I just wonder how many people reading this blog will have any idea of what the above headline means?
You see, there was a time in Ireland (and not too long ago either) before tea bags were invented, that loose tea leaves were sold in packets and you spooned enough into the tea pot before adding hot water to make your tea. Delicious it was too.
The money was different too as we had our own Irish Pound and we had shillings and pence. I tried to explain the old currency to the girls in our office yesterday. The Irish Pound was worth about 80% of the English Pound when we joined the Euro. So, we had our own Pound and we also had shillings and pence. There were 20 shillings to the pound and 12 pence to the shilling. So, you ask, how much is 1 shilling and 11 pence? Very close to 10 cent in today’s Euro currency.
Yesterday at my office in City Life we received a lovely and unexpected phone call. A lady Catherine Conaty from Cavan, who I didn’t know, phoned to say that her mother-in-law who likes to hold on to unusual items had a 4-ounce packet of loose tea made by Dwyer & Co from Cork. She said it cost 1 shilling and 11 pence and asked if I would like it for my archives. She first of all quizzed Eimear, who took the call, to make sure that I was a direct link with the original Dwyer firm. Not sure how Catherine made the connection but perhaps she heard me on Marian Finucane’s show earlier in the year.
I was so delighted to receive the call from Catherine as, in reality, I don’t have any mementos of any of the goods that were sold by Dwyer & Co in their 160 years of trading. The business closed in the early 1980’s.
I mentioned this to Catherine and the deal we struck was that, if she sent me the packet of Dwyer’s tea, I would send her a copy of the Dwyer & Co book that Mary Leland put together for us 10 years ago. I think that Catherine was happy with the deal and it is good that the old barter system is still alive and well.
It is so important to make the connection and thank you so much Catherine for making the effort to get in touch. By the way, if anyone wants a copy of our book I have some copies available at a price of €22 which includes the cost of postage to anywhere in Ireland.
The building that housed Dwyer & Co is still standing opposite the Court House on Washington Street in Cork. I had a nostalgic night in the building recently as the ground floor is now home to a wonderful restaurant run by Rachel Allen from Ballymaloe. Well worth a visit.
Ted Dwyer Family Business