Presbyterian republicans on stage…

A FESTIVAL in Saintfield is celebrating the battle that took place there in the 1798 United Irishmen’s rebellion. This year, it is exploring the role of the Dissenters (mainly Presbyterians) in the uprising, and includes a play in Ulster-Scots. Vivien Hewitt, who wrote it, said: “Although fictional, the play is heavily based on the facts and community memories of those few June days in 1798 when the Ulster-Scots imagination caught fire and believed it would be possible to transform Ireland into an American-style republic.”From the Irish News:

Festival will highlight Ulste-Scots 1798 role

By Claire Simpson

Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter were encouraged to “think outside the box” when they united in 1798, according to organisers of a new event marking the Battle of Saintfield. Claire Simpson reports

A festival to commemorate the 1798 rebellion aims to shed some light on the role Ulster-Scots played in the conflict.

The Liberty Days festival in Saintfield, Co Down, which is launched today (Thursday), will include music, dance and drama as well as a re-enactment of the Battle of Saintfield.

Although a prototype reenactment was held last year it will be the first time the full mock fight has been open to the public.

Due to run all weekend the festival also boasts the first performance of a new play on the United Irishmen rebellion.

A procession will walk down the town’s main street on Saturday culminating in a wreath-laying ceremony on York Island.

Organiser Vivien Hewitt said the idea for the festival had been mooted many years ago.

“Last year we made a film about the 1798 rebellion and the festival came out of that,” she said.

“It is very much a cross-community event – we want people to have fun with history.

“I know the United Irishmen rebellion was not a fun time but it was wonderful and colourful and exciting for the people involved.

“It encouraged Irishmen to think outside the box – something we should do today.”

Ms Hewitt said the play, called Who Dares to Speak, would be performed in Ulster-Scots and had been extensively researched.

“It is about human stories and human beings and what happens to them in a civil war,” she said.

“I think we have got past the idea that one side is right and the other is wrong.

“It is not a history lesson, it is a day in the life.”

Ms Hewitt, who wrote the play, said it aimed to reflect the mixture of idealism and confusion surrounding the rebellion.

“Although fictional, the play is heavily based on the facts and community memories of those few June days in 1798 when the Ulster-Scots imagination caught fire and believed it would be

possible to transform Ireland into an American-style republic,” Ms Hewitt said.

  • Jim

    Ah, the United Irishmen. Liberté. Freedom of expression. Slugger O’Toole. Discussions about Stephen Nolan censored without explanation. Irony.

  • T.Ruth

    Harry Allen formerly of East Belfast but long time resident of Donaghadee where he taught for many years has written a great account of the 1798 Rebellion as it affected “The Men of the Ards.” It is immensely readable, well written and draws extensively on primary source material.Published by Ballyhay Books isbn 1900935 42 2
    T.Ruth

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Sadly, Mr Nolan brought out the worst in us and there were quite a few incidents of ‘playing the man, not the ball’ on the thread. Including some by me, for which I must hang my head in utter shame and disgrace…

    Anyway, Mick phoned last night and said he’d taken it offline until I could edit out the offending comments.

    Since I can’t be bothered, the thread remains in the bin. It was a bit crap, let’s face it.

    With freedom of expression comes responsibility etc etc etc…

    Liberty, equality, faternity – but Slugger is not a democracy.

  • fair_deal

    “but Slugger is not a democracy.”

    Ahh the joys of beneficient dictatorship, all hail mighty Mick 😉

  • Miss Fitz

    Some of the comments about Mr Nolan were well out of bounds, so not a bit surprised it ended up in the bin. Not so much censorship as responsible stewardship of a valauable site.

  • Garibaldy

    If anybody goes to this, will they post up an account? I won’t be able to make it, but would be very interested to hear about it. Looking at the Ulster-Scots involvement, I’m wondering will there be a political slant to say it was all a big mistake that was righted when people saw how great the union was. Still and all, glad to see it. Hopefully an annual event? And let’s see if Brian Feeney mentions it in a future column.

  • Nationalist

    It is well overdue for the “unionist” community to start addressing the question of who they really are. They certainly do not all have ancestors from Scotland as Lord Lard would have all believe.

    Up until the GF agreement no-one had heard the term “Ulster-Scots” let alone ever thought of it as a language and culture other than the Bruns on the back of a Scotish Sunday Newspaper.

    Unionist for the most part had over the years tried to attach themselves to everything English and many had taken elocution lessons in order to rid themselves of their dreaded NI brogue.

    Unionists are not a race of people who share an single ancestorial past, but rather a people who share a political veiwpoint and (today for the most part) also an anti Catholic religious view – from the many strands of Protestant churches they have established over the years.

    Unionists have a varied mixture of anciestors, some from England, some from Scotland (who in the 1600-1800’s spoke Scots Galic – not the “Ulster Scots” broken English), and many other “unionists” are direct relatives from the indigenous Irish who took on the Protestant relgion either by choice, through mixed marriages or being forced to in order to obtain food during the great famine, and thus their descendants have taken on the political view delivered from the pulpits of those churches.

    It is about time that they have decided to stop trying to airbrush out anything Irish from their past. It is also about time that they start to accept that the majority in their ranks are not descended from Scotland and stop trying to create an identity for a people who merely share outdated political viewpoints.

    The Unionist people come from vast differing pasts and trying to adopt or go back and create an “Ulster-Scots” culture and promote the Bruns as their language is neither true nor the way to heighten our shared Irish Heritage.

    Let us hope that the truth of their past is told and not a later day unionist re-write in order to fit todays political agenda. It is refreshing to see that some have awoken to the fact that the Protestant people played a large part in the formation of Irish Rebellions and the laying of the ground work for the Republican movement of today.

    Many many Protestants played leading roles in a number of rebellions to remove the British Crown from Ireland and it is about time todays Protestants acknowleged that fact and honoured the brave men who gave their lives for the Freedom of a Nation!

  • Reader

    Nationalist: The Unionist people come from vast differing pasts and trying to adopt or go back and create an “Ulster-Scots” culture and promote the Bruns as their language is neither true nor the way to heighten our shared Irish Heritage.
    Change a word here and there, and you could say just the same about the Nationalist People. Would it change the identity you feel

  • Alan

    Nationalist,

    There are also many of us, the “new dissenters”, who feel neither Unionist nor Nationalist, yet are directly discriminated against within the structures of the Assembly – a position that continues to be enforced by nationalist and republican political parties – something that Tone, McCracken and Hope would never have tolerated.

  • mnob

    It is well overdue for the “Catholic” community to start addressing the question of who they really are. They certainly cannot all trace their ancestry back to Ireland since the dawn of time as many of them would believe.

    Nationalists for the most part had over the years tried to attach themselves to everything Irish and many had taken Irish lessons in order to rid themselves of their dreaded English language.

    Nationalists are not a race of people who share an single ancestorial past, but rather a people who share a political veiwpoint and (today for the most part) also an anti Unionist political view – from the many strands of ‘cultural organisations’ they have established over the years.

    Nationalists have a varied mixture of anciestors, some from England, some from Scotland (who in the 1600-1800’s spoke Scots Galic – not ‘Irish’), and many other “nationalists” are direct relatives from the ‘invaders’ who kept or adopted the Catholic relgion either by choice, through mixed marriages or being forced to , and thus their descendants have taken on the political view delivered from the pulpits of this church.

    It is about time that they have decided to stop trying to airbrush out anything British from their past. It is also about time that they start to accept that the majority in their ranks are ‘invaders’ of Ireland and stop trying to create an identity for a people who merely share outdated political viewpoints.

    The Nationalist people come from vast differing pasts and trying to adopt or go back and create an “Irish” culture and promote ‘standard (sic) Irish’ as their language is neither true nor the way to heighten our shared British Heritage.

    Let us hope that the truth of their past is told and not a later day nationalist re-write in order to fit todays political agenda. It is refreshing to see that some have awoken to the fact that the Catholic people played a large part in the formation and continuation of the British state and the laying of the ground work for modern British state.

    Many many Irish Catholics played leading roles in a number of ways to support and secure the British state and it is about time todays Catholics acknowleged that fact and honoured the brave men who gave their lives for the Freedom of a Nation!

    ….

    Can u see how this works. You have produced a tirade based on shared myths and stories. Some of which may be correct some exagerated some plainly untrue, but all spun within the context of a brave Irish nation fighting against the yoke of opression. Remove that narrative or turn it by 180 degrees and things look different.

    Your only kidding yourself you know.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Up until the GF agreement no-one had heard the term “Ulster-Scots” let alone ever thought of it as a language and culture other than the Bruns on the back of a Scotish Sunday Newspaper.

    typical racist nonsense- proof positive that nationalism is the same in Ireland as everywhere else-prejudice justified by ignorance.

    The Ulster Scots language was interesting scholars in the 1980s and 1990s, and I’ve yawned through the meetings to prove it. There were Scotch-Irish societies in the US in the 19th century. it’s the fact that these aspects of our shared culture were being ignored that was addressed in the GFA-geddit?

    And perhaps some day you’ll actually read some real books about the 98 turnout, and discover that many of the Presbyterian rebels were millinerian, freemasons, covenant republican in a way that Gerry Adams could never begin to aspire to- oh, and not very fond of Roman catholics in many cases. They were light years more sophisticated in their politics than the Defenders of Scullabogue who are the true ancestors of the IRA. They were not prepared to allow the nationalists of later years to hijack them as you are trying to- see the Betsy Gray riots oof 1898. And the vast majority of them -after sufering persecution at the hands of ,er often Irish speaking Roman Catholic British soldiers (oops-who let that happen?)in the years before the ’98, became ardent defenders of the Union which removed the anti-Presbyterian Irish administration.They would have spat in the face of Michael Collins, Martin McGuinness and all the ragbag of rebels that come in between.

    I read on another thread that Drew Nelson- of the Orange Order was the descendant of Anglican yeomanry who fought for the state in 1798. My ancestors were in the turnout up to their necks- I’m a McCracken on my mother’s side. We’re both Orangemen and we’re both Unionists because we see the mutual benefits for both our strains of Irishness.

    It’s small minds- like yours, I’m sorry to say- that can’t cope with the British-Irish identity without sneering condescension that have the historical blindfolds on. That’s the main reason you have a divided Ireland today- and as long as nationalism tries to wriggle round Scullabogue, Dunmanway,Darkley, Enniskillen, Teebane, La Mon and a hundred others you always will.

  • darth rumsfeld

    10 out of 10 mnob

  • T.Ruth

    Why is it always Nationalist/Republicans/Irish Americans who mope on about the Famine. Did the Protestant poor have different potatoes. Is that how British Queens got their name.
    T.Ruth.

  • AudacesFortunaJuvat

    Nationalist,

    I think your attempts at ridiculing the whole idea of an Ulster Scots identity is really rather pathetic, and demonstrates well the lack of understanding between the two communities in Northern Ireland today. You sound like a Nationalist version of Ian Paisley, when he used to try to ricule the Irish language as a “leprechaun language”

    I have no doubts that the Ulster-Scots agency not only promotes the idea of a seperate Ulster Scots identity, but also reinforces the links between the identities of Scotland and Ireland, and can only bring the people of NI closer together in the long run.

    The idea of an Ulster Scots identity pushes the boundaries of the thinking of Protestant people in Ulster about what their identity really is. In the past too much emphasis has been put on the events of 1688-90 by the Protestant community (possibly due to the influence of the OO within our society) and not enough on the other 398 years since the settlement in Ulster began.

  • kensei

    “Change a word here and there, and you could say just the same about the Nationalist People. Would it change the identity you feel”

    I might feel German, but will not make it so.

  • A couple of points: what if the United Irishmen had succeeded? How would a united Irish republic have turned out with a dissenter/Protestant radical tradition influence? As some of the comments here point out, it was something not far from the last hurrah of the dissenter radicalism of the civil war era. Fascinating…

    On the moderation row, doesn’t this just point up the difference between a democracy and a republic – something that certainly bears on the topic?

    Finally, “Nationalist”, “the Ulster-Scots’ broken english”? Please. Claiming that the other party’s language isn’t one but is merely a patois or the babbling of half-people is possibly the oldest trick in the book of ethnic violence. The Greeks gave us the word “barbarian” because they thought the people next door just went “baa baa” rather than speaking Greek, the language of civilised human beings.

  • Bushmills

    Thomas Hamilton’s book: History of Prebyterianism in Ireland has an excellent chapter about the United Irishmen. He basically tries to argue they were all Unitarians and therefore not true Presbyterians – it’s quite good as an example of how 100 years after the event, the Presbyterians basically wanted to expunge all memory of it from their community.

  • Bushmills

    Ah kensei – the old false conciouness chestnut. So predictable.

  • Shuggie McSporran

    AudacesFortunaJuvat

    “… and not enough on the other 398 years since the settlement in Ulster began”

    The settlement of Ulster began roughly 9,000 years previously, a small point.

  • lib2016

    It’s my impression that most Irish republicans are well aware of the fact that a great deal of what helps us identify ourselves as Irish was invented during the Irish Literary revival of the late 19th Century, by a gang of Anglo-Irish Protestants. Just adds to the fun of Paddy’s Day IMO!

    As far as I’m aware the original impulse towards creating an Ulster-Scots identity came from the O’Neillites during the 60’s. They built on the foundation of the old Scots-Irish identity to try and create a Norn Ireland ethnic identity but it never took off until the GFA forced a recognition of the need for Government finance for the Irish language lobby in line with the finance granted to the Scots Gaelic lobby and the Welsh language.

    Once money came into it and the prospect of taxi rides to Dublin, flights to America…….!

  • kensei

    “Finally, “Nationalist”, “the Ulster-Scots’ broken english”? Please. Claiming that the other party’s language isn’t one but is merely a patois or the babbling of half-people is possibly the oldest trick in the book of ethnic violence. The Greeks gave us the word “barbarian” because they thought the people next door just went “baa baa” rather than speaking Greek, the language of civilised human beings.”

    Except, that Ulster Scots isn’t a language. Even Scots is argumented about.

    “Ah kensei – the old false conciouness chestnut. So predictable.”

    No, it’s the old, stop taking bollocks chestnut. Wishing something doesn’t make it true.

    No one gave a shit about Ulster-Scots nonsense 30 years ago. If you want to build some kind of identity in response to Nationalism, go for it, it doesn’t really bother me. Ulster Scots is painfully brilliant comedy anyway.

    Waterways Ireland => Watterweys Aerlann. It’s a perfect Ballymena accent.

    All we are saying is you have absolutely no need to do this.

  • dantheman

    Ulster Scots is a great dialect. Mis-spell every other word and mispronounce the rest. Then finish every sentence with,”way-hay boo!”

  • hovetwo

    Why is it always Nationalist/Republicans/Irish Americans who mope on about the Famine. Did the Protestant poor have different potatoes. Is that how British Queens got their name.

    T. Ruth

    I’m currently wading through This Great Calamity, a scholarly book about the famine written by Christine Kinealy. From what I’ve read thus far, one of the main reasons why Ulster as a whole suffered less than Connacht, South Leinster and Munster was the fact that a wider variety of crops were grown, particularly in support of the linen industry. The famine did bite hard in parts of Antrim, and there was substantial potato crop failure in Scotland and mainland Europe.

    A couple of contemporary Ulster periodicals did attribute the lack of suffering to God’s Providence etc. etc., although the Belfast local relief committee was extremely generous in distributing aid to other parts of Ireland. Peel emerges as a bit of a hero – no-one died on his watch in 1845, whereas the Russell administration took ideological resistance to intervention to extremes. Let’s not use the genocide word, but the idelogical blinkers that left the “deserving poor” to their fate reminded me of Pol Pot’s neo-Maoist zealotry in emptying the cities of Cambodia of their people, let alone Mao’s Great Leap Forward.

    By the way, thanks to everyone for the book references, I’m looking forward to reading them.

  • Garibaldy

    Bushmills,

    A huge volume came out of the 1798 bicententary commemorations, called 1798 A Bicentenary Perspective. There’s a piece in it by Ian Mc Bride, author of Scripture Politics about Presbyterian radicalism in the late C18th, on the memory of 98 among Presbyerians in the C19th you might be interested in.

    Speaking of which, it’s always struck me how unionists refer to the 98 (which Darth did earlier) as opposed to just 98, which is what I and people I know would always say. Wonder why this is.

  • Garibaldy

    Hovetwo,

    Kinealy enjoys a far from unanimous reputation. A lot of people think she’s excellent, others that her work is biased and simplistic. Cormac Ó Gráda’s stuff is well worth a look too.

  • Reader

    kensei: I might feel German, but will not make it so.
    Suppose you felt German, had German citizenship, spoke German as your first language, and were born, raised and lived in Germany, like your parents and their parents. Would you think someone who tried to tell you you weren’t really German was a headcase? Same with the UK…

  • hovetwo

    Thanks Garibaldy I’ll look out for Ó Gráda.

    Surprised Kinealy is seen as biased, given the extensive annotation and references. Can understand the simplistic barb, although it seems a little unfair – the definitive work has yet to be written!

    Sorry, back to 1798 and all that………

  • kensei

    “Suppose you felt German, had German citizenship, spoke German as your first language, and were born, raised and lived in Germany, like your parents and their parents. Would you think someone who tried to tell you you weren’t really German was a headcase? Same with the UK…”

    Ulster Scots is neither a country or something you can have citzenship of. The “language”, is at best, a dialect of something else. There isn’t “Ulster Scots” music and dance in the same sense of Irish traditional music and dance, except for what has been nicked off actual Scots. And the large majority of people have not been interested in it until very recently, and that tends be almost in opposition to being Irish. So, no, that’s not the same at all. I’m not talking about “Britishness” here.

    But you know, people should be whatever they want to be and I’m happy enough for people to pursue whatever avenues they want, as long as thye don’t take a disporprotionate of my tax dollars. There is absolutely no need though.

  • Bushmills

    Ahh Cormac O’Grada, that takes me back – Nineteenth Century Economic History of Ireland – taught by Liam Kennedy – great stuff!

  • Bushmills

    Kensei

    Your comments are truly fascistic in nature – on another thread you chided me for describing Sinn Fein’s vision of a UI as bitter and sectarian – your comments belie your earlier outrage.

  • Garibaldy

    Bushmills,

    Economic and Social history was always extremely interesting. Great to get away from the same old nonsense when talking about Irish history.

  • Bushmills

    Garibaldy

    Absolutely. Liam Kennedy was an excellent tutor. I also did a module in Scottish Economic history in the 18th-19th Century with Enda Delany which was equally fascinating.

  • Ziznivy

    Even as a unionist I’m fairly sceptical about Ulster Scots being a language (other than in terms of official recognition. The strand of Irish nationalism that fails to acknowledge any kind of legitimate British-Irish identity though is almost fascist in its leanings. Our culture and identity is legitimate, yours is bogus. It’s the over sanctification of their own narratives, constructs and romantic myths that lead to this derision of others. Exclusivist ethnic nationalism at its worst.

  • Garibaldy

    Bushmills,

    Afraid I’m too old to have been there while Enda Delaney was teaching. Did some American stuff before the Civil War though which was really excellent

  • kensei

    “Your comments are truly fascistic in nature – on another thread you chided me for describing Sinn Fein’s vision of a UI as bitter and sectarian – your comments belie your earlier outrage.”

    Wrong and by Godwin’s Law I win this argument. Next!

    “Even as a unionist I’m fairly sceptical about Ulster Scots being a language (other than in terms of official recognition. The strand of Irish nationalism that fails to acknowledge any kind of legitimate British-Irish identity though is almost fascist in its leanings. Our culture and identity is legitimate, yours is bogus. It’s the over sanctification of their own narratives, constructs and romantic myths that lead to this derision of others. Exclusivist ethnic nationalism at its worst.”

    There is undoubtedly a British-Irish or Protestant-Irish strand of Irishness. I’m just saying that Ulster Scots isn’t it. Ulster-Scots has aspects of it, but it is clearly a response to Unionism feeling under pressure and feeling they need to match Nationalism blow for blow, or something. Why all the fuss now? Why the random picking of an obscure Scots dialect that amounts to a Ballymena accent when English, Scots Gaelic and Irish Gaelic have just as much claim?

    There is no need to manufacture some kind of new cohesive identity, because we are perfectly capable of respecting you for without it.

    Apparently, that means I need to dig out my SS uniform.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “Wrong and by Godwin’s Law I win this argument”
    Godwin’s law actually refers to the nazis, not fascists- Benito and co having originated the franchise, so you’ve not exactly nailed him

    98/the 98
    I’d never realised there was a differentway of referring to it- but now you’ve mentioned it

    And while we’re on forms of speech-
    why do prods say “aitch” and taigs say “haitch”?
    I genuinely am dying to know

  • kensei

    “Godwin’s law actually refers to the nazis, not fascists- Benito and co having originated the franchise, so you’ve not exactly nailed him”

    Oh, don’t be a pedant. Nazi’s / Facism the point remains.

  • Greenflag

    Kensei,

    ‘There is undoubtedly a British-Irish or Protestant-Irish strand of Irishness.’

    Full marks for the obvious . In a decade or so we’ll have Chinese -Irish and Polish-Irish strands of Irishness and many others also Islamic Irish strands . The question is how will these strands be expressed politically in a democracy .

    What is not always remebered about 1798 is that there were also groups of United Englishmen and United Scotsmen who were also ‘republican’ orientated and anti monarchical and who held clandestine meetings in Edinburgh and elsewhere in the UK . Lord Edward Fitzgerald IIRC attended some of these meetings . In Britain these movements came to nought as a result of the perceived French threat . In Ireland the authorities were aware of the growing threat and deliberately provoked the 1798 rebellion through agents provocateurs etc in the years leading up to 1798.

    It was estimated that 40,000 people were killed in the 1798 rebellion and probably more than half that number were in the North most being Presbyterian . The ‘Presbyterian’ revolt was crushed in a manner which ensured that the latter did not raise their heads for a generation. The British Government however moved speedily to ‘reward’ loyal Presbyterians by removing discriminatory laws against them in the aftermath of the slaughter . The Act of Union was also hurried through to prevent any possibility of a growth in Irish ‘democracy’ along the French or American models . Irish Catholics were promised ’emancipation’ but it took 30 years to overcome the established Churches and the ruling Monarch’s resistance to such emancipation .

    But does any of this ‘matter’ in this day and age at least in terms of finding a way out of the present political cul de sac in which NI finds itself ?

    Probably not . Both Ireland and Britain are very different countries today than they were in 1798 . We have to find a solution for today’s world not yesterdays.

  • Garibaldy

    Darth,

    Allegedly, according to some linguists anyway, it’s because of the English/Scottish origins of many Protestants and Gaelic origins of many Catholics. Of course this does not take into account the fact that many people prounounce it the ‘wrong’ way.

  • kensei

    “Both Ireland and Britain are very different countries today than they were in 1798 . We have to find a solution for today’s world not yesterdays.”

    Nice post, but you seem to have taken me totally out of context and run with it.

    For the record, a US-style Constitutional republic (without the mad arrangement of powers, obviously) remains as good an idea for here, there, anywhere as it did in the 1700’s.

  • darth rumsfeld

    yeah I’ve heard that explanation garibaldy- but surely that’s unlikely, given the interbreeding, the decline of the irish language etc etc

  • Greenflag

    ‘remains as good an idea for here, there, anywhere as it did in the 1700’s. ‘

    Ideas are just that ‘ideas’. Implementing a good political ‘idea’ is dependent on the objective political and social factors which characterise a particular society/world at a point in time . Throw in some ‘spark’ and a few charismatic rebels/leaders and the status quo is overturned . George Washington was ‘lucky’ that the French just happened to want to curtail the power of the British Empire in 1776 . The loss of America grieved Hanoverian George so much that he made doubly sure that his rear entry ‘defence’ Ireland would not be lost as well .

    Ireland (most of it was later lost ) for reasons which we all know from our history .

    ”you seem to have taken me totally out of context and run with it.’

    Naw I was just trying to broaden the discussion beyond the usual themuns and usuns . We Irish should continue to hold those 1798 Northern Presbyterians who ‘fought’ for freedom from English rule in high regard . However we should not blind ourselves to the fact that most of the descendants of these men are now Unionists . Presumably most of the ‘descendants’ of the North Cork Militia (mostly RC’s) who put down the United men in the North are now Nationalists/Republicans .

    This kind of thing has happened all over the world in conflicts between and within countries . Ireland or Northern Ireland are not unusual in that respect.

  • Harry Flashman

    Darth

    Get it right, you Orangies say “aitch”, we true born sons of Erin don’t say “haitch” we say “hitch”, at least we do in Derry anyway.

  • Harry Flashman

    Kensei

    “There is undoubtedly a British-Irish or protestant-Irish strand of Irishness. I’m just saying Ulster-Scots isn’t it”

    How noble of you to make such a concession and how enlightening of you to decide how people may define themselves.

    I agree you know, it’s up to us wise people from the nationalist community to tell these idiot prods how they may define their background. Ye gads some of them might end up thinking they should be allowed to define their own cultures in their own ways. Preposterous! Stuff and nonsense I say, let them be told by us how they should behave and we’ll put an end to the presumptiousness of these jackanapes once and for all, pass the port there’s a good fellow.

    I now understand your problems with the US Constitution kensei, you’d have fitted right in with the good old fashioned Tories, not for you the oldest continuous form of democratic government on the planet, dreamt up by a bunch of hill-billies whose ancestry in the backwoods of Antrim clearly meant they couldn’t think for themselves.

    No indeed, the whiff of grapeshot! That’ll teach these wretched dissenting johnnies what’s what, eh? Now, where’s me snuff?

  • Shuggie McSporran

    Greenflag

    “It was estimated that 40,000 people were killed in the 1798 rebellion and probably more than half that number were in the North most being Presbyterian”

    As far as I recall from the history books the death toll in the north was low, where the rebellion was short-lived. The major part of the blood letting happened in the south-east, paricularly after the government regained control and the military came in to teach the buggers a lesson.

  • na

    Seems like an interesting project given the neglect of this period of history by some/many. But I hope this fictionalised account based around folk memory does not over emphasis the Ulster Scots dimension of Protestantism involved in the Rebellion.

    The problem with educating through folk memory, especially when working mainly through fiction, is it could end up giving the impression that Protestantism and Ulster Scots were synonymous during the Rebellion which is nowhere near true.

  • kensei

    “How noble of you to make such a concession and how enlightening of you to decide how people may define themselves.”

    Oh, I know I open myself up to that charge, but there are have been enough Unionists displaying scepticism about Ulster Scots here for my point to stand.

    “I agree you know, it’s up to us wise people from the nationalist community to tell these idiot prods how they may define their background. Ye gads some of them might end up thinking they should be allowed to define their own cultures in their own ways. Preposterous! Stuff and nonsense I say, let them be told by us how they should behave and we’ll put an end to the presumptiousness of these jackanapes once and for all, pass the port there’s a good fellow.”

    As I said before, where is the history of this? If you had have said Ulster-Scots to someone even 15 years ago, they probably would have looked at you funny. You haven’t answered my question on why these specific parts, or why now, or what about everything else. Planetrs came form England and Scotland and elsewhere and spoke and did a variety of things. Why now, when Unionism is under increasing pressure? Why does it seem to be a response to Nationalist Irishness?

    As a movement it actually narrows and makes less interesting the Unionist people here. I think that would be a shame. But if they really want to do that, then yes, they have the right to define themselves anyway they like. Just:

    1. Don’t feel you have to prove your aren’t Irish, or something.
    2. Don’t kid yourself it’s something it’s not.

    “I now understand your problems with the US Constitution kensei, you’d have fitted right in with the good old fashioned Tories, not for you the oldest continuous form of democratic government on the planet, dreamt up by a bunch of hill-billies whose ancestry in the backwoods of Antrim clearly meant they couldn’t think for themselves.”

    No actually, I love the US Constitution, One of the most important documents ever written. And I’d take the US Constitution over the British unwritten one, everytime. I simply disagree with how the US has separated it’s powers, where I feel it gets a bit messy.

    If your going to try that shit, at least pay attention to what I actually say.

  • Greenflag

    McSporran ,

    ‘after the government regained control and the military came in to teach the buggers a lesson.’

    Worked did’nt it ? On reflection and from a reread of the history of the times you are probably correct re most of the loss of life being in the south east-it’s difficult to get real numbers -Robert Kee in Greenflag quotes a figure of 50,000 . Overall it was the greatest loss of life in ‘conquered’ Ireland since the mid 17th century and dwarfs the NI troubles 1969 to the present by over 10 to 1 .

    Defeated though the rebels were they sparked a flame which still burns and always will . Call it the power of myth over actuality if you want .

  • Greenflag

    ‘ I simply disagree with how the US has separated it’s powers, where I feel it gets a bit messy. ‘

    Just as well it’s messy. That way the leader of the world superpower has at least some restrictions on what he can or can’t do . Absolute power corrupts etc etc . I can see a lame duck Pres Bush becoming even lamer post the November elections and that is probably a good thing .

    I’ll agree 100% that the USA written constitution is preferable to the UK’s unwritten one . Old chinese saying -there is no memory as good as faded ink !

    But even I will admit that Prime Ministers question time at Westminster is a better ‘show’ than watching a half or almost empty Congress or Senate with a politician reading from notes talking into outer space .

  • Greenflag

    ‘we true born sons of Erin don’t say “haitch” ‘

    Ow abat that mate . ammersmith is alf way to igh Wycombe says arold .

    The French can’t pronounce H either ?

    Wonder what the connection is between Cockneys, Frenchies and unionists ?

    I’m not dying to know anyway 🙂

  • kensei

    “Just as well it’s messy. That way the leader of the world superpower has at least some restrictions on what he can or can’t do . Absolute power corrupts etc etc . I can see a lame duck Pres Bush becoming even lamer post the November elections and that is probably a good thing . ”

    I know, but at the same time, it can paralyse government. I’d prefer a straight Parliament elected via PR and a string upper house for oversight. The division of power between the Congress and President and the Supreme Court is spot on, however.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I know, but at the same time, it can paralyse government.’

    Sometimes this can be a great benefit . They do less damage .

    ‘I’d prefer a straight Parliament elected via PR’

    Could make American elections more interesting perhaps . I imagine Americans are already burdened enough by a taxation system of such Byzantine complexity that ‘complicating’ elections could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back ?

    PS the world can’t afford breaking that particular camel’s back .

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Garibaldy said: <i>”A huge volume came out of the 1798 bicententary commemorations, called 1798 A Bicentenary Perspective. There’s a piece in it by Ian Mc Bride, author of scripture Politics about Presbyterian radicalism in the late C18th, on the memory of 98 among Presbyerians in the C19th you might be interested in.”

  • Southern Observer

    [i]and as long as nationalism tries to wriggle round Scullabogue, Dunmanway,Darkley, Enniskillen, Teebane, La Mon and a hundred others you always will. )[/i]

    Darth, there is a touch of disingenuousness in sticking the Peter Hart ‘Dunmanway’ chestnut (which has been torn to shreds in History Ireland) in there.Also innumerably more Protestants were massacred by British forces during 1798 then were by the Wexford rebels.However I don’t want to divert the thread so I’ll leave these aside.
    I’m always a teency bit suspicious when I read a *onesided* litany of atrocities.It calls to mind the Freudian concept of projection which can operate on a mass,tribal basis.This can be loosely summarised as follows:
    [i]”A defense mechanism in which the individual attributes to other people impulses and traits that he himself has but cannot accept. It is especially likely to occur when the person lacks insight into his own impulses and traits.”
    [/i]

    I personally have no problem repudiating Scullabogue,La Mon,Enniskillen,Darkley,Teebane, La Mon, *and* the Cromwellian genocide,the penal laws, the 1790’s Armagh ethnic cleanse,Dolly’s Brae,the Famine quasi-genocide,the 1922 Belfast pogrom,McGurk’s Bar,Greysteel,the Shankhill butchers,Loughlin Island,Dublin/Monaghan etc, etc.
    As a PD/FG voter,and erstwhile member of both parties,my conscience is clear.

  • Garibaldy

    Gonzo,

    You could get it from the library, or if you email me I could photocopy for you.

  • Garibaldy

    Southern Observer,

    I note the absence of the massacre of republican prisoners during the civil war, and the actions of the Blueshirts absent from your list.

    Freudian slip? 🙂

  • Southern Observer

    [i]I note the absence of the massacre of republican prisoners during the civil war, and the actions of the Blueshirts absent from your list.[/i]

    Actually I have no problem in condemning both.If you were to list every single atrocity throughout Irish history,Catholic Protestant,unionist,nationalist ,civil war etc you would be here until eternity.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Actually I have no problem in condemning both.’

    You might want to include Generalissimo Franco and cousin Benito Mussolini not forgetting the late Oliver J Flanagan who got on his bike to spout his anti semitic etc etc bilge ?

    ‘If you were to list every single atrocity throughout Irish history,Catholic Protestant,unionist,nationalist ,civil war etc you would be here until eternity.

    ?? until eternity . So that’ll be about the same time as when there is a ‘solution’ to the NI political farce 🙁

  • Southern Observer

    Darth, I said that I would not divert the thread but I can’t resist going off on a tangent a bit on Scuballogue as I detect an amusing irony .
    For the definitive history of the 1798 rebellion in Antrim and Down please read A.T.Q. Stewart’s ‘Summer Soldiers’.
    It looks like the Ulster Presbyterian rebels were not exactly angels of mercy when it came to dealing with loyalists.In fact a ‘mini-Scuballogue’ was carried out on the loyalist McKee family in Saintfield.I quote from pages 182/183:
    [i]The united men attacked in two waves …one of the attackers succeeded in setting the house on fire.There was no possibilty of escape for the McKees and the entire family perished in the flames'[/i]
    The Committee of Public Safety ( modelled along French revolutionary lines) in the Ballymena Republic had a pretty horrendous dungeon (‘the black hole’) for captured loyalists (pages 134 and 135):
    [i]For the loyalist prisoners in the black hole it was a night of torment.They were crammed to the point of suffocation,the night was warm and as the hours passed they began to suffer cruelly from thirst.[/i]
    One prisoner ,called Davison,was singled out for special treatment:
    [i]The enraged crowd now demanded that his fellow prisoners should put him out and threatened that if they did not they would all be shot.The result was inevitable.Davison came out ,either of his own volition or pushed out forcibly by his terrified companions.He was instantly cut down and a dozen pikes were thrust into his body.His horribly mutilated remains were left lying in a gutter and every passing rebel stopped ‘to try his pike on him’.[/i]

    This places me at an advantage of sorts compared to you.If you want to think along the lines of tenuous associative ancestral guilt,either republican or loyalist,I only have atrocities from one side on my plate.You have them from both.

  • Garibaldy

    Such things as described by ATQ Stewart which SO has quoted (and convinced me to re-read Summer Soldiers as I’d forgotten all about them) were not uncommon across Europe at this time, particularly in civil wars, which was effectively what 98 was. There’s a pre-history of oppression and violence to consider which must be taken into account when discussing the events of 98.

  • [i]”I’d prefer a straight Parliament elected via PR and a string upper house for oversight.[/i]

    Uhh, it seems to me that you forget that, here in the US, the State governments created the Federal Government and the citizenry of the 50 States created and empowered the State governments.

    So, quite rightly, the Feds can’t really do much to impose a PR system on the entire nation, nor can they convert the Senate into an oversight body. The States can but I rather doubt they will since it would destroy the autonomy of the States which is rather more vital than you suspect.

    btw, not all States haave the same governmental structure, e.g. some have single-house (unicameral) legislatures, most are bicameral. Criminal laws and taxation laws vary from state to state as welol as many procedures in both the legislative and judicial systems and the powers of the Governor.

    And, despite kensei’s comments, “ordinary” criminal activity is generally charged and prosecuted in state courts. But, there is often a variety of laws under which a wrongdoer may be prosecuted, e.g. for possession of illegal drugs and for selling illegal drugs or for possession with intent to sell. Now, possession alone would normally be a state case, but sale may be federal and state and possession for sale may well be federal and state.

    Murder is generally a state crime, but murder of a Federal officer is both state and federal and may be tried in either jurisdiction. And the Oklahoma City bomber could be tried in either or both jurisdictions since he murdered both Federal officers and civilians. He was tried under Federal law and executed because Oklahoma does not allow the death penalty.

    Confusing, I grant, but you have to remember that the flow of governmental authority here in the US is very different from both the UK and the RoI.

    UK: monarch —> Elected Parliament
    RoI: citizens —> National government
    US: citizens —> State government —> National government.

  • darth rumsfeld

    “It looks like the Ulster Presbyterian rebels were not exactly angels of mercy when it came to dealing with loyalists.”

    Indeed they weren’t. Though in fairness the vctims such as davison were prominent in the government’s campaign to crush radicalism and there was an element of getting revenge,whereas at Scullabogue it was men,women, and children.The distinction is a fine one, but interesting nonetheless.
    You must be reading a different History ireland if you think the puerile bluster of anti-revisionists and Meda Ryan groupies in any way detracted from the truth about Dunmanway. The recent letter in the Sunda Independent from Ian Beamish whose family was involved, shows the truth of this heroic pogrom. Octogenarian solicitor Fitzmaurice was shot through the letterbox as the IRA tried to batter down the door. A strange choice for a spy, but damned by Ryan on the “evidence” of a source who had been told he was an informer when she was a child- so it must be true(!!!)- oh, and the notorious “record of informers” amazingly left behind by the fleeing British, which actually turns out to be a record of the law-abiding citizens advising the lawful authorities of criminality, or simply cooperating with the state to which they belonged and held allegiance.

    “If you want to think along the lines of tenuous associative ancestral guilt,either republican or loyalist,I only have atrocities from one side on my plate.You have them from both.”

    Er- I don’t want to think in such terms, but I’m not so sure you’re right- might not some of your ancestors have served in the British army-oppressing the colonies- or even -for example-the Kerry Fencibles who wreaked havoc in the years before 1798 in County Londonderry?

    My point was and is-Unionists can feel pride in the beliefs of their United Irishmen ancestors without necessarily endorsing the methods used to achieve them; and Shinners are not going to be allowed to steal their memory as a justification for their recent excesses.

  • kensei

    “Uhh, it seems to me that you forget that, here in the US, the State governments created the Federal Government and the citizenry of the 50 States created and empowered the State governments.

    So, quite rightly, the Feds can’t really do much to impose a PR system on the entire nation, nor can they convert the Senate into an oversight body. The States can but I rather doubt they will since it would destroy the autonomy of the States which is rather more vital than you suspect. ”

    Oh I’m not saying that you do it in the US now, it would be impossible and probably counter productice, merely that if I was designing a state from the ground up, I’d happily nick the US Constitution and separation of pwers wrt the courts, but wrt not Congress and the President.

    You can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the Founding Father’s didn’t intend for the President to be a spowerful as he is.

    “And, despite kensei’s comments, “ordinary” criminal activity is generally charged and prosecuted in state courts. But, there is often a variety of laws under which a wrongdoer may be prosecuted, e.g. for possession of illegal drugs and for selling illegal drugs or for possession with intent to sell. Now, possession alone would normally be a state case, but sale may be federal and state and possession for sale may well be federal and state.”

    So you accept my point that prosecutor can, to an extent, choose the sentence by picking the charge in drugs cases?

  • Garibaldy

    Darth,

    I agree some of the attacks on Hart have been silly, but there have also been some serious doubts raised, which he has yet to effectively answer, particularly on who he interviewed for Kilmichael and the accusation that he chopped a sentence in half to fit his purposes.

    As for the list of people cooperating with the state, how they are defined depends on your point of view, particularly if by criminality you don’t mean “ordinary decent crime”. The state to which they were giving allegiance was of course by that point undoubtedly in violation of the wishes expressed by the 1918 election.

    We were discussing violence and this election before. If I remember right, you’re an Orangeman. The Glorious Revolution of course being about the right of the people to change the government when it usurps power. I was wondering what you think of the idea that the failure of Westminster to acknowledge the 1918 results was a usurpation, and thus justified resistance.

    On the United Irishmen. They are all our ancestors. That of course being the whole point of their Society in the first place. Clearly their message has no relation to the sectarian politics so beloved of the main parties here. How the majority of the speakers who traipse down to Bodenstown annually can be heard above the sound of spinning from the grave, I’ve really no idea.

  • darth rumsfeld

    ” was wondering what you think of the idea that the failure of Westminster to acknowledge the 1918 results was a usurpation, and thus justified resistance.”

    Not a lot.
    I won’t bore you again with the facts about the 1918 general election, other than to repeat one- the SF vote was a minority in a region of the UK. If it’s wrong for Peter Hart to chop up a sentence,it’s wrong for Micheal Collins to chop up an election.
    And I still can’t get my head round the idea that the Irish people took part in a british election to elect people to govern them in Westminster..er, as a way of proving that they were’nt British and were being ruled undemocratically.

  • Garibaldy

    Darth,

    The people of Ireland voted for independence. Westminster made no moves to acknowledge that, such as a statement of intent on what to do next.
    This is not intended as a comment on the Treaty or partition, just on the fact that election results were ignored.

    As for the point about voting to prove not being ruled democratically, they expressed themselves peacefully using the means that were open to them. I thought you would have approved of that as the correct method.

    And surely the whole unionist position is that the people of NI are the only people with a right to decide on whether they leave the UK or not? Are you not using the opposite logic of that which unionism rests on in your argument about 1918?

  • kensei

    “I won’t bore you again with the facts about the 1918 general election, other than to repeat one- the SF vote was a minority in a region of the UK. If it’s wrong for Peter Hart to chop up a sentence,it’s wrong for Micheal Collins to chop up an election.”

    Ireland always was a separate country, even within the UK with it’s rather fudged Constitutional arrangements. Why should someone in England or Scotland have any say in Ireland’s independence? The suggestion is frankly bizarre.

    SF won a thumping majority in 1918 for an independent state. Had there have been a referendum, it undoubtedly would have produced that result. You know that darth, you’re not stupid. Your are engaging in some twisting and cognitive dissonance because you don’t like that fact.

  • hovetwo

    My monochromatic mind has always struggled with the disputes over the 1918 result.

    If the election methodology was legitimate, then the SF landslide was also legitimate. If the election result was illegitimate because the popular vote wasn’t adequately represented, then the authoprity and mandate of the Westminster government was also illegimately obtained, and it would be permissible to resist this authority – at least when it failed to also obtain a majority of the popular vote, which has happened frequently (Thatcher, Blair etc.).

    Despite its flaws 1918 was the most democratic election that the UK had had up to that point. Objecting to the outcome in Ireland because you don’t like the winners under FPTP just seems like sour grapes to me.

  • Harry Flashman

    I do enjoy when republicans throw out the case of the presbyterian radicals of 1798 to prove that the Ulster protestants are really Irish and they should just get over themselves now and accept the fact.

    It reminds me of a time when David Dunseith let his mask slip slightly one day on TalkBack and blurted out to his interviewee “wouldn’t it all be solved today if the protestants would just recognise their own Irishness?”, to which the obvious answer is; “wouldn’t it all be solved today if the Catholics would just recognise their own Britishness?”.

    So let me get this straight, a couple of hundred Presbyterian radicals fought in a poorly supported uprising that was quickly crushed and this proves that prods are deluding themselves that they aren’t Irish. At the same time tens of thousands of Irish Catholics were marching around Europe fighting the republican forces of France in the Red Coat of King George III and thirty percent of Nelson’s navy were Catholic Irishmen but somehow they don’t count towards proving Irish people were essentially British? (Cue all the arguments about how any Irish Catholic who fought and died for his King was too stupid or poor to know any better).

    It reminds me of republicans who point to ten thousand prods going to rugby matches in Landsdowne Road as proof of the unionists’ inherent Irishness but who seem blissfully unaware that by the same token hundreds of thousands of Nortern Ireland Catholics who read the Sun and Daily Mirror daily, who work for the British civil service and who spend their weekends glued to British tv watching their favourite British football teams might also be giving away a little bit of a clue about their supposed national allegiance.

    It’s a funny old world.

  • Southern Observer

    Harry,
    [i]I do enjoy when republicans throw out the case of the presbyterian radicals of 1798 to prove that the Ulster protestants are really Irish and they should just get over themselves now and accept the fact.[/i]
    I did nothing of the sort.Please point out where you think you did this.In fact if you read carefully you will see that the specific points I made were quite critical of the said Presbyterian rebels.Also I think you are being a bit presumptious in labelling me ‘a republican’.
    [i]So let me get this straight, a couple of hundred Presbyterian radicals fought in a poorly supported uprising [/i]
    You have got this one badly wrong Harry.It was actually about 10,000.It it had substantial support amongthe Presbyterian population of Down and Antrim – please read ATQ Stewart’s book.ATQS ,BTW, is not exactly a nationalist propagandist.

  • Garibaldy

    Harry and SO,

    Most historians now think that the UI had a lot more support than just in Antrim and Down but that a ruthless and efficient counter-insurgency campaign – or terror – by the state forces succeeded in preventing the Rising breaking out elsewhere in Ulster.

    Harry is however, of course right to point out we are all culturally Anglo-American as much as anything else

  • Harry Flashman

    SO

    I posted a general point ten posts after your post, I’m not sure why you believe I was specifically replying to you.

  • darth rumsfeld

    harry is right to highlight the enormous contribution made to the British army in the 18th century and beyond by Irish Roman Catholics, but it is a bit disingenuous to write off the Presbyterian involvement in the turnout as a couple of hundred. Certainly counties Londonderry and Donegal were hotbeds of revolutionary sentiment, but harsh policing ( by those pesky irish RC militias again!)meant there were only minor skirmishes.

    There had been huge turnouts- often disguised as potatodigging- to get round the ban on public meetings only a few months earlier. The people of Coleraine had voted the enormous sum of £600 to support the administration in Revolutionary France.

    And that’s the point- these people were dangerous because they were revolutionary-not because they were anti-English. I suppose it’s possible that , had he lived, Henry Joy McCracken would have written some execrable books about Belfast and his role in the post revolution peace process- while all the time denying he was a United irishman of course-and built himself a luxurious holiday home in Donegal to reflect on the journey he had made since Donegore Hill.

    But I don’t quite see it, because- for all their spectacular military incompetence ( and they were truly appalling soldiers) at least the United irishmen had the courage to go toe to toe with a superior miltary foe instead of shooting offduty busdrivers,or planting no warning bombs in restaurants. And of course, after the dead hand of the Irish parliament had been abolished most of them were content that the Union was the engine that would allow them to drive their agenda of equality-albeit that it took much longer than they were entitled to expect .

  • Southern Observer

    Fair enough Harry

  • Southern Observer

    [i]Indeed they weren’t. Though in fairness the vctims such as davison were prominent in the government’s campaign to crush radicalism and there was an element of getting revenge[/i]
    Not so.At least there is no mention of this in Stewart’s book which is quite comprehensive.This poor Davison fellow’s crime was to try to hold the Market House in Ballymena against the united men.Incidentally could one of your antecedents have contributed to his rather sticky demise?
    [i]whereas at Scullabogue it was men,women, and children.[/i]
    Just as it was with unfortunate McKee family and their retainers.Incidentally the British strung up 10 people for this episode after the rebellion.
    Now that my interest in this period has been sparked I’ve been doing some swotting up.It appears that in Scuballogue there were Catholics among the victims and Protestants among the perpetrators – albeit a minority in both cases.This is in no way to diminish this atrocity – just to give a broader historical perspective.Also the Wexford rebels seem to have dished it out pretty ecumenically -the Catholic North Cork Militia were (literally) hacked to bits after trying to surrender.Tradition has it that they waved their rosary beads un the air in a vain attempt to get mercy.These were savage times all round.
    [i]Er- I don’t want to think in such terms, but I’m not so sure you’re right- might not some of your ancestors have served in the British army-oppressing the colonies- or even -for example-the Kerry Fencibles who wreaked havoc in the years before 1798 in County Londonderry?[/i]
    Not so actually.Only one served in the British Army -1914-1918.There is a family tradition of two 1798 men being deported after their involvement in the Connacht rebellion.This was incidentally the only one of the three spheres of action unbesmirched by rebel atrocities.
    BTW I’ve tried unsuccessfully to get some info re the ‘Kerry Fencibles’.Had they another name?
    I don’t buy the idea of ancestral guilt but their is a place for specific ancestral repudiation -mine tending to be unilateral and yours bilateral.
    I find it difficult to suppress a sardonic grin on chewing over the last point !

  • Southern Observer

    Darth,
    I was wary of replying to your ‘Dunmanway’ reference in case of provoking a Pavlovian riposte.Unfortunately my worst fears have been realised.
    [i]You must be reading a different History ireland if you think the puerile bluster of anti-revisionists and Meda Ryan groupies in any way detracted from the truth about Dunmanway.[/i]
    Darth,this is quite childish.You could just as easily go on about the ‘puerile bluster’ of the ‘revisionists’ and ‘Peter Hart groupies’.
    [i]The recent letter in the Sunda Independent from Ian Beamish whose family was involved, shows the truth of this heroic pogrom.[/i]
    You will always get letters to newspapers saying that ‘x’ happened to ‘y’ in the year ‘z’.I’m inclined to keep the salt cellar at close quarters as the facts have to be discerned from the transgenerational fog of decontextualisation,amplification,and preselection.You only have to look at the Bloody Sunday enquiry to find a miasma of contradictory evidence about an event that took place well within living memory and within the TV age.
    You make reference to ‘the truth’.
    It must be remembered that with NI,and to a lesser extent general Irish, history there are three ‘truths’:
    1.The unionist ‘truth’.
    2.The nationalist ‘truth’.
    3.*THE* truth.
    I followed the debate closely in Slugger and elsewhere and in order to give both sides a fair crack of the whip and make an honest attempt at arriving at *THE* truth I invested some 40 euro in and, keeping an open mind, read through both Peter Hart’s ‘The IRA and its enemies’ and Meda Ryan’s ‘Tom Barry IRA hero’ (have you read both books BTW ?).I also spent hours ploughing through relevant material in Indymedia.At the end of that I found myself coming down heavily on the side of the Meda Ryan/Brian Murphy school of thought.
    Meda Ryan has become something of a hate figure in some circles for throwing a spanner in the works of the Dunmanway pogrom theory.She is actually a woman of transparent integrity and anextremely meticulous serious historian.Even Peter Hart himself acknowledges that.
    With all due respect ,having read your voluminous postings on this subject,I am left with the impression that because Peter Hart validates you preferred deconstruction he is an effective transcriber of sacred text and because MR does the opposite she is a ‘hagiographer’.
    The line of thinking of the pogrom theorists has been brilliantly illuminated by the psychologist ,Cordelia Fine:
    [i]The brain’s ignoble use of stereotypes blurs our view of others.
    Inevitably we are confronted with challenges to our beliefs ,be it the flat-earther’s view of the gentle downward curve of the sea at the horizon, or a weapon’s inspector returning empty-handed from Iraq.Yet even in the face of counter-evidence our beliefs are protected as tenderly as our egos.Like any information that pokes a sharp stick at our self-esteem evidence that opposes our beliefs is subjected to close,critical and inevitably dismissive scrutiny.
    Being confronted with the evidence of these slick and resourceful window-dressings of the brain is unsettling,and rightly so.Evidence that fits our beliefs is quickly waved through the mental border patrol.Counter-evidence on the other hand must submit to close interrogation and even then will probably not be allowed in.[/i]
    -A mind of it’s own: How Your Brain Distorts and Deceives
    by Cordelia Fine.
    I’ve read some jaw-dropping stuff about Dunmanway in Slugger.Someone (I can’t remember if it was you or not) even tried to suggest an equivalence with the contemporaneous Belfast pogrom.
    In the course of the debate a few ,er, irregularities have been unearthed with respect to P.H’s analyses.As with an athlete found positive on dope testing *general* doubts have to be raised.Meda Ryan’s record on the other hand stands unscathed.
    The following indymedia contribution hits the nail on the head:
    [i]One feels when reading her biography that Meda Ryan is driven by a genuine heuristic urge–to put it philosophically–by a desire to find out. She would be entitled at the end of her investigations to say, Eureka! One does not feel that with Hart. His approach is best described by a word that everybody knew a generation ago, but that has fallen out of use: apologetics. What he searches for is fragments suitable for attaching to a conclusion decided in advance. He might have exclaimed as he finished his book: I have cobbled it together![/i]

  • Southern Observer

    Continued from above due to lack of space:
    You state that:
    [i]the SF vote was a minority in a region of the UK[/i]
    Just as 19th century Greece was a ‘region’ of the Ottoman Empire.This one has been done to death.The SF vote was artificially depressed because a large number of seats were uncontested precisely because they were seen as foregone conclusions for Sinn Fein.Even then their vote was only marginally below 50%.
    [i]And I still can’t get my head round the idea that the Irish people took part in a british election to elect people to govern them in Westminster..er, as a way of proving that they were’nt British and were being ruled undemocratically.[/i]
    What other channels were open to them to prove this point ‘democratically’?
    The majority of their MPs withdrew from Westminsterand set up a separate parliament.Most of these were these were then promptly imprisoned – effectively an act of war.
    [i]law-abiding citizens advising the lawful authorities of criminality, or simply cooperating with the state to which they belonged and held allegiance.[/i]
    Just like Benedict Arnold?.

    Might I suggest that you read through the following series of excellent articles and discussions in Indymedia.Mind you it will take about three hours but it’s worth it.The debates are first class –erudite ,articulate, mutually respectful,and without any of the codology that unfortunately creeps into Slugger and.All relevant schools of thought are represented.Several serious academics are involved.And please read through it with an open mind – in other words don’t pull the mental shutters down on reading something Meda Ryanesque.And see what conclusions you arrive at.
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/66994
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75885
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72403
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71352
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70063
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/69172
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/67769
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/67661
    http://www.indymedia.ie/article/66456

    Personally,like a good juror, I have sifted through the facts and I find that the evidence presented to validate the Dunmanway pogrom hypothesis singularly unconvincing.
    Mind you I have no intention of getting involved in a prolonged thread as I believe the possibility of your changing your perspective on this issue to be extremely remote

  • Brian Boru

    Regarding 1798, I obviously wish it had succeeded but I think it should be noted that Anglicans, while prominent among the leadership, were not that common amongst the rank and file, unlike Northern Presbyterians. However I think the latter were motivated more by wanting to throw off those parts of the Penal Laws that applied to them, and the economic discrimination against Ireland regarding trade (which effected them as a large part of the industrial class in Ireland) and that this was much of the reason they took part in the rebellion. After the Union, the British revoked the Penal code against Presbyterians (though everyone still had to pay tithes to the Church of Ireland) while keeping repression of Catholics. Free trade was also granted, removing the trade-restrictions on Ireland. That seems to have mollified most former Republican Presbyterians. At the same time the continued oppression of Catholics kept the fires of resentment and separatism burning. Not until 1871 were Catholics admitted to the universities, while nearly all the land remained in Protestant hands. Naturally the Famine and the UK govt’s catastrophic handling of it (in which 1 million died and millions more left) cannot be erased from memory and would have aggravated things but help destroy any illusion that remaining in the UK was a viable option.

    I also think the growth of a sense of ethnic-nationalism in the 19th century played a role. Protestants increasingly tended to consider themselves as Teutonic/Saxon in origin (even though some Scots are of Irish descent since the 5th century and spoke the Gaelic tongue), whereas Catholics increasingly identified – especially during the Gaelic revival – with Gaelic ancestory and descent from Catholic rebels against the repression inherent in the Penal Laws, Cromwell, Elizabeth I, dispossession of land etc. Hence separate senses of national-identity developed and were intensified as the century went on, assisted by Presbyterian clerics in the pay of London to promote this message and that of the supposed “threat” posed by Catholics. I would compare the mindset of many Unionists (though not all) to that of the South African Whites who feared granting equality to the Blacks – notably in 1920-72 when O’Neill and Faulkner were brought down in succession for trying to address the discrimination. I think they fear Catholic Ireland will look for revenge in the event of a United Ireland. Of course, we won’t, but this fear is perhaps part of the colonial mindset (call it cowboys and Indians mentality). A similar mindset was evidence among the French colonists in Algeria who resisted Algerian independence.

  • Brian Boru

    “Indeed they weren’t. Though in fairness the vctims such as davison were prominent in the government’s campaign to crush radicalism and there was an element of getting revenge,whereas at Scullabogue it was men,women, and children.The distinction is a fine one, but interesting nonetheless.”

    There were fewer than 100 killed at Scullabogue so I think that’s pretty mild compared to what was done by the British forces e.g. thousands burned alive in New Ross town, pitch-cappings etc. Scullabogue actually was in retaliation for the other event you know, though naturally I don’t agree with it having happened.

  • Southern Observer

    Agreed Brian Boru.On the atrocity stakes the govt. forces,in Ulster and Leinster, outdid the rebels several times over.