I met Professor Biagini’s students who have been exploring my grandfather’s sermons. What lies behind all this is the sudden [?] interest in the story of the Southern Irish Protestants after Partition. They were, in effect, the Southern Irish Unionists – but of course their Britishness was gone. So they had to work out who they were in this new situation. My grandfather, Ernest Bateman, was ordained in 1911 and he became one of the key influences in shaping their acceptance of the new Irish state. His community had a ‘keep your head down’ ethos so there is very little written material from within this community – his archive of sermons is therefore a major contemporary resource. I went to Dublin with my mother to read them about ten years ago. I learned much about who I am – and why I am as I am from reading them!
It turned out to be one of those rather extraordinary gatherings. Some of those present were part of the same Irish diaspora as Alison and I represent – indeed we knew some of them from our exciting past in Trinity College, Dublin. Others were mainly postgrad students who simply knew everything. One, to my sister’s astonishment, quoted from memory an article written by my mother. Another was able to describe the various houses in Booterstown Avenue [where my grandfather’s Rectory was] in which Eamon DeValera stayed while on the run. For those of us who get by knowing a little about a lot, it is suddenly intimidating to be in the presence of people who do detail.
Anyway, I’ll add a photo or two when I get a moment. But for now you
you may be interested in what I said to them