“Not everyone is (driven by) nationalism and patriotism and that’s never been me…”

Years ago, I recall being led around a monastery in a small town at the head of a long valley and at the foot of a Swiss Alp. The two monks we were withwere rather jolly: being both under fifty, they were much younger than most of their community.

At one point, they took us to a room filled with tribal art collected by a sister monastery in Africa. I don’t know if they still have it.

One of the two priests (all the monks I encountered in Switzerland at that time had received Holy Orders) told us they had commissioned a crucifix in a similar African style.

After a time, they took it down, feeling it didn’t blend with the predominant symbolism of the material in the room.

Besides, he said, it might suggest that the monk’s faith was weak such that they needed their own symbols imposed on every single room. Ostentatious displays of belief or belonging are no equivalent or compensation with faith.

Ever since I’ve found it hard not to see the same lack of faith in almost any adherence to ostentatious symbolism. The road that must/must not be walked down; the minister determined on the flying/not flying of flags.

Earlier in the week, Gail Walker produced an excellent study in the ambiguity most normal people feel about identity. She notes of Rory McIlroy:

When forced to choose whether to play for Ireland or Great Britain & NI in last year’s Olympics in Rio: “All of a sudden it put me in a position where I had to question who I am? Who am I?

Where am I from? Where do my loyalties lie? Who am I going to play for? Who do I not want to p*** off the most. I started to resent it and I do.

I resent the Olympic Games because of the position it put me in, that’s my feelings towards it, and whether that’s right or wrong, it’s how I feel.”

Even in his frustration, his struggle to sum up his feelings speak eloquently and to the heart of the issue:

“Not everyone is (driven by) nationalism and patriotism and that’s never been me, because I felt like I grew up in a place where I wasn’t allowed to be. It was suppressed.

I never wanted it to get political or about where I’m from, but that’s what it turned into. And it just got to the point where it wasn’t worth the hassle.”

Two things strike me.

First, for all his fabulous success in Golf (and subsequent wealth), Mr McIlroy is far more normal than those of us who obsess on the importance/relevance of politics.

Second, perhaps a deeper, more action focused faith in your own project is better for engaging such ‘normals’: those who are impatient to fulfil their own lives and ambition.

And not content to grumble at the injustices and limitations of the past?

On the other hand, the shrill fundamentalist demands that Rory choose between one or other of his competing identities which saturated the airwaves a few years ago, has led to our finest talent  simply walking off the pitch, like so many others who used to think it worth their while to vote. 

,

  • file

    You sort of claimed that we could not tell things about people’s attitude to nationality because 50% of them did not vote. I was saying that voting does not ask you about nationality so your claim that it did was invalid, and just an opinion, like Sandman’s.

  • mickfealty

    Point of Information. He’s from what was originally a council built estate in Holywood. Just below the golf club.

  • babyface finlayson

    I am making a broader point about people who know with certainty about things versus people admit to a shadow of doubt.
    It seems to me that as far as Rory goes he is not as obsessed over nationality as the typical slugger contributor.

  • Croiteir

    what has anyone got against Aquitaine?

  • babyface finlayson

    Well no I didn’t claim that. I was speculating about how Sandman reached his conclusion.Possibly the voting pattern for nationalist or unionist parties might lead him to his conclusion,but given the low voting percentage I am saying that would be unreliable.
    I hope that clears it up.

  • the keep

    I suspect most people who have read your “contributions” suspect you are a bit of a phallus. He is a hero to many people why do we need to drag down hero`s?

  • the keep

    Or it could be the case he doesn’t allow the past to rule his future.

  • file

    Yes indeed. And Mick’s original point in the post was that those of us here on Slugger who are overly-interested in politics and identity issues are not ‘normal’ and should be aware of our nerdiness more. Like not feeling the need to correct someone every time they use the term Ulster to mean Northern Ireland. Or even allowing oneself to use the term Northern Ireland every so often without pangs of guilt.

  • The Irishman

    I’m sure they had a hand in the partition of india and pakistan…

  • Nevin
  • ted hagan

    All sports are ridiculous if you paint them in those terms.

  • ted hagan

    Too many cows of the wrong colour.

  • john millar

    “can you tell me where i can pick up my Northern Ireland passport, (1) and whilst you at it can you let me know the name of the NI ambassador to Australia” (2)

    1 Law Society House
    90 – 106 Victoria Street
    Belfast
    BT1 3GN

    2 British High Commission Canberra
    Commonwealth Avenue, Yarralumla
    Canberra ACT 2600
    Australia

    happy to help you out

  • file

    I honestly and demonstrably do not care what other people think of me … that way lies Sartrean mauvaise foi. It is essential to point out that heroes have feet of clay, or hair of gel.

  • file

    So, to be pedantic, you do claim that voting percentages have an effect on whether claims can be made about people’s attitude to nationality?

  • Madra Uisce

    happy to help you out

    Except you havent, you have told me where i can get a BRITISH passport, I want a Northern Ireland one, I also want the address of the Northern Ireland ambassador not the British one.

  • North Down

    Yes has no other choice ,

  • babyface finlayson

    No. To be equally pedantic I am saying (again) the voting patterns may have led Sandman to make conclusions.
    That is the bit where I said
    “possibly the voting pattern for nationalist or unionist parties might lead him to his conclusion”.

  • North Down

    No , don’t have all Ireland sports, apart from football all the rest is all Ireland, should just be NI, which the fast majority of catholics would be proud of , and if someone wants to play for the Republic they can, unionists have no other choice but to play under the Irish flag when it comes to sports

  • North Down

    Very good, nothing to do with Rory your post , and is free of what prods

  • North Down

    Am sure he does, what’s your point

  • North Down

    Load of cap, everyone gets excited if a world class sport star comes from there country, and very proud of it, tell that to Rory he says he is British and Northern Irish which means northern Ireland.

  • North Down

    No he waned to represent the UK , y because he said that is were he is from 8 years ago check it up, then changed his mind and didn’t play because of all the pressure he was under of not chosing Ireland, then golfing union of Ireland said play for us at rio, he said OK put never really wanted to

  • North Down

    IRELAND is not a country full stop. IT’S an independent state called now republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland is a constituent country fact just looked it up

  • North Down

    Truthfully would you support ,just say northern Ireland sport stars, if they were representing northern Ireland, and had a new flag and new anthem were catholic and prodestant agree on

  • file

    This is a bit boring now. You said this:
    “I am not disputing that I am saying that without a high voter turnout how can Sandman make confident statements about how the vast majority feel about their nationality?”
    The inference from your statement is that with a high voter turnout statements about how the majority feel about their nationality COULD be made. I dispute that, on the grounds that statements about why people vote for any party are only a matter of opinion. I voted for the Women’s Coalition once. What did that say about my attitude to South American priests? Nothing, because that was not the question. Am I a republican if I vote Sinn Féin? Maybe, maybe not. I might just like their party colours, or one of them might have got a drain in the street fixed for me or something.

  • file

    Have a look at the list of the member countries of the EU would you? Or read The Irish Constitution. Or the GFA. And look up Dáil debates for the discussion which goes: the name of the country is Ireland; the description of the country is Republic of Ireland.

  • J D

    Sykes-Picot, Yemen, Africa…..

  • file

    define ‘vast majority’ and cite a source. If you meant the vast majority of the people you know, just say that. [I will not get bored with this question, by the way.]

  • file

    define ‘everyone’. Do you mean everyone you know? I did not get excited as golf is about as attractive to me as Marty Morrissey.

  • file

    define ‘fast majority of catholics’. Is that the Fenians who can run faster than the other Fenians?

  • North Down

    I did look it up ,independent state republic of Ireland, ni is a constituent country, if the Dail wants to be known as Ireland they can, USA is known as America

  • North Down

    Sorry your right all my life people say north of Ireland, I was wrong most people I know say northern Ireland isn’t a country,

  • file

    Good man. That is better, and I will grant that, on the balance of probabilities, most golf fans did get excited about the emergence of the Rory. And their country of origin was irrelevant, as was his. They were responding to world-class talent. Like, eve Brazilian soccer fans know that Messi is brilliant – they just which he had been born over the border.

  • North Down

    Only my opinion

  • AntrimGael

    The Northern Nationalist community have no connection, or relationship, with McIlroy. His loyalties are obviously to North Down and the Northern statelet and that’s his choice. He plays under the six county NI flag at tournaments and waves it about at the Ryder Cup. I think at heart he wants to declare himself as British but maybe from a business sense doesn’t want to totally detach himself from Ireland. I don’t really watch him, I take an interest in the Irish golfers.

  • babyface finlayson

    Quite wrong again.
    Try and read carefully and you will see my statement is about my speculating about Sandman’s reasoning, not making any claims of my own.
    It is boring having to point this out continually when it is not even the original point which was a simple request for his evidence.

  • file

    bored now.

  • North Down

    Country of origin was irreverent, don’t agree my opinion if a sports star is from any country , the people of that country can’t be any prouder, and that sport star can’t be any prouder to represent his country

  • file

    Very good. Opinion is interesting, information is illuminating.

  • file

    Dear God, north down, you are displaying a level of willingness to learn not usually encountered on these sites. Fair play to you!

  • file

    Where did you look it up? And do you know what ‘constituent country’ means? it means it one of a number of ‘countries’ that make up a bigger state, in this case The UK.

  • North Down

    Am rubbish at technology, I’ve got information but having it and putting it on a post , I wouldn’t know we’re to start

  • North Down

    YES , still means NI is a country

  • North Down

    Sorry , to disappoint you I was beginning sarcastic, you up voted me I will try to gave it back lol

  • North Down

    Very good post and spot on, for me I would love a new flag were we could all support are county men , but your a strong Irish man , so mabe your great great grand chridren lol

  • AntrimGael

    Having said I didn’t watch him was a bit of a fib. He was very, very unlucky in South Africa and looks like he means business this year. I would stick a few quid on him winning another Major this year. You also have to acknowledge he does do a tremendous amount for Irish golf, he virtually single handedly rescued the Irish Open FFS, and his charity work deserves massive recognition.

  • mickfealty

    Welcome to 1641, er, 2017?

  • mickfealty

    Very good. His professed unsectarian values fits fairly precisely with the values of the lads I knew from there.

  • On the fence!

    He’s never been there but if there’s hills, nice golf courses, and beaches to run with the dog he’d probably like it too.

    However that’s not the point, wherever he goes in the world he’s proud of the fact that he’s a native of Northern Ireland. Not Ireland, not the UK, just Northern Ireland.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Of course Ireland is a country. It was a country when the British ruled all of it, as Scotland still is. It remains a country when the British rule only part of it. And analogy would be Vichy France, which did not change the size of France, but only defined the bit not occupied.

    Northern Ireland is not a country by any reasonable definition. Even the UK definition of itself to the UN describes it as “Province”.

    This kind of misuse of the English language, Northern Ireland being a country and suchlike, is a bit sad and indicative of the impoverishment of the entire unionist philosophy.

  • On the fence!

    No I don’t think so.

    Your “point” is generally the same one. You utterly abhor the region of the UK known as Northern Ireland and everyone and everything associated with it.

  • Fear Éireannach

    Why is a football team using a flag that represents a sectarian political faction?

  • North Down

    I hope it’s the masters he wins,of course he does a tremendous amount of work for the Irish open, and charity work, he dosnt foget where he’s from and who helped him , he does own the golfing union of Ireland a lot, that’s y he helped them with the irish open and rightly so, word has it he helped save glentoren, and trust me when a Catholic sportstar from a republican background from ni is boxing or whatever, most unionists, loyalists cheer him on we c him that he’s from are country, we always have and always will, deep down everyone from this part of Ireland is proud of the sports stars we have

  • AntrimGael

    Indeed McIlroy looks very mentally strong again and seems to have the fire back in his gut. He seems content within himself and I wish him well. As I say, he’s worth a few quid for a Major this year. In 2 weeks Carl Frampton fights Santa Cruz and I hope Carl does the business which I think he will.

  • On the fence!

    That would be “owe” ND.

    Wouldn’t normally be that pedantic but the difference between the two words in this instance gives quite a different impression to someone who may not necessarily know the sport.

    Hope you don’t mind the clarification. 🙂

  • On the fence!

    He subsequently clarified his position in a little reported interview. He actually didn’t think that golf belonged at the Olympics at all and the concept was a mockery of the Olympic movement.

    He said he’d be watching the Olympics, but not the golf, only the sports at it “that mattered”.

  • AntrimGael

    Lol

  • Skibo

    That was not what I read from his statement. he gave the impression he had as much difficulty with the Union Jack as he has with the Tricolour. I feel sorry for him. No matter what he does he will be judged by one or the other.
    I have lived in NI most of my life. I consider myself an Irish man and look to the Tricolour. What does Rory have? A NI flag claimed by Loyalists and the OO and a Will Greggs on fire. You cannot count GSTQ as that is the National Anthem of GB

  • Sandman

    Seems to be a Hollywood and Clarendon Road-based disease.

    As Ciarán points to above, for every conflicted multi-mililionaire Nike drone, there are 1,000 Paddy Barnes-es, Karl Framptons, Seán Cavanaghs, David Healys, Jason Smyths, Darren Gibsons, James McCleans, Chambers brothers etc. etc. etc.

    Funny that you don’t mention them.

  • file

    And does he meet a lot of people in the big wide world who know that Northern Ireland exists? The funniest explanation of it I heard from a Spanish girl who had spent a year in Dublin. It went like this -‘But that guy Paddy, he is not real Irish, is he? he is from Belfast and Northern Ireland is part of Scotland, isn’t it?’

  • file

    forget the sarcasm, stick with the learning. I up-voted you cos you appeared to be listening. Like the vast majority of the people (I know) who meet me.

  • file

    Who cares? The UK actually moved those goalposts a short time ago. Wales used to be described in UK law as principality, not a country, and Northern Ireland as a region. But a while back all 4 bits were changed to be called countries. However, under certain definitions of country, England does not even qualify, e.g. it can cannot go to war on its own, does not have its own defence forces and cannot raise its own taxes. You say tomato… I say provincial backwater.

  • Nevin

    There’s a blog for Slugger there, Mick!

    Sullivan, the son of a Kerryman and excise-man, appears to have had influence on the educational world both at home and abroad. His approach must have gone down like a lead balloon amongst the leaders of the various Christian sects as well as faith and fatherland politicians.

  • mickfealty

    Disease? Are you for real? Quit the obtuse mumbling and put an argument please?

  • mickfealty

    What I said above.

  • Sandman

    My argument is clear. You can be obtuse and myopic about it if you want. Your loss.

  • mickfealty

    You’re misremembering surely?

    This all kicked off when he said he’d “always felt more British than Irish”. The hugely intolerant reaction to that means that the greatest golfer the island has ever produced isn’t going to play for either.

    To me this represents a hollowing out of true patriotic feeling for the atavism of a particularly shallow form of nationalism. That many folk see this as normal is unsurprising given what they’ve been through.

    Not only is it not ‘normal’, it continues put the ‘normals’ off: 1, voting; 2, off voting for any overtly nationalist projects.

    When I say ‘putting them off’, I don’t mean morally repelled by the unpleasantness of it all. It’s the displacement of a meaningful offering with old nostrums about ‘themums’ that’s doing the damage, in particular to nationalist turnout.

    What sort of Res Publica that demands all “Taigs” must behave in the same preordained manner? Rory’s only fault was the desire to represent everyone and, for some reason which is on us rather than him, we can’t let him do that.

    Many of them are walking out and going to the Greens and People Before Profit, and even the Alliance. They’re becoming less susceptible to the older forms of tribal coding.

  • mickfealty

    okay, explain the disease?

  • Sandman

    This Hollywood-centric aversion to patriotism is a minority pursuit in the north.

    You’re happy to ignore the examples that I provided: countless sportsmen and sportswomen who put on the Irish, Northern Irish, or Team GB (sic) vest with pride and without question.

    McIlroy doesn’t even fit your argument. He’s ostensibly very happy being Northern Irish: yet you present the choice as binary. He seems to be an Ulster nationalist – which is every bit as patriotic as declaring for Ireland or Great Britain.

    You present nationalism – of either variety – as passé, but fail to furnish any evidence or studies to show that that is the case.

  • On the fence!

    Of-course he does!

    Just because a certain section of people who actually live in the place seek to deny it’s existence doesn’t mean that the rest of the world carry such prejudice.

  • mickfealty

    Thank you. That’s much better. [One ‘l’ in Hollywood btw.] I’m only presenting as passé the hollowed out version which is long on promise and short on action which has been on offer since the GFA. You’ll know what I mean if I example the (deeply insincere) promises of unity in 2016?

    This is a shadow nationalism: the populist version. It can only deal with the likes of McIlroy ungenerously because it doesn’t have a room which allows citizens to make their own minds up about their own identity. McIlroy’s awareness and love of home is both transparent and authentic.

    That does not, as you put it, make him an ulster nationalist, but someone with ambitions to represent people across the divide, and to be a role model for other youngsters of similarly modest origins/means to be ambitious for themselves.

    I’m not in any way denigrating genuine patriotism. In a way Rory represents a much more ambitious form of patriotism than most of those currently on offer, in that he wants to represent the greatest number of us. That’s only a rebuke if people choose to see it as that. It’s better interpreted as a sign the offering is still too prescriptive and narrow.

    If Republicanism wants to grow in peacetime as it grew just after the war, it needs to embrace this new complexity and make some real (rather than just imagined) offerings.

  • North Down

    Who cares, that was the point of the posts, Northern Ireland is not a country or is it,

  • North Down

    Your building yourself up there,

  • file

    You say tomato …

  • North Down

    Your building yourself up there, I was listening I take all views on bord, part of the country am from I’ve never met a person who wants a UI, only the radio or papers, that’s y,slogger is intresting to me , I can take there views on boad

  • North Down

    Don’t mind, fair point

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d have supported McIllroy is he opted for Ireland, “Team GB”, or heck Monaco.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And we may even look forward to a possible future partition of NI itself, right down to the very last ditch, if the Unionist habit of stonewalling Arlene clearly exemplifies is anything to go by.

  • @KieranMaxwell

    HI Madra Uisce, you make a good point and I hear you. But it also raises the question (for me at least); does that mean that Scotland, England & Wales too are not countries? If so what does that make them?

  • North Down

    You say people listen to you, i find find that hard, when you’re proven wrong all you can say , who cares or I sat tomato you say ……..

  • North Down

    Is a bit sad and indicative of the impoverishment of the entire unionist philosophy, brilliant I don’t know what to say with that crap,TV radio every were you hear northern Ireland as being a country, you on drugs, file was also posting ni wasn’t a country when a pointed out its a constituent country, he came back after checking it up , who cares and tomato ….. it’s a country, Ireland is a state now called republic of Ireland, another one for you the tricolour is the flag of ROI not Ireland.

  • file

    You should get out more. Go to Kelly’s Cellars in Belfast and you will meet quite few people with interesting views on the future constitutional status of your tomato.

  • North Down

    I get out a lot, your talking about future now, you keep changing your posts, you were talking about now and how people see northern Ireland as a country or not a country, I know what republicans want on the future constitutional status of my tomoto as you put it.

  • file

    but you have never met anyone who wants a United Tomato?

  • North Down

    I see your point now , very good

  • Madra Uisce

    You my friend know nothing about me yet you choose to make assumptions about me. So instead of focusing on me,how about addressing the point I made in relation to the photo posted by TE. Mr Milroy has given an interview about his struggles with identity and provided this quote

    “Not everyone is (driven by) nationalism and patriotism and that’s never been me, because I felt like I grew up in a place where I wasn’t allowed to be. It was suppressed.”

    Now given the photo shows Rory seemingly quite happily wrapped in the Govt of Northern Ireland flag his above statement would suggest otherwise.

  • Sandman

    I really don’t think McIlroy gives a toss about who or what he represents. And why should he?

    The rest of what you write is interesting, though I think it’s unfair to accuse post-GFA nationalism – even the more vacuous or populist version that’s the source of your ire – of not allowing room for national identity of “otherness”.

    If anything, the Bel Tel and their ilk (including large sections of BBC NI – had a look at their GAA content recently ffs?) does just that to any dissent from the “our wee country” narrative.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Sullivan has a very big traditional music band. They well be performing at their annual concert (Ulster Hall) alongside the Irish dancers who attend the school. They are very impressive.

  • mickfealty

    Laters.

  • Madra Uisce

    Madra Uisce North Down 3 days ago
    Removed
    http://www.independent.ie/spor

    Hi Could one of the mods please explain why my link to this article was removed. Thanks