'An incredible portal to our past' The Sunday Times
On 7 January 1922, Ireland became a free state. Born into that era of turbulence and hope were the twenty-six women and men whose stories and memories of a lifetime are captured by cherished Irish journalist Valerie Cox.
From recollections of the big snow of 1932, to Éamon de Valera speaking to crowds in a rural town square, to the dawning of electricity, these evocative pieces reflect both a simpler time and a tougher one, where childhood was short and the world of work beckoned from an early age.
In living memory are tales of 'rambling houses' - where each night neighbours would walk over the fields to sit around the fire, drink tea and tell stories - raising a family in an earlier era, the scourge of TB, hiding out in Santry Woods when the Black and Tans raided, and pride in a father who was interned in Frongach after the
Easter Rising. Also explored are thoughts on the good and bad of how life has transformed over a century.
Growing Up With Ireland is a compelling portrait of an Ireland in some ways warmly familiar, and in others changed beyond recognition, from those who were there at the beginning.
In a long career as a reporter working in newspapers, radio and television, Valerie Cox has interviewed people from every county in Ireland. Over eleven years working on the Today programme on RTÉ Radio she travelled around the country covering stories as diverse as the closure of schools, Garda stations and post offices. She was out with the rescue services in floods and snow and covered the events that make rural Ireland special, including the ploughing.
She is the author of three previous books, Searching, which tells the story of Ireland's missing people, The Family Courts, and A Ploughing People (Hachette).
Valerie lives in rural County Wicklow with her husband Brian and the couple have five children and four grandchildren.
An incredible portal to our past ... These are stories of healing and love and life - and pain. Reading them is like sitting next to one of your grandparents, listening to them as they open their heart to you—The Sunday Times
A comprehensive and evocative insight into a century of Irish life ... a valuable record—Irish Examiner
Absorbing ... a clear-sighted account of how electricity, mass emigration and healthcare revolutions changed this country - for better and for worse—Sunday Business Post
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