April 18, 2015

T.K. Whitaker - A United Ireland would pose a "formidable" if not "intolerable" burden (1968)

Jack Lynch and Terence O'Neill, with T.K. Whitaker in the rear-ground, Ireland's rough equivalent to Sir Kenneth Bloomfield
Stormont is like a giant ATM, a quango spending a budget. Ireland has unshackled itself from the worst of Troika rule but stills faces severe fiscal headwinds and uncomfortable belt-tightening. Northern Ireland is an overgrown man child dependent on parental handouts. Southern Ireland is a recently graduated student trying to find a job and a stable footing in the world. Neither is in a position to make matrimony. Not at the moment and not without substantial reforms and rehabilitative measures from Northern Ireland and a more rebalanced economic structure in the south.

April 14, 2015

Being of planter stock

British planter in Jamaica, by George Spratt
John Hewitt, of "planter stock", wrote he was 'As native in my thought as any here.' Belfast poet and son of a British soldier, Michael Longley said that Hewitt's verse taught people not to be embarrassed or ashamed of their connection to colonialism. It's not something I was conscious of growing up. I was always Irish and British, I watched the BBC and lived on the island of Ireland.

April 13, 2015

David Remnick - Gerry Adams has no right to the comparison with Mandela (1994)

Gerry Adams, by Martin Rowson
David Remnick visited troubled and torn Belfast in the early 1990s. He wrote about his experience and interpretation in the New Yorker, published in April 1994. You can read Remnick's account of his meeting with Gerry Adams in his Sinn Fein office in early 1990s Belfast here. It was an incredibly broad and detailed account of life in Belfast and Northern Ireland at the time. A note on how Belfast was very serene outside of the hotspots, how loyalist and republican paramilitaries are simply base gangs like in any other city; he painted a picture from his trip to Paisley's church, Martyr's Memorial; told us about Gerry Adams's hallowed republican forbears; and retold us about his ramble in the greens of outer Belfast with Michael Longley. One of the aspects of the long essay that most hit me was when David Remnick said that Adams no right to the comparison with Mandela or Arafat:

April 12, 2015

Dublin in Easter 1916 through the eyes of a Trinity Student

Dorothy Stopford Price, a Church of Ireland Protestant born in Dublin who lived through and recorded Easter 1916
Dorothy Stopford Price was was born in Dublin, on September 9th 1890. She was in Dublin for Easter 1916. Writing from the Under-Secretary’s Lodge in Phoenix Park in Dublin, home of Sir Matthew Nathan (a key figure in the British administration of Ireland), the 26 year old recorded her view of a city in revolt.

Day 7 and the last of the Easter Rising - By James Stephens

Portrait of James Stephens by Irish writer, poet, and painter George W. Russell (AA), circa 1910.
James Stephens was an Irish writer living and writing in the age of Irish writers, where his contemporaries were Joyce, Yeats, George Russell, O'Casey, Maud Gonne, Lady Gregory, Horace Plunkett, Synge, Oliver St John Gogarty, George Moore and many others. Stephens was a Dubliner living in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916. He logged for posterity his experience of that week in his book 'The Insurrection in Dublin'. I have republished his account of Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday, the Wednesday, the Thursday, the Friday and the Saturday. You can read his account of the Sunday, Day Seven and the end of the Rising, April 30 1916 below. He wrote:
"The Insurrection has not ceased.

April 11, 2015

Day Six of the Easter Rising - By James Stephens

James Stephens and James Joyce in Paris, circa 1934.
James Stephens was in Dublin during the Easter 1916 Rising. He documented his take on events in 'The Insurrection in Dublin'I have republished his account of Easter Monday, Easter TuesdayWednesdayThursday and Friday. You can read his account of Saturday April 29 1916, Day 6 of the fighting here, where James Stephens wrote:
"This morning also there has been no bread, no milk, no meat, no newspapers, but the sun is shining. It is astonishing that, thus early in the Spring, the weather should be so beautiful. 

April 10, 2015

Day Five of the Easter Rising - By James Stephens

James Stephens, James Joyce and John Sullivan talking on Rue Raspail, Paris.
James Stephens, fellow Dubliner, writer and and friend of James Joyce, spent all of Easter 1916 in the Irish capital, the theatre of the republican Rising. He documented his experience of life in the city among the lead and the cordite his book 'The Insurrection in Dublin'. I have republished his account of Easter MondayEaster Tuesday, the Wednesday and the Thursday. You can read his account of the Friday, Day Five of the Rising, April 28 1916 below. He wrote:
"This morning there are no newspapers, no bread, no milk, no news. The sun is shining, and the streets are lively but discreet. All people continue to talk to one another without distinction of class, but nobody knows what any person thinks.

April 09, 2015

Day Four of the Easter Rising - By James Stephens

James Stephens, by Patrick Tuohy, RHA.
The Dublin native James Stephens did a lot of travelling. He was in Dublin for the entire duration of the Easter Rising in 1916. An event he documented in detail in 'The Insurrection in Dublin'. I have republished Easter Monday and Tuesday and his account of the Wednesday. You can read his account of Day Four of the Rising, April 27 1916 below. He wrote:
"Again, the rumours greeted one. This place had fallen and had not fallen. Such a position had been captured by the soldiers; recaptured by the Volunteers, and had not been attacked at all. But certainly fighting was proceeding. Up Mount Street, the rifle volleys were continuous, and the coming and going of ambulance cars from that direction were continuous also. Some spoke of pitched battles on the bridge, and said that as yet the advantage lay with the Volunteers. 

April 08, 2015

Day Three of the Easter Rising - By James Stephens

Troops of the Ulster Volunteer Force move into Dublin to support the British Forces during the Easter Rising of 1916.
The Dublin writer James Stephens was in Dublin for the whole of the Easter Rising in 1916. He documented what he saw and experienced in 'The Insurrection in Dublin.' I have republished his account of Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday, and below you can read his account of Day Three of the rebellion. James wrote:
"It was three o'clock before I got to sleep last night, and during the hours machine guns and rifle firing had been continuous.

April 07, 2015

Easter Tuesday 1916 by James Stephens

James Stephens by Sir William Rothenstein
Ninety-nine years ago the Dublin writer James Stephens lived and worked and wrote in and about Dublin. He was there on Easter Monday when the Rising leaders and rebels commandeered the GPO and other landmark buildings across Dublin in a failed attempt to overthrow British rule. He recorded the Saturday and Sunday that preceded the bloodshed, and gave and an account of Day One, Easter Monday 1916 here. He carried on and documented each of fighting that followed. And here you can read in full his experience of the Easter Tuesday, Day Two of the Easter Rising, the 6 days that would change Ireland forever. Compared with Easter 2015 when skies are open blue, the weather of 1916 was markedly more inclement. James Stephens began:
"A sultry, lowering day, and dusk skies fat with rain. 

April 06, 2015

James Stephens describes Dublin on Easter Monday 1916

Dublin writer James Stephens.
James Stephens is a Dublin writer from the turn of the 19th Century, the time of the Celtic Revival and the age of Irish independencem, the era that produced Yeats, Joyce, George Russell and set the bar for Beckett and Behan and today's writers like Toibin and others. James Stphens wrote a book, 'The Insurrection in Dublin.' In this he documented the six days of hostilities as republicans under Connolly and Pearse sought and fought separation from London, describing Easter Monday 1916 as a day with "the rumour of war and death in the air."

According to Stephens, the republican offensive commenced at 1100 and ended at 0400 the following morning. James Stephens opened Chapter 1 with a swift account of the Saturday and Sunday that preceeded the rising, and thereaftr in detail documented his experience of the city for each day of the fighting, from Easter Monday 1916 to the Saturday after. Here's how his preface began:
"The day before the rising was Easter Sunday, and they were crying joyfully in the Churches “Christ has risen.” On the following day they were saying in the streets “Ireland has risen”."

April 02, 2015

Christopher Hitchens on partition

W.H. Auden
W. H. Auden wrote, "Two peoples fanatically at odds, With their different diets and incompatible gods." Marya Mannes wrote in 1959 
"Borders are scratched across the 
hearts of men

By strangers with a calm, judicial 

And when the borders bleed we 
watch with dread

The lines of ink across the map 
turn red."

April 01, 2015

Is the Irish tricolour a "symbol of compromise"?

Robert Lynd, republican writer born in Belfast. by David Low
Robert Lynd, a former pupil of RBAI, wrote in June 1936 in the New Statesman, ‘In Defence of Pink’:
"Possibly, my love of a blending, a moderation, of colours is due to the fact that I grew up in a country in which the political colours were, in Mr. Chesterton’s phrase, “rich and glowing.” In the Ireland of my youth, orange was not permitted to be blended with green, and green was not perceptively diluted with orange."
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