I recently mentioned being stopped by the police on Baggot Street in Dublin. It’s happened again.
I’ve since been thinking that my parents used to live just fifty metres from where I was stopped at a checkpoint that morning. Then, a weeks later, I was stopped right outside what was once their hall door. This was a few days ago and it was a roaming road block that helps to ensure compliance with Covid travel restrictions. While it’s strangely reassuring to have to explain that you are bringing a broken camera for repair (a legitimate work activity), it was almost joyous to have to justify the journey to collect the repaired camera.
The camera had travelled to the UK and back in sixteen days and returned with a brand new shutter. I am very happy and relieved to have it restored to full working order.
Back on Baggot Street, my parents had lived there for a few years in a house that had another, darker side.
Somehow my parents never discussed that the IRA had shot and killed a British soldier, Captain Newberry, in that house. The attack took place some six decades before my parents moved in. That day was a day of many fatal attacks on British agents. That was 100 years ago, on the morning of November 21, 1920. The British reprisals in Croke Park later that afternoon included the police machine gunning spectators and players alike. It’s forever known as Bloody Sunday and sadly, it’s not the only Bloody Sunday to be recalled and reviled on this island. The Irish War of Independence took thirty lives that day in 1920 and left many with life long suffering from their wounds and grief.
I doubt the folk who walk along Baggot Street or elsewhere know let alone recall the often grim war stories that could be told of many buildings around Dublin. And there remains a strained, continuing relationship that we Irish continue to have with the UK. It’s a relationship that brought me pleasure from a Japanese company that repaired my camera in Britain. And did so expeditiously when Brexit has meant that other new camera parts I ordered in the last days of December have still not been delivered.