Monday, April 19, 2010

Memory Lane, Articlave

Mrs H. & I took a few minutes (without children in tow!) to visit this place last week. It's the premises of First Dunboe Presbyterian Church, in Articlave, Northern Ireland. For my wife initially (and subsequently for me) this is a place loaded with memories and significance.

When I visit my hometown after a long absence, the experience can be quite overwhelming, as even walking down the road can trigger a stream of long-buried memories to bombard the mind. I am sure that the intensity of that mental assault is probably far stronger for the returning absentee, than for those who have remained close to home their whole lives who become accustomed to the markers of the past inhabiting their present.

For my wife, this was the place she was brought as a child, for us both this was the place we got married in 1996, making it inextricably part of my history too. In the graveyard around the building, we traced several generations of her family, names we had heard at funerals, stretching back across the tiers of the family tree, spellings sometimes changing en route. The graveyard is also full of memorials to dozens of people that my wife has known over the years - the reminder of whom was powerful and affecting. So too, were the names of people written there who we have both known, both of family and friends; those who died young and those who lived long.

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