Remember Ireland at Christmas? Not like this you don’t

For more info on these, or any other items in our collection, please visit us via your preferred chartered helicopter service, or else find us online at twitter.com/rememberireland and facebook.com/rememberingireland We have, however, often thought about what it would be like if we were we to entertain such inquiries from such unwelcome thickos. In this vein, and perhaps to deter people from coming here only to be forcibly removed, we thought we’d offer a little glimpse at our most treasured Yuletide objects, a glance at dear old Ireland from those grand, forgotten days of Christmas past. When people arrive at our humble archive, a common refrain at this time of year is “have you anything Christmassy?”. We are not open to the public, so such questions are met with withering scorn and – more than likely – the threat of physical violence. As the country’s premier library of artefacts from our nation’s past, we here at Remembering Ireland HQ know fine well what place Christmas holds in the Irish imagination. Click here to open the gallery

Destiny and the Republic: Six artists on what Ireland is now

Or perhaps, in this case, an Aisling, Hibernia or Róisín Dubh. The winter light heightens the elegiac mood – the shady corridors, the empty dormitory and classroom, the chipped teacups “used by Patrick and Willie Pearse during the last dinner with their mother”, and the countless other reminders of lives long gone. The document speaks of the Irish nation proving itself worthy “of the august destiny to which it is called” through “the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good”. The Spartan nature of the setting, bare brick and functional metal, dispenses with any sense of luxury or ease. Playing on the idea of the potato print, she has carved letters from the Proclamation into cut spuds, making a metaphor of freshness and decay with particular regard to the historical significance of the potato. Each video questions the “unfettered control of Irish destinies” from the point of view of those whose destinies have brushed abrasively against the realities of Ireland, including, for example, emigrants and immigrants, and others who experience structural inequality in society. The children in question, we realize in following the text and images of her scroll-like creation, include young women who travel abroad to terminate their pregnancies (a recurrent subject), as well as people who are homeless and marginalised in one respect or another. Between both shows, the Proclamation’s aim of “cherishing the children of the nation equally” clearly ranks high in the artists’ attention. You might think, as you arrive in Pearse exhibition space, that an invigilator has wandered off and left their transistor radio turned on. Here, nestled in the foothills of the Dublin mountains, relics of the 1916 Rising cradle frame a show in which six artists recall the aspirations of the Proclamation and measure those aspirations against aspects of contemporary Ireland. Suzanne Walsh, meanwhile, produces concrete poetry assembled from the work of Thomas McDonagh, Francis Ledwidge and online comments from forums on housing, environment and wildlife: broadening the question of who or what belongs. For St Enda’s, the exhibitors had stringent conditions: they should address a particular “vision” enshrined in the Proclamation, and what they proposed must be accommodated in a display case borrowed from the museum. It is as if Coogan monumentally develops this idea in the Lab, where her pram filled with oranges has the hues of the tricolour – white wheels, green pram, oranges for sale. …

Frankie’s List, a short story by Louise Hall

Persevered. She has two non-fiction books published with Columba Press and one with Italian publisher Edizioni Piemme. So scared. “Here,” she says as she hands it to me, “I found this on the floor the other night. Or at least make it feel alright. They’ve been working hard all day serving up meals, and they need to get on home now. louisehall.ie Twitter: @LouHallWriter The names at the top of the page. How life turned out for him or where he was living. Unsure, nervous, frightened. So clear that it’s dancing like a motion picture before my eyes. Rashers is talking quietly to Sadie and they’re both looking over at me every so often. How I was nearly gone. “Come in, buddy,” he said in that same whispering tone that exuded an unnatural strength. The years haven’t been kind. But then, aren’t the rest of us too. “Sadie,” I say as I push my hands deep into my pockets and try not to look at the floor. So, I’m looking around the room, filtering through the faces of the familiar, everyone wearing the same pitiful look as they do every evening at this time, seeing if I can spot the hobbit in his brown dress – the one he ties with a rope – before we’re all thrown out for what will be another night of obligatory stargazing. But I could take the withdrawals no more. But he has a terrible habit – or a wonderful knack – of disappearing when you’re looking for him, or appearing when you want to be left alone. I think it’s Thursday because the usual posh nobs, all suited and booted, are flocking into McPhelan’s pub across the way, jubilant that it’s pay day and that they can savour a well-earned pint. ADVERTISEMENT “It’s good to see you, Frankie,” Vince’s da said before putting his arm around his wife, “but Vince passed away two years ago. “I know he’d love a visit from Frankie.” Then he turned to me with red swollen eyes and said, “You were his only friend.” Four. A heart attack, the doctors said.” Brother Hubie asked if we could go and visit his grave. She stood back from the door and invited me in. Not one bit of it. “You’re a grandfather too, four times over. “The nurses tell me that every time a fancy car pulls into the driveway …