'Even budding professors were as innocent as I was.'

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'Even budding professors were as innocent as I was.'


Billy Gallagher remembers his first encounter with the woman who would later become his wife. He describes meeting her and his decision to ask her on a date.


Billy Gallagher


Trinity College Dublin




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Billy Gallagher

Is Part Of

Adolescence and Early Adulthood


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Co. Dublin, Skerries and Shelbourne Park, Dublin

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


Still involved in youth clubs I went to a weekend conference in Red Island holiday camp in Skerries. It was for the youth leaders from all the Dublin youth clubs. At that time all youth leadership was voluntary, the idea of being paid was ridiculous. We did it because it was our social life, hobby pastime and greatly enjoyed it. There was a whole social scene around youth leadership and it bred a remarkable array of old bachelors. In retrospect it was probably not a great social scene to be immersed in. (We had no idea what the philosophy behind a youth club was ' that didn't seem relevant.) At the Red Island weekend a young girl that I knew asked me if I could give her a lift home. She was a pretty young girl of 18 and wanted to be left home because her Jesuit uncle from Hong Kong was visiting and she wanted to see him. A week or two after that I encountered her in O'Connell Street. She was on her way into Clery's to buy shoes. She really was a pretty little girl and we had a 30 second chat. When I went home to the flat I told one of the flat mates about this but explained that she was very young (18-19). I thought it inappropriate that I should ask her out. The chap I said this to is now professor of philosophy in Oxford and he said I was quite wrong, I should simply phone her and ask her out. Even budding professors were as innocent as I was. Had he not suggested the correctness of this I am confident I never would have asked her. I knew she worked in the Geography department in UCD so I phoned her the following day and we made a date. I was thinking a young girl like this will be terrified to go out with an old man like me so I had better bring her where she would be comfortable, we would be mutually engaged, we could chat but it would not be a 'heavy scene'. I brought her to the dogs in Shelbourne Park. That was October 1970, we were married in January 1972.




Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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