Harry Browne


This exhibit showcases the life stories, images and documents of Harry Browne. Harry was born in Dublin in 1942 and he shares memories and stories of Dublin life in the 1940's and 50's.

In his early adulthood Harrry trained as a chef and worked in many of Dublin's famous restaurants including the Shelbourne Hotel. He subsequently left the catering industry to start a business with his brothers producing and selling windows. Harry describes the highs and low of this business and accounts for its eventual decline.

Harry married his wife Sheila in 1966 and together they set up their home in Donnycarney, Dublin where they reared their four children.


McTiernan, K. & O'Donnell, D. (2012) Life Histories Archive, http://www.lifehistoriesarchive.com/exhibits/show/harry-browne


Childhood and Early Life

In this section of the exhibit, Harry shares his memories of growing up in Dublin during the 1940's and 50's. His stories describe some of the customs and practices which were commonplace at that time and he reflects upon his school days and the authoritarianism of the Catholic Church. He also remembers the games he played as a child and he shares stories and memories of his summer holidays spent on a family farm in Wicklow.

Adolescence and Early Adulthood

This section of the exhibit contains life stories, images and documents which pertain to Harry's teenage years and his early adulthood. Harry shares memories of his secondary school days including some of the dangerous antics he and his friends got up to. After leaving school Harry trained as a chef in Cathal Brugha street. He remembers that he was paid during his apprenticeship which put him in the lucky position of being able spend money socialising with his friends. Harry also remembers courting and he shares his memories of the dancehalls and cinemas that he frequented with his wife-to-be, Sheila.

Marriage and Family

This section of the exhibit contains life stories, images and documents which describe Harry's marriage and family life. Harry married Sheila in 1966 and he describes their wedding day and honeymoon in Cornwall. He also remembers their first house in Donneycarney and describes setting up a home there and starting a family. After the birth of their first son, Paul, they adopted three more children, Sarah Jane, Robert and Maeve. Harry reflects upon his pride in his family and the joy that his children have brought to himself and his wife.

Work and Employment

This section of the exhibit showcases the life stories, images and documents that are related to Harry's working life. Harry recalls his professional chef training and shares memories of his time working in some very famous kitchens in Dublin, including that of the Shelbourne Hotel. Harry decided to leave the catering industry and joined his brothers in a family business supplying and producing windows. Harry remembers the difficulties he and his brothers encountered which were precipitated by Government policy regarding the supplementary grant. This section also contains Harry's reflections upon undertaking further education and obtaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree.


This section of the exhibit displays the life stories of Harry that are concerned with his retirement. Harry reflects upon his transition into retirement and he notes that, while he was apprehensive about giving up work beforehand, he has found it easier and more enjoyable than he anticipated.


This section of the exhibit contains the life stories and images of Harry in which he evaluates his life's journey. Harry reflects upon the Catholic ethos which permeated his early life. He acknowledges the values that he obtained from this ethos while also recognising the authoritarianism of that time. In this section Harry recalls the changes that have occurred during his lifetime and he remembers the poor living conditions and poverty that were commonplace during his childhood. Finally, Harry expresses his gratitude for his 'charmed life' and reflects upon the importance of his family.