Interviewed by Ben Zuberek / photos by Sharon Smith
Ben: How long have you lived in the area?
Eithne: 43 years.
Ben: What’s a fond memory you have of living here?
Eithne: One memory we have of living here was the tennis tournaments with all the neighbours. We had it every year and there was even a trophy where the winners got their name carved on it. The tournament was called ‘The O’Grady Challenge Cup’- the name came from a friend who had donated the cup and played in it until he was kidnapped by the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) in 1987.
Ben: Have you seen this community come back from hard times before?
Eithne: During the 2008 recession, a lot of people in our neighbourhood were heavily invested in the stock market and when everything went caput they lost a lot and many people were forced to sell their house and move so we saw a change in the people of the community. Even though we are no longer neighbours, we still managed to maintain a connection and help them out as much as we could until times were better.
Ben: What are some things that have helped you through lockdown and what brings you joy?
Eithne: Lots of outdoor activities really helped us through lockdown and the pandemic. Things such as gardening, tennis and cycling reminded us of what life was like before and gave us a break from being couped up all day.
Ben: What does community mean to you? What sort of things are you doing now to stay connected to your community and family?
Eithne: We manage to stay connected to the community by playing in the local tennis and golf clubs. This gives us an opportunity to do something we like as well as seeing friends and familiar faces from the community and even new faces when someone moves into the community. Since covid, both our daughters have moved back, bringing grandchildren. This allows us to stay more connected to family by being able to have big dinners that we couldn’t have when half the family didn’t live in Ireland.
Ben: What message do you want to share for yourself and this community in 10 years time?
Eithne: In 10 years time, we would like the community to stay together with their houses as more and more of the nice old houses are being sold to developers and being knocked down and turned into ugly apartment blocks.
Ben’s experience with the project: “A great way to really get to know someone’s past and hear some great stories.”
Pictured below is a photo of the wood chopping board that was Ben’s creative response to his interview with Eithne. There are also images from Eithne’s shoot with Sharon.