Jumping the Border
Séamas Ó Catháin
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Séamas Ó Catháin was born in Tyrone in 1942 to a family of Catholic business people and farmers. His home town of Drumquin was ‘a stone’s throw’ from the border that separates the Republic of Ireland from the Six Counties of Northern Ireland. This book is an engaging, often eye-opening, account of his experience – as a child and as a young man – in three distinctive cultures, now radically changed.
He describes the Tyrone of the 1940s and 1950s where Protestant and Catholic neighbours shared their lives at a personal level, but where institutions were divisive. His father’s prosperous business was ruined because of a political event he supported. The schools and the curriculum were dividers of the two communities. The border was a nuisance to everyone.
As a post-graduate student in the 1960s, he took up residence in the Donegal Gaeltacht of Na Cruacha, where ‘real old Irish’ was still spoken. He carried out a study of the placenames of Na Cruacha, recording the area’s distinctive music and speech.
Shortly afterwards his research took him to the far north of Europe, to Sápmi (an area extending over parts of four countries, and generally known as Lapland). There he immersed himself in the culture and language of the Sámi people, at a time when their native language and customs were belittled and under threat.
|215 × 139 × 12 mm