'I look back on my grandparents' generation and see a people exhausted and traumatised by conflict.' Fergal Keane examines the cost and legacy of war in Ireland.
After nearly three decades reporting conflict from all over the world for the BBC, Fergal Keane goes home to Ireland to tell a story that lies at the root of his fascination with war. It's a family tale about how the ghosts of the past return to shape the present.
Fergal's grandmother, Hanna Purtill, her brother Mick and his friend Con Brosnan, along with many of their neighbours, found themselves caught up in the revolution that followed the 1916 Easter Rising. They took up guns to fight the British Empire and create an independent Ireland.
Many thousands of people took part in the War of Independence and the Civil War that followed. Whatever side they chose, all were changed in some way by the costs of violence. Fergal uses the experiences of his ancestral homeland in north Kerry to examine why people will kill for a cause and how the act of killing reverberates through the generations.
In the final episode, Fergal looks back on his grandparents' generation to examine the cost and legacy of war in Ireland. He reflects on how the wounds of the past shaped the island on which he grew up. "I look back on my grandparents' generation and see a people exhausted and traumatised by conflict."
Abridged by Anna Magnusson
Produced by Pippa Vaughan
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 4.
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