Friday 23 March 2018

No going back to the miserable 'Valley of Tears'

The days of the long-suffering mna na hEireann are well over, writes Florence Horsman-Hogan

COMING from the Sixties and early Seventies in Ireland when the 'Mna na hEireann' lay back, closed their eyes and thought of Jesus as their fir were exercising their conjugal rights, I've always thought it rich that many of the mna of my acquaintance could be so vehement in expressing their scepticism as to the sincerity of the 'bright and breezy' brigade.

This was a term I had as a teenager for women like my mam who were good looking, full of life and devilment, wore make-up and enhanced the morale of any male within giggling range of them. According to the older mna, these women who dressed in bright colours, 'tarted themselves up' and so obviously enjoyed the company of men were somehow 'floozies' with no sincerity.

Those were the days of the open turf fire, the stay-at-home wife, the lino-covered floors and garish wallpaper. The days when it was more practical to wear dark clothes and an apron than to have all the hard work on washday with the bath full of washing. The days when after the Angelus, the candle would be lit for the five decades of the rosary and the 'trimmin's' (prayers offered up for the sinners and other causes). The days when living in the 'Valley of Tears' and the suffering of the soul was the lot of every good Catholic.

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