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Vinegar Hill Re-enactment

Overheard at today’s re-enactment of the 1798 Battle of Vinegar Hill (which put paid to the United Irishmen’s rebellion against centuries of British oppression), a young child asking her mother: “Can children die, Mammy?”


What do you think?


  1. I know as a parent those are the questions you dread. There is no handbook answer to that question. There is a moment of utter panic. You have to decide what your child can hear.

    • Yes, a really difficult one. In the re-enactment (as in historical fact) there were numerous women and children in the rebels’ encampment, and as the redcoats approached, it was not difficult to guess what would happen to them. This was the moment I overheard the child’s question. I felt the child had never faced the question in her mind before. One way or another, we educate ourselves to life’s flaws.

      • There are times when I think Faulkner was right (Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury it signifies nothing) and times (more times) that I believe in the line uttered by many, but I last heard it from Robert Kennedy. “There is no greater gift, than helping another rise from where they had fallen.” Neither of those helps when a child asks, however, can children die. My wife is a hospice social worker, whose job is dying children. She says the only answer to that question is be open, be honest and listen.