After his father, Patrick Cullen, a publican and businessman, died suddenly at
the age of 38, Mathew’s mother Caroline (nee Hoysted) was left penniless with
four young mouths to feed and another on the way. The family returned to live
in Castlebellingham but money shortages saw Mathew being sent to St
Saviour’s Boys Orphanage in Dublin, a harsh, Dickensian-style institution.
The book details Mathew’s daring escape from the city centre orphanage and
how he used the north Dublin railway line to find his way back home to
Castlebellingham on foot - much to the surprise of his mother. He also recounts
his time in New York in the 1920s.
He later shares his sporting achievements, not least his success in local,
provincial and international athletics. He went on to serve in public life on the
Fianna Fáil national executive and as a Dublin city and local county councillor.
His memoir also revolves around his experiences as an owner of men’s shops in
Dalkey after World War II and living locally on Sorrento Road and Hyde Park.
He headed up the local LDF company during the Emergency years. He was
hired by Bord Fáilte as a tourist guide escorting overseas film crews and anglers
to suitable locations around the country, and was owner of the Colamore Hotel
in Dalkey in the 1950s.
He was a keen golfer and all year round sea swimmer.