In an early memory of mine, if it is a real memory, I was taken one smoky winter afternoon by my Uncle Tom to Rosslare Harbor, some 10 miles from our hometown of Wexford in the southeast corner of Ireland. It was the early 1950s, and I would have been 6 or 7 years old. At the harbor’s pier, the ferry to Britain was preparing to depart. Memory magnifies, and the vessel I recall is the size of an ocean liner, its sheer flank beetling over the dock, its mighty smokestacks puffing out great gray cumuli and its hooter shaking the air with its deep-throated bellowings.… Seguir leyendo »
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This year there were no fireworks. Throughout most of the past decade, for weeks before and after Halloween, the night skies over Ireland were filled with the crack and crash of bursting rockets and fountains of multicolored flame. Since fireworks are illegal here they had to be bought in Northern Ireland and smuggled across the border — quite a turnabout from the days when the I.R.A. smuggled tons of explosives the other direction, during the Thirty Years’ War it waged on the Protestants and the British Army garrison in the North from the 1960s to the 1990s.
Throughout the 2000s there was a lot of cross-border shopping, almost all of it one-way, since usually in those years the euro was strong and the British pound weak.… Seguir leyendo »
Everyone knew. When the Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse issued its report this week, after nine years of investigation, the Irish collectively threw up their hands in horror, asking that question we have heard so often, from so many parts of the world, throughout the past century: How could it happen?
Surely the systematic cruelty visited upon hundreds of thousands of children incarcerated in state institutions in this country from 1914 to 2000, the period covered by the inquiry, but particularly from 1930 until 1990, would have been prevented if enough right-thinking people had been aware of what was going on?… Seguir leyendo »