Mothers of Modern Ireland

Molly Hartin, Cavan

26th July 2008

DSC_3471Molly from down Cavan way was extremely nervous with our camera. She could chat and laugh away about anything, but as soon as you turned a camera on her, she was extremely scared. Without the aid of our female contingency either, Molly was also a huge flirt. (All for the craic mind you). After a short walk around her farm, we settled down in her living room and had a great chat about all the things you shouldn't talk about with strangers: Sex, Politics and Religion. Nothing seemed to phase this lady. The most outstanding thing about Molly, other than her cheeky attitude to life, was that she inherited a farm when she was only 23. She didn't find anything odd about this, but from the benefit of our travels, we knew this was an extremely rare occurance. It put her, whether she knew it or not, in an incredibly powerful position for a woman in those days. It meant, to all intents and purposes, Molly could shop around for the right man, not penned in to a life of servitude and submission like many women, but actually calling the shots on her own property. One must remember that many Irish women of those times were effectively workers to their parents, and then their whole lives to their husband, and then when the husband died, the property would have been given to the eldest son. So at no point did the woman have the security that so many have today. Luckily this delicate relationship of power was no problem for many women as they had healthy relationships with their husband and sons. Something we realised after filming this wonderful woman was how much our interview technique changes with each lady's character. Some ladies are able to speak for two hours with no prompting and others engage much more in a dialogue with us, asking us almost as much as we're asking them. At first this was a worrying aspect of the filmmaking, but as we've gone on, we've come to appreciate how this aspect says so much about each lady's person, just as important as what they are saying, is how they are saying it. DSC_3486 Twenty years ago, an awful tragedy hit Molly's hometown, Granard. Ann Lovett, was found dead in the graveyard having just given birth to a baby which was also dead, she was only 15 years old. The story shook the community and the whole of Ireland. It was yet another complicated episode of hidden stories, Catholic values and the silence that so often fell on Ireland during terrible times. If you talked about it at the time, and spoke your mind, about what really happened to that poor girl that cold January morn, you yourself would have been ostracized by the community. Read more about that incident in this article

- Tom