June 4th rolls around again…. Twenty years gone by. What a wild ride it’s been! It’s worth looking back on what life was like before the historical change. Mostly I remember the boredom and the greyness. There was dirt everywhere and alcoholism was rampant as people sought refuge from the dull, mind-crushing realities of every day life. There was no sense of hope in the air; no belief that things might ever change as the queues just got longer and longer. The lucky few who escaped rarely came back. Work was a joke – just one grey meaningless day after another with no change on the horizon. I remember too the enforced gaiety of the parades: standing with my parents in my Sunday best waving a flag as the soldiers marched by. Life was dominated by collectivism – schools were institutions devoted to crushing individuality within their grey walls. Creativity was stifled by the authorities. Everyday life was a struggle. But some time in the nineties Ireland changed from all that into a real dump.