Tag: rural

The thirteenth Station: Love

Sunday, 6 December, 2015 0 Comments

The union that was celebrated by the wedding guests on 16 June 1952 at Riversdale House in the Glen of Aherlow witnessed many wonders in the 63 years of its fortunate existence. None was more wondrous than that expressed in the two words “rural electrification.” It would prove to be the tipping point for the enterprise that became the happy couple’s mission in life.

Daddy and Mammy

When many of today’s generation hear about rural electrification, they think either of the developing world or of ancient agrarian history. For my parents, however, their marriage year coincided with the electrification of rural Ireland. It was a happy coincidence because electrification was the difference between power and powerlessness, between past and future, between regression and progress. Tellingly, my mother and father rarely used the word “electricity”. They referred to it as “the light”. If, during a storm, a transformer was affected and power was cut off, the first thing that was noticed was the outage of the electric light as represented by the Sacred Heart lamp in the kitchen. “The light’s gone,” was the phrase that was used to declare the loss of electricity. The use of light as a synonym for electricity was significant in that the alternative state was darkness, with all its metaphorical connotations.

During the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, 80’s, 90’s and beyond the first decade of the 21st century, mother and father devoted themselves to raising their family, expanding their business and establishing an envied presence as an example of wisdom, respect and integrity in their community. Such are the rewards of the thing called love, which is, in the long run, unique to each couple, their personalities, their dreams and their principles.

An anecdote sums up what love meant to my mother. One evening last year, her great companion Bridget Fitzgerald arrived with the latest recording by the rural heartthrob, Nathan Carter. We drank tea, listened to songs and then, Bridget holding up the CD cover featuring the handsome Nathan, said, “Kit, wouldn’t you like to wake up in the morning and seen him in the bed beside you?”

My mother glanced at the toothful Nathan and then looked up at the wedding photo from June 1952 and said, “Bridge, if I could, I’d have the same fella again.” Such was love.

Tomorrow, here, our final station in this series of meditations on 14 photographs is Legacy.

Hen party

Sunday, 2 September, 2012

hen party “When a random group of girls decides to get together. Not letting boys ruin their gongshow, and just basically girls being girls. You’re with your fellow ladies, and don’t have to worry about looking too hot or anything, boys are not present, and you basically just have the time of your life with […]

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Arrival City

Tuesday, 3 January, 2012

“We will end this century as a wholly urban species.” That’s the startling claim made by Doug Saunders in the preface to Arrival City, his excellent book on the global transformation that’s taking place as huge numbers of people abandon rural life to build a better future in the city. But it’s not just any city that Doug Sounders concerns himself with, which is why he has coined the term “arrival city” to describe the places that are the new magnets for the new migrants and where, he contends, that “the next great economic and cultural boom will be born, or where the next explosion of violence will occur.”

Arrival City The question, then, is not so much “What is an arrival city?” as “Where is an arrival city?” And in answering the question, Saunders brings us to places with names such as Petare, Mulmund, Karail, Dorli, Kibera and Shenzhen. Then there’s Los Angeles. As an “arrival city”, Los Angeles is a great success, says Saunders, “because it is constantly sending its educated second generation into more prosperous neighbourhoods and taking in waves of new villagers, in a constantly reiterated cycle of ‘arrival, upward mobility, and exodus.'” In Los Angeles, this has led to the development of effective immigrant political cultures and the culmination of all this was the election in 2005 of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, “the first arrival-city child to end up running one of the America’s major cities,” as Saunders puts it.

At a time when the rural-urban equation is changing as never before, Arrival City deserves a wide readership.