My Country Childhood
In the west of Ireland, life is a bit slower than in the rest of the world; especially if you’re a child. When people talk about the technology the children of today have, and reminisce about the technology they had, I’m usually left sitting awkwardly. What sort of a child played with Xboxes and had a TV in their room? Didn’t they know all the craic was to be had running after the cows and climbing on top of the silage? Or cycling their bikes down the bog road?
Trying to explain the intense freedom of the countryside to people who didn’t spend time there during their childhood is impossible. Growing up on my grandparents farms in Mayo, life was carefree. I never had to worry about cars or strangers or anything really, and neither did my parents (within reason of course). I had more important things to worry about, like climbing trees and running through the neighbours’ fields.
Even though I had Barbie and my favourite doll Sally-Ann (I know, crazy name for a doll right?) my early childhood was spent making mudcakes and daisy chains. Actually, a lot of my teen years also involved daisy chains, though I grew out of the mudcakes. Going on adventures and walks through the fields was the highlight of my weekend. Finally free from the “stresses” of primary school, I could go to Granny Kellys’ on a Friday night and stay there till I had to leave for school again, hanging out with my cousins who were more like siblings or best friends than anything else. Or if I went to Granny Gavins, the incredible isolation meant that nothing could disturb the games my childhood imagination was running wild with. It also meant that I had a tendency to go missing as I had no sense of time or responsibility!
There are times now when I would love to go back, to the freedom and peace of the countryside. And sometimes I do; while living abroad, backpacking on a new adventure, or when I get back to Ireland. Nothing refreshes the soul more than the sound of rural silence. I love my current home in Tallinn, but I might need to get out of the city soon for some soul food in rural Estonia!