What is it like when your own family memories and stories are melded with history, with the memories and stories of the nation itself?
For no one is this more true in the year of the 100th anniversary of the 1916 rising than for the relatives of those who took part in the rising, and particularly for those who are related to the seven leaders, the signatories of the Proclamation itself. As public events,, features in newspapers, theatre shows and TV documentaries celebrate and examine the details of our common history, they are also picking through the precious private past of families.
Honor O’Brolcháin is one such person. She is the great niece of Joseph Mary Plunkett (Joe, as she and all in the family call him). Plunkett of course was executed for his part in leading the Rising, so Honor did not know him personally. However, his sister Geraldine Plunkett lived in the house Honor and her brother and sisters grew up in in Marlborough Road, Donnybrook. Geraldine and Joe were very close, and through her grandmother’s stories and reminiscences, Honor became very familiar with Joe as a child.
Honor O Brolchain, author and great niece of Joseph Mary Plunkett
It’s tempting to glamourise and say I’m meeting director Lenny Abrahamson for a coffee and a chat between award ceremonies. And it is true to an extent. A few nights before this I watched him accepting the BAFTA for best actress on behalf of Bree Larson. In a couple of days he’ll be flying out to LA with Monika, his wife, to attend the Academy Award ceremony. More specifically however, I’m meeting him between dropping his two kids to primary school and a check up at the family dentist. Apparently there are some things your Hollywood-style assistant just can’t do for you.
Director & Screenwriter, Lenny Abrahamson
Three oscar nominations for Room, Abrahamson’s intense but life-affirming film of Emma Donoghue’s book, has certainly propelled him into a high pressure world of offers, meetings, possible projects and, yes, assistants. “You find yourself saying ‘I’ll get my assistant to call you’”, he admits. “And you say it without any irony and without trying to be a twat, because you suddenly go: I simply can’t handle the stuff I’m supposed to do!”