Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Anne Whelan nee. McDonnell

Meeting of the in-laws: Denis Lawlor, Anne Whelan (seated) holding baby Joan and Elizabeth Lawlor nee. Whelan on right - at back of Bolton Street circa. December 1939

The Whelan / McDonnell family are said to have been fairly well-off people compared to the Lawlors and owned property around the north Dublin area, including the tenement house in which they themselves lived .

As already mentioned Elizabeth's aunty ( her mother's sister ; a McDonnell ) lived at the rear of the home, Joan also tells us that other members of the Whelan family were residents in the big house at various points - Elizabeth's sister Margaret and her husband Denis Young lived on the top floor and another sister lived in other rooms with her family .

Anne McDonnell was sometimes referred to in humour as 'Lady Whelan' by those who were amused by her airs and graces and it is said that she was driven around Dublin in a horse and trap, a sign of prosperity in Edwardian Dublin .

In conversation recently Joan told me ;

"It's no wonder that Granny oulived many of her children , she was well looked after by everyone. Family members did everything for her, all her cooking and washing . She was well looked after - even in that day and age! But I never knew Grandfather, I have no memory of him whatsoever, he could have been dead by then".

Joan also has good memories of Granny Whelan , although they are much vaguer than her memories of Walsh Road where she lived for some time with the Lawlors as a young girl :

" I remember being sent down there to Bolton Street every Sunday after mass to visit my other granny , as they called her . The Lawlors were very good like that, they made sure that I had regular contact with my Granny Whelan . I had to walk all the way from Drumcondra down to Bolton street and back, we were n't given bus fare in those days. I remember it being a very impressive building , the drawing room was the size of two large rooms and the ceilings were very high . Granny was always very nice to me".
My grandmother Elizabeth Whelan on the left with either a sister or friend, taken in Dublin circa. 1935

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