The sun has finally come out and where better to be than Galway?! Unfortunately, the lovely weather seems to have deterred people from coming in-doors — who could blame them? — but there was still scope for an entertaining chat at Galway City Library this evening.
The conversation further confirmed a now consistent trend: new technologies might have been the symbol of a new, modern Ireland in the 1960s, but for many households — particularly in rural Ireland — they weren’t an option. The absence of electricity and running water meant that electric cookers, washing machines and fridges simply couldn’t be part of everyday life.
But even when there was the possibility to install such items in a kitchen, there was skepticism. One woman recounted how her mother was adamant that a washing machine would not wash the clothes as well as she could.
There was also an interesting observation from the audience about women becoming sources of knowledge: men might have paid for the new technologies that came into the home, but it was the women who operated them. Learning to do so not only expanded their knowledge base, but also gave them a type of power.
On a side note, I fell in love with the children’s section of the library (where my talk was held). While most libraries have a children’s corner, Galway library has a large room dedicated to children and young adult readers. The wonderful ‘tree’ feature in the middle of the room made me want to grab a book and sit beneath it!