Saint Patrick’s Day
If you were visiting or living in Dublin’s Fair City around 1969, you may have been surprised/amused to see a mother pacing down the street, pushing a big old pram with two tots and two more running alongside, under strict orders not to let go of pram handles. Not unusual then in Catholic Ireland… However on closer inspection, you’d observe quickly this must be a mini orphanage outing as none ofthese little girls look related and here’s where it get’s interesting - ethnically, there is a mini United Nations ensemble, bustling down that Dublin street in 1969!
Keep gaping in wonder and you’d notice that they are dressed identically, down to ribbons in hair, despite the fact that the black child is sporting a very tight afro! The Asian baby’s bow is slipping to the side of her head, but a multitude of clips see’s it in place. She is determined to kick the blond older sibling out of the shared pram, but latter wields her broken doll with great effect and the efficient Mother puts end to chaos. The eldest child skips elegantly alongside the pram holding tightly to the handle, whilst on the far side the Afro child who could do with visiting a gym, struggles to keep up with the pace of the party!
Both Abortion and single parenting traversed the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, meant Irish orphanages were full to bursting. Non-white children were difficult to find homes for. This couple however, was colour blind… and therefore content with every addition to their growing family!
Possibly, just in case there is any confusion regarding relationship of the siblings, the Mother dresses her four charges identically…. down to ribbons in hair… Red ribbons for Christmas, yellow for Easter, White and pink for Summer, and green for St Patricks Day! Her mantra being…. “There are no differences made in this house!”
We only really appreciate now, since the recent emerging horrors of the convents and orphanages of Ireland’s past, how truly fortunate are little ensemble was as a result of the love and altruism ofMary and Tommie Boyle of the Glenties, Co. Donegal. R.I.P.
Bail O Dhia oraibh!