July 25, 2016

The gael's Northern Ireland

A street I passed driving through Monaghan
When American's think of Britain, they think of Monty Python. When Irish republicans think of Britain, they think of the Famine and the Black and Tans.

Their is a huge mental gap between the unionist and republican, between the protestant and catholic in Ireland.

Their view of the past is opposite and incompatible. As typified by this tweet from Barry McElduff of Sinn Fein. This tweet represents how for many deep green republicans, the past is very much present.

At the 2016 Fine Gael ard fheis I spoke with a member of young Fine Gael who said:
"I would have got on better with the middle-class unionists, the students from the country in GAA tops just say they want a 32 county Republic, it’s a bit unnatural."
It made me think, that’s like a loyalist turning up at London School of Economics dressed in British emblems and full of patriotic talk about the Queen. Gerry Adams said back in September 2015:
"Most citizens in England would have little in common with what unionists describe as ‘British culture’." 
The same could be said of Northern republicans, for the Irish identity in the south is much more relaxed.

Gerry Adams said:
"Most people in England consider anyone who comes from the island of Ireland as Irish – as Paddy’s or Patricia’s... The same is true in the USA and Canada and elsewhere... This can come as a shock to unionists when they travel there."
Joe Brolly wrote:
"The reality is that the two cultures remain firmly segregated and sectarianism is rife. An invisible wall separates the two communities’ schools, sports, religions and social lives."
He also wrote:
"Culturally, we are no doubt slightly different. In a way, northern Gaels are more ferocious about our Irishness because we had to fight harder for it. My father, a veteran republican, fluent Irish speaker and traditional musician steeped in all things Gaelic quipped to me during the week, “Don’t be too hard on the southerners Joe, some of them are almost as Irish as we are.” 
Our experience explains why we are far more fervent about our province than the other three. When I began working in RTE I was amazed that Cork people didn’t support Kerry when they got out of Munster and Mayo folk didn’t support Galway. Up here, we rally round whoever gets through because we feel we are all in it together. When Tyrone scored their killer goal in the 2005 final against Kerry, a Derry man sitting in the stand jumped up, punched the air in delight and roared, “Come on you Tyrone b******ds!”"
George Bernard Shaw wrote in John Bull's Other Island:
"I wish I could find a country to live where the facts were not so brutal and the dreams not unreal."

Read my previous post on 'Being a planter' here and here.

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