We come from a harsh history ourselves; 800 years of occupation, a terrible famine which halved the population and the ongoing loss of emigration which goes on to this day. We didn't forget any of it. That kind of pervasive pain is passed down.
Sometimes it's their absence that brings home the memories. What they left behind, the empty simplicity of their lives, the poor land where they eeked out an existence. Above all, the cold east wind.
A "rebel hand set the heather blazing" here in Boolavogue. Have no illusions, one man's hero is another man's terrorist. They too must have lived and breathed the complications, the grey areas. But eventually too many had died. Contemporary heroes emerged who could rise above the historical pain and since then we have tried to move on......
My social media feed, like yours, fills up with dead and bloodied children. Here in the silent Irish farm yard we wonder how it must be in Gaza at this time of the year? Amongst the dust, rubble and summer heat there could be no end to the unbearable pain.
Quietly I believe that there is only one possible ending. People on all sides will have to talk to each other and reach an accommodation. Everyone will have to let go of something. There will be no winners, no losers, no triumphs. And then if we are all very, very lucky, there might even be a feeling of deep relief.
In trying to stick with the story of the middle east it's been a challenge to find intelligent and verifiable reporting. If you want to see truth in action follow Naomi Wolf She never shies away from candid debate, murky complexity and above all deep compassion. Sadly every day the story gets darker.
And all of us are looking for some hope, which is eerily scarce right now.