Norah Brain (1907-1987): Politics,Protest & Class – Writing Lives

Norah Brain (1907-1987): Politics,Protest & Class

Norah’s memoir does not share her political opinions, as the memoir reflects upon her childhood emphasizing work and the role of home and family. However  towards the end of the memoir Norah writes: ‘ By now I was growing up & aware of all the troubles around! It was an I.R.A. country & some of the things were of a great shock.’(66)



Due to the lack of specific dates in Norah’s memoir we can estimate that the date she describes the IRA was around 1919 when she was twelve years old as she has recently left school and has a job. Around this time in Ireland the IRA waged a guerrilla campaign against the British rule between 1919-21, named the Irish war of independence.  Unfortunately for us readers, Norah does not mention her own and her families political stance with regards to the IRA and the troubles. If we knew the family’s political view it would be very interesting as it is only Norah’s father who is Irish, her mother and her siblings were all born in England. However within the memoir the family uproot back to where her father lived and grew up in Ireland- a village called Kilkishen.  We can only presume from the father’s Irish nationality and their strict beliefs in Catholicism that the family would have been most likely against the British Protestant rule.

Useful Websites:  (particularly useful website if you would like to find out more about the IRA activity in Kilkishen where Norah grew up.)


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