'I slipped and fell head first into the canal'

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Dublin Core


'I slipped and fell head first into the canal'


Harry Browne remembers falling into the canal when he was a young boy.


Harry Browne


Trinity College Dublin




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Harry Browne

Is Part Of

Childhood and Early Life


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Hollywood, Co. Wicklow

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


Swimming in the canal was a favourite pastime for the boys round about. No girls swam, presumably because it would be seen as immodest. We were forbidden to swim in the canal, in the first place because we were unable to swim and secondly because the water was filthy. It was not unusual to find dead dogs floating down the canal. One shudders to think what nasty bugs inhabited the canal water. I went swimming twice in the canal, both times inadvertently. The first time I was about eight years old and I had made myself a boat from a piece of scrap wood which I had found somewhere. In order to test this craft I tied a piece of string to the front of it and tossed it into the canal. After some time spent throwing the boat and dragging it back I got a little adventurous. Pulling the string after me I ran as fast as I could along the tow path with a very nice wake thrown up from my elegant boat. Unfortunately there was some loose gravel on the path and I slipped and fell head first into the canal. I could not swim at the time but I don't think I panicked. I distinctly remember seeing the greenish tinge of the water as I went down in my unwilling dive. On coming to the surface I somehow struggled to the bank and climbed out. This all took place after tea time and there was nobody around. My survival was miraculous to say the least, or the fact that I was born under the sign of Pisces stood me in good stead. I lost the boat but I do not remember any great fuss being made about my swimming in the canal without permission.


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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