Eileen Shine - Camas Park & Cashel
The Nationalist 2001
Recuperating at her home in Boherclough Street, Cashel at the moment is eighty-nine year old Eileen Shine. She returned home about three weeks ago after ten months of care in a nursing home.
Her ordeal began nearly twelve months ago when returning from Clonmel by car. Driving too close to the side of the road in order to avoid an oncoming car, her vehicle toppled into a dyke and she was well and truly shook up. However, she insisted on coming home, being the independent spirit she is.
One of the effects of her accident was an occasional blackout. Her only surviving relation, a cousin from Northern Ireland, came down to see her and took her out to the Cashel Palace Hotel for lunch. After the meal she had a blackout coming down the steps of the hotel, fell heavily, was unconscious for about eight hours and ended up in hospital. After coming to she was sent home.
However, all wasn’t right. She had hurt her back, her ribs were sore and Dr. Ryan sent her for an X-ray, which revealed they were broken. She ended up in Acorn Lodge and, after ten months there, was thoroughly fed up and insisted on coming home. She is happier now, even if she hasn’t full use of herself and moves about with a walking aid.
Most of her long life has been spent in Cashel. Born at Camas Park in 1912, she was the only daughter of Major David and Helen (nee Sayers) Shine. Her father fought in the Boer War. She had two brothers, both of whom joined the Royal Airforce, and both of whom were killed in World War II.
Eileen had a happy childhood at Camas Park. She went to the Deanery School, which was then located on the left side of the Cashel Palace Hotel gates. There were about thirty children in the school and she remained there until she was eleven.
She was sent to boarding school at Celbridge – the school is now a hotel – and she hated it. She played hockey, basketball and tennis. She got home for holidays at Christmas and summer, travelling by train to Gouldscross and changing for Cashel. The students didn’t get home as Easter as the headmistress claimed students always returned at that time of the year with infections and diseases. The food was good but monotonous. She spent six years there and her stay was interrupted with an infected appendix.
Her father wanted her to return to Camas but she wanted to be a nurse. Being still a bit young she went to a finishing school in Dublin for a year and then to France, where she taught hockey and basketball in a school. She has very happy memories of this year in France.
Trained as a Nurse
When she returned to Camas Park on holidays she enjoyed a good social life. Her 21st was celebrated with a dance in Camas. Most activities were organised by themselves, games in summer, fetes organised by friends and neighbours. Relations with Catholics were cool, with both Catholics and Protestants organising their own activities and going their separate ways.
At twenty she went to train as a nurse at Sheffield Royal Hospital, the choice of hospital was made on the basis of having relations there. She did five years training and stayed on a further year trying to make up her mind what to do.
In 1938 she joined the army, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Nursing Corps. She did a training course in military basic, how to march, salute, attend funerals, etc
After training at York and Aldershot, she was chosen as one of four to go to the North African Desert to staff a casualty clearance station.
Her work took her along the route of Montgomery’s campaign and the places she mentions are a roll call of names made famous by the campaign. She enjoyed the army life, worked very hard and there was little time for anything else. She recalls getting a week’s holiday in Tripoli and going to bed for much needed rest on the first night, only to be wakened with the information to be ready for a tank landing in Sicily.
She made her way with the army through Sicily and on to Italy. Moving with the war she ended up in Turin. Eventually she was sent back to England, only to be ordered to the Middle East soon after. She worked in an Italian hospital in Palestine, where jackals and hyenas scurried through the place at night.
He next stop was Greece and from there to the beautiful Dodocanese Islands. Again it was hospital work under a very funny matron. Every night two or three babies were left on the doorstep. She didn’t really get back home for seven years. She was given two days holidays for every one spent in the desert.
After the War
The holiday was much appreciated but then it was back to army life. She went on a military course during 1948 and was posted to Hong Kong the following year for three and a half years. The location got a bit monotonous as there as no place to go. The communists had taken over mainland China in 1949.
When she came back on leave she was posted to Cyprus, where she spent the rest of her army life until she returned to Ireland in 1962. She retired with the rank of Major and would probably have achieved higher rank had she remained.
Sale of Camas Park
There was good reason to retire and return home as her mother was in need of care. Her father had died in 1936 and her mother held on at Camas Park until 1941, when the burden of compulsory tillage and other Emergency measures became too much for her and she sold out to Tim Hyde.
She remained in residence for some time and eventually rented a house at Castlelake. This she occupied until 1956, when she moved to a new bungalow in Boherclough Street. The house is recessed from the street front and originally five houses occupied the frontage. They were long gone before she arrived and the land on which her house was built was used for allotments during the War.
Eileen was sad to see Camas Park and its many memories go but there was no way her mother could hold on. Eileen looked after her from 1962 until she died in 1977. Her mother had played golf in the early part of the century on the Cashel course, which was located on the Clonmel Road. Eileen recalls caddying for her.
Eileen Shine has spent the last forty years on Boherlough Street. She has led a relaxed life and hasn’t involved herself in much. ‘I came home to rest after a very busy life,’ she says.
The late Ethel Corby tried to involve her in organisations and societies but she resisted. She used to read a lot, mostly about sport, horses and adventure. She is also fond of T.V. Her holidays were spent at Tramore and Dunmore.
She may be feeling sore at the moment but the chances are she will recover sufficiently to lead a full life. There is great longevity in her family. All of her side lived into the nineties. Her mother was 94, when she passed on, and her grandmother 101. She is wished a speedy recovery.