I have spent the last fifteen minutes or so trying to find a definition of the word ‘congen’. The world of the internet and my dictionary tells me that it does not exist.
They are very definitely wrong as it very much existed when I was small.
I was probably only 5 or so when my Grandad set up an account for me in Cork Savings Bank. As well as the account book which was held by an adult, I received, what was always called in our house, a ‘congen’ box.
It was a piggy bank of sorts – but secure. It was about the size of a paperback book. It was metal but covered in a leather or leather-type material. It had a lock. My memory is that only the bank had a key as we always brought the ‘congen box’ to the bank for it to be opened and transferred into the account – always with Grandad.
No other adult brought us to empty the boxes at the bank. Just likes the trip that each grandchild got to Dublin Zoo alone with Grandad; just like the train trip to the matches at Lansdowne Road; just like he was the only person to bring bon-bons, the walk to the bank was a ritual with Grandad alone – an individual ritual I think also with his other grandchildren.
I was in Bandon yesterday and step by step I was brought back from:
With thanks to MMC, who put me in the direction of the Dictionary of Cork Slang. My spelling was incorrect but the Conjun-Box did exist.