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'When a name was called, a big cheer went up' - city's great council house raffle


Coolock’s Aldin Road in 1983

Coolock’s Aldin Road in 1983

Coolock’s Aldin Road in 1983

A draw for a home in the developing suburb of Ballyfermot was the novel way in which demand for housing was tackled in 1948.

This is just one of the fascinating insights that historian Cathy Scuffil will outline in a series of lectures in the Dublin Festival of History.

The festival, which runs until October 7, includes a wide range of free walks, talks, tours and exhibitions across the city.

"The draw was held in the Mansion House," said Ms Scuffil. "You put your name into a drum like a raffle, and when your name was pulled out, you got your house.

"These were people on the list from housing, and the draw was for the 230 or so houses that were available.


"All the children were brought to the draw, and prams were parked the whole way down Dawson Street.

"Every time somebody's name was called out, a big cheer would go up, and crowds would run to the person whose name had been drawn.

"They would get claps on the back and shakes of the hand."

If people wanted to transfer to another area where their family was, they would take out an ad the following week, mainly in the Herald.

"Once you had the key, you could go and transfer yourself," said Ms Scuffil.

"It's the 70th anniversary of the Ballyfermot housing estates, and it is wonderful to see the vibrant community that was created.

Ms Scuffil will give the first of her lectures at Ballyfermot Library tomorrow.

Also on the issue of housing, Ruth McManus will talk on the suburban development of the north Dublin region of Artane and Coolock in the 1950s and 1960s, when their fields were replaced by housing

Based in the School of History and Geography at DCU, Ms McManus said: "There is an article in the Irish Independent from 1954 which says, 'Housing is the most pressing problem facing young married couples today'."

Ms McManus said that there was a lot of funding available at the time.

"The government was supporting not just the corporation to build houses, but they were also providing grants for houses of different sizes making it possible for people to own their own homes."

Ms McManus will deliver her talk in Parnells GAA Club in Coolock village tomorrow night, in association with the Coolock, Artane and District Historical Society,

The full programme of events for the Dublin City Council festival can be found at dublinfestivalofhistory.ie.

All events are free to attend, but advance booking is required for some.