Mothers of Modern Ireland

Wet Ones

11th July 2008

Is there no end to the rain! Summer is for scattered showers not scattered sunny spells. At least there is at last some substance behind the traditional conversation starter 'look at the weather' because seriously, look at the weather! Did summer arrive? Has it been and gone? Was it always like this or is this? Not according to our ladies it wasn't. It's a good job all our equipment came with nifty rain suits unfortunately we didn't! DSC_2202.JPGDSC_2201.JPG Shane bought a sat nav yesterday, once considered a luxury our budget could not allow, now a nessecity. In a country side where most signs point to a ditch the clinical female voice of the neat little box stuck to the wind screen has become quite comforting. There comes a time however when even the machine doesn't know where it's going. Today we were forging our way along a road that our sat nav didn't think existed. We reverted back to the traditional methods of knocking on doors and ringing for directions. After running rings around the irish country side and driving in to the river Lea we finally manage to arrive at our destination though the mood was less than triumphant. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that, here, even the sat nav can't help! DSC_2245.JPG I'm glad to say that we had a lovely day with Pearl our Laois representative and her granddaughter Joanne. Both were very warm and well up for the camera craic! Kilo the great dane stole the show today though. Not a typical pet for a typical grandmother, but then what is a typical grandmother? Who was the lady born in a bygone age? Is she the one sitting in front of us and if she is then why does everything we hear seem so unreal, so, dare I say it, idillic? Is it possible for a woman of 70 or so to communicate to us a way of life that we have so many preconceptions about, whether they be truthful or no. Perhaps it is as much to do with the questions we ask as the answers they give. Perhaps what we bring to the table is as important as what they have already laid out. Do we come looking for too much or too little? We have reached a new phase in our investigations. Having spoken to nearly half of our target number of participants we are beginning to ask ourselves what we really want to know and what we really want to hear. It is still not a question of sensationalism but simply a question of truth. How perfect could the old days really have been? How can there be so many contradictions? How can you say you married for love and in the same breath say that marriage was a sentence? How did you enjoy going to school and yet most days meet with a beating for simply being late? And how can it have been possible to feel safe in a society where so much was kept from you, not for your own good but for that of the church? I don't understand how a community can seem so close knit and yet be so absent when intervention is needed. I don't understand this many contradictions. Perhaps this is proof of my age or my naivity but I expect to be able to become wiser and by the time I have finished with the 32 grannies or by the time they have finished with me I will at least half my questions answered! ?

- Hannah