We have some pages about individual Irish boys. These pages are useful in collecting information about fashion and experiences over time. They add valuable insights to the photographic record. Some are historical accounts such as the writer James Joyce's boyhood. We have also have individual accounts contributed by Irish readers. We have added some portraits of individuals or famulies, although in these cases we often have only limited information about the photographs.
James Joyce (1882-1941) the Irish novelist and poet was born in Dublin. His father was John Stanislaus Joyce and May Joyce. His farther who was born in 1849 came from an upper middle class family. He grew up in comfortable circumstances, epecially by Irish standards of the day. His father had access to an upper-class Catholic education, but made little of it. He enrolled in Queens College as a medical student, but never earned his degree. Instead of studying, he devoted his energies to singing, atletics, acting, and disapation. He mairred May in 1880 and provided her pregancies, miscairages, child bearing, near peurny, and financial distress. James, the second child, was born in 1882. He was reportedly his father's pet.
Here we see a portrait of two Dublin boys in 1913. That is all we know for sure. Presumably the boys are brothers, but we do not know that. The boys seem rather poorly dressed, but the fact that they are havong a portait made suggests that they are not indigent, unless this is some kind of social photography. I'm inclined to think this is what the portrait was taken, to show the poverty in Ireland at the time. Perhaps these were street children. It brings to mind the opening lines of Frank McCord's Angela's Ashes. Both boys wear suit jackets. One boys has a skirt pants, the other boy seems to be wearing a dress under his jacket.
Brown, of all shades, was a very popular colour for our suits. (Excluding school uniforms which were never brown). Pattern suits were quite common but I couldn't honestly say that most were patterned. I did have a dark green patterned suit at about age 9. Towards the end of the 1950's and early 60s I would say that solid colours were more in vogue--patterned being deemed "old-fashioned"!!! Probably, the most popular colours were brown, dark blue and various grey shades.
I grew up in the northwest of Dublin in a relatively poor area. We didn't have uniforms but had to wear corduroy shorts and jumpers. I made my First Communion a 7. I wore white shorts and little white ankle socks with a black blazer. Some boys were in short trouser suits No boy wore longs then. The shoes were jet black shiny brogues. I had to wear the white shorts to mass every Sunday for a year afterwards. I hated them. For my confirmation like all the other boys I wore a grey short trouser suit which I had to wear every sunday for the next 2 years. The short trouser suit was very neat like a mans suit with short pants and I wore a red tie or a little dickie bow on sundays!
For primary school the big memory is of cold knees in the winter. As you can see from the enclosed photos showing my school uniform, it was not uncommon for Irish mothers to put their sons in short pants for school until early teens. I am talking about the mid 70's.
My school was a catholic school with a strict uniform. We had to line up for uniform insepction before class first thing in the morning. Think of that with the snow blowing around your bare knees! Short or long was the parents choice, but in primary most of us were in shorts. By the 6th form of junior school (about 11 years of age) there were still several boys still wearing shorts. As you progressed to secondary most of the boys, but not all, wore long pants. There were some exceptions. Some boys still wore shorts in the 2nd year or about 13-14 years of age.
I was at a preparatory school in southern ireland. It was during the 1970s. Our school was quite traditional in terms of uniform. The uniform was grey shirt and jumper, school tie with grey short trousers and knee socks with a coloured top. This uniform was mandatory for all boys up to common entrance age as was the norm in the three or four Irish prep schools of that era.
I'm Irish and attended Carmels, a secondary day school. It was a single sex school up to 1980, and then was forced to become coed with enrollment declined. There was a minumin number of pupils to cualify for govenment grant aid. The Government required the school to be open to both sexes from the middle of 1980. It was a catholic school, but a founding member of the Nuns order who ran the school was from Scotland about a hundred years ago. My first introduction to the kilt was about 3 weeks before going to the school. I had never even thought about wearing a kilt before. At my elementary school we wore grey shorts in summer, and grey longs in winter with a white shirt and grey sweater. I did not want to wear the uniform. But did not get much choice. The first time I put it on I hated it. t was itchy, cold, and a strange feeling not to have anything between my legs. Mum thought I looked cute. Dad was indifferent. Knowing that other boys had to wear the same helped.
As a child brought up in the 80's for every day use I usually wore jeans,cord trousers or track-suit bottoms. They all very comfortable and I never minded wearing them. On top I wore t-shirts,Jumpers and informal shirts. Most Irish boys in the 1980s wore the same informal clothes ie. tracksuits,jeans and t-shirts.Formal most boys wore either tie and jacket or waistcoat and bow-tie. As we were quite well off my mother would spend a lot of money on my clothes and she didn't like it when I came home covered in mud after playing football. Colour wise I prefered darker colours while my mother prefered more colourful colours. Up till about 12 I really let my mother get her own way on my clothes as I didn't really mind as I was more interested in playing with my friends and Action man figures.
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