15 year old Ann Lovett died in a grotto to the Virgin Mary with her son, having just given birth to him, in 1984.
Fifteen year old Ann Lovett left school early on the 31 January 1984. She didn’t go home. Instead she disappeared into the grotto by the graveyard in her home town of Granard, Co Longford. There, all alone, on the cold, damp ground, unprotected from wind and the driving rain amid the fading light of a January afternoon she gave birth to a baby boy. Several hours later they were both dead.
The lonely death of Ann Lovett and her son ignited a public conversation about the type of society that Ireland was and more importantly the type of society that it needed to become. The tragic death of Ann Lovett would become for Ireland, as Rosita Boland has written, a story impossible to unknow or, to forget.
Thirty years later, a large crowd gathered in Maynooth University to remember Ann Lovett; to remember an Ireland that we like to think belongs firmly in the past, but that we now continues to echo into the present.
Here is a video recording by USi Ireland of the very special event.
The evening began with a short performance in memory of Ann Lovett by singer Christy Moore.
This was followed by a discussion on the significance of the Ann Lovett’s death thirty years later. Joining in the conversation were journalist and columnist with the Sunday Times Justine McCarthy, Dr. Anne Mulhall from the School of English in UCD, historian Catríona Crowe who is head of Special Projects at the National Archive and Ailbhe Smyth a leading activist, feminist and founder of the Feminist Open Forum.
The discussion was chaired by the event organizer Dr Sinéad Kenendy from the School of English, Theatre and Media Studies, Maynooth University.
The evening concluded with a reading of Paula Meehan’s poem The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks by Mary O’Byrne.
It took place on 05 February 2014 at Maynooth University.
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