Friday, June 14, 2013

More about Eileen’s Uncle Mickey and the Irish civil war


Prompted by what I wrote last week on this subject, Mickey’s son John (Eileen’s cousin) has some memories worth sharing. Chief amongst these, that his father was a devoted follower of Michael Collins and from time to time would literally cry about his being assassinated.  This would turn into a tirade against Dev [de Valera], whom he held to be responsible, fervently praying that he should be shot.

John adds: “As kids we took no notice, knowing nothing of these matters, regarding all his mutterings as little short of rubbish. Anyway my mother had a very curt and common sense way of dismissing such things as totally irrelevant and a complete waste of time.”

Mickey’s occasional outbursts aside, John never at any time in his young life heard the civil war mentioned or opinions being expressed anywhere inside or outside of the home. Nor was it touched on at any school he attended - no more than if it had never occurred. He supposes that in the 1940’s it was too close to the events for dispassionate views to be expressed: not history yet, but rather a subject to steer clear of as memories could still be explosive. It was as if the entire nation was in denial, he says. Moreover Hitler and the world war seemed to tie up people’s thoughts in other directions.

I mentioned before how struck I was by the absence within the family of recriminations in later years. John adds that when he was young relations with his uncle Jonty were always most cordial “so fortunately the incident in the borheen was passed over with no lasting ill effects.”


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