Several of these books were illustrated and included images of children and young adults at school, at play, and at home. To my young brain these images were like transmissions from an alternate universe. These children were like me but not like me, they wore strange attire and haircuts and played games I had never heard of. It was only when I was a bit older it dawned on me why I found the photos perplexing. These were North American kids and the stock photos of them had been taken years before I was born.
Similarly, the Childcraft encyclopaedias my parents bought contained snapshots of children in every corner of the globe. These images were at once elegiac and exotic. I recall being intrigued by an image of kids in Vermont eating maple syrup, doughnuts, and pickles, with snow. Lots of other images come to mind from the encyclopaedias, like a kid using a public telephone in the Soviet Union, a Ghanaian child playing with a handcrafted toy lorry, and a gaggle of children in a Kindergarten in East Germany.
There's no particular overarching theme to this post. It contains images of Dublin from the 1960s and the 1970s which I found interesting and I hope you find interesting too. When I saw these images, particularly the black and white ones, I was reminded again of those books and those images I had tried to comprehend as a child. The images below provide glimpses of the depths of poverty people lived in in Dublin during those years as well as the resourcefulness and joi-de-vivre of the children of the city at that time.
These images originally appeared in Edna O'Brien's Mother Ireland, Young Ireland by Jack Manning, and Ireland Through The Looking Glass by Ted Smart. Unfortunately I can't find the source right now for the last couple of the images but if I find it again I'll edit this post to include it.
This lady waits on O'Connell Bridge, Dublin, 1960s, for someone or something. A sign exhorts all passersby to "Smoke Bendigo".