Mothers of Modern Ireland

Brown Cake and Apple Jelly

8th July 2008

I'm tired it has been a long and intense day. We have just arrived back at base camp and we are in no mood to do anything but reflect on the days findings. It has been a lovely day, there was no rain and it was warm, it still is. After a two hour drive (ten minutes of it in the wrong direction) we pulled up out side Esthers house. A string of terrace houses met us, all grey and white apart from Esthers. Hers was painted the Tipperary colours, she must have known we were coming! It was a pleasure to start the day with one or two slices of wonderful home made bread, baked fresh that morning and demollished by us in the same day. Three cups of tea and one hot water later we were ready to shoot. We made our journey back down memory lane and once again I was suprised as to how simelar and how different lives can be. There are things that remain constant and were either staple foods or standard tools of the day, the mantle in the old lamps, a table full of spuds and a life led to the tune of church rules. These standard details are the framework in which these extra ordinary (and yet ordinary) ladies lived and in between this framework, this skeleton the body of each ladies story is entirely different. Today I had the honour to sit and chat with a very brave woman and a real fighter. The past hasn't been kind to women. Society hasn't been kind to women and it is inspiring to meet a lady who believed she was better and deserved more than her lot. I as a woman of the 21st century owe my freedom and place in society to women like Esther who managed to take a leap of faith. A woman is not a possesion but she was, a woman in Ireland was never a passenger, she fought for her food and for her family. The more I hear of the 'good old days' the more I believe that women were the silent back bone of Ireland and never has a back bone been taken so for granted. Esther devoted her life to her family, like most women do. Now she is devoted to making life a little bit better for every one else, through massage and cider vinegar! When I get home I'm definately adding this miracle product to my shopping list! Thank you Esther for your honesty and for the wonderful bread and apple jelly. It's Shane's birthday tomorrow and we are all booked into a restaurant tonight to celebrate. I'm looking forward to a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta just what I want to finish the day off nicely!

- Hannah