Sunday 18 February 2018

Remembering our history as we look to the future

People pray over the
coffins of Derry's Bloody
Sunday victims in 1972.
People pray over the coffins of Derry's Bloody Sunday victims in 1972.

This year, I really enjoyed the 10-part 'Rolling Back the Years' magazines published by the Irish Independent, two for each decade -- 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, edited by Ciaran Byrne with Tom Burke as pictures editor. It was a great series and is what the Irish Independent is known to do well.

The decade when Ireland joined the EEC, now the EU; when Princess Grace of Monaco was the world's best-known beauty, and with Irish connections. She also in the 1970s bought her Irish-American family's original homestead in Co Mayo, about seven years before her tragic death in the early 1980s. It was the decade of nightly news on RTE television, when the late newsreader Charles Mitchell told us solemnly of more deaths and bombings in Northern Ireland -- one of the worst decades for the 'Troubles' and long before we could see any light in the tunnel that it would ever end, when there was no such ideas for a Good Friday Agreement, which was agreed in 1998 and so far is still holding with power-sharing in the North between unionists and nationalists. It has been working well, with a few hiccups now and then.

In the 1970s the Belfast Royal Victoria Hospital's surgeons became highly skilled in helping the badly injured after bombings which left some in need of emergency amputations.

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