Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
Byrne, Anne; Byrne, Colm
2017 November
Family Histories of the Irish Revolution.
Family Histories of the Irish Revolution.
Four Courts Press
Optional Fields
Artefacts hold stories. We have two. Our Grandmother’s Cumann na mBan pin and a family album of the public life of the Bastible family from Cork. Given to me recently by our uncle, both these artifacts are over 100 years old and we hold them now. Family stories about the Bastible siblings, Molly, Chris, Michael, Jim, George and Norah no longer circulate but we can remember fragments of stories told over time. Stories are recalled, recycled and what appear to be conflicting accounts are told. We have conversations about our Republican forbears with Molly’s son, our uncle. These are our primary sources, leading us to examine the past lives of the young women and young men that we knew in their old age and in our youth. This chapter considers the life of Molly Bastible as a young woman, our Grandmother, active in Cumann na mBan, an Abbey actress with The Gaelic Players (Aiseoiri) and a teacher in the first all-Irish language School, Scoil Mhuire in Dublin. Two of her brothers, our Granduncles, Chris and Michael Bastible, were interned in Gormonston Camp, Co. Meath. Chris was arrested ‘on suspicion’ in 1922. Another brother, Jim was active in the Gaelic League, promoting Irish language drama, the Feis Cheoil, Irish language Summer Schools and lecturing for the League in Cork and Wexford. These young people are part of the story of the search for a new Ireland, grounded in a belief in the Gaelic revival, in the ideology and dynamics of the national language and in revolutionary political independence. Their political and cultural activism is fired in the nexus of family and society in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Omissions and discontinuities emerge in family history, familiar to those with secrets to keep. Molly, Chris and Michael’s stories are not passed on nor taken up by the following generation. The familial efforts to ignore, not tell, discontinue this legacy of political and cultural nationalism may not be deliberate but societal forces were also at work to draw attention away from this conflictual period in the formation of the new Irish state. Despite this, the stories emerge through the artefacts, forcing a telling of those factors, personal, political, and ideological, that shaped the minds, attitudes and actions of Molly and her brothers. In keeping these momentoes, preserving the family album and her Cumann na mBan pin, Molly did not eschew that part of her own or her siblings’ biographies, partially concealed until now. This is the story we, sister and brother, have put together from family fragments and artefacts, a telling made possible in this 100 year commemoration of 1916.
Grant Details
Publication Themes
Applied Social Sciences and Public Policy, Humanities in Context