The Harp and the Crown image here on the Kings Inn in Dublin conjures up many untold stories of the border and its history. In The Glass Shore, a collection of short stories by “Women Writers from the North of Ireland” (ed #Sinead Gleeson), #Martina Devlin’s elegant memorial to Alice Milligan, another Tyrone writer, honours the everyday tension between the Crown and the Harp in Ulster. Alice Milligan, an ardent Irish Nationalist whose “heart had gone with the great struggle” rejected those loyal to the kingdom who “have the crowns on post-boxes and policeman’s uniforms”. Martina Devlin’s story about Alice Milligan gives us insight into the tensions implicit or explicit in border writers.
Civil War ambivalence and the division of Ulster has silenced, angered or marginalised many of us. Poets and writers leave the border to find a voice elsewhere. Poet, #Madge Herron ending up homeless on the streets of London. #Patrick Magill emigrated to US. We are left with questions. Can we resolve the binary opposition of two jurisdictions on one island? Are we ready to understand the legacy of colonialism, our Civil War and emigration? Is there a non-binary approach to the “Crown and the Harp”? Can we in #Brian Friel’s words “learn where we live” without dancing to the tunes of the past?