- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Collins Press (May 2 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1848892527
- ISBN-13: 978-1848892521
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,603,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Woven Silence: Memory, History & Remembrance Paperback – Dec 8 2015
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"An absorbing, entertaining and touching story." -- Irish Gazette "Irish Gazette"
About the Author
Felicity Hayes-McCoy from Dublin, daughter of historian G.A. Hayes-McCoy, writes for radio, television, music theatre and digital media. She and her husband, the English opera director Wilf Judd, divide their life and work between a flat in inner city London and a stone house in the West Kerry Gaeltacht. Her books include Enough Is Plenty - The Year On The Dingle Peninsula (2015).
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Hayes-McCoy describes the tolerant, egalitarian, democratic, and feminist vision that drove Republican women like Marion Stokes, Constance Markievicz, and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington. Yet, she writes, “I grew up in a state with a constitution that declared the proper aspiration of women to be marriage, our proper function to be childbearers, and our proper sphere the home. … That, in turn, produced levels of misogyny, emotional sterility and civic immaturity still evident in Ireland today.” The story of a political or social “revolution” subverted by conservative reaction is hardly unique to Ireland (in the United States, the Constitution was a conservative reaction to the democratic egalitarianism of the Declaration and the Articles of Confederation – see, for example, America's Counter-Revolution: The Constitution Revisited). But I’m still new enough to this story to be saddened every time I re-encounter the conformist, conservative, and misogynist society Ireland became from the 1920s to the ‘70s.
What I found most compelling about “A Woven Silence” is the powerful reminder that history isn’t something that happens to other people. The telling and retelling of stories, the sharing of memories … or the conscious decision, personal or cultural, NOT to share those memories … shapes who we are and the world we live in. A vital corollary of this is that none of us should allow the story of who we are and where we came from (individually or collectively) to be monopolized by the powerful. In Revolutionary Lives: Constance and Casimir Markievicz, Lauren Arrington writes of “privileging” the preferred version of history by, for example, carefully preserving mainstream, establishment newspapers while allowing revolutionary leaflets to rot. For her part, Hayes-McCoy gives powerful testimony to how Church and State used their power to monopolize what could be expressed … which, over time, became what could be remembered … about the past.
Readers who enjoy “A Woven Silence” should check out Tony Philpott’s memoir Faithless: A Journey Out of Religion with Stops for Light Refreshment along the Way. You don’t have to buy his conclusions about atheism to find his own memoir of Irish childhood fascinating and thought-provoking. I also recommend A Love Divided, starring my favorite actress, the magnificent Orla Brady. A story based on true events, “A Love Divided” has many parallels to things Felicity Hayes-McCoy discusses in this book.
[Edited to link to a better book about the Constitution.]