On 7 January 1922, the Irish Free State was born, into a turbulent Ireland that would witness still more violence and bloodshed. But alongside the State’s fledgling democracy, there were babies being born into an Ireland full of hope. Here are the stories of twenty of those babies, born between 1921 and 1925.
From recollections of the big snow of 1932, to Eamon de Valera speaking to crowds in a rural town square, to living by gaslight and trips to the seaside on the crossbar of daddy’s bike to pick cockles for mammy, the stories reflect both a simpler time and a tougher one, where childhood was short and the world of work beckoned from an early age.
In living memory are tales of ‘rambling’ houses – where each night neighbours would walk over the fields to sit around the fire, drink tea and tell stories – the scourge of TB, childbirth in an earlier era, hiding out in Santry Woods, when the Black and Tans raided, and pride in a father who was interned in Frongach, Wales after the Easter Rising. Growing Up with Ireland is a compelling portrait of the changes, challenges and triumphs of a maturing society, from those who were there from the beginning.