Working Class Cultures: Can They Adapt?

on Wednesday, 30 July 2003. Posted in Issue 30 Working Class Cultures: Can They Adapt?, 1997

Bill Toner, SJ

November 1997


When I was growing up in the 1950s I lived in Drimnagh, an area of Dublin which was on the line between working class and lower middle class. My parents were on this line too, having both left school at or before fourteen. My father had been fortunate enough to progress into a technical and then into a clerical job, so we gradually became upwardly mobile. I got a good secondary education, in a Christian Brothers school where many of the students went on to university. But my parents were not enthusiastic about university. My mother occasionally ridiculed a neighbour who talked about her hopes that her daughter "would go on to Uni", and thought the woman to have \'airs and graces\'. My father used to cite the case of a cousin who had gone on to university and then \'had\' to emigrate. He encouraged me instead to apply for a clerical position in the company where he worked, which I did, successfully.

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