Mothers of Modern Ireland

Eileen Power, Down

25th July 2008

DSC_3366 When the team had covered the first 8 ladies and counties, I was under the impression that a certain kind of painting was emerging of Ireland during the last 80 years. I was naturally worried: Would this painting be a true representation of a whole, complicated country. Shane assured me that as we moved up the country and documented further North, the hues of the painting would dramatically shift for obvious reasons. Having filmed our first two Northern Irish ladies, I now begin to understand those 'obvious reasons' profoundly. For even though the whole country has gone through the turmoil of determining the fate of these 6 counties, the people who actually lived in them, lived through a very real war. Our woman today, Eileen was no exception. She wasn't as close to the border as Anne McCluskey had been, but her life had been shaken about no less due to the confusing politics and emotions of the area. I spoke to Black people in South Africa who had a spirit I couldn't quite understand: How can such oppression be gone for such a short time, and in some way it still lives on and yet... and yet the oppressed can live with such a positive life energy. Where is the bitterness and annoyance for the unknown oppressor? Hannah said she felt so tiny in the presense of these ladies and I tend to agree with her. When armed civilians stop you on your way home from a dance when you are 16, to harass you for not having the right lights on your bicycle. How do you grow up to love all people? Is that not a monumental achievement for any human? We try and ask these ladies about a wider significance of these times, and what did they think about this concept or body, or law or idealogy and we are met with wry smile. Not one of condescension, but simply: We were children, we did not think about those ideas, we just go on with life. Baking our bread, cycling to school, playing in the fields. DSC_3393 Another interesting facet of Eileen's story, shared with her husband Paddy, is how they moved from that crippling climate of fear, to a British town where they spent in their own words "the best years of their life". It really is a difficult task that lays ahead to introduce all the subtle aspects of the story of this island, one that may take us a long time indeed. The footage alone at this point will take days just to watch through.

- Tom