This year it has been all about 1916 and the decade of centenaries. Since 1916 is only just out of living memory for most families, there is still a lot of memorabilia knocking about in attics, under the stairs and under the beds and stories from that time which have been passed down a couple of generations. I recently got a load of stuff from my parents’ house which I may tell you about another day when I am feeling stronger.
My favourite story remains that of my mother-in-law. Her mother was a young girl during the revolutionary period and came home to where she lived in the flats (always a hot bed of rebellion etc.) to find the Black and Tans parked outside and the building cordoned off. She went to go in saying to the soldier on the door, “I have to go in, there are soldiers in my house.” “Aha,” said he, “how do you know it’s your house?” “Because it’s always our house,” she said wearily.
*Stolen from Saki: “The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally.” This is equally true of Ireland.