The arrival of a dashing motor car on 1930s Leeson Street must have caused some stir

Family Fortunes: Who better than our Auntie Eileen, proud wife of the car owner, to organise a celebration?

As the troubled 1920s gave way to the comparatively peaceable 1930s, Dublin’s Upper Leeson Street could be seen to have retained much of its quiet Victorian village character: the private houses at its heart arrayed in attractive and distinctive terraces, mostly fronted by small gardens with ironwork gates and railings, but in effect not overly aloof or unfriendly.

Along one side of the street a string of usefully assorted family-run shops and a hair salon; on the other side, in graceful prominence, Leeson Park’s Christ Church with its lovely spire.

True there was the sound of electric trams, routes 10, 11 and 13, swishing and trundling at intervals along the tracks at the street’s centre, counterpointed by the homely clip-clap-clop of various horse-drawn vehicles. But automobile traffic was as yet quite random compared to what it would become within a decade.

So when it became known that Mr Norman Walsh of No 24 had acquired a dashing modern motor car, it must have caused some stir among the residents. For the Walshs’ relatives living on the same street, it would be little short of epoch-making. It called for some sort of celebratory family gathering. And who better than our Auntie Eileen, proud wife of the car owner, to organise one? With her fondness for parties and her keen sense of family solidarity, she would not be one to pass up such an opportunity.



Snapshots to record the event would be desirable too. And here we have one.

(The sunny, leafy location is probably one of the secluded lanes that served the stables to the rear of these houses.)

At the wheel of the car, of course, is Uncle Norman himself. Seated by the passenger door and looking decorously thoughtful, is Grandmother Duffy from number 70A. Her youngest son, my Uncle Dermot, can be seen behind the driver.

The whole O’Byrne family, from across the street, is present too: Auntie May beside the driver and Uncle Gerald behind. And adorning the running-boards on either side are their two pretty daughters, my cousins Gladys and Peggy; their rapturous abandon vividly summarising the cheer and thrill of it all.

Seven fondly remembered relations, all aboard a car barely recalled from my toddler years. How alive and like themselves they look to me . . .

But where, you might ask, is Auntie Eileen herself? Well, the answer to that is probably easy to guess. Someone, after all, has to be taking the snap.

We would love to receive your family memories, anecdotes, traditions, mishaps and triumphs. Email 400 words and a relevant photograph to A fee will be paid