By J.P. Bruce
The 1960s heralded great change across the western world. A trite and unoriginal observation perhaps, but also true. As one commentator put it, "It was a time of rude energy, a contempt for tradition, in which the material fruits of post-war sacrifices and reconstruction could be enjoyed". The young grew their hair long, listened to psychedelic music, smoked marijuana, and had sex with whoever they fancied. Well if the documentary about the Woodstock festival is to be believed, some of them did at least.
What about the youth of Ireland? According to The Irish Times, "1960s Ireland was monochrome and monolithic". Well I don't remember it like that. Drugs and sex might not have been prevalent, and long hair was frowned upon by the Christian Brothers, but everything seemed exciting and new to me. Maybe that's because I turned 13 in 1966. If I were ten years older perhaps I would have felt the same about the 1950s. But I don't think so somehow. Anyway, I can only know what I know. And so the 1960s was a magical time, a time that happened to coincide with my development from a child into a man.
In Na Seascaidí, I write about the 1960s in Ireland, but not as a nostalgic look back at the "good old days". At a distance of over half-a-century I am more clear-headed about that momentous period. I see it now as a watershed in the history of our society and of our culture. In fact, "change" seems too small a word to describe what happened to Ireland. "Transformation" is closer, but "revolution" is probably the most apt term.
Through a combination of personal memory and a little research, I try to make sense of it all. My blog may seem random and even a bit wacky. Perhaps each article is like a piece of a jigsaw, the overall design of which is a little foggy at the moment. Maybe in the end it will form some sort of coherent picture.
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'Sunset in Glendalough', courtesy of Giuseppe Milo at Milo Photography.
'Shield of Arms of Ireland', Sodacan. This W3C-unspecified vector image was created with Inkscape. [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]