God’s Irish executioner and English political hero

Here’s a topic to stir the blood.. Oliver Cromwell is the subject this week of a major reappraisal by Irish historian Micheál O Siochrú and the main feature of the BBC History magazine. I can do no better than let the excellent Fintan O’Toole introduce him, quoting his Observer review:

“Even in these times, when all the talk is of putting history behind us, the easiest way to tell the difference between the Irish and the English is to utter the word “Cromwell.” Is Cromwell merely a folkloric bogeyman for the Irish?

Given the dominant mood of contemporary Irish historiography, one almost expects Micheál O Siochrú’s forensic and fastidious account to conclude that Old Ironsides really had a heart of gold. The fascination of the book is that, even when it is put through the wringer of low-key, unemotional and carefully documented analysis, he myth turns out to be mostly true.”
For the English ( not the Scots), emotions are a bit lower, though even there in 2000, the anniversary of Cromwell’s return from Ireland, the historian and leading Cromwell authority Professor John Murrill suffered for his interest in Cromwell:

“I was myself assaulted and received death threats. The depth of
hatred that still exists in Ireland is matched only by unawareness in non-Catholic
English circles of what Cromwell did in Ireland. I am reminded of GK Chesterton’s
remark that the tragedy of the English conquest of Ireland in the 17th century is
that the Irish can never forget it and the English can never remember it.”

Might the reason for all this unpleasantness have something to do with the fact that good professor was President of the Cromwell Association, and may be supposed to have plenty of good words to say on old Ironside’s behalf? Was he therefore the right man to be reviewing Cromwell’s life and work in BBC History magazine?. On inquiry, that seems unfair to him. A summary of the prof’s views suggests a more dispassionate view than the Irish, but very far from a whitewash. This for instance on the Siege of Drogheda which ended with the massacre after surrender of 2,500 immediately and hundreds more later.

“It was in accordance with the laws of war, but it went far beyond what any General had done in England. Cromwell then perpetrated a messier massacre at Wexford. Thereafter most towns surrendered on his approach, and he scrupulously observed surrender articles and spared the lives of soldiers and civilians. It was and is a controversial conquest. But, from the English point of view, it worked’

On the same occasion, Morrill, who is Professor of British and Irish History at the University of Cambridge contributed an article entitled ‘Was Cromwell a War Criminal?’
This is a carefully balanced piece “ for” and “against” but “against” contains the conclusion:

“This was ethnic cleansing on a scale undreamt of by Slobodan Milosevic”

I’ve always thought of Cromwell as follows. In the tsunami of religious conflict compared to our own pond ripples that was the 17th century, Cromwell was the epitome of the disciplined fanatic, who became an outstanding military leader out of his status and ability to raise a regiment in Huntingdonshire. He achieved this by the then revolutionary method of showing his fellow men respect as fellow Christians, training them – and paying them. None of that feudal nonsense any more. Decidedly less favourably, as a Bible Protestant who nonetheless tolerated other Protestants in an intolerant age, he despised the Catholic Irish – and Catholic English – as being beyond the Pale ( even if they were in it if you see what I mean).

At Drogheda he employed usual siege warfare conventions. In those days,besiegers were almost as vulnerable as the besieged because of exposed supply lines and an ever-present threat of disease. So the besiegers warned those cooped up that if they didn’t surrender by XX, they’d be massacred. Which they duly were. And most of them were English. But although Cromwell must be judged mainly by the standards of his time. I’m now convinced he brought an extra edge to the business.

As O’Toole puts it: ( His conduct at Drogheda was) a refusal to distinguish between civilians and combatants and a resort to ethnic cleansing. In his first engagement, at Drogheda, he personally supervised the slaughter of about 2,500 soldiers and an indeterminate number of civilians. The arguments of apologists that this was within the laws of war at the time are contradicted by the evidence in Cromwell’s own account that he himself understood the scale of the massacre to be exceptional. It would, he admitted, have prompted ‘remorse and regret’ were it not intended to have exemplary effect as both collective punishment and a warning for the future.”

In England I see Cromwell as a sort of latter day Musharriff, executing the previous leader, always dissolving parliaments, shooting democrats ( the Levellers at Burford Church) and claiming divine inspiration for the lot. And… so totally failing to create a stable regime that they had to bring back the old one. The TV historian Tristram Hunt likens him to a puritanical ruthless Taliban leader.

Yet you can’t eliminate him from the history of the British constitution, as the unifier of the three kingdoms who still leaves trace elements behind in the DNA of the development of British democracy, even up to today.

Hunt states:
“Reverence for Cromwell was one of the few socialist traditions that survived the transition from old to new Labour. Frank Dobson, a politician whose career symbolises the difficulty of that passage, is a leading light (along with Lady Antonia Fraser) of the Cromwell Association. And Dobson shares the same machine-politics admiration for the Roundheads that Tawney expressed. “For me, it boils down to this,” he responded to a question about Cromwell’s actions at Drogheda. “He was on the right side in the civil war and, because of him, the right side won. He changed the course of English history, and changed it for the better.”

But I found quite the best romantic English revolutionary view of Cromwell in a Communist site – appropriately enough – for I was taught Cromwell by the historian they revere, the very late revisionist Christopher Hill. Cromwell swept away the feudal order, and installed the bourgeoisie in the second stage of the English Revolution. That’s why he remains something of an English hero to the English broad left.

We’re still waiting for the third stage.

P.S. Should you be concerned – yes Cromwell’s Irish record is exposed in the English national curriculum.

  • Sam Flanagan

    Are you sure you are not “Derren Brown” in disguise Brian? I just happened to pick the BBC history magazine up today because this was the front page, are you manipulating my mind?

    Was Cromwell a 17th century “Derren Brown” manipulating others to do his bidding?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Cromwell most definitely had the memory of the massacre of Protestant settlers in his mind when he landed in Ireland. Cromwell sought revenge for the 1641 massacre of Scottish settlers, which was orchestrated by the Priests, friars, and Jesuits.

  • Garibaldy

    Good old Ollie, Ireland’s first republican. John Morrill, a Professor at Cambridge, recently argued that the people who really got it in the neck from Cromwell were not Irish Catholics, but English royalists, but it appears that Ó Siochriú disagrees.

    As for Tristam Hunt (the History ????), it’s interesting what he is saying about Cromwell and Labour seeing as he has been promoting the Levellers whom Cromwell destroyed as part of an attempt to promote New Labour as the standard bearers of an English radical tradition (I think it was discussed here at the time).

    What sort of a tutor was Hill Brian? He seems to have been a very interesting man. Did he stay with the CP after 1956 and 1968? I can’t remember.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “Cromwell most definitely had the memory of the massacre of Protestant settlers in his mind when he landed in Ireland. Cromwell sought revenge for the 1641 massacre of Scottish settlers, which was orchestrated by the Priests, friars, and Jesuits.”

    UMH, so with this ‘memory’ of the massacre do you think old Ollie was right to seek ‘revenge’.

    BTW, why did the ‘Priests, friars, and Jesuits’ have the settlers (aka planters) massacred?

  • sammaguire

    Cromwell camped less than a mile from here. A road there is named after him (Cromwellsfort Road). We’re very liberal in this country. Perhaps too much so. Bit like having a road named after Hitler in Tel Aviv…

    On a similar subject we have a restaurant named after Chairman Mao in Dublin City Centre…

  • The deposition of a namesake was recorded in 1652.

  • sammaguire

    Those damn M’Allisters shoild have stayed in Scotland!

    Interesting Nevin…loved the old fashioned wording.

  • Harry Flashman

    I’m not sure where this notion comes from that Cromwell’s actions in Ireland are somehow overlooked by English historians, they aren’t. Even as a primary school pupil in Derry in the 1970’s I well remember the little “Ladybird” history books on British historical figures which summarised lives with a page of text facing a picture page.

    Cromwell’s book had a full page on his time in Ireland “warts and all”, with a picture of him against the backdrop of a burning city and massacred civilians. In all subsequent texts I have read about him his campaign in Ireland has been fully described and commented upon.

  • Brian Walker

    Garibaldy, Christopher Hill lectured me, he wasn’t my tutor- I’m not sure that as Master of Balliol he tutored anybody; but it wasn’t my college. By my time in the late 60s he seemed to have narrowed his interest to topics like the millenarianists. He spoke in the usual Oxford grand accentand in a weary baritone, punctuated every so often and quite unpredictably by an alarming stutter – no, more like a prolonged snort- which subsided without acknowledgement. He was a slightly stooped figure with a shock of thick wavy hair. These were the days of the show-off international left. They had little of the cellular seriousness of the CP and had little of their predecessors’ influence. The main topic of choice was Vietnam. Christopher Hitchens, who was proudly to take a third by the way, was on the prowl. The old institutional communists like Hill were so uncool it wasn’t true. The invasion of Czecho in 1968 passed almost without an ideological murmur as it was so obviously a bad thing. Hill had left the party not long after Hungary in 1956 I believe. He and others had long been defanged; otherwise I don’t suppose he would have been elected head of house in I think 1965 – not even by superior old Balliol.

    History’s fashion had switched from the sweeping macro and ideological approach to becoming like a branch of sociology with endless tables and close studies of bmds. But Hill’s books on Cromwell etc were very much read because they were readable thank God, as was the journal Past and Present he founded along with other left figures like George Rude and Eric Hobsbawm. He did seem to believe in the ideological thrust of his thesis, that there really had been an English revolution not just a civil war, which had come about because of the rise of a new sort of middle class which finally and irrevocably destroyed the remnants of feudalism and royal supremacy, true -. but also because of a ferment of ideas so outlandish to us today, but which he helped us understand. There was more to it all than the pageant of English history or the Whig interpretation of history as a slow but steady march to more representative institutions.
    In Hill, the historian of great imaginative and analytical power always took precedence over the Marxist.He was I think a great and influential historian because of the boldness of his thesis; and a great figure of the university.

  • Thrupennybit

    Brian…you posting very late….your brain cells will die if you keep posting such intellectual postings at the mad hours of 2 am

  • He did seem to believe in the ideological thrust of his thesis, that there really had been an English revolution not just a civil war, which had come about because of the rise of a new sort of middle class which finally and irrevocably destroyed the remnants of feudalism and royal supremacy, true -. but also because of a ferment of ideas so outlandish to us today, but which he helped us understand

    That aspect of Cromwell always appealed to me and wistfully I wonder why there aren’t his likes in Britain or NI today to finally eradicate the outdated class system….

  • Garibaldy

    Thanks for that full response Brian. Greatly appreciated. Obviously Hill was as you say an historian first and foremost, and a very brilliant one at that. I also think there is a lot in what he says about the war of the three kingdoms being essentially an English revolution at its heart.

    I agree entirely with what you say about the social science approach. Last year I think it was the TLS or LRB or something did a special edition on where history might go, comparing it to one they had done 40 years before. Keith Thomas wrote about how 40 years ago he had essentially expected the computer to answer all of history’s questions. Changed times indeed.

  • Fiddle O’Dee

    I hate Cromwell he took away our rules of superstition and government by ducking stool to replace it with the foundations of parliamentary democracy that still plagues our once magical island.

  • Fiddle O’Dee

    I hate Cromwell. He took away our rules of superstition and government by ducking stool to replace it with the foundations of parliamentary democracy, which still plague our once mystical land.

  • Pete Baker

    “that there really had been an English revolution not just a civil war, which had come about because of the rise of a new sort of middle class which finally and irrevocably destroyed the remnants of feudalism and royal supremacy”

    Somewhat of an aside, but one of the beneficiaries of that “rise of a new sort of middle class” was a certain Isaac Newton – who had some outlandish ideas of his own..

  • C Wolf

    Now Now.

    Israel did not send in the riot police to people giving Nazi salutes.

  • I hate Cromwell. He took away our rules of superstition and government by ducking stool to replace it with the foundations of parliamentary democracy, which still plague our once mystical land.

    Yes, and it was really cool that Stalin starved all those Ukrainian peasants – after all, he was leading them into a land of industrial and social progress…

  • Sam Flanagan

    The Lord Protector has become very popular all of a sudden. Just noticed another Magazine with a headline article about him. I think it was “The History Magazine.”

    He must have become “fashionable,” I can just see Paris Hilton hitting the headlines in the USA MSM wearing a special designer Oliver Cromwell Tshirt. With the quote, “Cruel Neccessity” emblazoned on it. Bright Orange of course.

  • Rooster Cogburn

    Haven’t we Tories always told you that *all* republicans are rotten bad eggs? Would that all their heads could end up on spikes on Ludgate Hill (after due, albeit posthumous, process, natch).

  • tell me

    “I hate Cromwell. He took away our rules of superstition and government by ducking stool to replace it with the foundations of parliamentary democracy, which still plague our once mystical land.

    Yes, and it was really cool that Stalin starved all those Ukrainian peasants – after all, he was leading them into a land of industrial and social progress… ”

    Can ends ever justify means?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Cromwell was a Republican opposed to a royal/catholic dictatorship as he saw it so he sought vengence by the massacre of his opponents which included men women and children.

    The Provos were Republicans opposed to a British imperial dictatorship as they saw it so they
    sought vengence by the massacre of their opponents which included men women and children.

    Ah, the similarities!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “I hate Cromwell. He took away our rules of superstition and government by ducking stool to replace it with the foundations of parliamentary democracy, which still plague our once mystical land.”

    Now, stand to attention for ‘God Save the Queen’!

    Kinda oxymoronic!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “[i]UMH, so with this ‘memory’ of the massacre do you think old Ollie was right to seek ‘revenge’.”[/i]

    Cromwell couldn’t stand by and watch a suppressive regime masquerading under the disguise of Christianity, which he battled against in England, make paupers and corpses out of Protestants who simply wanted a better life in a new land.

    “[i]BTW, why did the ‘Priests, friars, and Jesuits’ have the settlers (aka planters) massacred?”[/i]

    because they spread a new Christianity which would eventually render all Priests and Popes powerless in their spiritual and temporal domain.

  • Rory

    Heady days, Brian, what? From rhe dry precision of Christopher Hill in the lecture hall to the fruity pomposity of Christopher Hitchins in the union bar. From the sublime to the…oh, I don’t know…shall we just say, the less than sublime?

    I can’t see much sense in those who would still become emotionally overwrought about the aftermath of the siege of Drogheda after all these years. Quite apart from interfering with a due sense of historical objectivity it has the tendency to allow people to attempt to draw pointless parallels with events of our own time. It has always occured to me that the advice of the Nazarene to “let the dead bury the dead” could be usefully to applied to political as well as religius sensibilities.

  • Rory

    …or, even better, “religious sensibilities”.

  • Sam Flanagan

    Everything you need to know about The Lord Protector is explained on the gable wall in Boundary st, Lower Shankhill. He fully understood the meaniing of the following verse.

    Re 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

  • Harry Flashman

    It’s just dawned on me that I went to university with Dr O’Siochru, he wasn’t “Dr” back then of course just big Micheal, my hasn’t he done well for himself?

    Mind you he was a real history buff back then too, a Scholar if I recall, well done Micheal, I must check the book out on Amazon.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Ulster’s My Homeland

    “…Protestants who simply wanted a better life in a new land.”

    If only it was as simple as that, but then you ignore the campaigns of mass murder and ethnic cleansing lasting from the 1590’s and on into the 1600’s in order to facilitate this “better life” in a “new land” (New to whom, exactly?).

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]but then you ignore the campaigns of mass murder and ethnic cleansing lasting from the 1590’s and on into the 1600’s in order to facilitate this “better life” in a “new land” (New to whom, exactly?).”[/i]

    Hugh O’Neill and the Counter reformation was the problem. O’Neill plotted with the Spanish to overthrow Elizabeth I. He obeyed the Papacy after they announced Elizabeth’s property and throne was up for graps after they excommunicated her. O’Neill, through his own devotion for a domineering, suppressive and murdering religion, brought about the ensuing trouble on these shores.

    When historians try to explain these times on issues other than the Counter Reformation, they deliberately conceal the ‘real’ reason behind the trouble on these shores.

    There’s no freedom until the Vatican is decommissioned.

  • RepublicanStones

    So violence to further the reformation is fine, but violence from people not wishing to be reformed is bad. Thanks we have it now.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Ulster’s My homeland

    “When historians try to explain these times on issues other than the Counter Reformation, they deliberately conceal the ‘real’ reason behind the trouble on these shores.”

    Perhaps it is you Ulster’s my Homeland who is deliberately trying to conceal the real reason behind the so-called “massacres of 1641” – which was resistance to cruel, murderous, foreign occupiers engaged in a wholesale land grab.

    Cromwell was a zany, murderous, fundamentalist jihadi – a “protestantist” if you will

    (apart from that he achieved some good things, but not in Ireland).

  • Liam

    Judging by the remarks of Ulsters my homeland, he’s either an extremist loyalist religous fundamentalist, or just some idiot trying to wind you all up.

    If he is geniune I’d like to know how the catholic church is opressing him since he says he isn’t free.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Jesus UMH, will ye ever remove those red, white and blue puritan religious blinkers!

    Biased propaganda to justify your position today could be best to describe your insight on Irish history!

    Then again maybe you are proud of your planter history and the cruel subjugators of the people who sensed a belonging to this dear old sod, Irish and British!

    A quote form Cromwell the Republican…..

    “We come to maintain the glory of English liberty in a nation where we have an undoubted right to do it. Blood and ruin shall befall those who have cast off the authority of England and I shall rejoice to exercise the utmost severity against them.”

    This from a man (aka dictator) who suffered from a manic depressive psychoses and who went to see a doctor Sir Theoodore de Mayerne for mental treatment at the age of 29. I guess his puritan arse was rigidly constricted from anal retension. Milk of Magnesia may have cured him, or was that Luther!

    Well Ollie and co can basically fuck off! Shame on those who betrayed the Irish nation and people!

    Eireann abú!

    (There’s a great song by Damien Dempsey …It’s called the Colony!)

  • Ard Eoin

    How can anyone defend the actions of Cromwell in Ireland? This ‘crusader’ attempted to annihalate a race. Ghenghis Khan and Atila the Hun would be turning in their graves to be mentioned in the same sentence as this ogre. Hitler and Pol Pot are more in his league. I think a campaign should be launched to rename Cromwell Street in Belfast to a more sensible alternative.
    It is interesting to see the usual suspects proclaiming him as a hero and defender of the faith, possibly Osama Bin Laden could find a place a their dinner table as well. You people make me sick.

  • Brian Walker

    Ard Eoin, you’ve rather spoiled my flow but…

    “Milk of Magnesia may have cured him, or was that Luther?” The line of the whole thread, Greagoir, well done boy!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Ulster McNulty

    “[i]Perhaps it is you Ulster’s my Homeland who is deliberately trying to conceal the real reason behind the so-called “massacres of 1641” – which was resistance to cruel, murderous, foreign occupiers engaged in a wholesale land grab.”[/i]

    When O’Neill decided to side with Catholic Spain to overthrow the Protestant crown (at the Pope’s demand), he placed the lives of the people in Ulster and Ireland at grave danger. The plantation of Ulster was necessary to stop the Ulster Gaels allowing their land to be a launching pad for the invasion into England.

    The Irish are incensed with their government allowing American planes to land in Irish soil for the attack upon Iraq, but they think it’s OK that Gaelic Ulster could do the same as long as the attack was against the English.

    When are you Irish going to take a good look at your own hypocrisy?

    Greagoir

    “[i]Then again maybe you are proud of your planter history and the cruel subjugators of the people who sensed a belonging to this dear old sod, Irish and British!”[/i]

    I’m actually of Ulster Gaelic stock. We all didn’t turn into Irish Nationalists and British hating Republicans.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “I’m actually of Ulster Gaelic stock. We all didn’t turn into Irish Nationalists and British hating Republicans.”

    Ha ha….yeah right!

    I suppose you believe in the fairy people and leprecauns too!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    BTW….UMH

    Cárb as tú or duit?

    Cá bhfuil tu a gchónaí aris?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]BTW….UMH

    Cárb as tú or duit?

    Cá bhfuil tu a gchónaí aris?”[/i]

    I said I’m from Ulster Gealic stock (I’ve got an Ulster Gealic surname), my family were in Ulster before the plantation. I didn’t know you have to speak Irish to qualify as having an Ulster Gaelic history? [sums up the mentality of you lot!]

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘I’m actually of Ulster Gaelic stock. We all didn’t turn into Irish Nationalists and British hating Republicans.’

    Really? Either your talking shite or you have a touch of the Stockholm about ye’. Lets examine the evidence….

    ‘As long as it’s not Danny Boy (Londonderry Air), because the Irish have stole that one already, like they do with everything we create.
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 25, 2008 @ 01:10 PM’

    “BTW UMH,….. When was Ulster a nation?”

    ‘before the Irish Gaels invaded in the 3rd century AD
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 25, 2008 @ 02:14 PM’

    Thats decided it…right lads pass the shovels round !

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    UMH

    You are full of contradictions…..it’s an absolute hoot!

  • RepublicanStones

    Ta me tuirseach, leaba anois GOF mo chara. Slan agus beannacht !

  • Steve

    UMH

    I have an gaelic first name (sean)and a prussian last name what does that make me

  • sammaguire

    The Irish are incensed with their government allowing American planes to land in Irish soil for the attack upon Iraq, but they think it’s OK that Gaelic Ulster could do the same as long as the attack was against the English.

    When are you Irish going to take a good look at your own hypocrisy?

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 28, 2008 @ 10:49 PM

    We might be a little less incensed if an Iraqi monarch claimed sovereignty over the country. Perhaps even an Islamic fundamentalist…yea UMH may you know the type…they just know they’re right on religious and other matters. Maybe we’d be cheering on the Yanks at Shannon then!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    ….Oiche mhaith duit a chara!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    RepublicanStones

    “[i]“BTW UMH,….. When was Ulster a nation?”

    ‘before the Irish Gaels invaded in the 3rd century AD
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 25, 2008 @ 02:14 PM’

    “[/i]

    That’s some groundbreaking evidence, R’Stones. Wher did I say I hadn’t an Ulster Gaelic name?

  • Ulsters my homeland

    sammaguire

    “[i]We might be a little less incensed if an Iraqi monarch claimed sovereignty over the country. Perhaps even an Islamic fundamentalist…yea UMH may you know the type…they just know they’re right on religious and other matters. Maybe we’d be cheering on the Yanks at Shannon then! “[/i]

    Lol, Could be any more stupid? The Pope gave the island to the English king.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    RepublicanStones

    “[i]Lets examine the evidence….

    ‘As long as it’s not Danny Boy (Londonderry Air), because the Irish have stole that one already, like they do with everything we create.
    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 25, 2008 @ 01:10 PM’”[/i]

    Since when did Ulster Gaels have to be Irish or speak the Irish language?

    Steve

    “[i]UMH

    I have an gaelic first name (sean)and a prussian last name what does that make me “[/i]

    An Irish gobsheite, Lol

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    UMH…. the pope can fuck off too!

  • sammaguire

    “Lol, Could be any more stupid? The Pope gave the island to the English king.”

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 28, 2008 @ 11:38 PM

    “There’s no freedom until the Vatican is decommissioned.”

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 28, 2008 @ 03:44 PM

    Now you’re talking!! Knew we’d win you over!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]UMH…. the pope can [u]fuck off too!”[/u][/i]

    I don’t like the way you ended that. Are you saying any person in Ulster with an Ulster Gaelic surname and history who doesn’t see themselves as Irish can fuck off along with the Pope?

  • NP

    At the ~Poly i attended, the angle for Cromwell’s assault on Ireland was based on what today would be called “shock & awe” hit them hard, ruthlessly & they will fold. As resistance did after Drogheda, Wexford & Waterford.

    Also Cromwell unfairly gets the blame for all the 1640s troubles, before he even got to ireland.

    He also had to keep the NMA. in order, after the Leveller revolt, by promising them some “loot” as he had little “coin” land in in Ireland as reward was his only option.

    “realpolitik” was the order of the day

  • sammaguire

    “I don’t like the way you ended that. Are you saying any person in Ulster with an Ulster Gaelic surname and history who doesn’t see themselves as Irish can fuck off along with the Pope?”

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 28, 2008 @ 11:56 PM

    You are Irish (ask anyone from England, Scotland or Wales) but of a different (British) identity. No one’s asking you to eff off (presumably back to Scotland). You belong here.
    I actually have a lowland Scots surname myself presumably brought into Ireland during the Plantation. Don’t feel Scots in any way. It was too long ago. Any Scots relatives I have are way too distant to interest me or them.

  • Steve

    An Irish gobsheite, Lol

    Posted by Ulsters my homeland on Aug 28, 2008 @ 11:42 PM

    Thanks UMH most people say I have no right to talk because I am a Canadian but you’ve elevated me to Irish so now I have the right to comment

    Thanks

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “I don’t like the way you ended that. Are you saying any person in Ulster with an Ulster Gaelic surname and history who doesn’t see themselves as Irish can fuck off along with the Pope?”

    Am I saying the above?…….eh well no UMH, you are!

    I implied Cromwell as well as the pope, together hand in hand off into the sunset.

    Are you empathising with the pope now?

    Níl a gcuid an Aontachtaí teoiricí ag teacht le cheile!

  • NP

    see my point 2 above.

    Cromwell seems to have got about Ireland, to the same degree as St. Pat.

    see. st gobnaits macroom, where one of “the stations” is to touch a canonball that O. Cromwell “literally” used to destroy the church there. Satan himself guided said projectile in its unholy flight.

    When was Mr. Cromwell in West Cork ?

  • because they spread a new Christianity which would eventually render all Priests and Popes powerless in their spiritual and temporal domain.

    Which they did very successfully, as we all now enjoy the benefits of living in the Puritan Commonwealth of Ireland.

  • BfB

    I have an gaelic first name (sean)and a prussian last name what does that make me

    a pric ?

  • DK

    How come no-one get as angry at the scottish Bruce invasion prior to cromwell. Oh, yes, it’s simple xenophobia against the english (or inglezes as the more racist of you say).

  • NP

    DK : the English have always tempered their policy in Ireland, as a preventative to invasion “through the back door”.

    if the Irish had been “top dogs” would they have acted in any way different from the English ?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “How come no-one get as angry at the scottish Bruce invasion prior to cromwell. Oh, yes, it’s simple xenophobia against the english (or inglezes as the more racist of you say).”

    DK – ermmm no it’s not!

    Bruce’s intensions was to free Ireland from English rule. The Irish crowned de Bruce High King of Ireland in 1316. de Bruce referred to the Scots and Irish collectively nostra nacio (our nation), stressing the common language, customs and heritage of the two peoples:

    “Whereas we and you, and our people and your people, free since ancient times, share the same national ancestry and are urged to come together more eagerly and joyfully in friendship by a common language and by common custom, we have sent you our beloved kinsman, the bearers of this letter, to negotiate with you in our name about permanently strengthening and maintaining inviolate the special friendship between us and you, so that with God’s will our nation (nostra nacio) may be able to recover her ancient liberty.”

    I guess there was always a strong bond between Ireland and Scotland that existed long before this loyalty to an English crown, religious puritanism, Rangers etc…that we have today.
    Thousands of years ago the Gaelic speakers travelled to and fro between Ireland and Scotland trading, settling etc…long before the religious and political concepts that we have today.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Ulster’s My Homeland

    It was the pope that dunnit, the pope closed down all the potato factories.

    (Father Ted)

  • Occassional Commentor

    Greagoir O’Frainclin – Shouldn’t it read:

    “Thousands of years ago the pre-Indo European speakers travelled to and fro between Ireland and Scotland trading, settling etc…”

    As to the actual history, did the Gaels move from Britain to Ireland, or the other way around?

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Occasional Commentator …

    “Thousands of years ago the pre-Indo European speakers travelled to and fro between Ireland and Scotland trading, settling etc…

    As to the actual history, did the Gaels move from Britain to Ireland, or the other way around?”

    Archaeological opinion today says that it might have been from Ireland to Britain as well or whatever…The vital link is the western seaboard from north Africa upwards where people travelled freely up and down, trading, settling,etc… Hence the cultural connections and similarities (ie music, languages etc..) that still survive to this day between Spain (Basque), North France (Britanny), England(Cornwall), Isle of Man, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, etc…Languages of these areas are unique, they don’t appear to have an equivalent in other areas of Central Europe where the ‘Celts’ were supposed to have emerged/lived…ie La Tene etc. There is a distinction of the peoples in these areas I’ve mentioned too of having very dark hair, as can be seen in the people of the west of Ireland today; the ancient picts of Scotland were described as dark in appearance. The concept of the Gaels/Celts arriving in Ireland bringing all the trappings of what we know today as Gaelic culture seems to be a fallacy of 19th century opinion. The ancient culture and language of Ireland may in fact have developed over thousands of years from a common ancestor which evolved and branched out to form Irish, Cornish, Manx, Welsh etc… There are ‘Celtic’ spirals to be found on rock carvings in North Africa very similar to on the ancient great stones of Newgrange in County Meath. There could be an element of truth to the ancient Irish story of the Milesians coming to Ireland from Spain as the oldest remains of a human being in Europe were found in Spain. It is actually incredible such age old cultural similarities that have been there all along under our noses but some how were lost in time and political opinion!

    Check out the books….
    “The Atlantean Irish” by Bob Quinn
    “Blood of the Isles” by Bill Sykes

    All facinating stuff Occasional Commentator!

  • Ulsters my homeland

    “[i]The vital link is the western seaboard from north Africa upwards where people travelled freely up and down, trading, settling,etc… Hence the cultural connections and similarities (ie music, languages etc..) that still survive to this day between Spain (Basque), North France (Britanny), England(Cornwall), Isle of Man, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, etc…Languages of these areas are unique, they don’t appear to have an equivalent in other areas of Central Europe where the ‘Celts’ were supposed to have emerged/lived…ie La Tene etc. There is a distinction of the peoples in these areas I’ve mentioned too of having very dark hair, as can be seen in the people of the west of Ireland today; the ancient picts of Scotland were described as dark in appearance. “[/i]

    Where did the ginger hair come from?

    “[i]The concept of the Gaels/Celts arriving in Ireland bringing all the trappings of what we know today as Gaelic culture seems to be a fallacy of 19th century opinion.”[/i]

    It’s not correct to link Gaels and Celts together as if we’re talking about the same people. There were different waves of ‘Celts’. The first wave (with the dark hair) are likely to be the picts, who spoke a Brittonic language. The second wave (with the ginger hair) are likely to be the Gaels of the 3rd century, who spoke Gaelic.

  • Occassional Commentor

    There is even a theory that red hair is an inherited feature from Neanderthal/Cro Magnon interbreeding, which would also link to Jews.

    Tacitus thought that the ruddy coloring of the Picts made them Germanic, the observation being reported by Agricola, of course.

  • Rory

    There is of course the even more modern theory (just formulated by yours truly) that all red-haired people, everywhere, and throughout the course of human development, are in a direct line of descendency from the flame-haired American troubador, Willie Nelson. This is reinforced by all empirical evidence – go on – have a look for youself!

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    “…who spoke a Brittonic language”

    UMH….so it wasn’t same tongue as Shakespeare then!

    BTW, gingers can be found in North Afica, as well as the Middle East, naturally occuring too, not from a Wella bottle!

    However it could be evidence that little Willie may have paid a visit to these places in the past!

  • Occassional Commentor

    OMG, Dr. Rory, PhD., all these folks your theory speaks of were conceived by sperm high on THC! Any comment?

  • Rory

    Who cares, man? Chill out.

  • Occassional Commentor

    “Who cares, man? Chill out.”

    I didn’t care enough to make up some bullshit and then be an arse.

  • Rory

    Oh, do relax, Occassional. I was only playing with the limitations of human understanding and I had somehow imagined that you would know that. Obviously I was wrong and I do apologise.

    I find that relaxing with a glass of a whiskey, a large spliff and Willie Nelson playing in the background does help in these matters. I do so recommend it.

  • OC

    What are you, Rory, English? Always telling others what to do!

  • Rory

    Merely a suggestion, old fruit. I certainly do pass the “Does yer mither come frim I- er-land?” benchmark

    I was conceived in London during the height of the Blitz in ( or indeed possibly on,) Woolwich Common but my father was a stout advocate of the “fuck that for a game of soldiers” school of thought and was to be one of my great heroes for being among the first Irishmen to Holyhead as conscription threatened. As a consqeuence I was born in the most sacred place in Ireland where Patrick said his first mass and where his mortal remains are said to yet to remain, which I like to believe.

    Decide then my nationality for yourself. “Irish” suits me grand and I trust I wear it well..

  • Ard Eoin

    Why do people continue to argue with idiots?

    By arguing points regarding political or religious rights or wrongs what point are you trying to prove?

    Do you hope to convince people of opposing beliefs that you are right and they are wrong?

    What I have learnt from this forum is that most of the posters think they are right and otherwise would not post. They come on to exercise their linguistic verbasity and inflate their own egos.

    Maybe some of you are political activists and use this site as a front for whatever organsiation you represent. I feel your efforts are futile as people in the North of Ireland/ Northern Ireland (delete as appropriate) are not interested in the purile efforts manufactured in these forums and your opinions matter not a jot in the real world.

    Cromwell was a murdering egotistical maniac. Wise up and go do something creaive rather than arguing this point to death.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘BTW, gingers can be found in North Afica’

    I don’t doubt it. I actually came across a ginger on a beach in Freetown which is in western Africa !!!!!

  • Rory

    Now, now, Ard Eoin, please don’t be cruel to the likes of us. Trotting out the oul’ “lingusitic verbasity” is the most exercise some of us get these days, but at least it’s our attempt to follow government guidelines.

    p.s. Loved your post. x

  • Bohereen

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned this yet but I think the author of the book is speaking at the QUB Festival.

  • OC

    OK, Rory, if we’re gonna brag, let me just say the family has a tenuous claim to be descended from a Scotchman that sat on Cromwell’s parliament. (Almost on topic.)

    And Gran’dad was a mule skinner.