Prior to Television, XBox, Facebook and mobile phones, how did children play in the evenings? Well, one past time that was popular in 1916 amongst children and indeed, adults was games of cards. Check out the explanation of card games written by the children from Offaly, Longford and Clare, taken from the Schools Manuscript Collection
Card games from Clare
The first game is ‘Patience’, it is played as follows. With six or eight persons, the cards are evenly divided then the first one turns up a card for instance a six, the next one could put a seven down on the other ones six, and so on, whoever gets out first wins.
Begger thy neighbour’
The next game is ‘Begger thy neighbor’ the cards are evenly given out, then someone turns a card, if it is a knave, the next fellow puts one card on it, if it is a queen, he puts two cards on it, a King three cards and an ace four cards, and whoever has the whole deck at the end and is the beggar.
The third game is ‘Donkey’ everybody gets four cards each, somebody passes a card, to the next and the game goes on like that until someone has four queens, or four of any sort, then they leave them down, easy on the table the last one down is D and so on until they come to Donkey.
The last game is ‘Old Maid’, there is some card put out of the deck, that is the Old Maid, all the cards are matched, and at the end someone has the comrade of the card put out of deck, and that person is the old maid.
‘Rummy’ any of the four 2’s or the joker will substitute any sort of card such as the Kings two and a knave would do, when anyone has his cards matched, he calls out ‘Rummy’ and everyone’s cards are examined a King or any other picture counts ten, and who ever count amounts up to a hundred first, is knocked out, and whoever has the lowest count at the end wins.
NFC, Vol 588 pg 76-9
Card games from Offaly
Old Maid: Old maid is played with cards. One of the Queens are taken out of the pack of cards. Then all the rest of them are equally divided among the players. When the cards are divided everybody looks at their cards to see if there are any matches such as two nines or two Jacks and all the matches are put on the table. Then the person who gave out the cards takes one card from the person beside him and if he has a match for the card he took he puts the two cards on the table. Each person takes a card from the person beside him until all the cards are matched. Then whoever has the odd Queen last is the e’old maid’
NFC, Vol 893 pg 232
Card games from Longford
Six people sit at the table to play. One person deals the cards. He gives them six cards each and seven to himself. Then he passes round one card. The person that has his cards matched first throws down his cards and the last to throw down his cards is counted’ D’ They continue doing this until one person is ‘donkey.
Tommy tickle me
All the cards are given out and one person says
There’s an ace as you may see
There’s another as good as he
There’s the best one of the three
And there’s Tommy tickle me.
They keep saying this till all the cards are done and the person that has the last card, the rest tickle him.
NFC Vol 752 pg. 162 (Longford)