Kay Judge (Nee O'Hanlon)

Kay was born in Holles St Maternity Hospital and lived in 33K St Laurence’s Mansions.

She left school and commenced work in Wigidores  Wallpaper and decorating store, where her Mum was already employed. Everyone from our community bought their DIY products there including my family.

She continued in retail for several years. Moving on from that she became a book keeper and then, some time later she was employed by RTE as an audience researcher. Whilst still in RTE she married and left just before her first child was born. Kay has two children and four grandchildren.

Kay trained as secretarial teacher and she taught night classes in Blackrock initially and then in Blanchardstown. She then had the opportunity to attend the University of Limerick where she completed a Post Grad, followed by an MA in Education. She went on to teach IT in a PLC College in Finglas for thirty years. Kay has always loved IT and is passionate about teaching. She recalls that her friends Michael, Peader and Bridie  lived in 1H. Both Michael and Peader attended Trinity College and she is still friends with Bridie to this day.

Kay was one of a large group of people, which included my father, and another friend of hers called Grainne Keeley who met in The North Star Hotel to set up the Sheriff Street Credit Union. Kay has a photo of this historic event and will share it on the site later on.

Kay’s happiest memories of Sheriff St are the people. She just loves the people that she grew up with and she has maintained these friendships to this day. She has always had a very strong bond with her friends, even those who have moved abroad. She always felt safe there despite the fact that they never locked their door.

Kay learned to knit when she was ten years old. She was taught by her aunt Ca Murphy (Nee Gorman). She like the other women in the community were keen crafters. Kay also loves gardening

In a funny twist of fate, whilst we were shooting the project I recalled,  a glamorous lady with red hair whom,  I used to see coming into our shop every day on her way to work in RTE. I could never remember her name! Who knew that I would end up reconnecting with her in the project? It was none other than Kay!


Comments about this page

  • Mattie’s

    The first thing I loved about Mattie’s was it’s “Old Curiosity Shop” style and charm. It was different in appearance from other shops on Sheriff St., in that it had a very child-friendly frontage, obviously an addition to the original house, which was a two story. Being child- friendly meant that children coming to the window to browse the display, potentially to spend their pennies but more often than not to “dream” of having the vast arrays of sweets displayed in the window, could do so without any help from parents or friends because the window at Mattie’s was at ground level and was perfect for children to see everything on display. It usually took a long time to make a decision about which sweets to buy, because firstly pennies were scarce and usually came on Friday only, so therefore, decisions were not to be wasted on the wrong choice. Secondly the sweets might have to be shared with siblings, so value for the penny was all important. Also, on sale was, to my memory, red lemonade and other delicious drinks, the likes of which I had never seen before. To a small child all of this was fascinating, but I couldn’t afford that luxury, but maybe if I get a job when I leave school I might!

    When I first knew Mattie’s, it was owned by an elderly man and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. O’Shea, both of whom had the patience of a saint. Nothing was too much bother so children felt comfortable there. However, like all good things must come to an end, the little shop owners retired, and the little shop was taken over by their daughter Carmel and husband Noel. They rebuilt the shop to come in line with the style of shops on the street. They did a wonderful job in keeping stock, new and interesting, and added additions like small toys and more variety overall.

    They were lovely people who worked long hours and reared a family at the same time. I also remember there was always something new in the window. It was a shop which kept children coming back for the next surprise and so it went on like that for many years.

    As an adult I was brought back to the shop on a regular basis when Noel and myself attended a parish meeting in the church in an effort to set up the first Credit Union in the Sheriff St. area. As t happened, we both volunteered for the study group, as if we didn’t have enough to do, but I was keen to help. As it happened, Noel was elected Treasurer and I was elected Secretary of the Credit Union, which we both worked hard to get it on its feet. The Sheriff St Credit Union continues to this day.

    Sadly, I had to say goodbye to the Credit Union and the wonderful friends and neighbours of the area, when aged twenty-six, we moved to a new area to get on with the job of rearing a family.

    My childhood days in Sheriff Street and the many characters and businesses who lived and worked with in the area are often remembered with great kindness and love. It was a wonderful time for me and for many like me, and is sadly missed to this day.

    I would like to wish Maria the very best of luck with her new project. I hope she gets the necessary material to re-kindle the sense of warmth and joy remembered by all those who have passed through this wonderful area, which no doubt helped shape them into the caring people they are today, no matter where life has taken them in this world.

    Kay Judge (Nee O’Hanlon)

    By maria.mcgrane (25/09/2023)

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