Children's Clothes

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  • Aspects: South Dublin

Boys' Clothes

In the early and mid-twentieth century, school uniforms were not as widespread in Ireland as they are today. Young boys wore short trousers, shirts and blazers, with a jumper or cardigan in the winter. They wore braces to hold their trousers up, rather than belts.

Schoolboys in Tallaght, 1925
Irish Picture Library.

The photo above shows a group of boys on their way home from school in Tallaght in 1925. What strikes you most about the clothes in this photo? Unlike now, it was quite normal at that time for many children to go barefoot in the summer. In winter, they would wear clogs or hobnail boots with wool socks.

Girls' Clothes

Up until the mid-twentieth century Irish girls typically wore skirts, or dresses with cardigans. In the winter, they wore overcoats. It was very rare for a girl to wear trousers. Here is a picture of a group making their Confirmation in Saggart in 1955.

Up to the 1950s it was quite common for girls to wear a white dress and veil for their Confirmation as well as their First Holy Communion. Only one girl in the photo is dressed in this way, so that tradition was beginning to die out. Most girls in the photo are wearing skirt suits with hats or bonnets. Boys wore suits with rosettes pinned to the lapel.

Girls dressed up in white dresses and hats for the annual May Procession, as can be seen in this photo to the left. In the Catholic Church, the month of May is traditionally dedicated to Mary. Processions devoted to Our Lady took place in many parts of the world, including Irish parishes, until recent history. This tradition is less common in the present day, although it still exists.