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Ireland’s elites are rewriting the past Remembrance is being used to undermine democracy

Ireland's past cannot be hidden (Bernard Bisson/Sygma via Getty Images)


January 28, 2022   5 mins

When the Irish government published a video to commemorate the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016, there were a number of glaring absences. The 90-second clip made no mention of its combatants or the bloody crushing of the rebellion by the British army — including the execution of 16 rebels. Instead, the video led with footage of the Queen, David Cameron and a group of twenty-somethings clubbing.

Within a week, amid widespread criticism, the video disappeared and the Government’s official ‘Ireland 2016’ website was quietly taken down — though not before it emerged that it had used Google to translate The Proclamation of the Irish Republic and historian Diarmaid Ferriter had labelled the video “embarrassing, unhistoric shit”.

Four years later, the Irish Government was similarly humiliated when Leo Varadkar, Enda Kenny’s replacement as Taoiseach, revealed his plans to commemorate the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) with a state ceremony. Not only were the RIC formed as the armed wing of British imperialism in the 1800s, used to protect British landowners during the famine, but many viewed the announced commemoration as an attempt to memorialise the infamous Black and Tans — thugs often recruited from British prisons who joined the RIC to violently hunt down Republicans during the early 1900s. In response to Varadkar’s plan to give “right and proper” status to the “police officers who were killed”, the Irish public sent the Wolfe Tones to the top of the charts with Come out Ye Black and Tans.

More than anything else, the past decade of Irish centenaries has shown how memorials and commemorations can be tense affairs. To say the Government in the south hasn’t done well when it comes to remembering is an understatement. And as Ireland prepares to commemorate 50 years since Bloody Sunday this weekend, that doesn’t look like changing; if anything, nowhere is the squeamishness with which Irish politicians approach the past more present than in its current Taoiseach, Micheál Martin.

Earlier this month, Martin spoke at a conference commemorating the handover of Dublin Castle to the newly elected chairman of the Provisional government, Michael Collins. Addressing an audience at Trinity College Dublin, Martin said that “every state has a right to remember and honour its founders and the traditions which both won the support of the people and secured progress”. He then warned that “we live at a moment when attempts to distort and manage public histories are becoming more and more serious”. Calling on the need for “independent historical scholarship”, he lamented that “ours is a world where disinformation and populism are a very real threat to the sustainability of free democracies”.

Such charged language distinguished the framing of this commemoration from those that came before. This was more than a matter of bluster and ineptitude; here we had a blatant display of revisionism, one designed to bolster the Taoiseach’s anti-democratic agenda.

Far from a declaration of a new, free Ireland, the treaty that Collins handed over at Dublin Castle in January 1922 was signed on the condition that the members of parliament in an Irish Free State swore an oath of allegiance to the British Crown: Collins and others were forced to “solemnly swear” to be “faithful to His Majesty King George V, his heirs and successors by law” and agree membership of the British Commonwealth.

As well as selling out the six counties in the North, the brutal civil war between Republicans following the handover was based on the popular notion that the treaty had been a means for British establishment figures to use Irish heads of state to quell what had been a populist rebellion. A century later, as Irish politicians use the event to rail against “populism” and “disinformation”, some might wonder how much has changed.

Indeed, last September, Irish president Michael D. Higgins caused a stir by being the only southern politician who refused to engage in the historical whitewashing of partition. When invited to attend a church service in Armagh in the North to commemorate the “formation of Northern Ireland”, Higgins declined as the service was not “politically neutral” and failed to acknowledge the “coercion” involved in that moment of history.

He clearly struck a nerve: DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson responded by calling Higgins’s refusal a “retrograde step”, while Ruth Dudley-Edwards described Higgins’s “bigotry” as being inspired by the southern Irish populace’s “latent Anglophobia”. Many unionists are equally up in arms at the fact that Higgins is billed to be attending the Bloody Sunday memorial this weekend.

And should we be surprised? As the past decade of anniversaries has shown, how the Irish political elite approach their nation’s collective history has always mattered. But at a time when a majority of people are in favour of holding a border poll in the next five years, and growing support for Sinn Féin shows that the issue of Irish unification is here to stay, the use and abuse of the past carries even more weight.

Since 1998, Irish politicians have been able to seek refuge in the stipulations imposed by the Good Friday Agreement: a border poll cannot be officially called unless the Secretary of State in the North is convinced that it “appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland”. In essence, you have to win before you are allowed to have a go.

A common refrain among politicians to those calling for a border poll has been the assurance that no one wants to return to the violence and chaos of Northern Ireland during the Seventies and Eighties. Yet the Irish political elite is not engaging in a war on history simply because they fear the return of the Troubles — but because reconciling with the past also involves taking stock of the present.

Perhaps more than anything else, unionist and loyalist forces in the North wish to avoid a border poll because it would call into question their political legitimacy and reveal the democratic deficit in Northern Irish politics. The power-sharing arrangement imposed by the Good Friday Agreement has long proven to be a block on political engagement, with Stormont disbanded for years at a time because of petty spats over flags, language and green energy bills.

For the south, meanwhile, a border poll would mean southern politicians coming to terms with years of ignoring the discriminatory nature of partition. As former Republican prisoner Danny Morrison wrote in the Irish Times last week, “Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael deliberately attempt to conflate the Republic of Ireland with Ireland, to create the perception that the Republic of Ireland is the nation and that the North is ‘other’”. (The Irish elite, ever keen to suck up to their Brussels counterparts, are also aware of the dislike with which the EU views anything with a whiff of nationalist sentiment.)

So calling a border poll would be a painful process, one in which the “disinformation” condemned by Martin would be exposed as having coloured much of the establishment’s revisionist representation of Irish history. But it might also be inevitable; how long they can avoid their history remains to be seen.

The Irish author Colm Tóibín recently told British readers in the Guardian that people arguing for a united Ireland in their lifetime were engaging in “mystical blather”. It was a typical defence of the status quo — an attempt to pose the prospect of change as unreasonable, idealistic or as dreams of ‘sunny uplands’.

But a hundred years on from a treaty forced by British rule and opposed by Irish men and women — which not only went on to spark civil war but decades of unrest and political uprisings in the North — is such complacency wise? For too long, Ireland’s political elite have busied themselves rewriting history at the expense of addressing the present. As they lumber from one display of incompetence to another, it’s only a matter of time before it catches up with them.


Ella Whelan is a freelance journalist, commentator and author of What Women Want: Fun, Freedom and an End to Feminism.

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Stephen Walshe
Stephen Walshe
2 years ago

This article is shocking codswallop, barely worthy of publication in An Phoblacht, never mind Unherd. To dismantle each of the author’s trite propagandist points in turn would take longer than the article itself. But partition was not imposed by the British and the “Six Counties” were not sold out. Partition exists because one million Ulster Unionists could not be bombed into a United Ireland: not in 1922, and not in 2022 either. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was accepted by the Irish delegation sent to negotiate it. It was accepted by the majority of the Sinn Fein cabinet. It was accepted by a majority in the Dail (from which Labour, Unionists and ex-Home Rulers were excluded). It was supported by the great majority of the Irish people, as evidenced by the general election results in 1922 and again in 1923. Notwithstanding that, hardline Republicans set off a bloody Civil War which killed thousands, including Ireland’s lost leader Michael Collins, aged just 31. If they had somehow won that conflict, that would have led to an even bloodier conflict with Ulster Unionists, and ultimately some sort of partition anyway. In the event, Republicans had to be content with ethnic cleansing of the Southern Protestant population, whose numbers collapsed after independence, even while the number of Northern Catholics rose. This article is shameful agitprop rubbish, and Ms Whelan should get her history right before smearing others.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

This is the joy of Unherd. I know almost nothing about partition, bar the very headline facts. I might well have been persuaded by this article without this, and the other, knowledgeable comments.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yes agree, the only narrative I see is England bad, imperialists stole Ulster and hold it by force etc etc.
As far as I know the schism in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants is almost entirely imported – the Normans invaded Ireland after they invaded England and brought Catholicism, the Scots /Picts and Vikings brought something else and so on and so on. The peoples we think of now as English Irish etc are relatively recent creations. The battle between religious tribes has been going on in these islands for centuries and it’s hard to know now who to ‘blame’ when there’s been so much toing and froing and mixing. As far as I’m concerned history and its ongoing influences are of massive interest to me but it is a foreign country now with emotion then out of it. I honestly struggle to understand the way some people will waste their whole lives in the present keeping ancient rivalries alive or trying to reintepret history for their own ends.. Same in the middle east, fighting over their Sky Daddies. Does my head in.

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Ireland was Christian long before the Normans, St Patrick was doing his thing around 400AD. Given the Reformation wasn’t until 1500s you can take that as Catholicism. The Vikings eventually assimilated into that and the English were also Catholic when they started to establish themselves around 1100. So the base population has remained Catholic for some time.
Protestants in Ireland were rarely converted Irish Catholics, they were mostly imported from England and Scotland during the plantations. The plantations were part of a concerted effort to anglicize Ireland. Land was given to Protestant planters, making native Irish the tenant class, speaking the native language was banned, Irish people and place names were anglicized also. So there isn’t that much “toing and froing” the Catholics were native to Ireland and the Protestants were the planters and ruling class. The Protestant ruling class tried to convert the entire native population to Protestantism by force through the anti-catholic laws. The plantations were aggressive in Ulster as this was the centre of Irish power in the 1500s, that’s why there are so many protestants in Ulster today. Those protestants are loyal subjects of the crown and hence want to remain in the UK.
So it’s not really about “sky daddies” or religious distinction between Catholic and Protestant. The line between Catholic and Protestant is also the line between native Irish and British (loyalist) planter. That line is still there today and it clearly marks those who want to be part of the UK or part of Ireland.
History is never black and white but you also can’t just explain it all away with wishy washy statements of ” who even started it in the first place”.
I’m Irish but not some blinkered republican. The protestant planters have been here for a long time and are part of Ireland now.
Stephen Walshe seems to know his history and makes good points. The “ethnic cleansing” is a bit dramatic as there were very few, if any killings. It was mostly just British people moving back to Britian, probably to some other estate they owned and selling up in Ireland.
Ulster Unionists not being bombed into a United Ireland is a fair point. At that point in 1922, and even now I don’t see why they would want to join and for a truly United Ireland they must be willingly onboard rather than dragged kicking and screaming.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Dee

excellent condensed history thanks – my forebears left Ireland 1880’s ?? – dropped the O in O Sullivan (as part of a get-work-in-liverpool arrangement ?? ), and somehow ended up Anglican – sold out of the potato family for food ?? Shame the English Prods cant assimilate as the Scots Prods appear to have ….

Kevin Dee
Kevin Dee
2 years ago
Reply to  chris sullivan

Thanks. I’ve heard of the O being dropped alright. The name would have been anglicized most likely a few generations before they even left Ireland though. “Ó Súilleabháin” – there is no v in the Irish language.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Yeah this writer appears to have republican blinkers surgically attached to their brain.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

Lots of codswallop here too. Omitted the small matter of half a million Catholics at partition = ‘sold out’ – thereby the roots of where we are today.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Walshe

Ah! The contestation of history in full flight!

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

Ella Whelan has a somewhat cartoonish picture of Irish history in her mind.

There was never a referendum on the whole island of Ireland on the question of island of Ireland leaving the UK. Assuming that there was is based on the fact of Sinn Fein’s success in the 1918 elections. But that’s like arguing that Scottish independence is a political fait accompli based on the success of the SNP.

I don’t believe the majority of the country would have voted to leave the UK in 1918.

Talk of the British Empire is amateurish. Ireland was never in the British Empire. It was part of United Kingdom. Its people were never asked whether they wanted to leave. Instead they were and remain subject to intimidation that leaving the UK is the equivalent of achieving civil and political rights.

The business of the Southern Irish since 1921 has been heavily biased towards expunging any trace of British culture. This included cultural discrimination against Ireland Protestant tradition.

Talk about ignoring discrimination in Northern Ireland may have been relevant in 1970. But that’s a generation ago.

In the supposedly non-discriminatory South the population of Protestants fell significantly. In the supposedly discriminatory North the population of Catholics rose.

The attitude of the Irish state to its own population, Protestant and Catholic, was on a good day significantly worse than the attitude of the Northern Ireland towards Catholics.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul MacDonnell
Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

Whilst on a course, about fifteen years ago, I met a lady from Dublin and we were chatting over a cuppa when she told me that she was a Southern Irish protestant, and although her family had lived in the same small town for generations, as far as her neighbours were concerned they were outsider. They were even refered to as the English family even though, as far as she knew, they were Irish through and through. So, as you say, discrimination was certainly pr4sent fifteenyears ago

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

This is baloney.Maybe her outsider status was self imposed. I grew up in an area with numerous Protestants, the difference being they were of Palatine (German) descent, totally integrated, and there for 300 years. but they didn’t pine for the good old days of English rule.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
2 years ago

You can say that, but it doesn’t make it untrue, I am just reporting what I was told. She added that it was one of the reasons she left her home town and moved to Dublin.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Of course Linda, but my impression is you have little direct knowledge. My children are best pals with lots of Protestants, totally integrated.

Wilfred Davis
Wilfred Davis
2 years ago

My children are best pals with lots of Protestants, totally integrated.

How magnanimous, how enlightened, how civilised.

In England, those pals probably wouldn’t even be aware – let alone be remotely interested – which amongst them were Catholic, or Protestant, or non-religious. Or anything, really.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago
Reply to  Wilfred Davis

My, how enlightened things must be in England.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

No, it’s indifference masquerading as tolerance. The English can be as intolerant as anybody when it comes to something they care about.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Really, could you give a recent example of English intolerance?
I for one can think of none.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

The example is by no means unique to England, but I would cite covid regulations and observation (or not) thereof

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Well off course we should have applied that Roman adage “nihil facere’*, but in the event followed the rest of the supine world.

However England’s/UK application of the exemption rules was uniquely ‘ liberal’ by comparative analysis with the draconian diktats enforced everywhere else.

To allow one to self exempt on one’s own volition, without the reference to so called professional opinion was brilliant. A master stroke of tolerance, as one would expect, given our history.

(* ‘do nothing’.)

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Fair point. In fact the English are generally a tolerant lot, although my point about religious toleration = indifference remains valid I think

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes I tend to agree with you. When Hugh Latimer said “Be of good comfort, Mr. Ridley, and play the man! We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace, in England, as I trust never shall be put out”, (as he was about to be barbecued), he kick started the rot.

From that moment indifference was born, and in its present manifestation, (the Church of England), has reached its zenith.

peter85
peter85
2 years ago

This is total Bollix. I live in rural Co. Wexford in the south-east of Ireland. There is no such state as “The Republic of Ireland”, never mind the ridiculous name, “Southern Ireland”.
I am Catholic but nearly 100% of my neighours, large farmers, shop owners and business people are Protestant. Protestant farmers still own the most valuable agricultural land in most of the most fertile counties of Ireland … courtesy of “Plantation” 300 – 350 years ago.
Far from being discriminated against, Church of Ireland/Protestants in Ireland, (26 Counties), represent about 3% of the population, but over 30% of the wealth.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago
Reply to  peter85

Spot on Peter. I too grew up (Limerick area) w lots of Protestants, now my children mix with lots (Wicklow area). I think there was an academic work some years ago focused on ‘ethnic cleansing;’ in west Cork that has gotten legs. (Still loads in West Cork today as well).

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago
Reply to  peter85

Calling it ‘Ireland’ was always silly. Ireland is the 32 counties. Calling the 26 counties ‘Ireland’ makes no sense. Eire?

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul MacDonnell
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  peter85

Exactly! My local TD is a privately educated prod, a disgusting lumbering loaf of a gobshite. All the prods I know except one went to private school. Scum

Last edited 2 years ago by Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
miss pink
miss pink
2 years ago

I come from a protestant family brought up on a council estate in a Dublin suburb. Am I scum as well? Surely some Catholic TDs went to private schools?

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  miss pink

No my best friend as a kid was a protestant, the only one I know who didn’t go to private school. I have no problem generally with protestants, only the dull witted low iQ scum who get sent to private schools. And yes there are plenty of low IQ dullwitted scum who are sent to Catholic private schools

Chris Mochan
Chris Mochan
2 years ago

But a hundred years on from a treaty forced by British rule and opposed by Irish men and women

This is just straightforwardly untrue, the treaty was ratified by the Dail and the free state representatives won the elections in 22 and 23.

As well as selling out the six counties in the North, the brutal civil war between Republicans following the handover was based on the popular notion that the treaty had been a means for British establishment figures to use Irish heads of state to quell what had been a populist rebellion. 

The civil war was based on hardline republicans refusal to be pragmatic and demanding the impossible with threats of violence. Collins was clear that it was a step in the right direction which made a republic inevitable. He was basically right. And I very much doubt the unionists of Ulster felt “sold out”, that is precisely the reason for the partition in the first place.
The next time Unherd commissions an article about Ireland, can they find someone whose understanding of Irish History hasn’t been gleaned from mythology and rebel tunes?

peter85
peter85
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Mochan

Hear hear … and also the ridiculous opposing posts from people who wouldn’t know Irish history from a hole in the street.
The abominable ignorance of supposedly educated people in England about Ireland and Anglo-Irish history over centuries is astonishing.
Unheard should not be contributing to this cesspit of ignorance.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

The Black-and-Tans were not recruited until 1920. They WERE thugs, but they were almost exclusively unemployed ex-soldiers. They were not recruited from prisons. Officially, they were supposed to be police officers, so a criminal record would preclude membership. It is correct to say most of the Irish political elite (and an uncomfortable number of ordinary people) don’t want a border poll since that might end up causing the kind of upheaval that hasn’t been seen since German reunification, only without the resources to make it happen.

Last edited 2 years ago by Francis MacGabhann
Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

The Black and Tans were not any worse than the IRA.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

You forget to mention the ‘Auxiliaries’, an all Officer force who were far more effective than the ‘Tans’.

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

searching for my sick bucket

David Giles
David Giles
2 years ago

Could there ne anything more embarrassing for a publication such as Unherd than to give a platform to a bigot so she can point at others and shout “Bigot”?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Distorting Irish history has become an art form even practiced by those should know better.

During the Good Friday period, Simon Jenkins*,then a senior journalist at the London Times, described the infamous execution of Erskine Childers** as having been carried out by the British authorities. The 2018 BBC Reith Lecturer, one Margaret MacMilan repeated this lie.

What is going on ? Did these two really think nobody would notice such a blatant falsehood ? Or can this be justified somehow?

(* Eventually Knighted for services to Journalism.)
(** Executed by the Free State Authorities by firing squad at Beggar’s Bush Barracks, Dublin, 1922.)

davidmarcusgore
davidmarcusgore
2 years ago

Wow – it’s like unless you endorse physical force republicanism you’re not properly Irish.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith
2 years ago

Is your username from history or from a character in a series of historical fiction by Adrian Goldsworthy? Or is it something else and I’m exposing my ignorance even more than I’d feared?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
2 years ago
Reply to  Jacob Smith

Type the name into Wikipedia. All is explained.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
2 years ago

Came here to say that this meandering pointless nonsense was full of inaccuracy, but I see others have got there before me, and indeed much more eloquently than I would.

Anthony Lewis
Anthony Lewis
2 years ago

I grew up in Northern Ireland and live parts of the year in Donegal and disagree with the writer in some important aspects. The northern loyalists are protestant and are just as Irish as republicans and the partition of Ireland happened because the population at that time in the north voted to remain part of Britain. There are two traditions in Ireland and until this on the republican side acknowledge this there will be no united Ireland. You might detect some exasperation on my part because I am fed up with the dishonest diet of misunderstandings people have to Northern ireland. Despite the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement the communities in NI are more divided now than they have ever been as each tradition has been asserting their rights and there has been little attempt at reconciliation these last decades.
The myopia and bias in articles such as this one make me despair! Until the south embraces the loyalist tradition as Irish there will be no true reconciliation or a lasting peace.
Did you know that you can tell which ‘side’ someone is on in the NI divide by the term they use for the peace agreement – Good Friday is for the catholics, Belfast Agreement is for the loyalists – this article just adds to the ridiculous inaccurate one sided tropes that already abound in Ireland that are not very helpful, at all.

Last edited 2 years ago by Anthony Lewis
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Anthony Lewis

Londonderry, first names, surnames, school, home address, colour of leisure wear, etc etc – all used to figure out someone’s background in central Scotland in the seventies before you opened your mouth.
My background used to cause tremendous confusion, which I delighted in exploiting.

Martin Adams
Martin Adams
2 years ago
Reply to  Anthony Lewis

I’m British, but spent most of my life in Ireland. I lived and worked in and around Dublin; but have known and continue to know many people from Loyalist and Unionist communities. Although I have several fairly close friends from Unionist and Loyalist communities, I am, for various reasons, no lover of that particular aspect of Irish culture. Nevertheless, I completely agree with your point that “Until the south embraces the loyalist tradition as Irish there will be no true reconciliation or a lasting peace.”

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

Given the author’s concerns about the past being re-written it is worth remembering that there is a statue of an actual, active Irish N*zi in Fairview Park. Not some right-winger being called a N*zi by political opponents but an actual SS collaborator who died aboard a U-boat while plotting to use Ireland as a base for the invasion of Britain. You would have thought a left-wing party like SF would tear it down – like lefties do to statues in Bristol – but strangely they don’t seem too keen to do so.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Why would SF do that? The Nazis were leftists, after all.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

I assume you’re referring to the statue of Sean Russell. Actually it’s been attacked several times, even decapitated on one occasion. But always restored afterwards, so clearly valued.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Rather like the Copenhagen Mermaid or the astonishing War Memorial ‘Aphrodite’, in far off Aberystwyth.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Get a grip
Sean Russell was a freedom fighter

David McKee
David McKee
2 years ago

Not only were the RIC formed as the armed wing of British imperialism in the 1800s, used to protect British landowners during the famine…”
Hm, Ms. Whelan has some brass neck to quote Prof. Ferriter’s comments about “embarrassing, unhistoric shit” in the middle of a piece like this. To take one example at random (above), the Royal Irish Constabulary was formed as a police force, not as anyone’s armed wing. It was armed, but then it was facing open insurrection in the countryside. It may interest Ms. Whelan that in the early twentieth century, things were so quiet that there was talk about disarming the RIC.
Nineteenth century policing was about protecting the land and possessions of the haves from the have-nots – in Ireland, Britain and anywhere else.
This illustrates how much of pre-1920 Irish history was rewritten be De Valera, to bolster the raison d’etre of the state he helped to found.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

I’d like to add one or two comments to this. First of all the IRA – from 1916 until 1921 – had no mandate to act violently in pursuit of taking Ireland out of the UK.
It seems to be the case though that, by 1916, the southern part of the country was, like much of the rest of Europe (including England), enamoured with romantic ideas of national destiny and a glorious past. This was a hospitable background to those who seized the General Post Office in 1916.
If Ruth Dudley-Edwards’ comment about Ireland’s ‘latent Anglophobia’ can be criticised, however, it can be criticised only because Ireland’s Anglophobia is not all that latent. It is fashionable in South Dublin as an affected polite cultural disdain for the English just as it is a shared folk-truth, existing in harmony with their support for English football clubs, amongst many on lower incomes.
What we have seen in recent years is the projection of new identitarian politics by young Irish people (or descedents of Irish emigrants in the UK?) onto the Irish national question of which Ella’s observations are a further example and which, to those who pay more attention to our history, come across as a series of ahistorical, performative, non sequiturs which add nothing to the conversation.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul MacDonnell
Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

No mandate? I guess you are unaware of the 1918 elections which returned an overwhelming Sinn Féin majority?

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

Re-read what I wrote earlier and please pay attention.

“There was never a referendum on the whole island of Ireland on the question of island of Ireland leaving the UK. Assuming that there was is based on the fact of Sinn Fein’s success in the 1918 elections. But that’s like arguing that Scottish independence is a political fait accompli based on the success of the SNP.”

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul MacDonnell
peter85
peter85
2 years ago

Eh … what about the 1918 election … where the then Sinn Fein won a massive majority of the seats??
Whatever about 1916 … by 1920 the Provisional Government was morally and legally endorsed by the vast majority of the population.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago
Reply to  peter85

Re-read what I wrote earlier and please pay attention.

“There was never a referendum on the whole island of Ireland on the question of island of Ireland leaving the UK. Assuming that there was is based on the fact of Sinn Fein’s success in the 1918 elections. But that’s like arguing that Scottish independence is a political fait accompli based on the success of the SNP.”

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Anglophobia fashionable in South Dublin? Ruth D Edwards? You really are putting us on

Paul MacDonnell
PM
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

I lived in South Dublin (Dublin 4) for 30 years. Believe me it’s true.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Indeed, and you fairly represent that demographic

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago

True to an extent. The nonsense written about Brexit by low IQ Irish liberal scum writing in the Irish Times (Fintan O Toole for example) is quite disgusting to read/observe. It’s a childish anglophobia, low IQ liberal scum parroting EU/US propaganda and showing disdain for British working class and for nationalism generally

The funniest manifestation of this anglophobia is when low IQ obese Irish “feminists” pride themselves on being “ohsoprogressive” and inclusive by allowing men to lead their movement, and claiming to be resisting colonisation by British “terfs”

Last edited 2 years ago by Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Annemarie, I think you devalue your contributions when you categorise people you don’t like as ‘scum’. That’s the language of the Socialist Workers’ Party, not civilised discourse.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I have no interest in civilised discourse, and I’m certainly not a Trot. People need to be described accurately.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

‘I have no interest in civilised discourse’. Better stick to twitter then?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Deranged might have been a better word, scum is rather passé don’t you think?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Aha, the voice of reason, thank you!

Matthew Foster
Matthew Foster
2 years ago

Could it possibly be that Leo Varadkar and others’ more pluralist view of Irish history is motivated simply by a desire to acknowledge the views of a million or so northern unionists who’s views on Irish history mostly differ completely from that of the author, and who’s goodwill will be essential in any workable future single island entity, and to give some substance to the Orange in the national flag?
Irish republicans, such as the author, clearly have no interest in this, and instead seek to portray northern unionists, along with “The British”, as the enemy, and their culture something to be ignored and/or destroyed in the event of any future united Ireland, with entirely predictable results- little wonder a border poll is dreaded by many southerners.
“The power-sharing arrangement imposed by the Good Friday Agreement has long proven to be a block on political engagement,” – in other words it prevents republicans from trying to impose their will by murder and violence as before and instead obliges them to acknowledge the reality that a democratic majority currently approve of Northern Ireland’s constitutional position, as has always been the case.The GFA was, of course, approved by democratic majorities on both sides of the border, something the author conveniently omits.
Most unionists are not concerned in the slightest about Mr Higgins’ planned attendance at the Bloody Sunday memorial this weekend, but instead are probably wondering why he so far hasn’t found the time to attend any of the numerous anniversaries of events with narratives much less convenient to Irish republicans.
If,in the event of a successful future border poll, Irish republicans still insist on trying to impose their their mono-cultural views on other Irish people, it will certainly only be a matter of time “before it catches up with them”.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
AN
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Foster

Varadkar has no attachment to Ireland, he’s a globalist degenerate. He doesn’t understand us

Matthew Foster
Matthew Foster
2 years ago

He may well have some legitimate questions to answer from those in the ROI who’ve seen little benefit from globalization, but my point is that he attempts to understand northern (Irish) unionists and thus demonstrates that he, at least, is serious about making any future unified administration in Ireland that may eventuate work.

, for which he deserves credit.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Matthew Foster

Well yes that’s true. He has no tribal allegiance to Catholics or nationalists.

R S Foster
RF
R S Foster
2 years ago

In 2016, less than 2,000 Irishmen involved in the Dublin Rising plays over 200,000 from both traditions serving alongside their British, Commonwealth and Empire Comrades on the Western Front, and right across the world…just as 70,000 fought alongside them again against the scourge of Nazism twenty years later, and suffered considerably after they came home because some people thought them “traitors”…presumably the kind of people whose President signed the Condolence Book for Hitler at the German Embassy in Dublin…more than a month after the first Concentration Camps were found, although rather longer after the first rumours about the Holocaust started…must make people proud to be Irish…

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

The first concentration camps were used by the British in South Africa. Keep your anti-irish bile to yourself.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I think you might find that the Spanish got there first, in Cuba in 1898.

R S Foster
R S Foster
2 years ago

…what in my comment is not factually accurate? How is the truth “bile”?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

The ‘rule’ of Diplomatic Protocol made it almost axiomatic that as the President of a Neutral Nation, De Valera was duty bound to sing the Book of Condolence in the German Embassy.
Other Neutral Nations did likewise I gather.

Kevin Carroll
Kevin Carroll
2 years ago

And the U.N had a 3 minute silence for Joseph stalin. What’s your point.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Carroll

Diplomatic Protocol has to be observed, what else?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
2 years ago

Sweden & Switzerland, both neutral, did not sign. De Valera’s action aroused considerable disgust and condemnation from US press and politicians,

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Sweden & Switzerland were in an invidious position, both having waxed fat on ‘feeding the Nazi beast’.
As for the US press & politicians one could hardly imagine a more degenerate bunch of hypocrites.

Alan Fitzgibbon
AF
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Were these the same Army men who came back and joined the IRA? Check out how many of these there were. A little knowledge —–

Janet
Janet
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

R S Foster is correct about the contribution the Irish made during both World Wars. My Irish husband, Mick, has had the fact of De Valera signing the book of condolences for Hitler thrown at him in a ‘Gotcha’ moment by many of his English work colleagues over the past 35 years. This is a source of embarrassment for Irish people. However, unlike the warmonger David Lloyd George, he and his wife never dined at the Berghof with Hitler, nor called him the ‘greatest living German’. We both agree with Ella’s comments on how the Irish elites are rewriting history.

William Murphy
William Murphy
2 years ago
Reply to  R S Foster

The first extermination camp (Maidanek, near Lublin) to be liberated was exposed to world attention in July 1944, more than 9 months before the Condolence Book for Hitler was opened. The liberation of Auschwitz late in January 1945 might have further encouraged people to shun anything Nazi.

Richard Powell
Richard Powell
2 years ago

Edna Kenny?

Ian McKinney
IM
Ian McKinney
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Powell

comment image

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian McKinney

Edna would have made a better taoiseach tbf

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

C’mon Unherd – there’s provocative and then there’s pointless and uninformed.
This is the latter in extremis – why on earth have you published such one sided rubbish under your brand?

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Stewart
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
2 years ago

The only rewriting of the past is the forgetting of the atrocities carried out by the IRA

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
2 years ago

In the early 1970’s I recall RUC and UDR personnel actually believing that Catholics were not allowed into the British Army… but were even more horrified to discover that certain Officers in The Scots Guards, who had titles… were Catholics, with the resultant quip that ” Only one thing worse than a taig, is a posh taig”…. how they loved to hear that the founder of the SAS was a Catholic aristocrat…. meanwhile back at The Guards Depot, Pirbright, Scots and Irish Guards recruits, many of whom had never actually met anyone from ” the otherside of the divide”, had it made clear to them that sectarianism would not be tolerated… and guess what? It worked, and many Protestant ( not sure about Presbyterian) recruits and Catholics became best buddies.

There appears to be no irony in the fact that whilst Britain was embracing anti Apartheid, successive British governments effectively endorsed by ignoring, the same on their very doorstep..

William Perry
William Perry
2 years ago

“the infamous Black and Tans — thugs often recruited from British prisons”

This is a demonstrable lie, though a very popular one in Republican circles. Anyone with any kind of criminal record would have been barred from being recruited. Does the author not know this, or simply not care because the myth is more important than the reality?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

As you happen to mention so called ‘Bloody Sunday’ (BS) & the forthcoming 50th anniversary celebrations, perhaps we should recall a few facts.

Everyone of those Civil Rights Demonstrators/Rioters was either an active or a passive supporter of the IRA or their acolytes.* There were no ‘innocents’ present.

The Parachute Regiment had been brought under fire, albeit very ineffectually, and responded by returning fire and ‘dropping’**27 targets, for 108 rounds fired. Rather poor shooting under the circumstances, one might have expected a Greenjacket Battalion to have done better.

At the time of BS, 60 members of the Army & RUC had already been murdered by the IRA & their chums. This was not that ludicrous Irish euphemism the “Troubles”; This was war.

(* Which is hardly surprising given how badly the City had been run for over three centuries.)

(** To use the language of the time.)

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

I’m not sure what evidence you can adduce to support this analysis. On broad policy terms, putting the British army on the streets of a city of the United Kingdom, though well-intentioned, was probably not the right approach to the IRA. I believe that there is evidence that the Paras somewhat lost the run of themselves and in one or two cases enthustiacly shot people who were clearly not a threat. Douglas Murray, hardly a motivated leftie, has written about this as a grave error.
The way to deal with the IRA would have been to show them the respect they demanded as an army at war. When the IRA said to the British (and Irish for that matter) governments: ‘We are at war with you’ the correct, and the only correct response, was : ‘OK. You’re on. Let’s do it’. Followed by the elimination by special security forces, using intelligence (of which there was a sufficient amount), of all active duty-IRA people. The southern Irish gov’t should have supported such a strategy. As they were an insurgency threatening the state then they would not have been entitled to the kind of treatment afforded to suspected ordinary criminals.
For comparison, consider the Red Aarmy Faction in Gemany or imagine a similar militia in the United States declaring war on Texas and killing policemen, or the Weather Underground. They wouldn’t last 48 hours.
The reason why the IRA survived wasn’t because they were ‘of the community’, some sort of righteous militarised vox pop. It was because the British and Irish governments didn’t have the courage to do what it was obviously going to take to eliminate them.
The Irish government bears more than 50% of the blame for this. It was they and their judiciary who fetishised IRA violence as ‘political crimes’ in the 1980s. And it was southern Irish politicians who undermined any legitimacy to anti-IRA action by implying that the IRA were just in their cause.
At a party in the mid-1980s I made a simlar argument and someoe asked, in the spirit of catching me out, “So Paul, are you in favour of a shoot-to-kill policy” to which I replied. “Well, why else would you shoot them?”

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul MacDonnell
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

“putting the British army on the streets of a city of the United Kingdom, though well-intentioned, was probably not the right approach to the IRA.”

The British Army was not deployed to the streets of Belfast in 1969 to deal with the IRA. It was deployed to stop Protestant/Loyalist thugs from attacking the Catholic community & burning them out.

However the deployment was executed in a very feeble manner.
Martial Law should have been declared on Day1 and by Day5, with perhaps 50 Protestant yobs shot dead it would have been ‘mission accomplished’.

Whether the moribund IRA would have decided to enter the fray is unknown, but in the event it took them until Feb 1971* to kill their first British Soldier.

As to Mr Murray’s assertions about the Paras, it is yet more speculation, made from the security of a heavily armour plated armchair, deep in the heart of Quislington.**

(* Gunner Curtis, Royal Artillery, RIP.)
(** Thank you Fraser Bailey Esq,)

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I forgot to mention that I fully applaud your final paragraph.” Fighting talk” indeed .
What may I ask was the response from your (stunned?) inquisitor?

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

You are correct the army were put on the streets to protect the Catholic population but they remained to deal with the IRA which was probably a mistake.

The idea that the security services should shoot back was never fully understood by the nascent left-liberal elite who now run the entire country.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

“It is customary during a war to kill as many of the enemy as possible”. That should have been the policy from Day 1.

Failure to do so led to 3,500 deaths over 25 years*. Thank you Harold Wilson & Co.

(* In US terms that would be about 650,000 dead @ an annual rate of over 20,000 pa.)

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
2 years ago

I have never reada more obscene comment

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
2 years ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Why has my contribution been suddenly erased?

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

Because you are obviously a menace.

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
2 years ago

O Sulpicia, tibi gratias ago! How right you are.

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago
Reply to  Niall Cusack

I think the word “ob sc ene” alerts the algorithm that automatically sends some comments straight to moderation.

Niall Cusack
Niall Cusack
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Thanks, Claire. I had not realised UnHerd operated underhand censorship. Sulpicia’s robust response is at least honourable.

Douglas H
Douglas H
2 years ago

Michael Collins agreed to Irish “membership of the British Commonwealth” in 1921?! That’s just bizarre.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

The Home Rule Bill of 1912 antagonised the Protestant unionists to such a degree that more than half a million signed the Ulster Covenant later that year. They believed that a ‘conspiracy’ was afoot to establish a ‘Home Rule Parliament’ in Ireland. They pledged themselves ‘in solemn Covenant throughout this (their) time of threatened calamity to stand by one another in defending … (their) cherished position of equal citizenship in the United Kingdom, and in using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland.’ They were ‘convinced in (their) consciences that Home Rule would be disastrous …, subversive of (their) civil and religious freedom, …, …, (they), whose names (were) underwritten, …, loyal subjects …, humbly relying on the God whom (their) fathers in days of stress and trial confidently trusted, (did) hereby pledge (themselves) in solemn Covenant throughout this (their) time of threatened calamity …’

Now why did I not just write out the whole thing! Bracket-free and all! (It ends with ‘God save the King’. By the way. That’s three times in the pledge God is mentioned).

At about that same time, leading figures of authority in the three main Protestant denominations not only voiced the angst of Unionists in public, but were described as having articulated and encouraged their defiance. Indeed, that is not hard to imagine when fears of a Roman Catholic ascendancy with clerical control in matters civil were rife among church-regular Unionists.

In referring to an excerpt in a book called Studies In Church History, Vol. 20, the Church and War, by R.F.G Holmes, H. Smith, in his book Heal Not Lightly (New Wine Ministries, 2006), notes that ‘protestation to the contrary (of Unionist fears) by nationalist men like John Dillon that “they would no more take their political guidance from the pope of Rome than the sultan of Turkey or conduct their affairs at the bidding of any body of cardinals”, if they had even been heard, were not believed (by the Protestant churchmen).’ (My words in brackets).

As the notes say in Heal Not Lightly, ‘Dillon was the Nationalist Party’s most accomplished parliamentarian … his vision of Irish nationality was broad and liberal. Earnestly Catholic, he opposed clerical leadership in politics’, according to The Oxford Companion on Irish History.

So, what’s sauce for the goose, is surely sauce for the gander. The meeting of minds from opposite sides was discouraged somehow by those who blew their virtuous trumpets loudest.

It must be no coincidence that the 1916 Easter Rising occurred on Easter Sunday. The martyrdom for Ireland must have been viewed in sacrificial terms, a purifying act that in the end would raise Ireland up – a nation once more. Unlike the noble view that the Protestant churchmen had of themselves, the Roman Catholic hierarchy of the time saw nothing holy about this romantic view of a violent strike for a glorious independent Eire. In fact, the church excommunicated many of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the secret revolutionary society that played a significant role in the rebellion.
Perhaps the church could definitively trace back this feverish nationalism with a strong religious bent to the revival of Celtic mythology in the late 1800s. Poets had a strong hand in this revival, notably W.B Yeats – and other scholars, too. Those behind the revival would end up blending nonchalantly Christian themes with paganism. The occult was a feature among the movers and shakers in the higher echelons. The rebels who rose up in 1916 had been influenced by the revival. They would be at the vanguard of a blood-sacrifice rejuvenation of a jaded, hollowed-out land. Perhaps, momentarily, nationalists and unionists who upped the stakes in spiritual, vainglorious terms … briefly saw eye to eye.

As for the Ulster Covenant, it was signed on 28th September, 1912. This became known as Ulster Day. From ‘Heal Not Lightly’, ‘the text of the Covenant was largely the work of the Presbyterian ruling elder, Thomas Sinclair, and recalled the historic Scottish covenants, which occupied a hallowed place in Presbyterian memories and imaginations. It was, J. Lee (an historian) has suggested, “the traditional technique of reminding God whose side He was on.”’

God indeed save Ireland.

trevor fitzgerald
trevor fitzgerald
2 years ago

With a Sinn Fein majority at the next election (likely?) it’s great that Irish unification is under public discussion.

Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
2 years ago

The seat of the problem as it exists today lies in the fact that Northern unionist “identity” is exclusively dependent on nationalists; whatever THEY are, WE’RE not. Once they get past that, something might be arranged.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago

Micheal Martin is a weak, disgusting, slithering snake. He used his own dead children as mudguards to deflect criticism of his policy failures on Covid, and everything else.
Varadkar is reasonably smart but has no more loyalty to Ireland than the
The shinners are a bunch of commie degenerate scum. They claim our dead Catholic nationalist martyrs would have supported abortion and trans rights. They want a 32 gender Republic.
Higgins is a disgusting old degenerate who kept a young male servant.
No serious nationalist cares that much about a border poll any longer. We are under occupation by a far more insidious force wrapped in the CIA colours, ie the pride flag.

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
2 years ago

“nationalist sentiment” is only ignored by the nationally secure.

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 years ago

The quality of the article is well matched by some of the comments that follow it.

The Normans, if you don’t mind, brought Catholicism to Ireland. I think someone might be confusing Sheehy Skeffington, shot by a deranged British officer. Skeffington was a pacifist BTW. There are too many inaccuracies and wild theories here to go through them all. I think Unherd are baiting.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I am sorry but the Normans did not bring Catholicism to Ireland.
The Cistercians for example we well established before 1169.

Incidentally those ‘Normans’ had spent 5-6 generations in the Seine Valley before crossing to England in 1066. During that time they had bred prestigiously with French women, guzzled French cheese, and drunk vast quantities of French wine. By language, culture and religion there were completely French. A further century in England had only reinforced this. So really they French by the time they hit the beach in Ireland.*

(* Or at least the Officers were & spoke French, whist the ‘grunts’ spoke English or Welsh, if at all.)

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
2 years ago

I was quoting someone who said that! I thought the gist of my comment made it clear that I didn’t rate the accuracy of several comments.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

My apologies!
Because you omitted to use parentheses I thought you were speaking for yourself!

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

The ‘grunts ‘were actually Welsh and Flemish, not English.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

A ‘cocktail’ of all three I think you will find. Sadly we don’t have a 12th century Muster Roll to determine the precise origin of anyone, bar the ‘Officers’.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

OK, well a lot of Welsh, hence the prevalence of the surname Walsh in Ireland (Breathnach as Gaeilge meaning from Wales)

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

and Fleming

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

I was under the impression Walsh was a ‘Tinker’ name. Quite a few around Tuam & Athenry as I recall.

Last edited 2 years ago by SULPICIA LEPIDINA
Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Au contraire! (my mother was one). You might be thinking of Ward, there are others well known but don’t want to offend anyone. Walsh, in common with many Norman names (Power, de Paor, Prendergast, etc. is concentrated n the south east, Kilkenny, Waterford, where they first land.

SULPICIA LEPIDINA
SULPICIA LEPIDINA
2 years ago

Thank you. I stand corrected!
Raymond Le Gros would never forgive me.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Whereas the `Fitz’s, are concentrated in Cork and Limerick. Moved a bit west you see for the good land.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Agree – Normans brought ‘Catholicism’ when there wasn’t even such a thing. Hilarious.Never heard of St Patrick I suppose.

Andrew D
Andrew D
2 years ago

Who was English of course (probably)

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago

This seems to have touched a hitherto unknown third rail of UnHerd–at least unknown to me. Some of the comments seem a bit harsh! Fair play, but it’s hard to know whom to believe here.
If anyone has seen the film ‘71, about a British soldier trapped behind “enemy” lines in the North for a night, it’s quite easy to see why the Irish don’t love the English. The same could be said about another absolutely brilliant film THE NIGHTINGALE, which goes back a bit further (Colonial Australia), but both go a long way to explaining the harsh reactions….

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  James Joyce

I expect a lot of the Unherd readers , like myself. will have had a close involvement with the issues relating to Northern Ireland, and sought to avoid trading in prejudices and achieve objective insight too. This article was pretty poor.

Alan Fitzgibbon
Alan Fitzgibbon
2 years ago

Great article Ella, never mind the begrudgers (lots on here).

Hugh Marcus
Hugh Marcus
2 years ago

Great article (apart from the mythology of course) I cite the Good Friday agreement was imposed. She kinda forgot that it was a negotiated international agreement & was voted on by the people in both parts of Ireland. 72% in the North & around 90% in the South gave it their support.