The Community of George Reynolds House

Pictured: The Tricolour flying above George Reynolds House.

Pictured: The Tricolour flying above George Reynolds House.

George Reynolds House is both a housing estate and a community located in Irishtown. The area is arranged in three building blocks with a central courtyard and storage units. It is named after Commander George Reynolds, who lost his life in the struggle for Irish Independence.

Within George Reynolds House there is a close-knit community. As resident Lily Benson said: “You know everyone that’s in it.” The sense of community leads to a sense of trust and faith in each other. Another local, Miriam Holmes, describes the atmosphere: “The odd time we knock on each other’s door for sugar, milk bread. Everyone shares.”

Continuity of community is also evident with people living in the apartments their parents lived in, as is the case with Celine Byrne, who lives with her husband Tony Byrne in her mother’s apartment.

There are a number of local festivities organised at different times during the year. According to Byrne, there are regular collections held for barbeques at which clowns and candy floss machines for the kids are sometimes provided, and where the parents who had helped organise the event would have time to relax over a couple of drinks afterwards.

Among the chief events that take place is the outdoor cinema, where a projector is used to showcase films such as Finding Nemo and the original Ghostbusters, where the kids would sit in their pyjamas and coats until late.

One particular fond memory regaled by residents centres around Halloween. Tony Byrne borrowed a coffin from a local funeral home and had a neighbour dressed up as Dracula inside it. The scene was embellished by installations of tombstones and crosses in the central square (It should be emphasised that the parents of the kids knew what to expect).

Many of the events are organised to keep children entertained. Tony Byrne recalls how he would play a game called Path with them, where you kick a ball against a path and get five points if it goes straight back to you and three points if it bounces first.

As well as keeping the kids enjoying themselves through such things as a play pool for the youngest, there was also a sense that Byrne had of passing on traditions, like his father did with him. He emphasised that he had great fun as a boy playing with friends in games such as running with a stick and tyre, or recounting his memories of his father as a coalman.

This sense of continuing on the traditions of previous generations that Byrne referred to was his motivation for how he and others were committed to the Irishtown community.

By Kevin Mac Sharry