January 02, 2018

Irish Ireland, not Ireland

'Posting in Ireland', by James Gillray

Republican teaching records that Irish Ireland and the true Irish Nation had nearly extinguished, only the Easter Rising ‘woke up’ the Irish people and unleashed them towards independence.

Todd Andrews wrote that "Dublin [in 1901] was a British city and accepted itself as one", and Ernie O'Malley said, "‘the old hatred of the redcoats had disappeared."

Tom Barry wrote that he had "no  national consciousness" but events of Easter Week gave him a "rude awakening", and "Through the blood sacrifice of 1916 had one Irish youth been awakened to Irish nationality."

Eamon de Valera said in 1926:
"[Clarke, Pearse and Connolly] made sure of an Irish Ireland by dying for it."
For the most revolutionary republicans of the early 1910s Home Rule was a sell out of Irish nationhood. Advanced nationalists said that Ireland of pre-1916 had given its heritage and nationhood away and simply become British. This is not true, as John Dorney wrote. Irish nationalism was not dead or dying as the physical force separatists argued, rather their particular conception of Irish identity was in danger of being marginalised. John Dorney wrote:
"PS O’Hegarty wrote in 1924, at the outbreak of the European War the Irish people, swept off their feet by a wave of British propaganda…powerfully aided by the Press and the [Irish] Parliamentary Party…became anti-German and pro-British… The European War had shown Ireland to be less Irish and more Anglicised than ever she had been in her history; had shown Ireland to be three fourths assimilated to England. 
In such accounts, the Rising is represented as a transformational event. Before it and the martyrdom of the leaders in front of British firing squads, ‘Ireland’ was dying, her people forgetting their ‘national consciousness’ her youth serving in British uniform in the Great War. After it, Ireland was ‘reborn’, her people now, supposedly, uniformly committed to Irish independence, her youth shunning the British Army and joining the Volunteers – as O’Malley and Andrews did in 1917 and Barry later did on his return from the War."
John Dorney also wrote that well before the Rising IRB members were arguing that the Irish nation was dying and had to be redeemed in blood. He continued with a qualification:
"Was Irish nationalism really ‘dying’ for instance in Andrew’s boyhood in Dublin? A Dublin where his father was a committed Parnellite and where his uncles taught him to hate ‘the informer Carey’ who had ‘betrayed’ the Invincibles’? Where the Corporation – dominated by the Irish Parliamentary Party refused to meet King George when he came to visit in 1910? A city where thousands attended rallies in support of Home Rule in 1912-14 singing ‘National One Again’? No, what the separatists meant was that their particular conception of Irish identity was in danger of being marginalised – the idea that Ireland had been and would always be in a state of war with ‘England’ until she conceded full independence. 
Equally, did all the Irish Home Rule supporters instantly become republicans? Hardly. Did the Irish soldiers in the British Army desert on hearing the news of the Rising? Indeed not, despite German propaganda directed at them, very few did so."
John P. Hayden, twenty-one years a Nationalist Member of Parliament for South Roscommon, said in May 1921:
"If I did not think the Irish people would be satisfied today with self-government within the Empire my whole life would be a lie."
Garrett Fitzgerald wrote:
"[The 1916 rebellion] was planned by men who feared that without a dramatic gesture of this kind, the sense of national identity that had survived all the hazards of the centuries would flicker out ignominiously within their lifetime, leaving Ireland psychologically as well as legally, like Scotland, an integral part of the United Kingdom."
In his 1907 essay ‘The Last Fenian’ Jame Joyce wrote:
"The Fenians and Nationalists revile each other with the greatest scorn, one side attributing the measure to the success of parliamentary tactics and the other attributing it to the persuasive faculty of the knife or the bomb."
An anonymous man from Cork and a unionist said in 1921 (via Wilfred Ewart):
"Everybody’s taken a step to the left. Your old Nationalists have joined pacifist Sinn Fein; pacifist Sinn Fein has become active Republican; we Unionists take our stand on the old Nationalism. Although, Dillonism is dead."
Xavier Carthy said in 1978:
"[The writings of Patrick Pearse] indicate a narrow fanaticism as well as an obsession with racial purity and the pre-eminence of a mythical Gaelic Race suggesting that if he had not died at Kilmainham he might have been an Irish Hitler."

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