Reid is an Irish writer who has published many history articles online and in magazines.
I interviewed a number of older local residents a few years back and they spoke to me about their memories of The Emergency during World War 2. They were born and reared in Stoneybatter Dublin 7 and had many stories to tell me. Then there was The Glimmer Man, the long queues for food and fuel because of rationing.
Allotments in the Park and most of all the community spirit of all the people living in Stoneybatter at the time. She was 23 when the war started, she says 'A lot of my brothers and sisters were married with their own kids. My mother, Lord rest her, would give some of our rations to them.
She'd say, ' It was put in your mouths when you were young. The night the bombs were dropped I had been in Chatam Row, just off George's Street in the School of Music, where my brother was a caretaker.
I was walking home alone, imagine you could do that in those days. I was crossing into Blackhall Place when I heard a bang.
I ran into the bomb shelter like a shot, because I had only to turn the corner and I was in. But I didn't know what it was then.
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The shelters were made of brick and they were all over Stoneybatter. But this was the first time I'd used it. Up to then it was the kids that would play in them all the time. It was Brian, my boyfriend who told me they had bombed the North Strand.
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We went down to the North Strand to have a look. We didn't know any better then, I don't know what we were thinking really.
I'll never forget it. All the stuff that was scattered in the trees, baby's prams, toys and clothes. I can still see it all now with the bricks everywhere. We didn't see anyone hurt thank God, no I'll never forget that night, it frightened the life out of me. You were allowed to use the gas for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, but then it had to be turned off. Now everyone would leave the glimmer on and it gave out a tiny bit of heat, like what you'd call the pilot light these days.
Well I needn't tell you the people would use this to cook a stew or boil the water. If the kids saw a strange man walking about they'd come running into the houses and let us know. The glimmer was turned off and if it was the Glimmer man then we all hoped the top of the cooker was cold by the time he got to our house.
He was allowed to come into anyone's house whenever he liked.
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He would go over to the cooker and if it was hot, then he had the gas turned off and it could be for a long time too.
By gas and electricity supplies were severely reduced. The people of Ireland only had use of their gas cookers for a few hours a day. A Government man was sent around the cities to police the use of the gas in the homes.
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He became known in Dublin as the Glimmer man. Anyone caught using it outside these hours had their gas supply cut off. Because the Glimmer man had the power to enter any house at any time to check the cookers there was no escape. When the people heard the Glimmer man was in the area they would blow out the pilot light.
But he was up to all the tricks and would usually catch a few households before the cooker had time to cool down.
He would put his hand on the cooker, if it was warm the household was in trouble and the gas was cut of altogether for at least a few weeks. There was a woman who lived in those houses opposite the Park, she had her baby that night because of the fright she got. I lived in Lower Grangegorman Road then.
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We'd see the planes going over at the same time every night. Our back wall was also the wall of the hospital.
We'd go up there with our gas masks and stay there until we got the all clear. We felt safe there because all the hospital roofs had been painted white so that they wouldn't be bombed. But the night they dropped the bomb in the Park, it was so close, sure we thought we were all going to die. The owner of the pub up there, Blake's, it's the Grange now, well he opened up the doors of the pub, put on the lights and gave out free beer.
We thought we were all goners and everyone was very quite and in shock. So the drinks were a relief I suppose. My father was a corporal in the Irish army during the Second World War. He stayed in the barracks in Santry during the week and came home at the weekends.
I was only young when the bomb went off in the North Strand but I remember hearing the bang bang bang and watching the lights. Of course I know now that that was our guns shooting back and the search lights looking for the planes.
My father was away in the army that night. It woke us up and we all jumped into my mothers bed. We were afraid of our lives. But she gathered us around her and was messing telling us not to be silly, that it was nothing.
But it seemed to go on for a while, the noise and the lights. Then she started to cry, oh that was awful seeing your mother cry and us so scared.
We had ration books for tea, butter and the sugar. We got more sugar because there were so many people in the house but it was never enough. My mother would buy some more from this woman who didn't use it so much.
My father would shoot rabbits in the country side around us and my mother would put them on the table and skin them, then we'd have that for our dinner. One time he brought chickens home, they were very young and he had them in a box with a bulb in it. They were kept beside the fire to keep warm for the first few weeks. The Gas was only allowed on for a few hour a day.
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They had a man coming around to check in the houses that we were not using the glimmer on the cooker. Yes we had a rhyme we sang when we played skipping out in the street. It went ' Keep it boiling on the glimmer, if you don't you get no dinner'. We'd sing that going in and out of the rope. The very first time I even saw an orange was when my brother who was working at the time bought one in town and that was after the war was over.
I remember the day he brought it home all right.
Because you see rationing went on for a few years after the Emergency too. Rationing of petrol began almost immediately just after the start of the World War 2 in October The official allowance for ordinary people with cars was eight gallons a month up to 10 hp; 12 gallons a month for cars 10 - 16 hp.
Doctors, priests and vets also received an extra allowance. For the first few years petrol was not too scarce. But by the middle of things were getting bad with many private cars off the road.
By March most private cars and many trams were off the road. The trains began to use turf as an alternative energy supply. It worked well but put extra hours onto the journey. In , twenty nine new barges were ordered to be used on the canals for the transportation of turf.
From April , the petrol ration that was still supplied to doctors living in the city was withdrawn altogether. They had to use horse and traps to get to their patients. The priests also had to switch to this mode of transport. I was only young when the Second World War started. Butter and sugar was rationed and tea of course. But we were luckier than most people because of my father's job.
He delivered to all the shops so he managed to get some stuff. My father knew him from way back. Alfie would have packets of tea in his pocket, paper bags with an ounce in each. When he'd meet the people in the street he'd shake their hand and give them the tea, especially the poor.
My brother - in - law worked in a grocery shop and the owner got a lot of stuff from the North, so if there was anything going we usually got some.
My mother would get the flour from him and she'd make loads of bread, some for the neighbours too.
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You see we had to do with the black bread, well not exactly black it was more a dirty brown. We had to queue up at the butchers at eight thirty in the morning for the sausages or you got nothing.
Now you could only buy a few sausages and a couple of rashers and if they ran out then that was too bad for those at the end of the queue. One day my eldest brother was sent up to Donegal during the Emergency. He was working at Clondalkin Paper Mills at the time.