Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?

Every July 4th Americans celebrate their independence. Tools are downed, friends and families gather, and across 50 states and my own taxed yet unrepresented district, the skies are painted with an assortment of red flairs imported from China. I’m assured that the value of viewing this spectacle from my roof deck on D.C.’s Connecticut Avenue is worth the transatlantic airfare.

Ten days later Paris’ Montparnasse neighbourhood baths under a brief sea of light and fire, a show replicated in miniature but no less enthusiastically across countless French villages and town squares, all briefly united in celebration of how their greatest asset, their shared national identity the values and ideals it embodies, was forged in a rebellion that reached its symbolic zenith on the grounds of the Bastille Saint-Antoin prison.

Ireland has no comparable national celebrations of this nature. Not yet.

Undeterred, various Irish groups – some official, some anything but, none large – will congress this weekend to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916, an aborted, vaguely ludicrous, and ultimately catastrophic (especially for today’s northern nationalists) attempt to replace London-based rule in Ireland with a new island-based national parliament -and to hell with any Irish that preferred the status quo. Where the Irish rebellion lacked the popular support or storming success of their French forerunners, they did share some prison drama of historical significance.

The gaol-centered events that created such contrasting fortunes for today’s unified France and partitioned Ireland are not unrelated to the details that shaped both dramas in real time.

The birth of France’s liberty is timed, in part, at least symbolically, to the moment Bastille Prison’s then Military Governor, Bernard-Jordan de Launay, made a catastrophic miscalculation. In a futile attempt to calm the passions of the baying Parisian crowd, de Launay revealed to their representatives that his canons were in fact unloaded; his level-headed restraint only encouraged the mob’s confidence further and the Ancien Régime’s last Bastille Governor’s head was soon resting on a spike.

In fairness, what was the man to do? De Launay’s misjudgment surely hastened rather than caused his own demise since no alternative decision that could have altered the broader historical trajectory and terror unfolding all around him.

By contrast events in Kilmainhaim in Dublin 127 years later were much less inevitable and unavoidable. There’s a strong argument that General Maxwell’s confirmation of the death sentences handed down to 15 of the originally 90 condemned Irish rebels was much more historically significant than anything the rebels achieved or represented themselves. Had Maxwell opted for a touch of de Launay’s restraint, he may have ended a small rebellion instead of igniting a much larger one.

Whether one considers Ireland’s soon-to-follow War of Independence, its amputation, the entrenchment of ancient sectarian divides and suspicions, its civil war, the creation of a paranoid and repressive Orange State, and the disastrous economic policies that kept the newly Free State free of prosperity for most of the rest of the twentieth century, a good return on the Easter Rising or not, one thing is hard to dispute: After 1916, far from a united and liberated nation, Ireland spent most of the last century collapsed in on itself.

Despite official talk to the contrary, Ireland is more divided – borders tend to have that effect – than it was in 1916. Where modern America and France can date their births to 1776 and 1789 respectively, the sad truth is that Ireland suffered a death of sorts in 1921. Partition was a tragedy and national disgrace, directly attributed to the immediate consequences of the 1916 Easter Rising. Irish Nationalism has largely wasted the intervening decades treating this death as reversible, as though the project of the Rising is simply comatose and in need of resuscitation. This is not true and this approach will never work.

There are many reasons to imagine why a new Ireland, at peace with itself, its past and its neighbour could at some point emerge as an independent state designed to reflect and benefit all its people. But such a vision requires more than politics, policy and statecraft; this is the work of nation-building.

Bastille Day and July 4th represent national holidays – this is obvious to anyone surveying the post-political, jovial and mass participatory character of both festivals. Claims that 1916 ushered in a movement towards a comparable national liberation cannot be sustained by citing a few annual party political speeches at Bowdenstown.

Ireland’s best days should lay ahead but they will not be carved from the ashes of a failed and divisive rebellion that was smothered almost a century ago.

  • Ruarai,

    No idea how you missed this but Ireland’s national day is celebrated just as you note others do and more globally than any of those nations manage. It happens on the 17th of March.

    The Easter events are commemorations of dead and like those of other nations are not celebrations.

  • Ruarai


    One of the points of the blog piece was an attempt to describe what a successful national holiday celebration looks like – and how nations at peace with themselves tend to do them well.

    St. Patrick’s Day may be described as Ireland’s national day but where I went to school in County Antrim many schools boards consciously snubbed it as a way of stating: Not my day.

    If you look at lots of the celebrations around Sat Pat’s, while it’s not quite a Green 12th, it is more of a celebration of Ireland’s green tribe – indirect proof that Ireland is still based on unreconciled tribes and not mature nationhood.

    I believe that part of the reason why Northern Ireland has such contention around various days and how they’re celebrated, what flags are flown, and so on, is precisely because we, collectively, have flunked the nation-building test.

    And I’d like us to do better on that front.

  • Mc Slaggart

    “If you look at lots of the celebrations around Sat Pat’s, while it’s not quite a Green 12th, it is more of a celebration of Ireland’s green tribe – indirect proof that Ireland is still based on unreconciled tibes and not mature nationhood.”

    I have never met an orange man with an issue about st Patrick?

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    A jaw dropping piece.

    Honest and thought provoking.

    A feast for thought.

    I’m going to print it off.

  • Ruarai

    Very kind Am Ghobsmacht.

    So what thoughts did it provoke?

    Chime in; dust it up; let’s unpack…

  • New Yorker


    Excellent. I agree with your conclusion: “Ireland’s best days should lay ahead but they will not be carved from the ashes of a failed and divisive rebellion that was smothered almost a century ago.”

    There is so much in Irish history and culture to build on – the preservation of and spread of classical wisdom and knowledge, the outsized contribution to Christian religion and culture, important figures to Western thought and art, immense contributions to countries worldwide. There is ample evidence of the intelligence and creativity of the Irish. Yet when it comes to politics in Ireland none of what the Irish are capable of both in other fields of human achievement and what they have contributed to politics in other countries is reflected in the contemporary politics of Ireland north or south. I have no idea as to why that is, but it is a tragedy.

  • aquifer

    The 1916 rebellion set Ireland off on a trajectory that could be described as unfortunate. The 1919 secessionist assembly in Dublin that had not really got a sufficient mandate for independence, a civil war in a small country, with an attempt to wage another casual war of attrition against one corner mostly populated by a religious minority. An attempt at an economic siege of a state established by treaty, followed by prolonged economic stagnation.The new Irish state giving the majority religion a privileged status. Casual dumping of a Dominion status that might have served as a link back to the severed northern part. Neutrality and impotency when evil swept Europe and the East. Sustained abandonment of northern Catholics in a state dominated by Protestants. Politicians running guns to proxy catholic armies. Accommodation and legal comfort for political assassins and armed blackmailers. Support for the annexation of a small island of English speaking farmers by a militarist junta that then collapsed. Negotiating an agreement with the English over the heads of the local people affected. Convening an assembly in Dublin to discuss constitutional arrangements and then hijacking the conclusion. Selective murders and general explosive mahem using eastern bloc abbatoir equipment sponsored by various despots and cultural chauvinists, visited on a small often rural and churchgoing population. Non subscribing participants in the English speaking Commonweath.

    Should Michael have paid for dinner?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Well Ruarai

    For a start, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who has had such thoughts.

    I was tempted to put it in a recent blog but I’m now glad that I didn’t as it would be like watching that art montage on Tony Hart’s TV program:

    *Am Ghobsmacht, aged 5….Ruarai, aged 15….*

    First of all, I don’t wish to demean the bravery of the chaps who rose up, that’s not up for dispute.

    I just find it rather odd/sad that nationalism’s big day celebrates something (or rather the ambitions of something I suppose) that perhaps cemented the creation of something that nationalists hate.

    If I understand correctly, the Home Rule Bill was passed.

    If I also understand correctly Irishmen of every hue were being fed to the grinder on the western front in the name of King and Empire.

    Wholesale slaughter tends to take the sheen off such patriotic ideals.

    If there was ANY chance that Home Rule might have been granted after the war it was then burned down with the GPO.

    There’s a mural on the Shankill to Cromwell.

    I find this odd as he did not bode well for Presbyterians in Ireland.
    (well, maybe not that odd, it’s just a stupid ‘getItUpThemuns’…)

    The Easter Rising may have been a Cromwell (well, maybe Col Robert Venables) of nationalism’s own creation in terms of a united Ireland.

    I’m sure people are punching the screen at this point but that’s the way I see it.

    A brave blunder.

    1798 partly begat the Union with Britain

    1916 partly begat Northern Ireland

    The Provo’s campaign partly begat the massive presence of the British Army in NI.

    Go figure.

    (and X amount of unionist folly begat other things that unionists don’t like. Yes, got it)

    What could be POTENTIALLY a day for all Ireland if it ever comes to be would be a memorial day for if/when the people of Ireland agreed (before walking the demographic plank) to unite.

    That involves dismantling unionist paranoia which I believe the current SF approach to nationalism does nothing to alleviate (save for a few smart gestures in front of the TV cameras).

    Of course, that’s a different topic.

  • Mick Fealty

    I think this report on Carson’s “you must take her by force or win her affections…” speech from just three years earlier should be put in the pot for consideration:http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=TC19140213.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Interesting stuff Mick

    Carson to Redmond: “You will gain nothing by coercion. One false step in relation to Ulster will render a settlement impossible…”

    I would wager that seizing buildings in Dublin and declaring a Republic would have been seen as a false step by some unionists.

  • cynic2

    “Ireland’s national day is celebrated …..on the 17th of March.”

    There you go again stealing Prods rights to their own Saints day wrapping it in a Tricolour and re branding it

  • SK

    “Stealing Prod’s rights”

    Hyperbole thy name is cynic.

    You’ll find a tricolour on display in every city on planet earth on St Patricks day. Should we implement a worldwide ban on account of the Ulster Prods who are more accustomed to burning it on bonfires?

    You lads have some growing up to do.

  • Mc Slaggart


    “Prods rights to their own Saints day ”

    It is Irelands national celebrations day. It was picked more by Irish immigrants than those who lived on the Island. He was Romano-British and an immigrant himself.

  • SK

    They spend 364 days out of the year telling us how separate they are, how different they are, how they want everyone else in Ireland kept at arms length, how they want nothing to do with those foreigners down south.

    Then March 17th comes along and they complain about left out they feel.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Am Ghobsmacht, its all really simple Hegel stuff:

    i) [Any] action will lead to

    ii) reaction, and the effect of this on the first will lead to

    iii) synthesis, which will in turn become an other ACTION

    and so the whole dreary process rolls on and on…. ie: every action we attempt seems to call forth its opposite, thus 1798 and the brotherhood of man leads to the Act of Union and the Orange Order. Ho Humm…

    Most of the other readers will not have caught the Old Noll and Venables allusion, so please please, please unpack, and spare my poor fingers…….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And, cynic2,

    “Prods rights to their own Saints day ”

    I note that St Nicholas (“Santa”) is also the patron saint of “Thieves who Repent”. Plantation confiscations of land commonly owned by others and all that…..

    There’s a Church dedicated to St Nick at Carrickfergus, is there not?

  • Fantastic stuff with fascinating thread.

  • cynic2

    Mc Slaggart

    I agree it should be

  • cynic2


    …and who did the Irish “steal” it from in the first place?

    The genetic history shows we are all alike and a mix of viking, saxon, french, spanish, roman

  • cynic2


    Oi. I am the cynic around here

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi cynic2, wee bit of actual history please. Yeh, I’m a mix of all those, and the French bit has some Jewish blood too, from the eighteenth century, but the bit that goes back to Niall Noígíallach still looks askance at the other bit from Berwickshire who has pushed him out as the head of the table (although anywhere an Ó Neill sits must be considered as head of the table).

    Are you trying to say that no one was actually living on the land that the planters moved into? Well, you are a bit right in that quite a bit of Eastern Ulster was an uninhabited desert, but that was Sir Arthur Chichester pre-figuring twentieth century genocide techniques, but, yes, the land there was empty! However, there were a few survivors west of the Bann, and the plantation of the confiscated land was very far from painless. I’d imagine that the sufferers were a mix of viking, saxon, (Norman) french, spanish (MIlesius’ decendants, do you mean)?), roman (“priests” do you mean?), and, oh, the one you left out (other than “Dannites”, the lost tribe of Dan), was, all importantly, the IRISH of Ulster. Who had, to answer your question, lamb-scoutered the poor “Cruthain” (who were in turn “Irish” too, spoke a proto-gaelic, alas).

    Oh, by the way, I remember someone suggesting the other “Commemorative” year that we should all celebrate this “part of our heritage”!!!

    Even the Native Americans get the occasional apology nowadays (but hardly any land back).

  • Son of Strongbow

    I’m confident that all those ready to queue for ‘their’ land back will have gone through their own family archives and will bring along the legal title.

    Or could it be that the Lordly ‘owners’ of the property had skipped the country (perhaps as a result of some unfortunate entanglements with the Saxon Foe?) and left their peasantry to fend for themselves?

    Back in the day confiscating land seems to have been a fairly widespread and common payback for those who had such assets, and who found themselves on the losing side.

    I expect that the poor sods who did the actual work mostly got on with things under the new management (with no doubt over the years a growing romanticised nostalgia for the ‘good old days’).

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh SoS, I imagine that you are enough of an historian to know that “Legal Title” started with “Surrender and Regrant”, and the 16th century substitution of English titles for the older local custom of the common holding of land. You might as well say that the thug holding a contract he has prepared claiming that you owe him protection money has a moral right to the money because he can enforce his claim by making you sign the contract while he holds your child with a rope round his or her neck.

    Arguably, the poor sods working the land (those Chicherster did not exterminate — he killed even the chickens, cats and dogs!) might just have had a slightly better material deal, but life is not just shekels, and they lost their own rich culture, and in time their language, although I’d argue that we still all seem to think in rather Irish influenced grammatical forms.

    My family has been on the loosing side for centuries and I remember at least one titled landowner in Fermanagh asking me if I’d come to take the castle back one time he met me. This sort of family history does little other than to hone ones sense of the irony of life (as does the Irish language, see my comments on another thread). At least I know that the bright young things wasting their education of some dull subject they hate just so that they will “get on in life” are going to be, in time, ripped off by the arbitrariness of it all (Private Pensions based on annuities is a case in point).

    Just as most of the younger sons from Scotland and England with bright futures who grabbed the land from the 1620s tended to loose it in a few generations to debt and dissipation, “slow horses and fast women”. Or to the next generation of Cromwellian adventurers, who in turn…..

  • Son of Strongbow

    …… well that’s all very fascinating and, um, oh, fascinating…

    I’m not going to bore you with tales from my side of history, Planter Product through and through (and still holding the land even though, green grow the rushes oh, the best times I spend are spent amongst the lassies – and with horses to boot!)

    Now it would I’m sure be pleasant to sit around with not a thought about “shekels”, knitting my own carbon free future and thinking Great Culturally Uplifting Thoughts (albeit utilising English, base tool as it is) but I fear those worthy contemplations are not for dullards such as I.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Begrudgingly rather glad that your lot, whoever they may be, survived the Wyndham act so far. The only people who appear to have any desire to save anything arboreal around Antrim seem to be those who have, and an old woodkerne such as myself longs for something like the great tracts of oak in Killetra or Glenconkyne to think my Great Culturally Uplifting Thoughts in. I really enjoy looking up at the woodclad slopes immediately after Carnlough as I cycle along the Coast Road, all pretty much planter estate!

    If I’m honest I dread the moment when the bankers finally re-possess everything,and build mini-Versailles housing estates from breeze-block over it all but it was still (historically) built on great personal hardship, you know, for us dispossessed!

  • Greenflag

    “Was Ireland fatally wounded in 1916?”

    Wounded yes and there would be more wounds to come but fatally no -quite the opposite .

    ‘ Whether one considers Ireland’s soon-to-follow War of Independence, its amputation, the entrenchment of ancient sectarian divides and suspicions, its civil war, the creation of a paranoid and repressive Orange State, and the disastrous economic policies that kept the newly Free State free of prosperity ”

    Can’t argue with the above summary . Professor Joe Lee in his ‘Ireland 1912-1969’ takes apart both the Dublin and Stormont governments for their economic policy failures during the 1920-1960 period. Lee berates both administrations for falling behind the rest of ‘small European democracies in progressive economic policies and economic growth rates . The relevant chapter is worth a read imo.

    ‘After 1916, far from a united and liberated nation, Ireland spent most of the last century collapsed in on itself.’

    Yes and no . I would agree that up to the mid 1960’s that would apply to the whole island .But after the Anglo Irish Free Trade Agreement in 1966 and EU entry in 1974 the Republic started moving out into the wider world whereas Northern Ireland retreated into it’s sectarian cul de sac from which it is now only beginning to emerge and even that is problematical at this juncture .

    “Every July 4th Americans celebrate their independence. ‘

    Fine and it’s still a plus for the wider world that the USA can do so but there are many Americans in 2014 who may have serious doubts on how ‘independent ‘ is the USA ?
    With the dollar’s value utterly dependent on the investment decisions of Chinese buyers of Treasury securities and with the USA dependent on Russian rockets to take American astronauts to the ISS ?

    Meanwhile closer to Wall St -Americas largest banks continue to make hay using low interest rates via the bail out policies to make even more billions while middle America outside the Washington is squeezed and the economic recovery is delayed by virtue of the reluctance of 60% of Americans to spend what they don’t earn .


  • Greenflag

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    ‘If there was ANY chance that Home Rule might have been granted after the war it was then burned down with the GPO.”

    Any ? I’d have said three chances -slim and fat and none 🙁

    Let not forget that the 1912 anti Home Rule Convention and the UVF’s illegal importation of weapons from the Kaiser’s Germany did nothing to discourage the 1916 leaders .

    But for the sake of wishful thinkers on all sides who might believe that Britain would have delivered Home Rule as legislated what would Ireland be like today ?

    Granted Northern Ireland might have avoided it’s several bouts of troubles and granted sectarian tensions might have dissipated to a state of non political importance .

    But economically would all of Ireland be better or worse than what it is today or would the whole island today be just another Northern Ireland writ large with it’s 70% public sector dependence and all the policy limitations that would impose on any government anywhere ?

    So rather than say the 1916 Rising fatally wounded the nation it can be argued that instead it made the nation or at least helped to establish a base from which modern Ireland in all it’s variety and cultural and economic confidence might not have emerged had we been allowed to settle for Home Rule .

    Thanks could be due of course in retro to the UVF and Unionists for ensuring that a Home Rule settlement was never implemented by HMG.

  • Son of Strongbow

    So cycling around the Glens is it Seaan? Depending on your route you might just pass my place.

    I’ll keep my eye out for you on the roads. I’ll be the one in the (what else) large 4×4. Can’t all be doing with this save the planet malarkey. 😉

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh SoS, indeed no we can’t all be saving the planet, but we’ll all be just as dead as each other when the last bee has pollinated its last fruit tree.

    I think I’ll try and think about the consequences of 1916 now…

  • jagmaster

    Ireland’s minimum wage for over 21’s £7.12 ph, UK’s £6.31 ph.

    Ireland’s weekly basic job seekers allowance for over 25’s £154.76, UK’s £72.40.

    Ireland’s average wage just under £35000 pa, UK’s £26000 pa.

    Hardly a fatal wound.

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Venables – Just a reference to Cromwell’s right hand man who (as you know) gave the Presbyterians a good skleping at Lisnagarvey as well as hoofing them out of Carrick and Enniskillen.

    Greenflag – The chances may indeed have been slim to SFA that they may have carried through with the Home Rule act but we’ll never know.

    We’ll never know if 4 years of slaughter in the name of the King may have caused people to view things differently.

    All we know is that the Easter Rising set off a chain of consequences that ensured the Home Rule act was never to be realised.

    And here we are.

    ‘Here’ being a partitioned Ireland a thing that nationalists hate and some will hate even more as they commemorate the men who helped to make partition a reality.

  • latcheeco

    You are of course correct. If it wasn’t for those pesky rebels we could have spent the twentieth century as Wales.

    So if it’s not a fairytale the morning after then you shouldn’t try? While you’re in D.C. take a trip to the Jefferson memorial then go over to the Lincoln memorial then go to the MLK memorial. What’s that a couple of idyllic centuries between them?

  • tuatha

    By any standards, a secessionist insurrection whilst the, then, nation is in the trough of a war for survival was an act of political idiocy.
    The rejection of the offer of Dominion status, in the settlement, was another supreme moment of stupidity, else you might have to argue with some Kiwis who could buy & sell Ireland for chump change.
    West Britons Arise!

  • Reader

    jagmaster – in case you want any more, there is plenty of scope for cherry-picking here:

  • Greenflag

    Am Ghobsmacht,

    Yes we’ll never know .

    ‘Here’ being a partitioned Ireland a thing that nationalists hate and some will hate even more as they commemorate the men who helped to make partition a reality.’

    That’s not a ‘here ‘ that I would recognise . Hate’s not a word I would use to describe the attitude of most people towards ‘partition.. I would have said some nationalists and some republicans both North and South find ‘partition ‘ objectionable to the point of non recognition if only in principle or based on political principle . History moves on and any ‘ hatred ‘ in the past has been replaced with an attitude that sees ‘partition ‘ as simply not being viable politically at some future point in time .

    The vast majority have accepted it albeit unwillingly in the face of practical circumstance . This acceptance was reenforced with the GFA being overwhelmingly accepted by 90% of the electorate in the Republic and 70% in Northern Ireland .

    I would’nt expect 1916 Commemorations to have any major effect on how the vast majority of people from nationalist and republican backgrounds view either the Easter Rising leaders and their place in Irish history or the current political accommodation such that it is in Northern Ireland .

    On the other side of 2016 the same problems will be faced by the NI Assembly that they face today . The Republic knows it’s political future is certain – Northern Ireland knows it’s political future is uncertain .

    And it’s been like that for half a century more or less and it may well be like that for another half a century ? I don’t believe it will but that’s another story.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    How interesting that one other strand of commemoration during the coming 2016 has been completely overlooked so far.

    While the sleek and successful “Elect” of the modern ROI will be claiming their tentative link to a sanitised version of the small group of artists, misfits and idealists who, at Easter 1916, deserted their desks and Dineens for mauser rifles, romantic declarations and eventually, quicklime, a band of our own elected chancers here up north will be linking their self-serving agendas with the Theipval dead of July 1st.

    It would be interesting to imagine our contemporaries on both sides of the boundary line actually having to explain their actions and attitudes to those men of 1916 whose actions occasioned both potential commemorations.

  • Gopher

    Yes Ireland has been wounded because an outlier has been turned into definitive truth. A preternatural event is treated as a tangible example of the spiritual existing on earth circumventing its and events the world over natural home in mythology. As with all fanatical religions heresy becomes the biggest sin whilst those detached can see the Emperor has no clothes.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Good point. I don’t think either the dead of Dublin or the Somme (or in my great uncles’ case, Warlincourt [Charles] and Murmansk [William]) would be particularly impressed by the Class of 2014.

    It is odd isn’t it that the Republican Movement favours an event that divided Irish and British so much. Plus ca change.

  • latcheeco

    Well, if they were republicans, and the Brits still have a monarchy… why is that odd to you?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Mainland Ulsterman, my own grandfather was one of the field commanders for a trench mortar batteries at Thiepval. He had been encouraged to “join” by his mentor, the constitutional nationalist, (Home Ruler) F.J. Bigger. He told me that most of the Ulstermen he met in the 36th thought of themselves as ‘Irish” Unionists, and he himself was an active Liberal who spoke Irish (and Scots Gaelic, a weee bit of Welsh and Latin, and passed muster in a few European languages including German). And he’d met a number of the men of 1916 including Pearse and Casement in language circles and in the Bohemian arts salons of Belfast and Dublin.

    So the stories that most of our contemporary “users” of 1916 wrap round themselves are a very different take from my own. And I wonder what Thomas Russell, an intensly Religious Millenarian who expected the French Revolution to usher in the final days, would have made of either side in 1916! He had asked his judge to let him live a few weeks longer so the he could finish his all important commentary on the Book of Revelations…..

    As Yeats said, history is “a series of chinese balls one within the other” and every shift nearer the centre utterly turns the previous cannonical version of events entirely on its head. Not at all safe material for any politician to draw on.

    Just one last aside, I always think that in the interests of transparancy, every politician refering back to an historical event should clarify wheither they had an ancestor involved, and on which side. And I’m always interested in just how many Unionist politicians who extol the British Army and British arms had a father, mother or other in the last war. My uncle who served in the RAF was always scathing about how many vociferous “patriots” after the war had avoided serving on the issue of non-conscription in NI. And I seem to remember that Lord Bannside for one was just about of age by 1943……

  • Greenflag

    Seamus UiiNeill ,

    ‘lamb-scoutered the poor “Cruthain”

    They have not been forgotten the Cruithne’s as this link shows


    A modern day near earth asteroid as opposed to an ancient haemmorhoid perhaps 🙂

    What does “Cruithne” mean?

    The Dalriada Celtic Heritage Trust inform us the Cruithne were “the first Celtic racio-tribal group to come to the British Isles, appearing between about 800 and 500 B.C., and coming from the European continent. They were also known as the Picts. BKW informs me that Cruithne was also the name of a legendary king of the Picts.
    As for the pronunciation….
    The word is pronounced “krooy-nyuh” which can also be written as “KROOee-nyuh” and in many other ways. My point is that the stress is on the first syllable, which contains both the OO and the ee sounds. The word has only two syllables, “cruith” and “ne”. The stress is not on the “ee” sound. The OOee or ooy (ui) diphthong is very common in the Celtic languages.
    Moran taing (many thanks) to DKC for the above guide to the pronunciation!

    Note: It was the privilege of the discoverers of the asteroid, D. Waldron et al., to name their prize, a process which is regulated by the International Astronomical Union

    Now we just need another near earth asteroid named after the Doc or Gerry and perhaps the Dal Riadans so we can have parity of assteroids in the cosmos just as much as here on planet Earth in the twilight constellation that orbits the Hill of Nothingness /Garden of NO ?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not celebrated?

    As we speak it’s being re enacted in Eastern Ukraine.

  • The Gellick

    Legacy of 1916 aside, I’m enthralled by the SeannUiNeill – Son of Stongbow sub-plot. It’s like a modern re-telling of a nineteenth century national tale by Owenson or Maturin. In forthcoming posts I expect to hear that SoS has fallen in love with Seann’s (preferably flame haired) daughter who has convinced him of the merits of Gaelic poetry, wistful arboreal musings and bicycles, thereby symbolically reconciling the ancestral dispute. For history’s sake whatever existing personal and family arrangemens that you have will need to give way to this narrative as I’m sure that the rest of us can agree that we’d be more than happy to give our duty fowl to that union’s progeny for evermore.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Bless you yet again, Greenfleg for your saddley waisted effourt to complet my education. Damn! must remember to spell check Cruthin next time before posting!

    Oh, you might just get another fasinating Cruthain angle from Dr Ian Adamson’s excellent political science fiction novels on the subject…..

    Oh dear, “The Gellick”, bit of back history there, but might take a lot of backtracking to suss out. And unfortunately Glorvina’s already married……

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’m always interested in what is left out of a thread on Slugger. Its probably important not to forget that Pádraig Pearse was not simply a “one hit wonder” and the two dimensional violent revolutionary (tComrade Stalin’s ‘madman’ on another thread) version that is popularly remembered has almost entirely eclipsed a much more interesting man, “A Significant Irish Educationist” to use the title of Séamus Ó Buachalla’s excellent 1980 collection of Pearse’s writings on education. This social amnesia regarding Pearse’s ideas on the provision of a full education for the entire person, rather than a limited state education that simply strives to produce trained slaves to service the economy, is another of the “fatal wounds” of 1916.

    I’ve mentioned this book before on Slugger. Just as an example, “The Murder Machine” is not an other tirade against the overt violence of imperial rule, but an examination of the cultural destruction wrought by the kind of education required for modernity. The key feature of industrialization was the ability to operate a machine, even in the case of white collar workers the machine of beaurocracy, and as such one must learn very homogenized skills that require the limiting of the education potential. As Ernest Gellner said regarding nationalism in general (and its important to remember that Pearse was critiquing the homogeneous educational product of British Imperial Nationalism in what Niall Ferguson “ the first age of globalization” ) “There is a need for impersonal, context-free communication and a high degree of cultural standardization”. So no change there either side of the boundary line! My exchange with SoS on the earlier thread on ‘An Lá dearg’ brought up something of the general lack of understanding as to why an alternative form of education should be encouraged that can permit even a small portion of our community to strive for a fuller educational experience for the whole person.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Interesting comment, which I think applies to modern education, over on a Guardian thread from a commentator on an article by George Monbiot:


    “Social mobility pre-supposes the hierarchy it professes to oppose.”

    I’m interested in the wholistic, non-compeditive approach to education practice that Pearse mapped out over long years of work before his late conversion to revolution. This is what may have been his really valuable contribution to an as yet unfulfilled Irish future and it is a great pity that while Pearse was able to see that the education system of his day (and this still applies to its contemporary descendent) was crafted to trap people within the requirements of the governing hierarchy, that he was still unable to understand that political violence simply re-affirms the essential control devices of the same hierarchy by engaging with them on their terms.

    Interestingly, another non-engagement thread of Gaelic League/Irish Ireland thought from Pearse’s time would inspire the thinking of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

  • Greenflag


    ‘you might just get another fasinating Cruthain angle from Dr Ian Adamson’s excellent political science fiction novels on the subject…’

    Read it years ago . Good fiction but so far back as to be mythological . On the other hand nothing mythical about the Connamara Ridges /Chaos on Europa one of Jupiter’s moons .

    Heres a view of a small region of the thin, disrupted, ice crust in the Connamara region of Jupiter’s moon Europa showing the interplay of surface color with ice structures.


    Europa is one of the better bets for finding extra terrestrial life in this solar system they say . Alas poor Cruithne with it’s eccentric orbit and lack of size may at best only harbor microbial life if even that .

    As it says in The BooK

    Matthew 6:10 ESV 😉