University College Cork (UCC) recently opened its new business education centre at the old Cork Savings Bank site on Lapp’s Quay.
While he said he is delighted to see the rebirth of the location, UCC President Professor Patrick O’Shea, revealed the site had a profound and lasting impact on him from a young age.
Professor O’Shea recently enjoyed a profound blast from the past in the form of a children’s savings box or conjun.
He recalled being around eight or nine years old when his mother, Josephine, took him to Cork Savings Bank on Lapp’s Quay to open an account and to get a green conjun box.
“I remember being so excited that I had a hard time signing my name on the form,” he said.
“The big bright hall with its dark wooden counter seemed so high and grand.
“I carefully collected the shillings and half-crowns and inserted them into the secure teeth of the conjun box,” he added.
“While my parents were careful to instil in me the virtues of saving, the temptations in the window of Kiley’s shop in Turners Cross as I walked to and from Bunscoil Chríost Rí were sometimes too powerful for me to resist.
“I could not wait to go to the bank to have the box opened by the cashier.
“Therefore, I mastered the technique of using knives to extract a few coins from the jaws of the box so I could buy some crisps and chocolate at Kiley’s.”
As he got older, Professor O’Shea said his saving skills improved.
“Seeing the hand-written notations on my bankbook grow from three pounds to six pounds to eleven pounds over many many months gave me hope that I would be able to buy a used bicycle.
“Eventually, I bought my dream bike, an orange Raleigh Sprite with skinny tires and five-speed Benelux gears, for the princely sum of fifteen pounds,” he added.
“I cycled it daily to Coláiste Chríost Rí, and then to UCC.
“All these years later, now as president of UCC, I was proud to witness the rebirth of Cork Savings Bank as a bank of ideas for business education, and I’m still cycling every day.”