Margaret Hynes: Centenarian

The League of Nations brought the world hope the year you were born.

Versailles formally ended the bloodshed. Back home, the Clonbanin Ambush pitted brother Vs brother. A Treaty and partition soon followed, and the Civil war ended a year later, not long before the Soviet Union became recognised – and by then you were only 5 years old.

1925 saw moving pictures on screen, the Plough and the Stars showed us the war was still raw. Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic, Trotsky was exiled, while the Oscars were announced in just 15 minutes the year you turned 10.

The Great Depression swept the world soon after; authoritarian regimes seized their opportunity. The decade ended with Europe at war. Sadly, Batman and Superman’s creation remained purely fictional.

Ireland watched as Europe ripped itself apart. Technology expanded from computers to nuclear warfare. As the world pulled itself up from the rubble, homes were introduced to products like velcro, Tupperware, the frisbee and the slinky. Ireland ended the 40’s as a Republic, 33 years after the Easter Rising.

Capitalism and communism dominated The 50s as a 2nd red scare made the headlines. A cold war enveloped the northern hemisphere, while the Space Race layed down its plan for the next decade. All the while, the ESB fired up Portlarlington Power Station.

The swinging sixties brought about change and innovation. Europe had rebuilt itself, and was beginning to boom once again. Key leaders and influencers of their generation were sadly slain. Television arrived on the island, bringing soap operas, mini skirts and four mop topped Liverpudlians. Questions of morality were soon raised.

Your children grew up in the seventies. Jack Lynch’s Ireland continued where it left off following Lemass; discovering and reinventing itself as an independent republic in the midst of the ever-growing Troubles up north. Social upheaval dominated the decade. Africa began to decolonise, violence increased in the middle east, and dictatorships made a return in South America.

My father entered your life in the 80s, searching for a better life following social revolution in his native Iran. Ireland sadly slipped in to recession, leaving a young generation wondering was it the country for them. The final decade of the cold war threatened nuclear devastation, before thawing completely as in Berlin, family and friends danced on the rubble of a once oppressive wall.

The world raced forward in the decade of my birth. The world wide web opened countless doors to discovery and productivity. Fair City became a regular fixture in Irish living rooms. A multicultural wave of tolerance and acceptance, merged with one of grunge, hip hop and the rave scene swept the western world. Even though it didn’t reach as far as the Balkans and Rwanda, the decade did end with the Good Friday Agreement.

September 11th changed the world as we know it. The war on terror that followed is still creating aftershocks today. Ireland waved goodbye to the punt, and SSIAs showed people saving could be a worthwhile expense. Sadly, the Celtic Tiger gave people a false sense of security, highlighted by the devastating crash of 2008.

An economic crisis, austerity, and occupation have dominated the last nine years. Key figures from Castro to Thatcher have all departed, yet here you still stand. So much throughout your life has come and gone. So much seen. So much lived. So much still to come.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Thadeus says:

    Great speach and a lovely picture, are they all Margarets grandchildren?
    And who is who?
    Thadeus and Meis

    1. oisgreg says:

      Yup. That’s all of us! Next to Granny is Shane, Maura’s eldest. Next to Lorcan is Jenny, Mattie’s eldest, Fiona, Maura’s youngest and at the end you have Brian and Aoife, Maura’s and Mattie’s respectively.

  2. Hilda Gregorian says:

    How lovely you write Oisin! You made me wish I was there. Out of nine people in the photo I only know four, and that tells me one thing . . It is time to visit Ireland. I hope we can arrange something soon.

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