The Guardian

Empire wove together the histories of Ireland and India – and of my family | Ian Jack

In the lanes of County Cork, I found unexpected reminders of my great-grandfather’s military travels• Ian Jack is a Guardian columnist
Illustration by Matt Kenyon

County Cork is full of twisting little lanes, lined at this season with steep banks of wild roses, foxgloves and fuchsia; and last week I got lost in them. First the road narrowed, then it grew a strip of grass down the middle, and eventually turned into a rough gravel track that climbed steeply and turned sharply into what looked like the remains of a farmyard, where it stopped. As I started on a three-point turn, a dog began to bark and a figure appeared, a man in late middle age, who by the state of him looked to have spent an entire life among cattle, manure and straw. He was smiling.

“You’ll have taken the wrong road?”

A long conversation began. He said the same thing several times – if I wanted the Kilcrohane

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian5 min read
'Witnesses Of History': The Man Who Kept Slabs Of The Berlin Wall
Hans Martin Fleischer bought the sections on impulse in 1990. His luck trying to sell them ran out, so he held on.
The Guardian4 min read
Elena Ferrante’s Mysteries Come Home To Narrow Naples Streets Where People Bury Their Past
We visit the hilltop district whose charms and complexity inspired the author’s new novel, The Lying Life of Adults
The Guardian3 min read
Scientist Who Takes On Firms Causing Wildfires Wins John Maddox Prize
A scientist who takes on the companies responsible for massive wildfires across Indonesia has won the prestigious John Maddox prize for standing up for science in the face of harassment, intimidation and lawsuits. Bambang Hero Saharjo, a fire forensi