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Title: Clondalkin Paper Mills Collection 10: Jim Nolan with Tommy Keogh
Authors: Keogh, Tommy
Irish Life and Lore
O'Keeffe Maurice
Nolan, Jim
Keogh, Tommy
Keywords: Clondalkin Paper Mill
Industrial Relations
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Irish Life and Lore/South Dublin Libraries
Description: 01 Jim Nolan 1.mp3 01 Jim Nolan 2.mp3 01 Jim Nolan 3.mp3Track 1: Jim Nolan now lives close to where the paper mills was located in Clondalkin, but he originally lived near Newland’s Cross. His father, Michael, worked in the paper mills in the 1920s before its closure in about 1927, and he was re-employed when the mills reopened in the 1930s. Jim also worked in the paper mills and retired in 1981 when he was the victim of an industrial accident. His arm was caught between the two rollers, but fortunately he did not suffer major injury. He had started work in a market garden and began at the paper mills in about 1940, at a time when about 200 people were employed there. He recalls the straw pits, where pulp was made from straw and rags, and he remembers Mr Wolfson from Townsend Street, who used to bring in cloth rags to be used to make pulp. He remembers working on chopping up the straw before the mixture was boiled up. The next job was to drain off the hot water before the pulp was wheelbarrowed up to the beating loft. Tom Delaney was his foreman. After the war, Jim recalls the wood pulp being made, and the food restrictions of the war years, with tea being very scarce. Katie Walsh from Francis Street in Dublin used to come around selling packets of tea, and butter and bread were also rationed, though Jim remembers the factory as being as busy as ever. He describes the hard work and the absence of any safety restrictions at that time. He recalls Nurse Ryan who was employed at the mills to take care of medical emergencies. Track 2: Jim Nolan was a member of the Round Tower Gaelic football team in Clondalkin in the 1940s, and he recalls Austin Boggins and Jimmy Kelly who made the Dublin team. At that time, camogie was very popular in Clondalkin and the team name was Clann Éireann. Returning to his memories of his work at the mills, he explains that his next job involved working on the reelers, setting it up and looking after it. If there was a break in the paper during a run, help would have to be called in from the fitting shop, which was not popular at night time! He recalls fitter Paddy Brady, and Paddy Sheridan and Cecil Ellis were shift electricians who were also called in. Over time, the machines were upgraded and Jim mentions that the computer-run machines were much more exact. The earlier machines were run by experienced men who had to get the timing right, and more manual work was involved. When he started on the reelers, his boss was Scottish man Steve MacMillan, and his later boss was Tom Ging, followed by Tommy O’Neill. The foreman on his shift was Hugh Hurrel from Larne. Jim’s usual shift was eight hours but it could run to 12 hours if someone was off. When he started work at the paper mills the rate was one shilling an hour. Tommy Keogh explains how a shift might be split between two men if a man was sick. Jim recalls working on Saturdays, starting at 6 am or 12 noon, and that the paper mills was closed on Sundays. Tommy explains how the shift system worked, and further explains that later, overtime was paid for Saturday work. All of Jim’s siblings worked in the factory except for one brother, Sonny, who left to work for the County Council. His sisters May, Teresa, Lil and Betty counted the paper to put the sheets into reams. Jim recalls watching the women counting the paper and says that it was mesmerising to watch how the job was done. After his shift, he had to do his bit when he went home, particularly in digging the garden for vegetables. The cinema in Clondalkin was called ‘The Bibby’ and along with the football and the boy scouts, was the only form of recreation. The next closest picture house was in Inchicore and Jim recalls that it was a treat to go there. While he was working at the paper mills his father was no longer there but worked as a caretaker at the Clubrooms, he explains. Track 3: Jim was working in the factory when the eighteen-week strike occurred and he recalls doing a few nixers during this time. Four members of his family were out on strike and only his brother Sonny was working. He remembers the times when Dr Cusack would come down to talk to the men, particularly if new machinery was introduced. As Tommy remarks, he was a very nice man who was good at introducing new machines. When Drimnagh was taken over, the Number 3 machine was brought in, along with new staff. With the onset of the switchover to computer-driven machines, Jim recalls receiving training from the German suppliers. Tommy explains that during the shutdown period in the first two weeks in August, all the machinery was overhauled and maintained by engineers and fitters. Jim recalls the big change which came about with the new machines, as they were controlled by buttons. The community spirit in the village is recalled, and Tommy mentions that Jim was on the football committee for over 25 years. Jim recalls the closure of the paper mills at Drimnagh and Saggart. The Irish Sweeps tickets were printed by the Saggart mills and when that business went, the mills closed, and he explains that some of the machines were cannibalised for use at the Clondalkin mills. The happy days at work are recalled and Jim says that he was sorry to hear about the closure after his retirement. His parents were both surnamed Nolan, though not related, he says and recalls that his grandparents lived in a cottage at the entrance to the mills, by the gates. Although his grandfather, James, did not work in the mills, his two uncles were employed there.
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Appears in Collections:Clondalkin Paper Mills Oral History Collection
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