We still have a copy of a plan of a proposed house at the Cross, in Ardmore, in 1920. This plot of land was at that time considerably bigger than the present one at the top of the street, and extended far more to the east. My parents were fairly newly married and this was probably the house of their dreams, but there is no bathroom; an outside i.e. dry toilet is indicated as also is an ash-pit and a sewer pipe. Later, another property became available and they did not proceed with this plan.
Dry toilets and ash-pits were the order of the day for years to come. There was a sewer down the Village Street, which emerged at the bend of the storm-wall. My father laid a sewer and a sewerage pipe later from the back of Tigaluinn down behind the houses in Coffee Lane to the storm wall; an existent pipe already led from behind Brisen. We were aware of other sewers like this coming from the Convent (Stella Marie) and from the houses along the Cliff.
Drinking water was brought home from various wells; and in the village from the 'fountain' in the Village Street, now not functional; The village pump stood on its own site on the steps, which are now the back entrance to my garden. Bringing water home was a constant chore. We in Tigaluinn had a large water can on wheels; it contained seven or eight buckets of water and was left in position at the other side of the road opposite the house and one went out for a bucket of water for the house as necessary. I have vivid recollections of this operation, also of being sent around the corner to see if there were many people at the pump, before going down. Patsy Walsh who worked at Pollocks (Maycroft) was constantly up and down with a similar mechanism, and so was Will Mockler on behalf of the nuns at Stella Maris.
The campaign for piped water went on for years. There wasn't an enthusiastic response to sign the petition to inaugurate the scheme. There was also the question of the source of the supply and it was eventually decided that it be taken and piped from Lios Coilte. This has been augmented by a supply from Monea.
The scheme was finished in 1937, but very few people availed of it at first, the rent varying between £3 and £5 per year, being thought to be exorbitant. This was increased very much over the years, but now there is no water rate at all to pay. At first, the pipes extended out the Grove (Youghal Road) only as far as the parish priests house, but of course, it was much extended in later years, as people began to realise what a wonderful boon it was.
People of this generation would not or could envisage houses without running water and indoor toilet facilities, and when we go on holidays, we expect rooms en-suite, but as the old saying goes, "far from them were we reared".
Author: Siobhan Lincoln