Mothers of Modern Ireland

Mary Byrne, Kildare

10th July 2008

DSC_2172.JPG Mary didn't really want to be filmed. This was a first for us - she'd accidentally agreed to doing the project because she'd had the phone thrusted onto her at a friend's house and on the other end was Shane Dempsey. It's not like we forced this softly spoken Kildarean into anything, but I think the adrenaline of being asked to be in a film must have got the better of her. "As soon as I put down the phone, I thought 'I don't want to do that'". Even as we arrived she told us she was very nervous and I think at that point, would have been happier if we didn't actually find her house after aimlessly roaming Rathangan. You'd think with all that in mind, the interview would be stilted and uncomfortable but it was far from it. It was actually that very human reaction that this documentary really needed a slice of. That part of the brain that says "Why would anybody want to hear my story". It was very sweet because every time Mary finished saying something she would append it with "Is that it now?" or "So go on, ask me another question..." And ask we did as it was apparent very early that Mary had another rich tapestry of a life. Father a blacksmith, grew up on a farm, mammy ran a butchers, two wells feeding a town with no running water. I don't much like boiling these women's lives down to a few pithy points on a list, but I wouldn't for a minute disclose the real juicy interesting parts here on this blog. The fact is that Mary, like all our other interviewees, didn't fail to disclose things that had my jaw dropping to the floor. That might be something simple like having no electricity in the 70's like Esther or something much more menacing that happened throughout society, but there is always something. We don't set out to find these moments, but they are there in everybody's lives. And we thank Mrs Byrne for sharing hers with us today, even though she was so nervous. Again, even though she told us she didn't want to be filmed, she did still ask for a copy for her grandchildren in Australia which I think says a lot. She is a modest woman who doesn't want to be on tele and have cameras pointed at her, but she's also a woman who understands the importance of passing these stories on. DSC_2167.JPG

- Tom