Dick Emery was a hugely popular British television comedian in the Sixties and Seventies. He played many of his characters in drag presenting them as either frigid or over sexed. His brand of comedy would have been regarded as slightly smutty, full of innuendo and double entendre. I'd imagine most people now would find it irritating and silly rather than funny.
This type of eiderdown was very a common top dressing for a bed in middle class houses in Dublin in the Fifties and Sixties - particularly amongst those aged over fifty. It was normally dark red or a deep pink which complimented the dark mahogany furniture of the time. Veronica's description of the wake of her grandfather Charlie Spillane is full of little details like this - completely and utterly true to the period. The rosary beads are a series of beads strung in a certain order which Roman Catholics use when praying in a particular series of prayers - particularly praying to Christ's mother, Mary. The beads are normally twined in the hands of the deceased to comfort them in death. These tiny observances show how keen Veronica's intellect is - even as a child she drank in everything about her, could sense the love Ada and Charlie had always and the desire Nugent had for Ada. She could also recognise these passions as being different to the relationship between her mother and father.
Suzey Street was a popular late night drinking club on the infamous Leeson Street Strip in South city Dublin. It had only a wine licence and overcharged its clientele massively as they all bid to boogie and drink the night away in a city with few such nightspots in the Eighties. It was where one went to survey the talent and perhaps meet the partner of your dreams. Could quite easily be regarded as a slighly upmarket pick-up joint!
The Jesuit Order are a Christian order of brothers and priests who have concentrated almost exclusively in the area of education. They were founded by St Ignatius of Loyola and are generally held in high regard for both their intellect and adherence to the Society's rules.
The Irish wake is a custom whereby the deceased is generally taken home and the body displayed in an open coffin in the 'good' room of the house. Neighbours, friends and family visit the house over a twenty four hour period to view the body, pray and cry with the bereaved and partake of refreshments - either tea and sandwiches or whiskey and- once - cigarettes. In many parts of the country it's the menfolk immediately related to the deceased who sit up overnight with the corpse, telling yarns and celebrating his/her life.
Brighton is a seaside town on the south coast of England. It is well served by trains from all over the region and is only a one hour journery from the capital city London.