Author: Mac Benoy  May 2012
Wards of Dublin 
Bill’s Family UNCLES
THOMAS Uncle Tom, was born May 14 1882 and died May 1951.  A brushmaker he married Essie Tisdale in Cork and lived there.  Always a great favourite as also was Essie.  He and Uncle Fred were good friends and occasionally, during August, would together go to either the Isle of Man or Blackpool to see the sights.  As a boy I often collected a shiny half crown from him whilst in Dublin on holidays.  I remember one sunny Sunday in August when he with my father and other brothers having a pint in the 'Hole in the Wall' up Blackhorse Lane (it's still there) and playing skittles with real lignum vitae wood, the floor of the outhouse thudding, and inevitably arriving at No.14 late for 2 o'clock dinner and May and Agnes not in a good mood. WILLIAM Uncle Willie was born Dec 7 1883, died Dublin 1976.  A bachelor and brushmaker, at one time he owned his own business after earlier aspirations to be a Chemist.  During the Dublin strike of 1912 he went to London and worked there on and off for many years.  The least tall of his brothers, he was a great swimmer and a member of the 40-foot swimming club, being active up to 88 years.  He could sometimes be a little short-tempered as well as humorous and in his middle years seemed to have a certain aged lady in mind but it faded.  He visited us in Leeds a couple of times for a week or so and would be kind to us.  Taking to his bed at No.14 and nursed by May, he was removed to hospital and died aged 92. JAMES Uncle Jim born Dec 28 1888 and died May 30 1962 in Dublin.  Bachelor, plumber.  Another favourite Uncle, shy and retiring.  Lived at No.14 as handyman.  Came over to Leeds with Agnes in 1930 and occasionally afterwards and in one period for over a year obtaining labouring work on the roadways.  He loved smoking his old pipe and enjoyed putting sixpence on a horse but never seemed to win.  I would go on occasional walks with him and perhaps a treat of fish and chips straight out of newspaper.  He stayed with Fred and Agnes most of his life being loyal and caring especially helping May with heavier work.  May nursed him when he fell ill until, whilst attended by the Doctor, he died peacefully at No.14.  A simple good man and loved by all. JOSEPH Uncle Joe was born 1891 and died Feb 17 1959.  He married Annie (Till) Donlon October 7 1929 who was a sales assistant in Newals of Grafton St. a ladies fashion house.  She was tall, attractive and elegant and, I believe, aloof.  I was a little afraid of her as a boy.  He was always the gentleman, a buyer in Pims, a large leading furnishing shop in Great Georges Street at the time.  He joined the British Army from Dublin (Pims were very pro-British and employees were 'expected' to join up and defend the realm).  He endured the trenches in Flanders during the Great War and suffered gas poisoning. Friendly and disciplined in his later years, he would accompany Francis and me to rugby matches at Landsdowne Road and enjoy a pint (and a Brendan Behan rough-up on one occasion) in local hostelries.  He also, when I was a boy, visited us in Leeds and took Francis and me out one day, insisted we had our hair cut and bought us each a suit of clothes.  In his later years he suffered a car accident, being knocked down in Dun Laoghaire, but picked up his dislodged hat and walked away.  This was to come against him some years later.  Marcella and I would visit Joe and Till betimes and enjoy a chatty hour and drink.  He took ill, was nursed by Till, and died in his home at 2 Mulgrave Street, Dun Laoghaire (now owned by his youngest son Billie). MICHAEL Uncle Mick was born 1894 and died Feb 22 1975 in New York.  I suppose he was a bit wild when young and carefree.  He had no specific trade or skill.  He married Elizabeth (surname unknown) around 1914.  They went to Liverpool for some reason and he was inducted into the British Army (or signed up and changed his mind), protested and was smuggled out of Liverpool buried under coal on a coal boat.  Liz accompanied him but presumably not under the coal.  Somewhere near or at the end of the War, they emigrated to America settling in a New York suburb, Sheepshead Bay, just next to famous Coney Island.  Liz died about 1956.  She gave birth to twins early in married life but they died very young. I would visit Mick many times in the course of business trips to the States after 1959 on arriving at JFK airport (New York) en route elsewhere and stay overnight in his apartment and he would enjoy my bottle of Jameson.  He would be almost overwhelming in his pleased-to-see- you generosity (as he did for Francis on one occasion).  I persuaded him to visit Dublin after his wife's death about 1961 when we were operating Constellation Aircraft and the flight lasting 11 hours was too swift for him (he and Liz had visited Dublin three times before and enjoyed the sea romance and fellow passenger conviviality of the five days voyage).  As soon as we landed in Rhinanna, now Shannon, and still bearing the brunt of not being allowed to smoke his cigar he called for two glasses each of Gaelic Coffee before breakfast. He died intestate leaving about $35,000 and, over a period of 5 years between solicitors in New York, Dublin and Washington and a court hearing in Dublin at which Marcella had also to attend, I was awarded the legacy.  The sum had by then been reduced to about $15,000 through solicitor’s fees taxes and costs which was then shared by my 13 cousins and Francis and Jack.  Mick was a great sport, an incorrigible romancer, and highly disorganised and loved.   BERNARD Uncle Barney was born 1900 died April 23 1947.  He was somewhat of an enigma to me.  He became a butcher I believe, married Irish/Scot Isabelle Doherty.  In part of his earlier life he was butcher/cook on a cargo ship plying up and down the east coast of America.  After marrying and settling down in Dublin in the Rialto area it was difficult to secure employment.  He eventually became a delivery driver for a confectionery company in the city.  He died the earliest of the brothers.  I recall him as sad and disillusioned.  His wife Bella was very faithful and supportive right up to his end.  She was firm, resolute and kind and Marcella in meeting her several times was impressed by her humour and intelligence. See also Aunt Agnes