Martin McGuinness denounces some evils in society

Martin McGuinness has explained that “There are a number of tremendous evils in society. One is racism, the other is sectarianism, and I think an evil also is partitionism.” He was speaking at a meeting of the First and Deputy First Ministers with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, Irish Foreign Affairs minister Michael Martin and other cabinet members at the University of Ulster in Londonderry. They were discussing the current financial crisis.

Unsurprisingly Mr. McGuinness has drawn some criticism from across unionism. It might also be interesting if Mr. McGuinness could expand for us on his views of the evil of sectarianism.

  • Congal Claen

    sorry – indigenous

  • Turgon

    You see I just do not feel Irish. I would say that I am sorry but since I regard being or not being Irish as neutral, I see no reason to be pleased or displeased by this and no reason to celebrate or be apologetic about it. It is just the way I am.

  • Greenflag


    ‘on the creation of the ROI as you describe, i think if 100 years ago southerners wanted to go off in a huff and set up a country based on not liking english people then thats entirely up to them. ‘

    Two falsehoods/misunderstandings ? in your quote above .

    Error 1) It was’nt just Southerners 100 years ago who went for Independence. IIRC a large number of Northerners also voted for ‘independence and even many Liberal Unionists were prepared to accept Home Rule at one time . Both counties Fermanagh and Tyrone voted by majority for the ‘independence ‘ party in 1918 as well of course as large parts of Co’s Down , Armagh and Derry . Since 1920 the ‘border’s present location ‘ is even less representative of the cultural and political divide on this island between Irish nationalism/republicanism and unionism . So we should look upon a fair ‘repartition’ as just an answer to the call of political nature and a practical workable solution which will reduce but not eliminate entirely the num ber of people in the NE of Ireland who are and would be politically alienated by either a UI or the present ‘temporary’ settlement .

    Error 2 :

    ‘based on not liking ‘English ‘people . Not at all . It was based on not liking Ireland being ruled by a Government in London which had no real interest in the development of the country other than to use it as a source for agricultural products and army, naval etc recruits. And unfortunately or perhaps fortunately matters were not left entirely up to the people who live on this island North and South in 1920 for if they had been then tens of thousands would have been killed in the ensuing civil war .

    ‘i dont see the link between them doing that and the idea that people in NI in the 21st century should want to follow in that silliness.’

    I can’t comment on this as I’ve no idea which ‘silliness’ you are referring to either the Irish ‘silliness’ for fighting for independence or the Unionist ‘silliness’ for not fighting for independence and indeed being prepared to fight against against ‘independence ‘

    Perhaps neither side was ‘silly’ . Perhaps both sides were fighting for what each needed most at the time ?

    The Irish wanted more ‘independence ‘ for reasons of self respect as much as anything else and to reduce their sense of dependence on HMG . The Unionists wanted to maintain their dependence on HMG because it ‘paid ‘ better and to them an ‘independent ‘ Ireland seemed not only economically a non runner but a negation of their ‘understanding ‘ of the economic and social history of a couple of centuries of London rule .

  • eranu

    again dont take offence. but those feelings are just one of the strange things that have happened in NI. its a bit like nationalists that wont even admit they are from NI and wont even say northern ireland. you cant change these things by feelings and you dont need feelings for these things to exist. it would seem that over the decades unionists and nationalists have got carried away with being the opposite of ‘the other side’ and have lost touch with reality / worldwide norms. its a phyciatrists wet dream. all these strange things need to be fixed as part of the normalisation of society we sometimes talk about. they will happen as conflict thinking dies and more people come to live in NI from other countries.

    if you are on holiday and you say to someone you are from belfast and the person says ‘oh, you are irish’ if you say no they will ask ‘oh, where are you from?’

    what would you say?

  • eranu

    “you cant change these things by feelings and you dont need feelings for these things to exist”

    oops bit vague, i meant being from ireland doesnt require any feelings or is affected by feelings that might be part of an ‘identity’
    therefore you dont need to feel irish, its just a term for people from this island. thats the worldwide norm that people in NI have lost touch with. ask people from NI that have lived in other countries for a few years. chances are the scales have fallen from their eyes on this one.

    if i could, i would send everyone in NI to live in another country for a year to sort their wee heads out 🙂

  • eranu

    GF, “based on not liking ‘English ‘people . Not at all”
    thank goodness, we’ll not hear any anti english ranting on this site then? 🙂

    the silliness is to have a national identity based on not liking people from another country!
    im just saying that after living in the ROI for years, the whole chip on the shoulder thing is daft and frankly backward. something we in NI would see as silly, is not attractive, its a turn off.

    have to go unfortunately, cheerio.

  • Turgon

    If asked I am from the part of the UK called Northern Ireland. As someone who has travelled a lot in the UK and worked and lived on mainland (and islands) GB, I have rarely met anyone who has any problem with me not being Irish. I have had exactly the same response in Europe and Africa.

    I think the overwhelming majority of people allow others to self define: as indeed I do. I have no problem with people being Irish and nationalist or Irish and unionist. I am British, a unionist and Northern Irish: in no particular order.

  • dub

    Again dub, I would explain that I have no ill will to the Irish nor to Irishness (except that tiny subset of them who behaved in a criminal fashion and I distain loyalists equally). I do not distain Irishness and I would thank you not to accuse me of such. I have read read Joyce, Yeates and Heaney. I have gone to Beckett’s plays. Being interested in naval history Andrew Cunningham is one of my heroes. All of these people were Irish.

    In what way Turgon were they Irish and you are not? How can you talk about “them” as in your phrase “subset of them” and know who you are talking about if being Irish is just a matter of how you feel? Can you read it in people’s eyes? How can you look back into history and say with any confidence that someone was Irish or not, going by your subjective criteria? Why have you read Joyce, Yeats and Beckett and have records by Mary Black and born reared in Ireland of people of whom the same can be said? Is it to get some insight into that mystical feeling of Irishness which according to you these people have but you don’t?

    You say i have made a fool of myself. Well Congal and Eranu are backing up my basic point here. Only Greenflag is agin me. Funny that you agree with another tribalist.


    You ask a fair question. Honestly I do not feel British and the term British Isles is not universally agreed upon by any means. I think that independent ireland exists because we sought an Irish Irish identity. I very much accept that there is a British Irish identity and that they co-exist on the same island and, in my view, in the same nation. Ireland was called Ierne by Ptolemy whilst Britain was called Alba and Britannia. The “celtic” tongue here is different in a quite radical sense from Welsh, Cornish and Breton. There is for sure a british component to Irish identity. But its not as primary as the Irish part. This country is called Ireland and there is thing called irish history. There is also an island called Britain which is not really a country but whose history we have very much been involved in. I live in Dublin, it is an Irish town. Turgon lives somewhere in Derry i think which is steeped in irish culture and is as irish as anywhere on this island. its also steeped in a kind of ulster scot culture. he seems to want to leap above the immediate to some symbolic nationality which is all about statehood but which has little to with particularity. We might well ask Turgon is he a Derry or Londonderry man or a Fermanagh man (not sure which he is from) or…

    I think the answer to your question is no, but sometimes i wish we had one adjective to describe all the peoples of these islands in the way the scandinavians do. And then again sometimes i dont!
    Irish and European works quite well for me. We have swapped one overarching identity for another. But this one was a voluntary union of equals (!).

  • Turgon

    I think most people are happy to let me self define: you seem to find it distressing. I find your distress rather amusing.

    Incidentally a fair point that some of those I mentioned may not have seen themselves as irish. AB Cunningham may not have done. I intend reading his biography some time and will then tell you.

  • dub


    You feel in no way Irish but now say, after a lot of prodding (excuse the pun;)) that you are (you do not use the word feel) “Northern Irish” among other things. Linguistically, semantically and psychologically and every other bleedin way you are now caught out. You have now admitted that you are Irish. Thank you. Consider our joust closed. It has been a pleasure to do business with you. Your fellow “Republic of Irish” person.

  • dub


    I’ll save you the bother. He was born in Rathmines in 1883. At that time all of Ireland was in the UK.

    You were born I take it somewhere in that part of Ireland which was then and still is in the UK.

    So on what basis is he Irish and you not??????

    You have not answered this question yet.

    Or is Dublin somehow more Irish to you than, say, Derry, irrespective of position in the UK. If that is what you think, you are even more stupid than i have given you credit for.

  • Turgon

    I feel British.
    1). I cannot change how I feel.
    2). I have the right in law to feel this way
    3). I have the moral right to feel this way should I choose. It is doing no one any harm at all.
    4). It is absolutely none of your business.
    5). Get a life and get over it: why should you care how someone you have never and will never meet self defines?
    6). I am not going to be hectored into changing how I feel by you or anyone else

    On those last two points please remember a tiny minority of criminals (who happened to call themselves Irish) tried to force people to change how they felt by killing people: that did not work and neither will your rather pathetic combination of appealing to the grass and stones of Ireland or your claiming that my view makes me a settler.

    Just grow up: you can actually debate well and make sense. I do not regard you as either a terrorist cheerleader or a bigot. On this issue, however, you lose all rationality. My honest advice is to drop it.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dub,

    Cheers for the reply.

    “Honestly I do not feel British”

    That’s exactly what Turgon said except Irish was used instead of British. He lives in Ireland but doesn’t feel Irish. You live in the British Isles but don’t feel British. Can you not see that you’re the mirror image of Turgon?

    You can be both you know?

    You also mentioned Ptolemy. Ptolemy is quite clear that Ireland – he calls it Hibernia – belongs to the group he calls Britannia. He entitles Book II, Chapter 1 of his Geography as Hibernia, Island of Britannia.

    In a modern context by far the majority of people refer to these isles as the British Isles.

    Irish Gaelic is different because it’s Q celtic. The others are P celtic. Ireland did have P celtic speakers before the Gaels arrived – I believe the language survived up to as late as about the 1200s in some parts of Munster. However, I don’t really see the point here. All it shows is that Irish Gaelic is a later arrival. English arrived even later. Obviously, I speak it. But I’m not English.

  • edward

    Sorry Congal he does not live in the british isles he lives in Ireland, its not a british isle

  • Congal Claen

    Sorry Edward, if he live in Ireland he lives in the British Isles. You maybe don’t like it, but history and the majority of the world are with me on this.

  • Greenflag

    ‘if you are on holiday and you say to someone you are from belfast and the person says ‘oh, you are irish’ if you say no they will ask ‘oh, where are you from?’

    what would you say?

    Whatever you feel comfortable with would be my advice . It’s been my practice when I meet somebody from NI never to ask questions as to their place of origin , their national feelings or religion or their place of birth . If they want to tell me -fine I’ll listen . And if they say they’re from Belfast my usual reply is
    ‘It’s a good place to be from and I’m sorry but life is’nt fair is it and move on to the business in hand ‘;) ?

    I learnt this quite a number of years ago when I had a near neighbour who was a norn ironer . He was regarded as a bit of ‘blow in ‘ in the neighbourhood not because he was a prod – we had other prods too in that neighbourhood but because he was from ‘up’ there where the ‘ nutters ‘ are from 😉 . Later on it was ‘discovered ‘ his wife was Catholic and she too was from NI and not particularly popular either even less so than her hubby . Later on we heard the reason they left NI for the Republic . It was for the sake of their kids as they lived close to an RUC man who’s house was being shot at by the provos too many times for comfort . I moved from that neighbourhood later and subsequently I heard they(the NI ‘mixed ‘ couple also left for England – I assume they both must have felt ‘uncomfortable ‘ or could’nt make a go of it in the Republic at that time . They were no alone . Some 200,000 plus people left the overtaxed too highly borrowed Republic in the late 1980’s . There were a few other prods from NI too but they settled down quite well and presumably remain ‘british or irish or both’ to this day .

    Nobody outside Norn Iron anyway gives much of a tosser anyway about the ‘differences ‘ between the ‘tribes ‘ which seem important to them but have long since lost their resonance in the rest of europe .

    The problem with anybody from Northern Ireland not stating they are Irish is a the same problem a German /Englishman /Frenchman said that though they and their families had been in England /France /Germany for hundreds of years they were not German , English or French .

    One can imagine Queen Elizabeth 2 going on TV and telling the great british public that she was not English but was actually a German because her ancestors came from there ?

    The world tends to think only of one Ireland -and in particular the diaspora. At the same time the world again generally uses the term British Isles which no matter how much some of us (excluding my good self if I may say so ) would prefer them to be called by a somewhat longer title to include Irish ?

    It’s one thing to change the official designation of the British Lions to the British & Irish Lions as you are dealing with people /peoples who have perhaps more of an underlying knowledge of the name sensitivies than the average Vietnamese , American or German . I recall with some irritation being referred to as Der Englander by some German ‘middle ‘ management types some years ago . Naturally they apologised when I had to correct them and they got it right the next time:) . It was’nt a personal insult it was just that they were used to referring to people from over there as Englander’s . I appealed to their German sense of an orderly and exact use of terminology 😉

    You never hear Germans talking about the war against Scotland or Northern Ireland or Wales or even Ireland back in WW1 . Mostly it’s England with an occassional Grossbritannien thrown in to assuage the sensitivities of the 20% non english residents in these islands .

  • Greenflag

    PS to above post

    It has nothing to do with politics 🙂 I’m sure after my back was turned some of those Germans reverted to calling me an ‘englander ‘ simply because it saved them from having to think about an Ireland and they used that word more frequently anyway along with the epithet . It may be different today now that Ireland has a higher profile in the EU than back in the late 1980’s .

    ‘Verdammt Englander ‘ ( A god damned Englishman without the God of course) 🙂

  • Greenflag

    Dub ,

    ‘Only Greenflag is agin me. Funny that you agree with another tribalist.’

    Eh ? . If you are politically in favour of Irish independence albeit you were born in Shanghai or Warsaw or Nairobi or Carrickfergus you are one of Greenflag’s political tribe . If you are from Donegal town and believe in the UK Union then you may no doubt be a fine upstanding person and speak several languages including Irish and Scots Gaelic or Welsh but you are not a ‘member ‘ of GF’s ‘political ‘tribe. That doesn’t mean you can’t live or work in a UI or in a repartitioned NI or Republic or the town , village or townland you grew up in ! It’s just that your ‘political differences ‘ go beyond the pale (no pun intended )

    If that makes me a ‘tribalist ‘ then that’s what I am and make no apologies for it 😉

  • Turgon

    I am not Irish because I do not feel Irish. That is the sole reason I need. In actual fact I do not need a reason not to feel Irish I do not so I am not.

    It is quite simple. Still I am glad you are going to drop it as I think all of us are heartily fed up with it.

    As to Andrew Cunningham: if he felt Irish that is fine, I am happy for him. If he did not I am also happy for him. Why are you the sole person on this web site who cares how I self define? Even the terrorist cheerleaders do not seem to care. Indeed some of them are probably pleased I do not see myself as Irish,

    I occasionally wonder if you are concerned that I do not feel Irish because the IRA killed unionists in the name of Ireland. Rest assured I would not give those people the pleasure of changing my views because of them. I do not feel Irish because I feel British not Irish. I would say I am sorry but it is not a big enough part of my life to care until someone as foolish as you makes a vast issue of it.

    I guess then I get rather bemused and a bit irritated by your silliness and desperation that since I said Northern Irish I mean Irish. I might just as well say that because Ireland is taken by most people in the world to be part of the British Isles that that means that you have said you are British. That would be pretty silly and immature: unlike you I am not going down that line. Incidentally what age are you? People have usually stopped caring about making others part of “their gang” by their mid teens.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it


    of course each inidividual can decide in Norn Iron whether they are Irish or British but the constitution of Norn Iron, the GFA, states that you belong to the Irish nation and this is the considered view of both governments and the people of Ireland North and South as passed in the 1998 referendum although you and probably most Unionists may have voted against it.

  • Greenflag

    ‘People have usually stopped caring about making others part of “their gang” by their mid teens.’

    Very true however there have been exceptions to the general rule i.e a certain ex corporal name of Adolph was quite keen on dragging most of Europe into his ‘gang ‘ under pseudo science premises masquerading as avarice . Also a certain Middle Eastern semitic chap name of JC only started going about getting ‘gang ‘members in his thirties . And recently on Wall St we note with sorrow that members of the financial services gang have reaped enormous profits having been allowed a free hand to prey on the rest of their fellow primates 🙁

    This non issue needs a load of fudge dolloped over it for as somebody wise once said ‘the less said easiest mended ‘ or something like that .

    Dub ,

    ‘These so called British Isles have also gone.’

    Where ? I checked on the weather forecast and they’re still there I’m afraid . Even if Scotland goes independent and Wales too these islands will still be known as the ‘British Isles ‘ for the next thosand years or until such time as mandarin or urdu becomes the spoken language of the majority And by then I take it Dub that neither you nor I nor turgon will be concerned about whatever it’s called .

    Remember fudge -fudge and fudge again 😉

  • PaddyReilly

    As I understand it Turgon is Irish because he is entitled to an Irish passport and I am British because I am entitled to a British one. And visa versa.

    This situation is comparatively rare in Europe, and can carry on only because the UK has no conscription, so we are not forced to choose a single Nationality to escape doing National Service twice over. Even in World War II there was no conscription in NI, so effectively it is a condominium.

    On islands such as Trinidad there are people whose ancestors came from China, India, Africa, and some who claim to have been there all along. But obviously it is not practical to partition this island so each of the nationalities has a section, so everyone is, for nationality purposes, Trinidadian, unless they manage to wangle a passport out of their ancestral homelands.

    The same is obviously going to have to apply in Ireland, with everyone having the same nationality wherever they claim their ancestors came from. In a world in which more and more people are on the move and more and more marriages are between different races, the luxury, some might say absurdity of ancestral politics will have to end.

    Private Eye once did a satire on identity politics of this sort. It had one candidate whose party was a mixture of Plaid Cymru and Al Qaida because he was half Welsh and half Pakistani.

    Now I would defend anyone’s right to feel they were members of some other nationality. It would be a boring world if we were all the same. But usually when we identify with a place we want to go there. If I felt American I would want to be in America wouldn’t I? But the NI Unionist scam does not involve exiting to the place where their heart is, it involves bringing that country to where the NI Unionist is. From the point of view of the natives and the nativists that is something between an attack on democracy and treason. If more than 50% of the population of County Fermanagh feel that they are part of Ireland, the actions of someone like Turgon will not be appreciated.

    When the Channels Islands were occupied by Nazi Germany, this admirable rule of allowing people to choose their allegiance had to be suspended. People who suddenly felt they were German were, to put it mildly, traitors.

  • Earnan


    why is Barack Obama an “Afican-American” and not an “African-European American”?

    Hiearchy of ancestry???

  • dub


    Your analogy is false. Obviously (well to i would say every other sentient human being in the world) if you say you are Northern Irish, then you are accepting that you are a type of Irish person. There are some radicals on the unionist side who reject Northern Irishness precisely becuase of the salient second word (the only word of the two which has anything to do with place, nation, country etc) and call themselves such exotic things as Ulidian. I have never said that i am northern, southern, eastern or western British so i do not understand what you are saying. I accept the existence of the term “British Isles”. But is not universally used.
    My sole point of contention with you now in this context is your apparent desire to self define but not allow this luxury to others. How do you spot the irish.. do you have to go up to everyone with a belfast, dublin, cork accent etc and ask them to self define? And how come you get to define dead people’s nationality? You have still not answered that one, just wriggled out by saying that it was up to Cunningham what he wanted to be. aS for Heaney, how do you know about him. Is it just because he is a Catholic? Do we to read the journals and letters of every notable from our past to ascertain their view of how they “felt”. Its a very modern touchy feely concept by the way for a rugged presbyterian like yourself but yes you have the right to self define and yes you have said you are nothern irish so end of.


    Indeed. That was one of my main points. We have all had to suffer because of these feelings. And there was no contribution from the people with these feelings to the immense work of the good friday agreement etc… everything has had to be prised out as from a rock. But there you go. They did not “feel” like it.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dub,

    “Ptolemy is gnerally believed to have based his virtual map of Ireland upon the writings of Pytheas of the 4th century BC. The latter did not regard Ireland as “Pretanic”. And he called it Ierne.”

    Pytheas described his travels in a work that has not survived; only excerpts remain, quoted or paraphrased by later authors, most familiarly in Strabo’s Geographica, and Pliny’s Natural History. Strabo uses the terms Prettans or Brettans for the islands as a group. For example, in Geography 2.1.18, “the most southern of the Brettans are further north than this”. Pliny writes of Great Britain “Albion was its own name, when all [the islands] were called the Britannias; I will speak of them in a moment”. In the following section, 4.103, Pliny enumerates the islands he considers to make up the Britannias, listing Great Britain, Ireland, and many smaller islands.

    “ The Roman writer Avienus quoted a Massiliote seaman in the sixth century BC who spoke of “Ireland, two days’ sail from Brittany, alongside the islands of the Albiones”.

    That isn’t the way I read it. Avenius as I understand it was quoting from a trade route book. Not an individual.

    “If Avienus was quoting a Massiliote seaman from the sixth century BC who knew of Ireland, Britanny and Albion, or Britain, and Pytheas was alive during the fourth century BC, then it shows beyond question that mariners operating from the same port as Pytheas were fully aware of the distinctions between Britain and Ireland at least two centuries before Pytheas set sail.”

    You’re making a bit of a jump here Dub. Just because Ireland is distinguished from Britain doesn’t mean that there is no collective description for the islands. The works that remain and that made use of Pytheas’ work, quoted above, clearly do.

    “On balance, I’d personally say it was unlikely that any confusion about these islands arose during the intervening time, as the mariners’ familiarity with the region would have become more clear through repeated exploration, not less clear.”

    Well if you extend your logic then you’d have to assume that with the even greater familiarity of these islands during the time of Strabo, etc that their accounts would hold even less confusion.

    ‘In addition to this, Pytheas referred to Britain both as Albion and also as The Isles of the Prettani, a name that means “painted” or “decorated” ones. The name Prettani eventually transmogrified into Britannia, the Roman name for the island, while the Romans referred to Ireland as Hibernia, a name probably derived from the earlier “Ierne”, a name used by Pytheas to describe Ireland and distinguish it from Albion.” ‘

    Now you’re really confusing things here. On the one hand you say Britain – I take it you mean the island of modern day England, Scotland and Wales – is named Albion and the Isles of the Prettani. How could one isle be more than one? Do you not think this could be a collective term for the British Isles? Furthermore, some argue that Pytheas didn’t even go to Ireland as it’s argued that surely he would’ve used the Q celtic “cruthin” rather than the P celtic Prettani when describing the isles.

    “Also there is no evidence of a p celtic language having ever been spoken in Ireland.”

    It’s called Ivernic. It was used by the Ierne, a P celtic speaking tribe from modern day SW Britain who colonised the south coast of Ireland. It’s also were Ireland got it’s name from. So “Ireland” itself is a p celtic construct.

    “The islands of Britain and Ireland have been physically separate for at lesat 10 thousand years”

    Agreed. And united by the Irish Sea – the “motorway” of yesteryear.

    “their indigenous languages are radically dissimilar.”

    Indigenous? What’s that mean? Irish Gaelic arrived from Iberia and took over from the earlier “indigenous” language. In the same way English is now the language of these Isles. Is it not indigenous?

    “And Ireland’s name is older than that of Britain which used to be called Alba or ALbion.”

    Not certain on that. How are you?. Ireland is derived from Ierne. Britain is derived from Prettan. Both of which were used by Pytheas where they not? (your opening quote at the top)

    “There used to be a British Empire. Its gone.”


    “These so called British Isles have also gone.”

    Lets put that to the test then. A quick Google of “British Isles” returns 9 million hits. What collective term do you want to try? I’m betting substantially less hits.

  • Congal Claen


    “The roman name Britannia was only revived as a cod name for the new fangled union of England and Scotland.”

    That union occurred in 1707. Therefore, if there are any references prior to that it rather disproves your point. Continental mapmakers Gerardus Mercator (1512), Balthasar Moretus (1624), Giovanni Magini (1596), Abraham Ortelius (1570) and Sebastian Munster (1550) produced maps bearing the term “British Isles”. Ortelius makes clear his understanding that England, Scotland and Ireland were politically nominally at least separate in 1570 by the full title of his map: “Angliae, Scotiae et Hiberniae, sive Britannicar. insularum descriptio” which translates as “a description of England, Scotland and Ireland, or the British Isles”, additionally many maps from this period show Cornwall as a separate nation, most notably those of Mercator.

    “The only true British left are the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons of France.”

    And of course us. Cruthin – the Irish gaelic or q celtic equivalent to Prettan tells us that.

  • dub


    Dont really disagree with anything you have said apart from the bit about p celtic having existed in the form of Ivernic in South West and gaelic coming from Iberia. This may well be true but noone knows for sure. That theory is Ptolemy updated by the theories of T F O’Rahilly. Many experts do not agree with him. That does not mean he is wrong but these are hardly uncontested facts.

    Also dont get your last comment about the Cruthin, the Irish for Picts and perhaps for British in the sense of those from Britain. Pict also means painted ones. Ok they were a tribe in Antirm but we are not all descended from the Picts.

  • dub

    How could one isle be more than one?

    Er, easily. You know the Hebrides etc….Isle of Man, Channel Islands etc…

    Many people think that Pytheas never even went to Ireland.

  • dub


    Actually i have found the answer to my last question there. You are an o’Rahilly man! WEll fair play to you. But there are so many different theories about all this. Many people also now think that the Irish language may be 3 – 4 thousand years old and not “Celtic” at all. IN fact the whole Celtic thing is being more and more debunked. Seems we might all be basques!

  • PaddyReilly

    When an argument of this sort gets back to Ptolemy, you know it’s come off the rails.

    The fact that we talk about “The Americas” does not give Brazil and Mexico the right to take over the United States, neither do expressions like “The Indies” negate the existence of Pakistan and Indonesia.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dub,

    Do you agree that the Ierne came from modern day SW Britain? If so, that was a P speaking area. So, it’d be more than likely they spoke P celtic.

    Cruthin is Q celtic for the P celtic Prettani. Which shows that they were spread over the Isles. Cruthin existed all through Ireland – not just the north.

    You’re right I do think that the gaels came from Iberia. Links with the basque languages suggest that. As do ring forts (of Iberian style) and DNA. That seems natural to me as I could imagine seamen from a few millenia ago hugging the coast as they travelled. Ireland was first settled from the north tho – as evidenced by settlement and also age/density of Megalithic structures.

    Agree with you on the Celtic thing. It’s so widespread as to be meaningless. More locally the way Ireland, Scotland and Wales are described as celtic nations and somehow England isn’t amazes me.

    Hi Paddy,

    You’re arriving late to this one. Essentially the argument is that Dub thinks someone is Irish if they’re born in Ireland. However, Dub doesn’t think you’re necessarily British if born in the British Isles. I think that you can choose to be whatever you want. However, I don’t think you can insist that somebody is described as Irish for the reason outlined above and not apply the same reasoning to being British.