"When my family were here in Ireland, the world they belonged to was vanishing. But not everyone agreed to vanish with it"
explains Mary Cookson, a descendant of the Irish, Protestant, English accented, aristocratic Murphy family. They lived in huge stately homes, whilst their servants, "walked to work barefoot"
. Their lifestyles were a great contrast to the masses; they were the feudal lords of their day. Like many, the Murphy's tried to cling on to their lifestyle and identity, as nationalism raged.
Visiting the estate, which once the Murphy's owned as a whole, Milford Houses' crumbling grey walls exist, as an echo, to their grand historical past. Sectioned, and nationalised, they were eventually left with only the East wing. "My loyalty was 100% for England"
, exclaims Fiona Murphy, despite, her birth, and nationality all being Irish. She explains the shift against the Anglo-Irish as "a polite version of ethnic cleansing"
For this strange community, the social and religious "apartheid happened both ways"
. Fiona expands that "with the wrong name and accent you were never allowed to forget it," indeed "many Anglo-Irish didn't allow their children to see their Irish neighbours at all"
leaving them as a "forlorn last survivor community"
in self imposed exile. The Murphy's exemplify the defence of identity, highlighting the argument is two sided, understanding is vital, for identity comes not just from within, but also from those around you.
JOIN THE DISCUSSION