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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Who's that girl? Old coat reveals photo's secret

Published 28/08/2012 | 05:00

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A DISTINCTIVE white coat was the key to identifying a little girl photographed on a Liffey ferry almost 50 years ago.

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Members of the Dublin Dock Workers' Preservation Society issued an appeal earlier this year to identify the group of people travelling on a Liffey ferry in a photograph that dates from the early 1960s.

Most are dock workers and were identified by family and friends. However, in the middle of the scene is a group of children and among them is Evelyn Harte from East Wall, thought to be aged three or four years old.

She was identified thanks to her double-breasted white coat, which had been reluctantly handed down to her by her older sister, Lisa.

"As soon as my older sister saw the picture she said 'That's you, I was disgusted that I had to give you my lovely coat'," laughed Evelyn.

Their mother made Lisa give the coat to Evelyn when she became too big for it and it was this much-loved coat which was crucial in identifying which of the sisters was on the ferry. "My brother-in-law saw the photo in a local newspaper and immediately he knew it was one of us -- he just wasn't sure which one because there were 10 in my family," explained Evelyn.

"I can't even remember what I was doing there at the time, I was probably only three or four. But when my sister saw that coat, she was absolutely certain it was me. It was 49 or 50 years ago and she still remembers it," she added.

Memories

The society presented a framed copy of the photograph to Evelyn at the weekend.

"I don't have a lot of photographs of when I was young so it was lovely to get it. I was about six when we moved out of the area so I only have vague memories of East Wall," she added.

The family moved to Coolock, and Evelyn later emigrated to Spain where she lived for 30 years. She recently moved back to Ireland with her 10-year-old daughter and they are now living in Airfield in Dublin.

Chairman of the Dublin Dock Workers' Society Declan Byrne said they were delighted to put another name to a face.

The group has a collection of over 2,600 photographs charting life in and around the docks, most of them dating from 1940 to 1990. Many have been donated by those living in the East Wall area. The society has staged a number of photographic exhibitions and many visitors have been able to identify family members among the pictures.

In 1984, with the increase in the number of bridges straddling the Liffey, the then Dublin Corporation discontinued its ferry service between the north and south quays. The service at that time operated between Sir John Rogerson's Quay to a landing near the end of the East Wall Road. The service had largely been used to bring dockers to work.

Just over 20 years later, a water taxi resumed a service across the river from the City Moorings to Sir John Rogerson's Quay for a €2 charge but that ferry has now ceased operating.

Irish Independent

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