The lost Protestants of ‘Kingstown’

Many Protestants felt unable to live in independent Ireland. Author Julie Parsons tracks down some of the families who left 20th-century Dún Laoghaire

Elizabeth and Andy Parsons, parents of Julie Parsons, on their wedding day in 1945.

Elizabeth and Andy Parsons, parents of Julie Parsons, on their wedding day in 1945.

I was born in New Zealand in 1951, the child of Irish emigrants. My mother was always homesick. She longed for Ireland. Circumstances meant that she spent many years away from home but, as soon as she could, she returned to Dún Laoghaire where she had spent her childhood. She brought her children with her. We were aged from 17 to nine. I was the 12-year-old in the middle.

My mother had always told us we were Irish. But the Ireland we returned to in May 1963 was not the Ireland of her experience and her memory. Her Ireland was a Protestant world; her father was the rector of the Mariners’ Church in what she still called “Kingstown”.

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