"You did well," my father said as he herded the coins off the table into the palm of his hand. "I'll make it up to a pound and we'll turn these into paper."
Dressed in my new black blazer, tie and slacks, I felt like a man who had come into some huge inheritance. I'd buy a car, I thought. Or, at least, all the sweets in Robertson's.
Later, at my Communion lunch in the Killiney Court Hotel, I heard the note crinkle in my pocket as I cut into my first steak dinner. I have a picture of the occasion. I'm all self-conscious elbows and skewed spectacles trying to look grown-up.
The picture is a reminder that my Communion Day was a watershed, spiritually and financially. It was a religious awakening, and also the day I came to covet money for the first time.
It's still the same for Irish children. We do mixed values from an early age in Ireland. We just do it on a bigger scale these days.
Across the road, 25 years later, two friends who made their Communion on the same day changed my view of money again. The well-known chef and the Entrepreneur drove to Killiney beach after a typically indulgent Celtic Tiger meal. They brought a bottle of vintage Victorian-era port.
"We drank it as the sun came up," Entrepreneur told me the following day, "then we tossed the bottle in the water." He expected me to be impressed. I felt sorry for him instead. The moment when two men bush-drank expensive port was when the Tiger reached its tacky apotheosis for me.
I realised then that Entrepreneur had the same concept of money as I did on my Communion Day, when I mentally plundered a sweetshop. I realised he, and to a lesser extent me, were like children who had lost the run of themselves.
Last week, Nama chief Frank Daly announced the final round-up of those who lost the run of themselves and won't accept the Tiger is dead. Those who cling to their "extravagant mindsets" are in for a shock. Trophy homes are at risk. This was welcomed as the proof that the Tiger is finally dead.
It isn't. Despite the hardships, it's still alive – in the equally extravagant mindsets of the other, non-developer, sections of society. There were three outstanding examples of this last week.
On Sunday, the Sunday Independent editor published a photograph of himself lolling on a knoll with a doll. He lay in the grass at Trinity with model Rosanna Davison and listened to her explain "her side" of her "controversial moonlight flit" to Marrakech with developer Johnny Ronan. If you're not familiar with that story, don't worry – it's really not worth reading about.
Rosanna was "shocked by the level of interest in this story". She wasn't the only one. I'm loath to have a pop at another paper, but a full broadsheet page, written by an editor, on the witterings of a former Miss World?
The Rosanna story didn't do anything for the news agenda of the day, but it did help perpetuate the myth that the Tiger days of endless alcopop launches and whirlwind holidays were still roaring along.
Do readers really buy into this? Or do they just read these stories to sneer at the likes of Rosanna? I don't know. Either way, they sell newspapers.
The second example of the Tiger's premature obituary was the funeral of Eamon Dunne. The so-called 'Don' was responsible for 17 murders. He was given a full-on gangster funeral, surrounded by tough-looking men with shaved heads. Tony Soprano would have been envious.
Gangster pomp like Dunne's funeral didn't exist before the Celtic Tiger. Before people like Dunne became rich selling cocaine to Ireland's bright young social set.
The Tiger's darkest side appears to live on.
The third example is the tackiest of them all. Last Monday, Kilkenny City hosted Ireland's first Communion Expo. It was modelled on a wedding fair. There was "complementary curling", "colour confidence consultations" and "goody bags" with "pampering treats". Up-style hairdos ranged "from €30 to €45". One woman planned to spend €1,500 on her daughter's "big day", including a hotel lunch for 30 people.
This Communion/Wedding construction is one of the most obnoxious by-products of the Boom. It's all about one-upmanship. It's vulgar and wasteful. It uses Ronseal-coloured children as accessories. It sets them up for bitter disappointments later in their young lives. 'This week you're a princess bride, next week you're Cinderella as daddy goes on the dole'.
This Communion fair shows that it's not just developers who are in denial about the boom years being over. They're not the only ones that believe this is just a blip and we'll soon be restocking our cellars. 'Ordinary' people are too.
The Celtic Tiger will never be dead while newspapers continue to sell society girls as role models and idiots prop up drug gangs by buying cocaine.
It will dwell in the Irish psyche until parents stop passing the message on to their children that 'bling is still in'.
If that doesn't stop, the generation making their Communion this month haven't a prayer of ever realising that the Tiger is never, ever coming back.
The Sunday Independent is a tabloid paper masquerading as a broadsheet.
It isn't even a 'news'-paper.