Friday 19 January 2018

We all became Rising stars, for ours is still a story in the making

Despite reservations, Carol Hunt found a dignity and maturity in last week's commemorations which surprised her

Pride: Oglaigh na hEireann were able to represent themselves in all their dignity as defenders and peacemakers. Photo: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire
Pride: Oglaigh na hEireann were able to represent themselves in all their dignity as defenders and peacemakers. Photo: Maxwell Photography/PA Wire
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

It's probably not an over-generalisation to say that half the country has an Auntie Mary somewhere in the world. Last week, the Hunt Auntie Mary arrived over from Toronto to celebrate the centenary of the Rising with her Irish family. "Do they teach you all this stuff in school?" She asked my kids as they prepared to head into the festivities. Well, yes they did. Not only that but they were delighted to tell her that "real" soldiers, with a flag and a proclamation had arrived into all Irish schools, to tell them about the history of both.

And "real" soldiers they were too. For the first time in many a dark decade, Oglaigh na hEireann were able to present themselves in all their national pride and dignity as defenders, not just of our realm, but as the peacekeepers of many others.

They are the true successors of those first Irish volunteers. "I never knew we had so many soldiers," the husband muttered during that unexpectedly emotional parade last Easter Sunday. "And seemingly that's only the half of them". There was always the risk that a military gig would have a whiff, not so much of North Korea, but of the nationalist triumphalism as seen in the 50th year anniversary.

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