Ideals are dangerous: realities are better…

Excellent writing from Richard English in this review of the current exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London: Conquering England: Ireland in Victorian England. He explores the many ambivilances and contradictions in the cultural and political relations between the two countries.

He has one interesting quotation I’d not spotted before:

“…the IRA-man, inebriate and sometime wit Brendan Behan (a kind of Irish Dylan Thomas with explosives) could observe that he “really could not see why two small islands off the coast of Europe required four capitals”. “One is enough,” he said, “and we should live off the better one, which is in England.”

  • peteb


    There was an equally interesting article by Roy Foster, about the exhibition, in the Guardian a couple of weeks ago – Indomitable Irishry

    Blogged here *ahem*

  • Davros

    Excellent pieces.

  • JD

    This is not strictly on topic, so apologies beforehand.

    I was wondering if someone could please recommend a good novel (preferably towards the literary end of the scale) that: a) was written by a woman; b)deals with the troubles; and c) was published in the last decade.

    Any help much appreciated.

  • cg

    The Politics of Force
    Fionnuala Ni Aolain
    Paperback – 322 pages (November 1999)
    The Blackstaff Press Ltd; ISBN: 0856406686

    Hope that helps JD

    I used some of it for my project on the “Changing levels of political violence” and it is very good.

    She is the Director of Transitional Justice Inst at University of Ulster.

  • JD

    Cheers, cg. But I was looking for something in the literary fiction category.

  • cg

    I haven’t read any but some of the Non-Fiction may as well be fiction 😉