Category Archives: Lovely Little Yokes

Ireland’s Small House Tradition

Once, Ireland had Big Houses. Before they were set to the flame in the name of civilisation (or fell over for want of Big Incomes) every Big House contained a Small House. A Georgian mansion, fully furnished by minuscule furniture craftsmen.

Every little girl in Ireland wanted one of those Dolls’ Houses.

Eventually, those little girls became mothers to little girls of their own and were intent on making those dreams come true. Until they discovered (a) there is a reason Dolls’ Houses were found in Big Houses. They are fucking enormous. And (b) they cost all the money there is in the universe. It is possible Dolls’ Houses caused the fall of the Ascendancy classes, like front hinged Easter Island heads.

The solution: The Cardboard Dolls’ House.

Doll House Box

Doll House Box

Folds away flat, it assures us. Check out those All Mod Cons decorative choices. Check out the grammatically mysterious promise; “A Charming House Any Child Will Wish To Own”.

Check out, above all, the gender neutral Child:

Dungarees are for everyone

Dungarees are for everyone

The problem with replacing boring old wood with thrusting and modern laminated cardboard is that… well, let’s just say that entropy increases.

Cardboard Doll's House from the Front

One Careful Owner.

The once verdant foliage has bleached to a cold and eerie blue. The roof, held in place with slots and tabs, sits askew on the building, speaking of a thousand indoor storms.  Even the upstairs windows are weeping at what time has wrought. But there is worse to come. There is the interior view.

Interior Cardboard House

The Old Murder DollsHouse

Oh Lord. This is where two generations’ dreams have gone to die.

(by Simon McGarr)

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Lovely Little Yokes: Prototype Tat

There is nothing I can write to build up or soften the blow of actually seeing these images.

I used to work in the souvenir business, I designed a fair amount of the shite you will find in Carroll’s of Dublin. We couldn’t keep up with the demand for Oirish tat.

The below abominations were designed by the great Terry Willers. He would churn out pencil sketches by the dozen on any given theme. These are prototypes for a series of exclusive figurines for the gift shop in Sea World Florida.

These are so creepy and wrong but the best part is they are completely unique, apart from maybe another copy in China these are the only ever produced. And I have them (along with a few other proto-gems)

(by Bob Byrne)

Lovely Little Yokes: Not Quite a New Pope

In Donegal a friend runs a shop that’s thirty foot by fifteen foot of tacky wonderment. He sells everything from 15kb digital games to Elvis Presley clocks with legs swinging from a gyrating clockwork pelvis. On a visit to him a few years ago I found an object of absolute wonderment: a statue of the Pope, with something utterly, obviously wrong.

It had George Bush Jnr’s face.

I pointed this out to him and he shrugged. The devout are willing to turn a blind eye to such facial malapropisms it seems. Much of his stock comes from China, possibly from one of those intensive artisan towns where artistic wonders of mass reproduction are whipped out in mere hours. My theory is a Google image search went brilliantly awry resulting in a run of ecclesiastical George Bushs. There’s a photo hiding on the hard-drive somewhere that I’ll post when and if I can find it.
I wish I’d bought the damned bloody brilliant thing.

(by Allan Cavanagh)

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Lovely Little Yokes: #2 – Renovate, Develop, Extend!

[Continuing our series on the discarded, and re-purchased, “found objects” of Ireland. – Ed]

Ireland, perhaps more than most places, knows that the past is a different country. And, rummaging at a fund-raising school book sale, I found this physical embodiment of how different the (recent) past was. It was a land obsessed with how much money property was making it.

Renovate, Develop, Extend! has a secret you see. It looks like just any other lifestyle book tapping into your insane desire to borrow and spend money you don’t have on your bricks and mortar. But in fact it is a full, book-sized ad for mortgages bought and paid for by the EBS, sent out to the members who were being behind the door about getting a second mortgage.

Open it up and you find a letter folded and taped into the inside cover from the Head of Mortgages in EBS.

This go-getting institution didn’t want to wait around for you to get a mortgage. You ought to have got off your sorry ass and been chasing the rainbow like everyone else by now anyway. Clearly the problem was, you were some sort of idiot to leave all this loot on the table. You had to be educated. And who better than an Educational Building Society to do the job?

All the reasons to borrow were collected up and an actual book was commissioned to get you into the exciting new world of Property Development.

But, the reader might have (unlikely as it may seem) said to themselves, what about the future? This seems like quite a lot of money I’m being exhorted to borrow. What if I have some trouble paying it back.

No problem, replied the EBS, We have a special chapter on how to work out the likely financial outcome of all this debt.


It’s all going to be great!

(by Simon McGarr)

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Lovely Little Yokes: #1 – Good Luck From Ireland

They…are all around us. Or, at least, they used to be till somebody (perfectly understandably) stuffed them into a plastic bag (because they were sick of the sight of them) and shipped them off to the nearest Enable Ireland charity shop (or wherever). Ceramic gewgaws. Plastic tchotchkes. Objects that someone once loved enough to say, “You know, Auntie Mary might like that”.

The purpose of our new series – “Lovely Little Yokes” – is to catalogue and “celebrate” these forgotten and abandoned trinkets. Putting them proudly on display. Giving them a chance to shine again (however briefly). Or, as is more likely, just reminding everyone why nobody wanted them in the first place.

First up, this little beauty. Purchased for 50c in Limerick Animal Welfare, Roches St, Limerick (obviously).

OK, so it’s a leprechaun/gnome…pointing at a pig’s hole. Leprechaun/gnome is enthusiastically smiling, as if to say, “How can you not love this?”.

And this is no ordinary pig. It’s the cutest, most coquettish-looking pig I’ve ever seen (ceramic or otherwise). The garland of shamrocks suggests a pig in the process of attending a local festival at which it will celebrate its Irishness. It seems to be enjoying this experience considerably more than I would be in similar circumstances.

Above is view from rear (and of rear).

For those who can’t make out the text, it’s “AN TSEAPAIN TIR A DHEANTA”. Which is basically just telling you that this little piece of hibern-o-crap was made in Japan. I can only assume that the reason for the text being in Irish is to seduce tourist souvenir-hunters into assuming it means something utterly lovely and lyrically-Gaelic and ancient. It very much doesn’t. But, c’mon. A pig that charming? You’d forgive him any deception.

(by fústar)

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