Dan Waters, RIC
That’s my great grandfather, Dan Waters. I suppose he’s part of the story, or the backstory at least. In my story, Blackwatertown, some of the main protagonists are RUC men – that is, members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police. It was a very controversial organisation over the years, but more on that another time.
My great grandfather Dan joined the predecessor of the RUC, which was the RIC, the Royal Irish Constabulary. The Irish Constabulary was set up in 1835, and was granted the prefix Royal by Queen Victoria in 1867 after suppressing a nationalist rebellion. Dan himself joined later, according to his card, on May 11th, 1875.
The RIC disappeared in 1922 with the partitioning of Ireland into the six counties of Northern Ireland in the north east, and the twenty six counties of what is now the Republic of Ireland. Tough times for many members. In the south the RIC was replaced by the unarmed Civic Guards, who were renamed the Garda Siochana.
They’re still there. In the north, the I became a U, and the RIC became the Royal Ulster Constabulary. (Northern Ireland comprises six of the nine counties of the province of Ulster.) It’s the RUC who feature in my book Blackwatertown.
So – does this personal link make me any better or worse qualifed to write a story about policemen in Ireland?
There are loads of good blogs out there. But these are a few I check in with pretty much every day.
Slugger O’Toole for (Northern) Irish politics. Mick Fealty is the main man behind it.
Cultural Snow by the prolific Tim Footman. He’s just brought out a book summing up the past decade, The Noughties. He’s got another about Leonard Cohen coming out in October 2009 I think.
The Little Pinch of Salt is the up and down, here and there life and love of Annie.
In his blog Why That’s Delightful!, Graham Linehan waxes alternately whimsical and wrathful at the ways of the world. You never know when he’ll suddenly spark off a popular uprising – on the Scottish media and Dunblane survivors for instance, or his twitter campaign on the political football that the NHS has become in the United States. (You’ll remember Graham from Father Ted. Ah you will, you will, you will… Sorry.)
And Strange Maps is a by turns gentle and incisive exploration of the geography of the world and the mind, via unusual maps.
To all the above. Thanks for the inspiration. All eejitry here is, of course, my own fault.