Saturday 19 August 2017

Child's-eye view gives new angle on our shared history

Students from St Mary’s School in Edenderry, Co Offaly, with their 1916 sculpture
Students from St Mary’s School in Edenderry, Co Offaly, with their 1916 sculpture
Martina Devlin

Martina Devlin

Cross-border initiatives make my heart sing. They do. My family was formed as a result of a cross-border initiative, after all, when my Tyrone father married my Limerick mother.

The Border was a concrete presence when I was a child, as opposed to today's message popping up on mobile phones flagging a different billing jurisdiction. Checkpoints and watch towers were our norm. But we didn't allow them to change our behaviour. If the two halves of my family were on different sides of the boundary, then constant to-ing and fro-ing would take place.

This was not and is not unusual. Neighbours and school friends had a patchwork quilt of relatives from the four provinces. It's the rare Irish family without a cross-border element, and this has happened organically.

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