Nolly May was Ada's pet name for Lamb Nugent. It comes from the Latin Noli mi tangere - meaning 'touch me not' words allegedly spoken by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognised him after his Resurrection. If the phrase is translated from the Greek it is , perhaps more accurately here, 'stop clinging to me.' An indication perhaps that Ada recognised Lamb's desires and flirted with him but would not satisfy him.
In the 1960s Vovos were a popular biscuit and blackjacks were ( still are) a popular aniseed flavoured chew sweet. Money was tight and treats like these would have been rare. Lamb obvoiously had money and wanted to ingratiate himself with Ada by bringing sweeties to her granchildren. Of course he was probably also grooming the children to satisfy his baser needs.
Fairyhouse is a race course in County Meath not far from the Dublin/Meath border. It hosts its biggest meet of the year each Easter Monday and is a very popular day out for Dubliners, both for the racing, the ladies fashion and the funfair amusements laid on for the children. It celebrates the ending of the hardships of Lent and the resurrection of Christ Irish style - with drink and gambling!
The Irish Free State was established as a dominion state of the British Empire in 1922. A bitter Civil war ensued in Southern Ireland and it was to be 1937 before Irish citizens voted by referendum to replace the 1922 constitution. It was replaced by the entirely sovereign modern state of Ireland. It would have been a topic of conversation between Ada, Lamb and Charlie.
Myrellson was a bookmaker in Dame Street in Dublin in the Twenties. Charlie would have placed bets on the horses running in Fairyhouse there at 'a penny a time'.
St Ita's Hospital is a large Victorian redbrick building in the sea side town of Portrane in North County Dublin. It is a long stay facility for those with intellectual disabilites and those with long-term mental illness. All asylum type facilities like St Ita's are proposed to be closed by the end of 2012. At one stage St Ita's would have held up to 1,200 patients. It was and still is a fairly grim place and very frightening for a small child to visit.