkin is Sean O’Connor’s place of birth, and he begins the interview by explaining that he lived in an area locally known as Mill Yard, opposite the Paper Mills and beside the Round Tower. He describes his early youth in the 1930s and 1940s and, as a boy, working for the local landlords, the Nugents as a messenger boy. His brother also worked for the Nugents, as a groom. He recalls his uncle, Captain Paddy O’Connor, who was aide de camp to Michael Collins during the Civil War. Sean goes on to describe the village as it was during the Emergency and mentions that the army’s motorbike squad were billeted in the area. Other topics of discussion were the paper mills, the fisheries and fish ponds, the ESB power turbines and the Grand Canal which ran close by. Finally, Sean spoke at length of his career in the Irish Navy from 1948 and subsequently in Merchant Shipping in 1957, and his life at sea.