Irish speaking Orangemen and the Land League

A good read…a few interesting quotes from “Ireland – Nationalism, socialism and partition“:-

“Yet as late as the 1880’s things were not so straightforward. The Orange Order was still very much a self identified Irish cultural-political organisation. When on 12 July 1867 a 30,000 strong parade Orange Order parade from Newtownards to Bangor took place the Belfast Newsletter reported that they marched “without interruption save the cead mille failtes’ of hosts of sympathisers”.(3) This use of the Irish language by loyalists was to fade as the Irish nationalists sought to solidify the nationalist political agenda through a cultural revival which laid claim to the Irish language. The unionist Ulster Convention of 1892 would be the last time the slogan “Erin-go-Bragh”(4) would be on display.”
“In 1880 and 1881 “northern protestants as well as catholics thronged to attend Land League meetings”.(5) At the time 100,000 tenants were threatened with eviction. The land struggle divided even the Orange Order. On the one hand in October 1880 the Orange Order mobilised 50 labourers from counties Cavan and Monaghan to work the lands of Charles Boycott (whose tenants with the support of the local population were refusing to work his land). On the other in parts of Ulster the Land League was able to use Orange halls as the venues for meetings.”

“The general approach of the unionist leadership was to elevate the common bond of Orangeism above any suggestion of class struggle as the following rhyme demonstrates

Let not the poor man hate the rich
Nor rich on poor look down
But each join each true Orange Order
For God and the Crown.

  • McGuinnesswatcher

    Slightly off-thread but it seems like SF is coming under grass-roots pressure to make a stand against an Orange march on Garvaghy Road this year. Several letters in the Irish News challenging Martin McGuinness might have been bad enough – but when An Phoblacht/Republican News carries a letter in a similar vein, then its clear that doubts are stirring in the grassroots-undergrowth about exactly where the Adams/McGuinness leadership is leading people. I might be wrong but I don’t recall no such letters of doubt about the leadership appearing in the AP/RN in relation to ceasefires, decommissioning or the special Ard Fhéis on policing.

    FYI – this is what appeared in this week’s AP/RN (

    Are Drumcree’s dark days over?

    “A chara,
    I remember well the sight of Ian Paisley and David Trimble gloating as they triumphantly pranced down the Garvaghy Road in 1995. In 1996 Mr Paisley said “We are not here to play games. We are here to save Ulster. If the parade doesn’t go down Garvaghy Road, there will be civil commotion to an extent the authorities cannot handle.”

    Thank God those dark days are over. Or are they?

    Recent articles in anti-nationalist papers are almost rejoicing at the idea of Sinn Féin agreeing to the Orange Order marching down Garvaghy Road in return for some concession on the Irish language. Presumably that can’t be true, can it? For the life of me, I just can’t see the link between a sectarian, coat trailing march and the Irish language. And I just can’t picture Martin and Ian hand-in-hand on the Garvaghy Road.

    More seriously, we still have the issue of the human rights of the residents of the Garvaghy Road and the simple fact that the Orange Order has still never engaged in direct, meaningful talks. In fact, as time has passed, the route taken by the Orangemen on their way out to Drumcree is now predominantly nationalist, so any further attempts to return down the Garvaghy Road must be seen for what they are – sectarian triumphalism.

    And let us not forget the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Elizabeth O’Neill, Frank Reilly, Michael McGoldrick and the three Quinn children, all killed as a direct result of the Orange Order’s demands. There were plenty of other murders of innocent Catholics in the Portadown area, including Adrian Lamph and Robert Hamill, killed by the same people who declare their right to walk the Queen’s highway, even if it means beating the residents off the road.

    The nationalist community in Portadown is only recently recovering from the years of harassment and intimidation from Orangemen, insisting on imposing their superiority on the ‘Fenian scum’ who were unfortunate enough to live on the Garvaghy Road.

    After ten years, I thought the Drumcree nightmare was over. Any attempt to resurrect it or slip it through as a peace dividend gesture should be exposed for what it is – naked sectarian bigotry.

    Is mise,
    Highland Paddy,
    Port an Dúnáin,
    Co. Ard Mhaca.”

    Thie following direct challenge to Martin McGuiness appeared in the Letters Page of Thursday’s Irish News (10/5/07) and is the latest of a number of similar letters in recent weeks –

    Will Martin lead the Orangemen into the Bogside

    “I am puzzled at Martin McGuinness’ comments about a solution to contentious marches in Portadown and Derry – ‘The best example of that is in the city where I come from, Derry’.

    Is Martin comparing a march in the residential area of Garvaghy Road with one through a commercial area of Derry?

    Because a march in Derry which does not pass by homes in the Bogside or the Creggan is acceptable to Derry people, does not mean that a march passing by homes in the nationalist estates of Ballyoran Park, Garvaghy Park, Churchill Park, The Beeches, Rose Cottages and Woodside should be acceptable to people living in the Garvaghy Road area of Portadown.

    If he is saying that contentious marches should be confined to town centres, then few people would would have a problem with that.

    If not, let him organise a march by at least 1,500 Orangemen in the Bogside or Creggan – or Gerry Adams might have a go through Andersonstown and the Falls Road to see if the residents there would find it acceptable.

    The Good Friday Agreement guaranteed “the right to live free from sectarian harassment” and Portadown nationalists expect our political leaders to defend that right.

    Yours sincerely,
    Ballyoran Park Resident
    Garvaghy Road

  • jerryp

    Whatever about An Phoblacht, it surprises me that a paper like the Irish News would allow a pseudonym in a letter to the editor.

  • ulster scot

    McGuiness Watcher:False Memory Syndrom sufferer- neither Ian paisley or David Trimble have ever pranced down the Garvaghy Road they in fact met the parade in Portadown town centre.Nevertheless this non event has actually entered Republican mythology as fact – part of the problem.Portadown Orangemen have only insisted that a road their ancestors walked down for nearly 20yrs is no longer closed to them on a apartied basis-Garvaghy Rd is not Alabama for people due to religous discrimination.

  • GavBelfast

    “Is mise,
    Highland Paddy,
    Port an Dúnáin,
    Co. Ard Mhaca”

    What’s Irish for ‘Highland Paddy’?


    Looks like a mini-campaign is on the go then, of ordinary people who are not getting with the Top-Down programme. Oh dear.

  • kensei

    “McGuiness Watcher:False Memory Syndrom sufferer- neither Ian paisley or David Trimble have ever pranced down the Garvaghy Road they in fact met the parade in Portadown town centre.Nevertheless this non event has actually entered Republican mythology as fact – part of the problem”

    It’s irrelevant. The triumphalism after in full regalia is what did the damage.

  • Reader

    kensei: It’s irrelevant. The triumphalism after in full regalia is what did the damage.
    So there’s no harm in encouraging people to tell the truth about what happened then, is there?

  • hotdogx

    er getting back to the point of this thread,, i found the above article to be extremely interesting and i can certainly say i learned some new stuff. the article clearly illustrates the greater links unionists have with their nationalist neighbors than with the UK. Unionists have to come to terms with the fact that the’re irish, they have tried to airbrush these links out of history,

  • Smithsonian

    Who are you to tell us what we have or have not to do?

  • GavBelfast

    Some republicans need to make their minds up, too – you know the sort, who one minute tell Prods in NI that they’re Irish whether they like it or not, and the next suggest they should go back to Scotland or wherever.

    It’s a shame so many Unionists turned their backs on their Irishness, whatever the provocation or perception of provocation that Irishness from the late 1800s couldn’t include or was a cold house for them. But more recent overtures from south of the border are certainly helpful for those who would welcome a rediscovery, and those of us who cherish a brand of Irishness anyway.

  • kensei

    “So there’s no harm in encouraging people to tell the truth about what happened then, is there?”

    Of course not, but you might as well say the sky as blue and complete miss the point there as well.

    My favourite memory of that year was reading how they minted a commemorative coin afterwards.

  • Gerry Kelly

    Orangemen and women are sectarian rabble, no matter waht language they choose to grunt in. There are many Irish speaking Huns in Donegal and many of thesem were employed torturung Irish heroes in the Kesh. Just because they have been allowed to live does not mwan they are anything higher than what they are.

  • páid

    1. Irish-speaking Huns v. gerry kelly. Who’s side am I on? Slán Gerry.

    2. “What’s the Irish for Highland Paddy?”
    Easy. Pádraig Ó hAoláin.

  • Luadar

    Highland Paddy =Páidí na gCríocha Arda

  • RG Cuan

    Páidí na nGarbhchríocha, más Gael Albanach tá ann!

  • Nathan

    Unionists lost their Irish heritage due to a gradual process of ulsterization….the bulk of this kick-started around the time the Movement discarded its southern counterparts – settling instead for a 6-county state initially constructed on sectarian grounds.