Annie Watson neé Coghlan (College Road, Galway City to Broadstairs, England)
Annie Watson & Grandson Jude
Although Annie Watson, neé Coghlan moved away from Galway at a young age, the City of the Tribes has left an indelible imprint on her identity. Having left Galway as a child for Dublin and then London, Annie is now enjoying her life as a retiree in Broadstairs, UK while spending time with her young grandson Jude, who lives in London.
Name: Annie Watson, neé Coghlan
Now living in: Kent, England
From: College Road, Galway City
Although Annie Watson neé Coghlan moved away from Galway at a young age, the City of the Tribes has left an indelible imprint on her identity. Having left Galway as a child for Dublin and then London, Annie is now enjoying her life as a retiree in Broadstairs, UK, while spending time with her young grandson, Jude, who lives in London.
I was born in St Bride’s Nursing Home in 1952 and grew up in the Grammar School on College Road. I used to live at the school until the age of 6 as my father, George Coghlan, was the Headmaster. My bedroom was a small one on the top floor of the building overlooking the front. The headmaster’s apartment was quite luxurious with its high ceilings and lovely plasterwork. I particularly loved the school grounds, the bluebell wood and the kitchen garden (especially the gooseberry bushes). The cricket teas served in the hall after big cricket matches were my favourite as I could help myself to delicious cream cakes!
My family moved to Dublin in 1958 when the school closed and became part of UCG (now Yeats College). I lived in the capital until I was 18 years old. Every Easter, and for one month during my summer holidays, I used to come back Galway and stay with my Granny, Louie Joseph, who lived in Fairhill or at Hunters Caravan Site in Barna. I have wonderful memories of this time, in particular, I loved the Saturday morning market, the three cinemas, the amusements in Salthill and swimming at Grattan Road and Silver Strand. My one and only bad memory of Galway from this time was when I had a summer romance at age 15, which ended up with the boy being dragged away from me by his mother and uncle, a priest, when we were innocently sitting on the steps near Blackrock! In 1970, just before my 18th birthday, I left Dublin for the excitement of London and haven’t lived in Ireland since.
I have been back to Galway on many occasions since including for the Film Fleadh, the famous Arts Festival and other holidays. While some good friends of mine are still living in Galway, I do not have any plans to return to my birthplace permanently. Since 2012, I have been living in Broadstairs, Kent, UK. The beautiful sandy bays and coastline remind me of my childhood in Galway. I certainly miss its amazing seaside most of all. My daughter Mary was born in London. She used to go every year to Galway for her holidays as my mother and aunt rented a holiday house in the summer and took their six grandchildren to experience the beautiful Irish West Coast.
My work as an International Trade Union Official brought me around the world – I was travelling widely within the Commonwealth as Director of the Commonwealth Trade Union Council from 1997 until 2004. I am now retired and enjoy travelling, going to the cinema, listening to live music and doing Pilates. My greatest joy however, is being Granny to my wonderful grandson, Jude.