Hazel Bichard: Commended Entry 5th/6th Class category

Primary Competition: In my grandparent's time....

Hazel attends Esker National School, Athenry. Co. Galway.

Donal Brookes, my Grandad, grew up on a small farm located around Ennis. He was the eldest child of his family of eight. He had two sisters and three brothers. Unfortunately his dad died when my grandad was only 14. He had to work very hard on the farm without his father. Soon afterwards his mother remarried so life was ok again.

Growing up

He went to school in Ennis. The family had one bike. The children took turns riding to school. One person would cycle while the others ran beside them. He thought school was very nice. The usual meals that were cooked in his house was bacon, cabbage and white sauce on top.

Christmas Time

Occasionally got 6 pennies if he behaved very good. One Christmas he got a blackboard and some chalk. He was very pleased about that!


His childhood hero was Christy Ring. Christy Ring played hurling for the Glen Rovers club from 1920 until 1979. His nickname was Ringy.

First Holiday

His very first holiday was to Limerick. He was aged 15 and he went on a bus. He stayed with his Aunt Mary, and she really spoilt him by giving him lots of Crunchies. She became known as ‘Aunt Crunchie’! He really enjoyed his holiday.

World War II

While he was growing up World War 11 was occurring. He remembers that there was a shortage of food. He was only young but he knew what was going on. He said that the world seemed scary. He wanted to join the navy and fight the Germans.

After School

After school, he went to college to study forestry. He loved trees and nature and this was an ideal job for him. His first job was a forestry officer in Emo woods in county Laois. He really liked the job. One night he was out at a dance with his friends, when he met Philomena Conroy. They got married on June the first, 1959. They moved to Wicklow and had six children.

Racing Cars

He was always interested in racing cars. He could not afford to buy them so instead he built them. He entered them in races and brought home some big trophies. He always liked to build things, and once he even built a boat. His dream was to sail to England and maybe even France, but he never got further than Youghal bay!

He celebrated his 80th birthday in January. There was a big party and he really enjoyed it.Thats what it was like in my Grandads Time!