“When I was at school…” was always a presage to my mother telling me some obvious truth about the spellings or the sums I’d just got wrong for the millionth time… Later when we did geography at school we learned our Irish geography from a book that had been coincidentally written by a teacher at the local state grammar… Provinces, counties, rivers, mountain ranges, county towns… Now it seems in the last ten to fifteen years the people in the southern state have been slowly excising the mad old uncle from its memory: “The North, as far as Dublin was concerned, was the attic in which the mad old uncle might be allowed to drink himself to death.”: O’Neill links this priceless piece from Squinter:
Squinter called the RTE press office and an interesting conversation ensued, which is probably best understood in its raw and unedited form (preamble excised)…
Squinter: Yes, you see, I was just wondering what exactly RTE means when it bandies the word Ireland about.
RTE: Ireland? Why, we mean Ireland, of course.
Squinter: All of it?
RTE: What do you mean?
Squinter: Well, if you try to access The Panel in Belfast the message says Only available in Ireland.
Squinter: Belfasts in Ireland.
RTE: No its not.
Squinter: Well, where is it?
RTE: The UK?
Squinter: Well, yes, but its also in Ireland.
RTE: How can that be?
Squinter: Because Irelands not a country, its an island.
RTE: Are you sure?
RTE: Click. Brrrrrrrr.
Cultural psychosis, it seems, is everywhere these days…