Independence Memories is a fascinating social history, from living and inherited memory, of the period surrounding Irish independence and the Civil War.
It was a time of violence, of death, of emigration, of families divided into pro- and anti-Treaty, Michael Collins and De Valera. There were safe houses and people having to go on the run and hide out in the mountains. But against this tapestry, people fell in love, raised families and laid the foundations of the country we live in now.
We read the story of Galwayman Michael Feerick, who returned from America and rode his white horse through the streets of Dunmore shouting at the Black and Tans, calling them ‘blackguards’. We meet the two Mollys, Dublin street traders and runners for Michael Collins, who sewed bullets into the hems of their long skirts.
We relive the attack by the Black and Tans on the home of gamekeeper John Vahey and we hear from the Kavanagh family who were offered 1 for every year of the life of their 19-year-old daughter, Mary Ellen, shot dead in Buncrana.
And, memorably, 107-year-old Mairin Hughes shares fascinating recollections of being kept in school in Killarney when there was an attack on the RIC barracks down the road.
A wonderful compendium of stories and memories by Ireland’s oldest citizens, from the much-loved author of Growing Up With Ireland.