The big and small story
In the early 1950s Madam Gonne McBride spoke in an oral history recording about evictions in Ireland and how the course of her life was changed by what she witnessed in 1885. She was transformed from a ‘carefree society girl to a woman of set purpose’, determined to do her share to free Ireland from the British Empire. She spoke of the destruction of little houses, built many years before by an earlier generation and people left homeless with no provision made for them aside from the Workhouse. Madam McBride’s recording provides a wonderful insight into emotion and memory, the pattern and dialect of speech and the views of a woman who looked on helpless as thousands of people were made homeless.
Other less lofty but nonetheless important stories should also be recorded. Details of Christmases long ago, making butter at home, preparing for the Station Mass and growing vegetables in a home garden are increasingly relevant as the years slip by and generations become further removed from each other.