In a recent Irish Times obituary for actor Karl Shiels, Peter Crawley recalls "...he once played a role in the Gate Theatre, and a role in the Abbey Theatre, on the same damn night, dashing down O’Connell Street to make his entrance"
Many people's autobiographies contain a wealth of these tidbits alongside the broader changes in life. I think one of the best things to come out of the reminiscence project I was working on with Richard Roche, Caoilainn Doyle and others was the archive we created of participant's memories. Some of my personal favourites include:
Teaching in Nigeria in the 1960's: This one captures a formative time near the start of a young woman's career-the other people in the group were keen to hear of her experiences in Africa.
Early morning weddings and the mail train: A reminiscence that wryly captures the difference between experience in the moment and hindsight, and subtly tells of major changes in Irish society.
Emigration to UK and USA: A familiar experience to many Irish people; this individual emigrated to different countries at different phases in life.
Nuclear war fear: A moment in history from a child's eye view-captures the anxiety of the time, but still packs a laugh-out-loud moment near the end.
Mining in Connacht in the 1950's: Memories of a father's working in the mines, an accident at work and its aftermath.
These are just a handful of selections from the collection. Although material on the internet can disappear over time if it's not maintained, as this archive is on the Digital Repository of Ireland, these recordings will be preserved for posterity. People wishing to make use of this archive for social sciences/humanities research are free to do so-just get in touch!
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