Sean and politics

Sean was a deep thinker, but was not particularly politically minded. He never voted in his life … the only time he could have voted was in the second Lisbon referendum, but he hadn’t registered. He said he would register in time to vote at the next general election.

At secondary school, history was his favourite subject. Early-twentieth-century Ireland interested him particularly … for his Leaving Cert he did a project on the IRA flying columns of 1919–21.

He admired Michael Collins and knew a lot about de Valera, and, in particular, the Irish Free State’s role in the evolution of the Commonwealth in the 1920s and 1930s (much more than I did, as it has generally been overlooked). He sometimes spoke about this. He didn’t sympathize with the modern ‘Republican Movement’.

Sean’s view of world affairs was strongly influenced by the documentary Zeitgeist films (especially the first one), and he would sometimes hold forth about the flaws in the Federal Reserve and that kind of thing. He was intelligent and persuasive, and claimed to have brought many of his Cavan friends round to his way of thinking on these matters. He wanted his mum and me to watch the first Zeitgeist with him … something we never got round to, though we did see part of the third one with him a few months ago.

Sean’s concern, really, was with people … he could never have been an ideologue. He resented injustice, and didn’t like to see people being bullied, abused or oppressed … at school, we hear, he often intervened in what he saw as cases of unfair treatment. He sympathized instinctively with the underdog, and had a gift for being able to see the essence of the person rather than their age, race, nationality, social class, etc. He had a good heart.



Filed under Ireland, Memories, Politics

18 responses to “Sean and politics

  1. That’s a nice post Brendano and a lovely picture of Sean in reflective mood. I would have loved to have met him.

  2. Hello Levent and papaguinea.

    Yes, I thought it was a nice pic. He didn’t have too many quiet moments in those days … he was a boisterous child.

    He was certainly worth meeting as a young man, papaG … polite and good company, always quick to smile and to laugh.

  3. “Stand up for your rights”

    Nothing wrong with that but he took this a step further and Sean stood up for the underdog and well done.

    I feel the same, “don’t give up the fight”. Although it was easier when I was Sean’s age.

    • Hello Araminta. Thanks for this.

      Many people have told us that Sean helped them in one way or another … stood up for them, boosted their self-esteem, talked to them when they were outsiders, gave them good advice, forgave them for some wrong. He didn’t hold grudges.

      As I have said before, he wasn’t a saint. He was certainly a good person, though. Too good for this world, many messages have said, but I would much rather have him in it all the same.

      Still, I suppose it was meant to be. We hope he learned any lessons in this life that he was meant to learn, and has taken them with him. We learned a lot from him.

  4. Cymbeline

    Hello Brendano. Another extraordinary photograph. I am a great lover of black-and-white photography. Seems to photograph the soul. Here, your son reminds me of Pascal Lamorisse in the film ‘Le Ballon Rouge’, 1956.

    The boulders and the trees look as though they have been painted with some sort of magical substance. Magical, thoughtful child with bare legs.

  5. Hello Cymbeline. Thank you … Pauline took this photo and had placed it in a framed collage in the kitchen; I asked her to remove it temporarily as I really wanted to scan and upload it. Glendalough, Co. Wicklow … a magical place.

  6. Marya

    Good evening Brendan … I, too, think it’s a wonderful photo of Sean.
    Pauline has captured that elusive inward world that only children know .. and that, as adults, we have lost.

    Marya x

    • Good evening Marya … thank you. I’ll make sure Pauline sees all this praise of her photography. I know we have some other good black-and-white photos of Sean as a child that she took.

  7. Hi Brendan
    i’ve had a busy time lately and not visited.
    Good post.
    Somehow from other things I’ve read in your posts about Sean, I’m not surprised he was no ideologue.

  8. What have you said about me that I’ve missed?!
    Cat not so good – see my page.
    Remember you have my email. Tho’ I wasn’t there much either.

  9. Brendano – I though I’d recognised the background to that photo. Glendalough, yes I too have been photographed in that setting. I was with three young ladies; we were all over from London as wedding guests, adn the father of the bride, Mr Eamon Hutton of Castleknock, Dublin took us all on a walk high up into the hill, but I remember this spot in the photo; it is precisely where we sat to have sandwiches. It is strange sometimes that contours, rock, water and greenery are almost gridlocked into the memory system like some mathematical formulae. (Like reading a bar code on a shop item). It is a lovely photo and better for being black and white. Most of today I have been scoring a piano accompaniment for two carols – nothing intrusive but some nice counterpoint! Its not something I do a lot, but I have the time at the moment and find it very rewarding, though hard work, much of it by trial and error!

    The other thing I’d like to say here is that your posts give me an opportunity to listen to a lot of music I would not have bothered with. So thanks to you and Sean, I am now into Bob Marley!

    PS My wife and son, Kojo, flew out to Ghana for 8 weeks sunshine holiday. Yes I miss them so, especially my son. I hope to get some pictures from the Mrs.

  10. Hello, papaguinea … thanks for this … interesting that you were in the same spot. It is a beautiful place … I’ve been there a couple of times.

    Good luck with the carols … I’m sure they’ll sound great. I sang in our church choir on Sunday for the first time since Sean’s death … the mass was offered for him, a choir member and another member’s husband, all of whom have died this year. We will be doing a Christmas service … including ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’, I’m glad to say. I remember that we discussed that one this time three years ago. I love it.

    Eight weeks is a long time to be without your wife and Kojo. I’m sure they’ll be glad of the sunshine … we had a hard time getting the car out of the drive this morning.

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