Originally from Dublin, Anthony Morris has lived in Australia since 1958.
He has not been home for 20 years, so his daughter Deirdre Reid decided to take him to Ireland for the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
“My grandfather Thomas Morris was a child during the 1916 Rising, but he later joined the IRA and was interned for a couple of years. He then joined the Garda and got medals, which my father, Anthony, has,” Ms Reid told the Irish Echo.
“I thought it would be nice to take him back for the 100th anniversary because all his family are still there. He is the only one in Australia. He hasn’t been to Ireland for about 20 years so I thought I’d take him for a holiday and we’d enjoy the celebrations.”
Ms Reid thought that, seeing as they were going anyway, why not see if the family history could open some doors for them.
“We applied to see if he could get invited to an event, and now he has been invited to two of them – the ceremony at the GPO on Easter Sunday and also to the State reception at Dublin castle in the evening.
“Dad is beside himself. He’s looking forward to meeting his old friends at home too,” said Ms Reid.
She is also looking forward to the trip. “I’ve been a couple of times, but I haven’t been back for about 25 years. I imagine it’s changed a lot since then.”
Ms Reid said her 78-year-old father always reminded her of their heritage.
“Dad constantly spoke about Ireland when I was growing up, and he still does. He is very Irish and is still connected with the Irish community here in Melbourne,” she said.
It rubbed off on her too. “I did Irish dancing as a kid, entered the Rose of Tralee, all that stuff,” she said.