Literary & Professional in which Polly Devlin’s work has been featured.
The Border. Personal Reflections from Ireland, North and South
Edited by Paddy Logue
Oak Tree Press 1999
ISBN 86076 156 9
The Bloomsbury Guide to Women’s Literature
Edited by Claire Buck
Pub: Bloomsbury, 1992
Northern Windows: An Anthology of Ulster Autobiography
Edited: Frank Ormsby
Pub: Blackstaff Press, 1987
Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Personal Professional& Public writing
Edited: Carolyn P Collette
Pub: Longman, 1997
The Lucky Bag: Classic Irish Children’s Stories.
Edited: Eilis Dillon,
Pat Donlon,Patricia Egan
& Peter Fallon
Pub: Lucky Tree Books, 1984
The O’Brien Press
Ireland’s Women: Writings Past & Present
Selected by Katie Donovan,
A Norman Jeffares
Pub: Gill & MacMillan, 1994
The Female Line: Northern Irish Women’s Writers
Ed: Ruth Hooley
Pub: N.I. Women’s Rights
Home: An Anthology of Modern Irish Writing
Ed: Siobhán Parkinson
Pub: A & A Farmar, 1996
Writing Lines: Conversations between Women Writers
Ed: Mary Chamberlain
Pub: Virago, 1988
Unveiling Treasures: The Attic Guide to The Publisher Works of Irish Women Literary Writers.
Ed: Anne Owen Weekes
Pub: Attic Press, Dublin
ISBN 1-855940-671 pb
ISBN 1-855940-728 hb
The Vogue Bedside Book Ed: Josephine Ross
The Vogue Bedside Book II Ed: Josephine Ross
Pub: Century (Hutchinson), 1986
There’s Something about a Convent Girl
Ed: Jackie Bennett
Pub: Virago, 1991
(In conjunction with Thames Television
Production of the same name.)
The Rattle of the North: An anthology of Ulster Prose
Ed: Patricia Craig
Pub: The Blackstaff Press, 1992
Introduction to four books by Molly Keane
Mad Puppetstown Pub: Virago, 1985
Two Days in Aragon Pub: Virago, 1985
The Rising Tide Pub: Virago, 1984
Deserted Ladies Pub: Virago, 1984
Conversation Piece: with dialogue between Molly Keane & Polly Devlin
Pub: Virago, 1991
Introduction to Four Frightened People
by E Arnot Robinson Pub: Virago, 1982
Christmas Wonder from Ireland for Children
Pub: The O’Brien Press, 1988
Pub: Oak Tree Press, 2000
ISBN 1 86076 176 3 Paperback
ISBN 1 86076 187 9 Hardback
Below: an example of an article by Polly Devlin in an anthology: The Border ed by Paddy Logue .
Oak Tree Press ISBN 1 86076 156 9
It was a sort of trim around the country, somewhere. Near Goraghwood. The policemen came on board the train from Portadown - big men with uniforms who at any moment could make away with you. Goraghwood was like a gorge, high cliffs that the train slid between successfully, every time. There was no town there, no platform, no passengers getting on and off, just the big men in uniforms.
In the kitchen the wireless was permanently tuned to Radio Eireann. There was another world out there across the border. In that other world which was called the Freese Tate people danced and spoke more softly, and ate cakes by Gateau, and if you felt like singing, do sing an Irish song.
Every year we went on holiday to Bray. That’s when the train stopped at Goraghwood, and after that we were in an Italy of the Senses - like Goethe travelling post haste to see the first glimpse of Italy, so the cement buckets going high across the road in a make shift funicular at Drogheda were like a sign that we were in the promised land. Ireland. Eire. Eireann. The four green fields only there were three. Another country where they did things differently and where people were on our side.
In those days our side meant a call for fairness not extremist positions. We were too young to know the whys and wherefores but we weren’t too young not to notice a system of discrimination that drifted like spore from Stormont, that great US Fascist building at Stormont where the Unionist party was in power. No Catholic in the Northern Ireland cabinet; no way to the top. The border did all this. The bloody border.
Later it wasn’t anything romantic to do with trains, it was an ugly reality of queues at border posts, and being photographed in eight seconds and identified as your car tipped the ramp.
When you are a child things that happened before you were born have never not happened. They were eternal. I now know that the border had only been in place over twenty years in my childhood but for it not to be there was unthinkable. It was the Great Divide so potent, so irrevocable, so there, a no man’s land lying athwart a brown bare mountain, marked by a couple of huts, a painted pole, a barrier on the road, but that putative line trimmed our lives as well as cutting our country. It hemmed us in, removed our Irishness from us and made us Northern Irish. I know no-one who speaks of being Eastern Irish or Western Irish. Not that we ever named what we were. No-one asked us. It was only when I came to England that I was asked to define where I was from. By then there was no other definitive. I was irrevocably Northern Irish, as Russians under Stalin or under Communism can never shake off the shadow of the Soviet. I accepted an OBE. What was I thinking of? I wasn’t thinking. The recognition came from my place of birth but not from my country. Straddle the line. Be divided. Live on the border.
It drove a jagged line through our own psyche and personalities. But when those men sat down to draw the line that gave us this prefix Northern, they scored into the very fabric of Ireland and its people. A border is an ornamental word for a cut that scorified a country.