'My interest in Irish culture was also instrumental in building friendships'

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'My interest in Irish culture was also instrumental in building friendships'


Mary reflects upon the influence of her background on her life. In particular she acknowledges the benefit of her nationality, her interest in Irish culture, her religion and religions values.


Mary Dynan


Trinity College Dublin




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My background has been in every way a plus or me. I love being Irish. When I taught in England - before the troubles broke out - we Irish nuns were loved and respected. At a later stage when Muredach and I were at the University in Keele at the time of the Birmingham bombing, we felt distressed and ashamed, but he people around us just continued to treat us in the same friendly manner. In Australia, being Irish was in some ways a plus - we were not Poms. When we first went to Perth which was quite English orientated place, people were not much interested in their Irish background. However, after the Australian bicentenary celebrations, people became very interested in their antecedents and it was a very different story. They became proud of their Irish ancestry. My religion also opened doors in a way. The parish with its familiar routines and ceremonies was a readymade community wherever we went which was a great help in settling into new places. My interest in Irish culture was also instrumental in building friendships. The Aisling Society in Sydney, of which I was the secretary for a time, met monthly for talks of Irish interest and ran social events for the Irish community and through it I made many friends both Aussie and Irish. The Queensland Irish Association also provided similar opportunities. I was brought up in comfortable surroundings. While we were not spoiled, we had everything we needed. I could have my startrite shoes and my Judy dresses. My parents were able to provide a good education when others were not so fortunate. They were able to fund my trips to Rome and France which opened new horizons for me as a teenager. When in later life I needed financial help to start out on a new life, my mother, with the help of my brother, was in a position to support me till I got on my feet.


Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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