November 24, 2015

Martin McGuinness - From unbending hardliner, to the humanised andacceptable face of republicanism

Northern Ireland politicians from the early 1990s, by Gerald Scarfe for the New Yorker
In present Northern Ireland, Martin McGuinness is viewed as the more moderate and conciliatory politician compared with the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams. Yet a quick down historical accounts and observations show that the reality is the inverse. As is often the case in Northern Ireland, perception is incongruent to fact. Northern Ireland poet Nick Laird wrote:
"Growing up in Cookstown in County Tyrone, I would occasionally wonder what it would be like to be Martin McGuinness’s son. He was infamous for being Sinn Féin’s number two, and for being the officer commanding of the Derry brigade of the IRA, a position he assumed, as he recently admitted, in February 1972."

October 24, 2015

George Orwell and "Peace Walls"

The term Peace Wall is emphatically Orwellian. They are not peace but hate walls and walls of war. George Orwell wrote in his book 1984:
"People ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same."

October 23, 2015

The Garden Centre Prod explained

I am a self-professed garden centre protestant. I wrote about my trip to the Féile an Phobail as a garden centre prod. The Irish historian Roy Foster said Professor Paul Bew coined the term. He didn't in fact. The neologism was the creation of Ms. Bew, i.e. professor Greta Jones.

For the etymology of 'Garden Centre Prod', Professor Greta Jones explains:

October 22, 2015

Dublin's dentists wives

The Queen’s visit to Dublin with well dressed women in attendance, Merrion Square (1900) (more here)
Irish republicans of 2020 portray Ireland of the early 1900s as a deeply unhappy island suffering under the boot of Britain. This picture could not be further from the truth. Thanks to the social revolution - which included the huge transfer of land to the less well to do, the enactment of the 1908 Old Age Pensions and 1911 National Insurance Acts etc. (part of the wider welfare reformation that swept across the UK under Lloyd George) - the Irish were incredibly content and saw themselves at home in Union with the Scottish, Welsh and English people.

John Redmond on August 4 1914 said in the Commons:
"The sympathy of the Nationalists of Ireland, for reasons to be found deep down in centuries of history, has been estranged from this country. But allow me to say that what has occurred in recent years has altered the situation completely."
John Redmond said in late 1916:
"[Ireland has] its feet firmly planted in the groundwork and foundation of a free nation."
John P. Hayden, twenty-one years a Nationalist Member of Parliament for South Roscommon, said in May 1921:

October 21, 2015

Catholic Unionists and the question: Does a functioning Northern Ireland turn soft nationalists into soft unionists?

Denis Stanislaus Henry and Sir John Gorman, Catholic unionists
Andy Pollak wrote:
"Northern Ireland's high-flying Catholics are not necessarily the ones old-fashioned Catholic nationalists would hope for and old-fashioned Protestant unionists would contemplate with dread and terror."

October 06, 2015

Northern Ireland's Dance

By Ian Knox
I remain very confused about Belfast and Northern Ireland. So much of it is progressive, cultured and astonishingly metropolitan. Yet the politics is feudal and tribal and certain estates are ominous and intimidating.

October 05, 2015

Being a Protestant atheist

Martin Luther, theologian (1483–1546)

I'm a Protestant atheist, a cultural Calvinist. The Reformation brought to the world the Protestant faith and the Protestant culture of individual autonomy, enterprise, trade and self-direction. Being a Protestant and an atheist is not an oxymoron. 

Christopher Hitchens said, "I'm a Protestant atheist." Gore Vidal said:
"I am an atheist but I am powerfully influenced by the protestantism with which I was brought up. We must bear witness to what we do and to what the nation does."

October 02, 2015

Irish Rugby unites Ireland

The IRFU flag

Terence O'Neill was asked in an interview in 1965 with Telefís Éireann, 'Prime. Minister, when Ireland is playing England, in a Rugby International for instance, what do you feel, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, as somebody from Northern Ireland?' Terence O’Neill responded:
"I think we all feel the same and we all cheer for Ireland and we always have done."
The interviewer John O’Donohue continued: 'You don’t find any awkwardness in questions of allegiances when Rugby is being played?' Terence O’Neill returned:
"No, certainly not."
Jack Kyle said:
"That was the wonderful thing about [Irish rugby, the absence of religion]. When the various unions were splitting up, the Irish Rugby Union said: “we play as one country”. Those of us from Ulster were very fortunate that happened. It was also a much greater honour for us to play for the whole country. I think it says a lot that during all the Troubles, never once did a southern side fail to come north or a northern side fail to go south."

Alex Kane and Andy Pollak, Northern Ireland protestants with opposing views on a united Ireland

Every election in Northern Ireland is a plebiscite for loyalty, a referendum for Irish unity. As such, the question of a united Ireland is always in conversation. It was addressed in August 2015 by Alex Kane here and Andy Pollak here, both cultural protestants from Northern Ireland. The two took the opposing view to the other.

Alex Kane wrote in the Irish News, August 21 2015, 'Why I would not stay if north became part of a united Ireland':

October 01, 2015

IRA violence wiped out Protestant self-identification as Irish

Source here.

IRA violence turned Irish against English and English against Irish, protestant against Catholic, and
robbing protestants of Irishness. As Christopher Hitchens said:
"It was also the Provisional IRA, and not just the 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act, that left “the Irish community in Britain feeling like a suspect nation."
The Provisional IRA may have persuaded Britain to the negotiating table, however their relentless campaign of homicide powerfully dissuaded Irish unification and effectively rendered extinct protestants who self-identified as Irish. That fact alone speaks for how the armed separatism was not only immoral and wrong, but also spectacularly counterproductive. What justification is there for the PIRA armed campaign of destruction of persons and property if the result was to dissuade and create a vehement rejection of being Irish among the very people who they wanted to be Irish in an Irish Republic?

Brian Kennaway said:
"[IRA violence] knocked the Irish heart out of Ulster Protestants."

September 30, 2015

Northern Ireland's disproportionate contribution to the world

In the realm of literature, sport, science, academia, governance and the military, Northern Ireland's contribution to the world has been immense. For a population of 1.8 million it's achievements have been remarkably disproportionate.

American David Remnick recognised this, especially in the field of poetry. The editor of the New Yorker wrote in 1994:

August 19, 2015

Nick Laird on the Protestant-Irish identity

Nick Laird, poet from Northern Ireland, said:
"The complexities of being a Protestant, in that you’re Irish when you’re in Britain, but you’re not Irish when you’re in Ireland. You’re a bad fit everywhere."

August 18, 2015

Being Protestant and Bloody Sunday

James Nesbitt played Ivan Cooper in 'Bloody Sunday' in 2002
As Paul Bew reminded us, Bloody Sunday in Derry in January 1972 stands as the worst massacre of British citizens by British troops since Peterloo in 1819. Ruth Dudley Edwards said:
"Unionists wanted to believe – until Lord Saville proved otherwise – that innocent protesters in Derry on Bloody Sunday had been carrying weapons."

August 16, 2015

Ireland's Capitalist Crown

Just as Ireland had a "parallel Monarchy" in the form of the imperial Roman Church, so Ireland now has a "parallel Crown" in the form of capitalist bonds and debentures.

Ireland's venerated martyr James Connolly wrote in 1914 that "Ireland has no war with Germany, it welcomes the German as a brother struggling towards the light", and went further than David Cameron by calling migrants to Ireland "hordes", a "swarm of locusts", "boys of the bull-dog breed" and "Brit-Huns", making Ireland "Rotten" with a "new plantation". James Connolly wrote in a 3 part essay series titled 'Slackers'.

Unionists and nationalists write to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson

Oil on canvas By Sidney Edward Dickinson
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson coined the expression "self-determination", a catch-penny cry in Ireland. Dated August 1 1918, Edward Carson and other unionists sent a letter to the U.S. President which responded to the Nationalist Manifesto sent to Wilson in June 1918 and openly circulated. Mr Carson and his co-signatories wrote:

August 15, 2015

Edward Carson and John Redmond respond to the Easter Rising (May 3 1916)

Cartoon of Carson and Redmond by Percy Fearon, 'Poy'. 
On May 3 1916 the House of Commons convening for a motion titled ‘Disturbances in Ireland, Resignation of Mr. Birrell’. John Redmond and Edward Carson both spoke in reaction to the Easter Rising that broke out on April 24 1916. The Ulster poet John Hewitt said: "I accepted Sir Edward Carson and his twin, John Redmond, as men from the same country as myself, who had diverging ideas about the governing of it." John Redmond said:

August 10, 2015

1916 Revisionism

NBC presenter Brian Williams
E.L. Doctorow said "History is the present. That’s why every generation writes it anew." Napoleon said "History is a set of lies agreed upon." Jane Austen wrote in her novel Mansfield Park
"The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control!"

August 07, 2015

Sinn Fein revisionism

Gerry Adams wrote about the 'Good Old IRA', equating the PIRA to the IRA that brought about partition 
Sinn Fein and IRA were not about attaining human rights but about attaining a united Irish socialist republic at the cost of human rights and human life. Most of the Civil Rights demands Sinn Fein claim the Provisional IRA secured through violence were achieved before the organization was even born at the end of 1969 In 1972 the IRA announced that they would rid Ireland of the British even if they had “to demolish Belfast brick-by-brick”. Martin McGuinness said around 1973:
"It doesn’t matter a fuck what John Hume says, we’ll go on fighting until we get a united Ireland."

August 03, 2015

Orange and Green, we're all Paddies

The Simpsons portrays Saint Patrick's day and the division in Ireland between Orange and Green 
Many Protestants born in Ireland strenuously and stridently object to being Irish.

To the outsider there's not a shade of difference between the Orangemen and the Green Gael, the planter and the native. The English, American and Europeans and the world see us all as Irish equally.

July 23, 2015

The murder of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo would have been like the murder of the Prince of Wales in Dublin

The Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated on June 28 1914. This event was the key turning points in twentieth century  history. The Archduke, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was shot in Sarajevo by Gavrilo Princip. The assassin was a member of the Black Hand gang, a Serbian nationalists group, whose aim was to free Serbia of the rule of the Austro-Hungarian empire. 

July 19, 2015

Irish teachers must be Catholic missionaries

Eamonn de Valera genuflecting at the feet of Bishop John Charles McQuaid
Michael Nugent wrote following the publication of the report, 'Irish school teachers must be Catholic missionaries,' that religious discrimination against the irreligious and non-Catholic is accepted as part of the Irish way of life, adding that "Irish school teachers must be Catholic missionaries." He wrote:
"Religious discrimination, like all discrimination, undermines the dignity of the human person. In this case religious discrimination in our education system has undermined the human rights of parents and their children. It also denies atheists and religious minorities from their right to access the teaching profession in a democratic Republic without religious discrimination.

July 18, 2015

Fintan O'Toole on "culture" and "tradition" in Northern Ireland

Chatting with Fintan O'Toole
Writing in 2000 Fintan O'Toole made three powerful points (herehere and here) about Northern Ireland and the issue of "culture" and "tradition". This can be read as a broadly framed analysis of parading and Twelfth July culture.

One, there is more to Northern Ireland that monolithic Protestant-Unionist and monolithic Catholic-Nationalist:

July 09, 2015

Culture Night - A middle class 12th

A cartoon of Belfast's Culture Night by Ian Knox
Newton Emerson wrote that the annual Culture Night shows how many extremely middle-class people there are in Belfast. Culture Night is, in his words, "A sort of middle-class Twelfth." He also wrote:

July 08, 2015

The inglorious Twelfth

John Hewitt, Ulster poet, at a 12th July march
Seamus Heaney wrote a poem, 'Orange Drums, Tyrone, 1966', about his experience of the Twelfth July:
'The lambeg balloons at his belly, weighs
Him back on his haunches, lodging thunder
Grossly there between his chin and his knees.
He is raised up by what he buckles under.

July 07, 2015

A Northern Protestant speaks to a 1916 commemoration

Belfast born Pat Storey at the 1916 commemoration event, 
The Church of Ireland Bishop of Meath and Kildare Most Rev Pat Storey was invited to speak at state event to mark the 1916 Rising, described by the Irish Times as a "Catholic, republican commemoration". On May 5 2015 the northern Protestant, born and raised in Belfast, addressed the Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Irish President Michael D Higgins, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams and other dignitaries. Pat Storey said:
"It is not a part of my story. But I want, and I need, to try to understand it. I need to walk in your shoes generously. [It meant] relating to the commemorations of your community when I would rather remember wrongs done to mine."

July 06, 2015

James Connolly describes the 12th July

Born in Edinburgh of Irish Parents, James Connolly was a one-time British soldier turned Irish revolutionary leader who headed the Easter Rising of 1916. Connolly wrote 'July the 12th', published in Forward on July 12 1913, where he described his visit to a 12th July march:
"As this Saturday is the 12th of July, and as I am supposed to be writing about the North of Ireland in particular, it becomes imperative that I say something about this great and glorious festival. 

July 05, 2015

The Protestantisation of Southern Ireland

COI Dean Victor Griffin who opposed the Protestant ascendency in the North and the Catholic ascendancy in the South, was the first public representative of new-look Protestantism in Ireland said Roy Foster
Ian D'Alton wrote that the Irish Free State "was rescued by Catholics becoming Protestants." This was a formulation most prominently articulated by the recently deceased Eddie Holt - The Protestantisation of the South's middle class. Coincidentally I wrote in 2015 that 'The Calvinist Ulsterman is more of a Catholic Irishman than is commonly realised.' The religious proclivities of the North and the South have inverted.

Jamie Bryson - Latex Loyalist

Being born middle class but believing you're loyalist. 
Jamie Bryson is a middle class imposter. Just as Hitler wasn't German, Jamie Bryson isn't Working Class protestant. (I invoke Godwin's Law as a point of irony because Bryson does it so regularly.) This has been the grand sham of Northern Ireland since December 3 2012: The self-appointed loyalist big mouth isn't even working class.

July 02, 2015

Conor Cruise O'Brien - The church and school helps to encourage, exalt and extend tribal-sectarian self-righteousness

Cartoon of Conor Cruise O'Brien
[UPDATE - John Hume wrote in The Irish Times, May 18 1964, "Bigotry and a fixation about religious divisions are the first thing that strike any visitor to the North."]

Our parents are patrons of prejudice, bequeathers of bigotry. Churches and chapels inculcate hate. 

He was that Irish essayist and polemicist so "sorely deficient in Anglophobia". Conor Cruise O'Brien (who was satirised in the 'Gentle Black and Tans'), drew across the grain on so many issues. He was the arch-"revisionist", a charge he countered here. A controversialist and a man of irrepressible energies, we sorely lack his type today.

July 01, 2015

There is no comparison between the American and Irish struggle for independence

Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
American independence was an Anglo-protestant insurrection of European colonists against fellow colonists over confiscated lands. Irish independence was an uprising of the native Catholic and socialist super-Gael against the coloniser.

June 30, 2015

Ethical Irishness and ethically remembering Ireland's history

A young Michael D. Higgins
Irishness is about ethics, not ethnics. Michael D. Higgins said that his would be a "Presidency of ideas - recognising and open to new paradigms of thought and action". Through speeches the President has explored the importance and challenge of ethics in Irish life and Ireland’s relationships abroad. There are four select Special Initiatives which mark his stewardship of the Áras an Uachtaráin, one of which is the Ethics Initiative.

June 29, 2015

Michael Longley - Green wank and Orange wank

Michael Longley with his portrait by Colin Davidson. See Longley with Mallie and I here.
Michael Longley met David Remnick on his 1994 visit to Belfast. They went for a walk and talk at the Giant’s Ring in South Belfast in 1994.
"These sides are divided from each other in their souls. They adhere to ridiculous visions of themselves and their histories. I call it ‘the green wank’ and ‘the orange wank’."

June 28, 2015

Ireland's Revolutionary and Fairyhouse traditions

Irish Grand National (1921) - Won by Mr A. Wills’ ‘Bohernore’ at Fairyhouse
Stephen Gwynn wrote an account of Dublin during the Easter Rising of April 1916:
"On Monday a very large proportion of the officers from the Curragh and the Dublin garrison were at the Fairyhouse races. In the Castle itself there was only the ordinary guard."

June 03, 2015

1916 feminist rhetoric versus 2016 reality

Andy Pollak wrote:
"In the South it’s even worse, with only 16% of the Dail’s members being women... This puts Ireland 88th in the world, behind such paragons of democracy and women’s equality as Burkina Faso, Gabon, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates (the US is barely any better at 16.8%). Ireland comes 25th out of 28 EU parliaments. And that woefully low figure – 16% – has never been exceeded in the 96 year history of Dail Eireann, which must have Countess Markievicz, the first woman elected to both the House of Commons and the Dail in 1918, turning in her grave."

June 02, 2015

David Remnick on the normality of Northern Ireland

David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker since 1998, staff writer since 1992. Illustration by Stanley Chow (@stan_chow).
The former Chief Constable of the PSNI Matt Bagott said in 2014:
"In terms of ordinary crime, [Nothern Ireland] is not the most challenging. In fact, it is probably the safest place I have ever worked. Inner city crime in Peckham, where you have street gangs and hundreds of robberies every month, is much more challenging crime-wise."

May 16, 2015

Why we need to know Sayyid Qutb

There is no such thing as the End of History or the inevitable ascent of man and liberal democracy. Ideas are in sempiternal competition and anyone can win out and dominate, but there is no such thing as hegemonic finality. Triumph and Disaster are two impostors just the same. People make a particular fetish out of claiming their generation as particularly afflicted, and of their epoch of especially violent and unstable. W.B. Yeats wrote about "the growing murderousness of the world." Those words apply today; proving that history teaches us we learn nothing from history; and that madness and murderousness is inevitable and unavoidable. All we need to ensure is that good men do not do nothing.

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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