I was once a child of the Northside, and damn proud of it. The traditional rivalry with the Southside found fertile ground in my soul and was content. Imagine my dismay when I discovered I was in fact descended from Southsiders. My children have not stopped mocking me since the Great Revelation. That means I have to find a way to make it seem like a good idea. Mammys have to win.
Meath Street and Thomas Street, though on the wrong side of the river, contain some of the oldest parts of Dublin. My family as far back as I can ferret information all lived as close to the banks of the Liffey as possible. It’s like the river connected them. They never moved but walking distance away, even when they came to the Northside.
When I did my research with The National Archives of Ireland I noticed a repeating pattern of parishes and names. Generation after generation staying close to each other, the same names on marriage and baptism certificates. There is an ebb and flow to it. Documents show siblings moving further out and away and yet then you see nephews and nieces coming back in close to the centre again. My family has the river in their blood and we can never be too far away from the water, even me.
I’m originating a new name for Dubliners like me Riversiders. No longer tied to directions but to the Liffey. She has a long reach spreading through generations of my family connecting me with the heart of this city and making me realise that all of Dublin is mine.
Victoria Ní Bhraoin