The historical accounts of prisoner of war camps is difficult to stomach. The atrocities committed against rival soldiers can sometimes be unbearable. Unless, of course, you were a prisoner of war at an Irish POW Camp during WWII.
An American fighter pilot from Nebraska crashed in Ireland and was interned at Curragh Camp, County Kildare.
It was an odd existence. The guards had blank rounds in their rifles, visitors were permitted (one officer shipped his wife over), and the internees were allowed to come and go. Fishing excursions, fox hunting, golf and trips to the pub in the town of Naas helped pass the time.
But what was really odd was the proximity of the Germans.
It was not just the British and their allies who got lost above and around Ireland. German sailors from destroyed U-boats and Luftwaffe aircrew also found themselves interned. The juxtaposition of the two sides made for surreal drama.
Sport was a notable feature. In one football match the Germans beat the British 8-3. There were also boxing contests.
It appears that the rivalry on the pitch followed the teams into the pub afterwards as well. They would drink at different bars, and the British once complained vigorously when the Luftwaffe internees turned up to a dance they had organised.
Somehow this seems entirely appropriate for Ireland, of what I know about my time spent in that country.