Margaret Cullen

Maria McGrane Courtesy of Margaret Cullen
Maria McGrane Courtesy of Margaret Cullen
Maria McGrane Courtesy of Margaret Cullen
Maria McGrane Courtesy of Margaret Cullen

Margaret’s family moved from the south side of the river Liffey to the flats when Margaret was four years old. She’s the third youngest of nine children, six girls and three boys. The family’s first address was 158, St Bridget’s Gardens, where they lived for ten years, before moving to number 11 in the next block. Her father was a docker called Glimmer Byrne. He worked on the docks as a “Singer out” This strange title was for the man who ensured that there was no-one around the pallets as they were lifted on and off the ship. His role was to ensure health and safety.

Margaret recalls a day when her father whom the called “Pops” in the family grounded her for  playing handball with the boys in the flats. He sent her home o the spot and she was kept in for a full week and only allowed to go out of the house for school and mass. It must have felt like the longest week for her.

Margaret’s recollections of life in Sheriff St were of very happy times. One of her happiest memories is of going out to play in the street with her friends. There was a great sense of safety and freedom with the whole day ahead of creativity and playing. It’s generally accepted now that playing is crucial to child development. Learning to play, develop friendships and understand group dynamics are essential life skills to equip children for adult life.

She began work in Brown Thomas at the age of 13. She left Sheriff St at age 19 when she went to the England to join her sister who was living in Camden Town. Whilst there she met the love of her live and returned home after two years to marry and start a family. She has four children, 3 sons and 1 daughter and is a proud grandmother to her six grandchildren, three boys and 3 girls.

Approximately 20 years ago, whilst her son was studying art two things happened to change the course of her life. One of her friends who was attending art classes invited her to come along and her other friend gifted her with a full art et. She began watching Frank Clarke’s art classes on TV and she’s been an artist ever since. She’s still in contact with the many lovely friends and neighbours off her childhood in the Sheriff St community.

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