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Everything is relative and memories are no exception. Every time we recall an event, we add to it and the first memory is replaced. But would a childhood be memorable if it was like something in Enid Blyton?

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I doubt it. I was affected as a young woman and so were my siblings. I worry about all the children now who are homeless or about to be. The effects can be permanent. I suppose health is the most important thing in life, but a home must come second. The two are interdependent. Despite some hardship, my childhood was far from miserable. Today my favourite place in the world is Dun Laoghaire, despite what happened there. I recovered completely from my illness, but have always been a terrible editor.

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We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication. She later said of this booklet, "whatever political indignation or energy was born with me may have run its course in that Egyptian year and worn itself out".

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She continued to write prose during the period of her marriage. During the winter of , whilst her husband was in Ceylon, she worked on a series of memoirs of her childhood home, with a view to publishing them under the title An Emigrant's Notebook , [12] but this plan was abandoned. She wrote a series of pamphlets in called Over the River , in which she appealed for funds for the parish of St.

Stephens in Southwark , south London. A number of unpublished poems from this period have also survived.


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  • When Sir William Gregory died in March , Lady Gregory went into mourning and returned to Coole Park; there she edited her husband's autobiography, which she published in Loneliness made me rich—'full', as Bacon says. A trip to Inisheer in the Aran Islands in re-awoke for Lady Gregory an interest in the Irish language [16] and in the folklore of the area in which she lived. She organised Irish lessons at the school at Coole, and began collecting tales from the area around her home, especially from the residents of Gort workhouse.

    One of the tutors she employed was Norma Borthwick , who would visit Coole numerous times. She also produced a number of collections of "Kiltartanese" versions of Irish myths, including Cuchulain of Muirthemne and Gods and Fighting Men In his introduction to the former, Yeats wrote "I think this book is the best that has come out of Ireland in my time. Towards the end of , encouraged by the positive reception of the editing of her husband's autobiography, Lady Gregory turned her attention to another editorial project.

    She decided to prepare selections from Sir William Gregory's grandfather's correspondence for publication as Mr Gregory's Letter-Box —30 This entailed her researching Irish history of the period; one outcome of this work was a shift in her political position, from the "soft" Unionism of her earlier writing on Home Rule to a definite support of Irish nationalism and Republicanism , and to what she was later to describe as "a dislike and distrust of England".

    Edward Martyn was a neighbour of Lady Gregory, and it was during a visit to his home, Tullira Castle, in that she first met W. The Irish Literary Theatre project lasted until , [23] when it collapsed owing to lack of funding. The first performances staged by the society took place in a building called the Molesworth Hall.

    When the Hibernian Theatre of Varieties in Lower Abbey Street and an adjacent building in Marlborough Street became available, Horniman and William Fay agreed to their purchase and refitting to meet the needs of the society. On 11 May , the society formally accepted Horniman's offer of the use of the building.

    As Horniman was not normally resident in Ireland, the Royal Letters Patent required were paid for by her but granted in the name of Lady Gregory. Her view of the affair is summed up in a letter to Yeats where she wrote of the riots: "It is the old battle, between those who use a toothbrush and those who don't. Lady Gregory remained an active director of the theatre until ill-health led to her retirement in During this time she wrote more than 19 plays, mainly for production at the Abbey.

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    Her plays had been among the most successful at the Abbey in the earlier years, [29] but their popularity declined. Indeed, the Irish writer Oliver St. John Gogarty once wrote "the perpetual presentation of her plays nearly ruined the Abbey". When I was a child I had only to climb the hill behind the house to see long, blue, ragged hills flowing along the southern horizon. What beauty was lost to me, what depth of emotion is still perhaps lacking in me, because nobody told me, not even the merchant captains who knew everything, that Cruachan of the Enchantments lay behind those long, blue, ragged hills.

    Yeats, [ infra ]. Watson, ed. Perhaps Coole Park, where I had escaped from politics, from all that Dublin talked of, when it was shut, shut me out of my theme; or did the subconscious drama that was my imaginative life end with its owner? Yeats, London: Methuen [Rev. It was part of the genius of that house. Lady Gregory never rebelled like other Irish women I have known who consumed themselves and their friends; in spire of Scripture she put the new wine into old bottles.


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    • And now all of a moment, as it seemed, she became the founder of modern Irish dialect literature. George Moore : Moore comments on Lady Gregory, in Hail and Farewell , to the effect that she had in her youth been a Protestant proselytiser, an assertion that led to the threat of legal action Vale , ed. Jeffares, W. Yeats, A New Biography, , p.

      In her new work she has left legends and heroic youth far behind, and has explored in a land almost fabulous in its sorrow and senility. The story-tellers are old, and their imagination is not the imagination of childhood. The story-teller preserves the strange machinery of fairyland, but his mind is feeble and sleepy. Yeats has set forth with such delicate scepticism in his happiest book, The Celtic Twilight.

      Cornell UP , pp. I imagined her to have been one of those awfully clever girls who in late middle age become awfully tiresome women […] I was also secretly happy that Jim had not met Maud Gonne in Paris. I took Maud Gonne to be the youth of Lady Gregory. It is very doubtful that Yeats could have produced as much work as he did without her help.

      It is almost certain that, but for Lady Gregory, the Irish national theatre would have remained a dream, or ended in being that failure that so many hopeful undertakings in Ireland became. But she was much more than the patron of a genius.

      And finding that the theatre needed plays, she sat down and wrote them. She probably would have been a writer anyhow but her part in the building of the Abbey gave her life and work purpose and direction. Many of her plays, as Miss Coxhead rightly points out, have the authentic touch of genius and it is a pity that the exigencies of the contemporary theatre and the decline of the repertory theatre militate against their more frequent performance.

      Yeats saw in her the possibility of gaining the best of both worlds; knowing the texture of common life without abandoning the pride of station which Lady Gregory represented. The stories were hospitable to miracle, the occult, and magic, they seemed to promise a revelation, if only their energy could be gathered, and Yeats hoped to gather some of it in his plays of Cuchulain. She was also, in the moral sense, a leader. Furthermore we can read Cuchulain of Muirthemne side by side with its original as edited and trans. Priests might legitimately say the other called up an indecent picture.

      For although you have not to go far to get stories of Finn and Goll and Oisin from any old person in the place, there is very little of the history of Cuchulain and his friends left in the memory of the people, but only that they were brave men and good fighters, and that Deirdre was beautiful. He also cites her assertion that she has bowdlerised - i. By teaching the anglicised middle-class native Catholics the language, history and culture of Ireland on which the Romantic nationalist claim to Irish nationhood rested, as well as by expressing that claim in art and politics, they not only asserted their right to inclusion within an Irish nation from which the Romantic nationalist definition excluded them on the grounds of natal language, ethnic origin, class and religion, but also asserted their right to continue to lead the nation.

      Her call for its validation anticipated those of black radicals in the United States for the curricular acceptance of Creole dialects.

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      Douglas Sealy , review of James Pethica, ed. She held Coole for Robert. It was his heritage and his inheritance. No matter how she changed in other areas, she remained steadfast in this. It was her duty and she believed in doing her duty more than anything.

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      She merely invented other duties, and when these seemed to conflict with her primary duty, her tone grew steely. She managed to inhabit two ideologies - that of landlord and that of nationalist - at the same time; so, too, de Valera manages his policies on partition and the Irish language and self-sufficiency with a masterly ambiguity.

      In these respects, therefore, the national theatre project should be seen not exclusively as a nationalist one: a conciliatory or assimilative cultural project designed to affirm a leadership role for a minority elite in Irish society and culture at a time when the political and economic supports for this role were fast disappearing.