St Patrick’s Night and the Zombie Apocalypse…

Last night I had the misfortune of driving through the zombie apocalypse; or as it’s called, St Patrick’s night in the Holylands area of Belfast. Amid the broken bottles, fire trucks, police and ambulance crews I heard young zombies speaking in every accent of this land (although a Belfast accent was hard to find to be honest), stumbling from one over-crowded house of multiple party occupancy to another. Many, if not all, were bedecked in some sort of symbol of their nationhood- a symbol of their version of our shared future. For most this seemed to be either a green, white and orange afro wig or a tricolour flag. This pseudo-Irish, pseudo-republican alco-zombie-fest was frightening to drive through and witness; not because I feared for my safety, though. The police were there in great numbers and were doing a good job of putting up with poor renditions of ‘The boys of the old brigade’ and breaking up fights. No, I feared for something much worse than my safety in that moment; I feared for our future. These young people are the leaders of the future and while many will leave the excessive boozing and beating each other behind, it is the underlying aggressive version of nationhood that worries me.

The ‘national question’ is on the agenda now in a way unlike any other time in my life. Between Sinn Fein euphoria, DUP horror and newspaper speculations it’s clear that the break-up of the Union feels like a real possibility. So what to do in these circumstances? Perhaps we would set about persuading people from a different tradition than ours that our national identity and our vision for the future is one that they could share and one in which they could be happy? You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

I’m pretty sure the scenes witnessed in the Holylands last night (and these were tame by comparison to past years) would not convince anyone from a unionist background that a united Ireland would be an Ireland of equals. It was, quite simply, a disgrace. Now before we get too far ahead of ourselves here, the exact same could be said about the scenes we witness each 12th of July- although on a much grander scale with the number involved hugely increased. Watching the triumphalism on show and the loutish behaviours during the marching season does absolutely nothing to persuade nationalists that there is any place for them in this United Kingdom that seems so shaky at the minute.

There were good people out celebrating in good way yesterday. There was a positive face of Irish nationalism on show. And during the marching season, there are good people out celebrating their culture in a non-threatening way. But the overall aftertaste of both these events is not positive. It simply serves to divide us even more. It struck me that if I was colour blind last night it would have been difficult to know where I had landed- in the middle of a St Patrick’s Day celebration, or in the middle of a loyalist march. Oh the irony.

The saddest thing I saw this St Patrick’s Day happened earlier in the day though. I drove through Belfast City Centre and as I passed the City Hall I saw a hardy group of flag protesters, looking all wind swept and irrelevant. Fifteen feet away stood a small group of teenagers wrapped in Irish flags. Both sets of flag carriers looked at each other, seemingly not knowing what to do or what to say to each other; all of them getting wet and cold out in the Irish/British spring rain.

If we keep looking at each other draped in our respective flags and cultures we’re doomed in this place. Brexit will come and Brexit will make trouble for us. No matter what way you cut it, things are going to get tense. We need to learn how to engage and disagree better with each other. Zombie apocalypse days of triumphalism do nothing for us at all. Let’s cancel them.

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  • Macca

    Patrick was a Roman. Whether he was taken from (what is now known as) France or (what is now known as) Britain is immaterial and unknowable. He is one of the patron saints of the Irish people and is venerated around Europe and the World.

    The Guinness family are an old Irish family that converted to Protestantism for economic/social reasons. What some of said family did in 1912 is a matter for them. Turn the other cheek, we all make mistakes etc., etc. Sláinte!

  • William Kinmont

    Can flags be printed differently on opposite sides of the cloth?

  • Macca

    No one is totally sure – “Brittany” or “Britain” are interpretations.

  • North Down dup

    Look the Guinness family up , your in for a shock

  • Fear Éireannach

    Any deficiencies in Ulster’s Gaels didn’t stop a lot of people coming to live here uninvited, something many still justify, much less justifiable than drinking in the Holylands.

  • burnboilerburn

    Its not that long ago when the sight of a tricolour anywhere in Belfast would result in loyalist mobs burning Catholics out of their homes. Those days are gone and while we should work to address the unhealthy relationship we as a society have with alcohol, lets not conflate the two issues. All over the world on Friday, millions of people danced, sang and celebrated all things Irish under the tricolour flag. The kids in Holylands need to respect their neighbours, but never be afraid to dance under your flag, fly it high and be proud while respecting all others. You are not second class citizens anymore.

  • AntrimGael

    And I have no desire to see Orange Order parades stopped or the Twelfth curtailed. Some of the bands are very, very good and while I might not like their raison d”etre the Orange Order has a right to exist and march. Unionists and Loyalists do bands and parades better while Republicans and Nationalists still hold the upper hand at murals and proper languages….. Ulster Scots…..wud ye take a redner!

  • AntrimGael

    Indeed, South East Antrim isn’t a very safe place at the minute…..for Loyalists never mind drunken farmer Brown Nationalist students.

  • Annie Breensson

    Similar scenes are evident in many English towns and cities every week.

    How about A typical Wednesday night in Newcastle on Tyne or Cardiff ?

    Yes, I’m aware Cardiff is in Wales.

  • Devil Éire

    So the Irish and British aren’t the same race?

    Racism can apply to ethnicity as well as race and according to people like Mainland Ulsterman, the two communities are of different ethnicities, so you can take it up with him.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, what do you think?

  • Jollyraj

    By ‘the likes of myself’ I assume you mean anyone who isn’t a diehard Republican.

    Have to assume that means you’ve given up on the whole UI dream then.

  • Katyusha

    Dublin? If a few hundred students in the Holylands is apocalyptic, Dublin on Paddy’s Day is at Mad Max levels. Many cities are the same a few times in the year at the tail end of a big event. My adopted city just went through Karneval, almost a week long festival with copious amounts of street drinking. But they promote it and and manage it and are extremely proud of Karneval: the response in Belfast is to shut it down. Celebration is a problem; drinking on the streets doesn’t fit with our image of respectability and our hypocritical moralism, and the people celebrating are the “wrong” sort and not from round here.

    By the way, it has literally nothing to do with annoying unionism. They are probably completely unaware and couldn’t care less about what “unionism” thinks of them. It’s probably more that these kids grew up in quite isolated areas which don’t have the hair-trigger sensitivity of Belfast, and that there are many many more people concentrated in a small area than a typical hooley in the sticks.

  • Katyusha

    Every year, like clockwork, people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a demeaning, but typically Irish, fashion. I’m not referring to people drinking and partying on the street but instead the snobbery, sneering and mock outrage that accompanies anything that happens (even if nothing happens) in the Holyland. It’s a powerful cocktail of classism, disdain for anyone living outside the greater Belfast bubble, and base sectarianism, mixed with the traditional fixation of Irish society with respectability (most evident from our licensing laws). The scenes Jim describes sound like many big English cities after a major event. Heck, it sounds a lot like many UK cities on a Saturday night.

    Let us be clear here. The attention that the St. Patrick’s Day gets in the Holyland is because the people involved are young, Catholic, not from Belfast and fly the Tricolour. It feeds into all the best fantasies that society is crumbling because the youth are uncouth and immoral, coupled with the traditional NI fear that republicanism is at the gates. If these people were taught in Methody or Inst, engaged in their on-street revelry in some English or Scottish city, there would not be a word about it.

    The response of the universities and “respectable” society to St. Patrick’s Day in South Belfast is as perplexing as it is predictable: shut it down. Classes are cancelled several days in advance in a bid to persuade the student population to leave the city, and when interviewed, representatives complain that they are always disappointed at the number of people present. The people are the problem, or rather, they are the wrong sort of people, and they won’t be content until they can no longer see them. They shouldn’t be in the area, even though they live there (It is amusing that the students are never deemed to be residents)

    Any other city would love to have a festival or celebration crop up essentially spontaneously, and would facilitate, regulate and exploit it. The response of Belfast is: shut it down. These people don’t belong here – it is also an opportunity to wheel out every sectarian or prejudicial trope, as we can observe on this thread.There seems to be real appetite for a St. Paddy’s day celebration among the student population in South Belfast, although it would be understandable if the “No Fun Allowed” attitude of the universities and the police has dampened enthusiasm.

    If QUB/UU and Belfast actually wanted to take a positive approach to St. Patrick’s Day in the university area, they’d facilitate it. Close off a few of the streets to contain things there, sell alcohol at dedicated stalls rather than having people binge drinking from off licenses. Establish street parties on the condition that the party moves on elsewhere after dark. I’d much rather people were on the streets than hopping from house to house. Or if the issue of being a residential area is the problem, move the celebration somewhere else. Like, say, Botanic Gardens. Put up a stage, have concerts, sell alcohol at the venue, confiscate glass from people entering, have proper event security. You move the problem away from residential streets, can regulate what goes on, improve the image of the area and turn a tidy profit. But of course, an organised and successful St Patrick’s day festival, attended by people who are never perceived as “belonging” to Belfast with their GAA shirts and funny accents, wouldn’t fit the narrative which relies on demonising the people involved and their backgrounds. I guess one way of maintaining your self esteem is to always have someone to look down upon.

  • Croiteir

    You clearly got it, didn’t you

  • Katyusha

    Wrong date. Try a literary festival, like Bloomsday for example.
    St. Patrick’s Day isn’t about celebrating Irish culture as much as celebrating St. Patrick. It’s a Holy Day of Obligation; the only readings should be at Mass. Music should very much be a part of the festival; it’s amusing, because many of the young trad musicians I know travel to mainland Europe to play on St. Patrick’s Day instead of staying to play in Northern Ireland.

    I agree very much that the consumption of alcohol should be curbed, but we can blame the Guinness marketing department and Irish America for that. It wasn’t always this way. Indeed, in the south, the sale of alcohol on St. Patrick’s Day was banned in the past. It also makes a mockery of Lent – but then again, maybe its position as an unofficial day of relief in Lent contributed to it becoming a festival of excess.

    It’s the duty, indeed and I mean this solemnly, the middle classes burden, to train and educate the working classes and rustic to behave better

    Quite apart from your disgusting supremacist sentiment, do I really need to point out the supreme irony in your statement when you mention playwrights who wrote extensively about the working class and the peasantry? What’s your attitude – their behaviour is okay as long as it is confined to the stage or the pages of a book, but in the real world you are going to lead a civilising mission so they shall learn to act more like you?

  • Annie Breensson

    It makes me wonder just what the holy-joes would make of the shenanigans at festivals such as Reading which lasts for 3 days, or the Notting Hill carnival. I guess they don’t count as that’s civilised English gentlefolk in the the mother land enjoying their culture. Somewhat different to culchies in the Holylands on the lash, don’t you know.

    As for high culture – I wonder how many masterpieces were created when the author or composer was “high” on an exotic substance. What Sherlock Holmes would have concluded is a mystery.

  • Jollyraj

    “Let us be clear here. The attention that the St. Patrick’s Day gets in the Holyland is because the people involved are young, Catholic, not from Belfast and fly the Tricolour.”

    Erm….no….I do think it’s the behaving like drunken slobs on a rampage that causes problems. After all, they are young and Catholic every other day of the year – some of them even flying the Tricolour as often as any Loyalist goons – and yet there aren’t articles complaining about them every day of the year.

    I think it much more accurate and truthful if we say that you are so indignantly springing to the defence of their loutish behaviour solely because they are Catholic and flying the Tricolour. Had they been non-Catholics flying Union Jacks you’d be condemning them dawn to dusk.

    If I’m wrong then I look forward to your impassioned defence of some young Loyalist oiks getting bevvied up come July.

  • Jollyraj

    If I might paraphrase John, ‘sure it’s alright to act like a drunken (particularly if you’re a nationalist young fella), sure other people’d be at it, too’

    Not very sensible advise for the oiks.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, the irish did enslave him – so I suppose he returned in part to put manners on them 🙂

  • Dan

    Have the PSNi put a figure on the cost of policing this annual St Patrick’s Day sectarian-fest in the Holylands area?
    I think it’s time we were told.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Interesting article penned by Henry McDonald back in 2009 on the subject. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2009/mar/20/holylands-students

  • Dan

    The young people of Inst and Methody demonstrated how to behave like decent citizens of Northern Ireland, live on tv, on St Patrick’s day.

  • JohnTheOptimist

    I am a nationalist. St Patrick’s Day shouldn’t be a celebration of nationalism or unionism. It should be a celebration of the bringing of Christianity to Ireland, with both Christian traditions and both political traditions having an equal right to participate in it. I think Arlene Foster or Ian Paisley Jnr have as much right to celebrate St Patrick’s Day as I have. Ideally the day should begin with Church services, whether Catholic, C of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist or whatever and the religious aspect should be at the forefront all day. Those who are non-religious, but are not hostile to religion, are equally welcome to participate. Those who are hostile to religion and embrace instead tribal nationalism or tribal unionism, combined with various forms of marxism, should clear off and find an alternative day to indulge in their boorish loutish drunken behaviour. Since these people took over St Patrick’s Day (especially north of the border) the standard of behaviour among the celebrants has fallen dramatically. It has also been increasingly hijacked for the propagation of various left-wing causes (unrestricted immigration and on-demand abortion being simply the latest). The ironic thing is that if ever these people achieve power, St Patrick’s Day will be abolished because of its religious connotations and replaced by Karl Marx’s birthday.

  • Katyusha

    Erm….no….I do think it’s the behaving like drunken slobs on a rampage that causes problems. After all, they are young and Catholic every other day of the year – some of them even flying the Tricolour as often as any Loyalist goons – and yet there aren’t articles complaining about them every day of the year.

    Sure, but simply take a look at this thread to see how the focus shifts from what happened (or didn’t happen) to the background of those involved. People get bevvied up and act like louts in pretty much every city in the UK, yet for some reason the Holylands is a special problem. What’s special about it?

    Had they been non-Catholics flying Union Jacks you’d be condemning them dawn to dusk.
    If I’m wrong then I look forward to your impassioned defence of some young Loyalist oiks getting bevvied up come July.

    Jolly, my proposals for facilitating the eleventh might and the Twelfth are similar to St. Patrick’s Day. Yes there is a problem with drunken loutishness; we should instead of facilitating celebrations in an official and regulated manner to reduce those problems ie. official bonfire sites managed by the city council, constructed in a safe fashion and out of harm’s way. My issues with the Twelfth concern more the sectarian trappings, the links with paramilitariam and the OO insisting on marching through areas where it knows it will precipitate a riot. I’ve no problem whatsoever with people drinking, and dancing in the streets but I think it should be managed and regulated. People drink on the streets all over Europe. People light bonfires all over Europe, but they don’t burn massive stacks of pallets next to people’s houses.

    But I’m glad you brought up the Twelfth. I had removed the line in my post about how working class loyalists are another group the media and the middle classes feel good about looking down on, but the condescension is the same. The only difference is the unionist politicians will defend it as “culture” and the police will turn a blind eye to lawlessness, because there are any more people involved, they don’t want to confront the paramilitaries and they need votes from loyalist areas. Such is our society.

  • Katyusha

    Munich has dedicated Church services scheduled before their St. Patrick’s Day parade. Thought it was a lovely idea, to be quite honest.

    Any idea when the commercialised drunkenness crept in to St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland? My defining memory of it growing up in the north was being dragged to Mass.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    I think the figures have been published Dan. They are up on http://www.pretendingtobeenglish.com

    It says the final cost is, and I quote “nowhere near as much as Twadell, cleaning up after bonfires or the twelfth”

  • Conchúr Ó Conghaile

    You’ve never been to a Schools Cup afterparty then.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    It’s you who needs to do the convincing kiddo. You need to convince people here that their future lies in a union that Scotland will leave and where English nationalism is on the rise. For your union to succeed beyond the next fifteen years you need the English to be interested in this place 24/7 and that ain’t happening. Ever

  • Jag

    The proposal to commercialise the Holylands drink ‘n craic is a perennial proposal. Concert, Oktoberfest, festivals, that sort of thing.

    I think the students themselves miss a trick by not arranging a conga procession of flat-bed trucks playing music a-la-Notting Hill on a continuous loop through Holylands for the day, which would provide a free focus which would get the police mostly off their backs. They could drink themselves silly amidst the cover of a noisy parade. Wouldn’t be pleasant for those not in the party mood, but I suppose some residents in Notting Hill (isn’t George Osborne amongst the residents these days) don’t appreciate drink and ganja being partaken outside their front doors.

  • Jim Deeds Gym For The Soul

    My name is Jim. Hello. I see that you tell me what I ‘really mean’ and what my ‘dream’ is. You’re totally wrong on both counts. But that’s neither here nor there I suppose. I also make it clear that the 12th July is a bigger problem than the scenes we witness on St Patrick’s day. I stand by my view, though, that these scenes are no good either and loutish flag waving is loutish flag waving no matter the colours of the flag. As an irish man, the scenes in the Holylands are not congruent with my vision of Irishness. However, I recognise, of course that mine is only an opinion and that others have (perhaps better) opinions.
    You pick up on what this article is really about- how do we engage with each other here in a way to make an argument for our particular dream for this place- be it as part of the UK or part of a united island of Ireland. The problems that you point out that have been inherent in this place since it’s inception make this task even more difficult and, in my opinion, even more important. Brexit will focus our minds like never before. Best get engaging with each other.

  • johnny lately

    And yet you were wrong about there being no native Irish in Northern Ireland and no I don’t have a Protestant surname. Once again ND is your surname recorded in the Annals of Ulster ?

    Can it also be said that if it haven’t of been for the Orange order filling young Protestants heads full of bullshit they would have all behaved like the Anglo normans and embraced the native Irish culture of the land they were born in and we most likely would not have had hundreds of years of murder and violence.

  • Jag

    Makes sense, would the cost be much higher than that for policing central Belfast on a typical Saturday night, 10pm – 3am?

    What do the PSNI do with the confiscated booze? Is it sold out the back of Musgrave station on the morning of the 12th?

  • Gavin Smithson

    I was expecting such an answer esp the final paragraphs

    Therefore I pose to you my Middle Class Hypocracy Test

    If you won the lottery, where would you buy a house:

    A) A housing estate
    B) a nice suburb of private housing off well behaved well paid people and zero anti social behaviour.

    Anyone with ears and eyes in their head know that heirarchies exist in all spheres of human endeavour.

    Working class people are written about and portrayed on stage a lot because their feckless dramatic lives are chastening morality tales for the rest of us

    WHo would rather have as a neighbours : Rory McIlroy and Gyles Brandreth or uncouth characters Frank Gallagher?

    Working people and rustic types lead poor lives and they need guidance to become more like middle class people

    Is aspiration a dirty word these days? Seems to be amongst people who prefer to wallow in their own chips on shoulder

  • Gavin Smithson

    Anti English sentiment. Oh dear

  • Gavin Smithson

    If you had a family of young children living in such carnival areas how would you feel not being able to have a good nights sleep for a week?

    Why do people need carnivals? And why do they need to drink to celebrate?

    Carnivals are backward selfish alcoholics who don’t care about their neighbours

  • Annie Breensson

    Where have I expressed anti English sentiment?

  • Katyusha

    Gavin, if I was buying my own house, I’d be building it not a stone’s throw from the house I grew up in, in rural Co. Tyrone. If I were in Belfast, give me the Markets over the Malone Road any day. Some people actually value community, and the thought of living in the dead leafy suburbs like those which constitute middle England genuinely terrifies me. The middle classes confuse “aspirational” with a desire for people to live like themselves, that this is somehow the only logical aim of a rational person. Personally I live neither in a housing estate or a suburb, but in the city centre of an extremely nice and cosmopolitan city in continental Europe.. The idea of moving to a dreary suburb of Belfast would be a supremely retrograde step. I am aspirational; and my aspirations are much bigger than that.

  • Gopher

    Thoroughly depressing thread. Looking at it objectively, that means removing the flags from the debate. The problem boils down to a large transient population that are sedentary for a period of their life that have little stake in the area where they spend that period. Looking at the empirical evidence it would suggest that the problem on the 17th would be associated with a younger element. The empirical evidence would also suggest that the measures in place were not as effective as Inspector Rain, Constable Wind, backed by the Temperature mobile support unit.
    The Police cant be there all year, day and night as the human commerce between City centre and transient abode continues at various degrees of intoxitation and full flush of youth. They are visibly there on the 17th but the rite of passage is even more pronouced now, so rather than decrease the Police will have to throw ever more resources at the problem which has its practical limits not less the strains of various groupings that will mix together on one day and on no other will put on Policing. Money is being made in the scenario so there is no buisness solution. The Off licence solution was circumvented by the mk1 rucksack. I dont see any solution but the status quo unless you are prepared to organize an event that is percieved to be cooler than dancing about the Holylands on the 17th. Feterless fun is hard to trump and now has considerable cache so the events will have to be imaginative and facilitate alot of steam to be blown off. Youth that has never lived in the city will arrive again every September and nothing short of hormone treatment will stop them behaving like youth that has never lived in the city before.

  • eamoncorbett

    Yes William but they take longer to burn.

  • eamoncorbett

    Judging by some of the partisan postings relevant to your article Jim , I would say the task of reconciliation just got a bit harder.

  • eamoncorbett

    Should that be pulling apart and falling together , joke.

  • Jim Deeds Gym For The Soul

    Seems to have created quite a conversation alright. And in those conversations I see the difficulties we face. That said most people are expressing genuinely held beliefs and it’s good to be able to do so. Not many are picking up on what I felt to be the central theme of what I was writing- how do we engage with each other here in ways that don’t involve instantly turning each other off to the possibility of moving forward together in some way?

  • William Kinmont

    I was hoping they might be harder to light or even that the smoke might choke the ignitee

  • Deeman

    It’s now a celebration of Irishness throughout the world. The Irish diaspora and Guinness are the main drivers behind this festival.
    Not what the Catholics and religious folk amongst us like but it’s a fact.
    It doesn’t cause throughout the world, even in places like Dubai.
    However in NI it does cause offence due to the competitive nature of the two nationalities in this country.

  • Macca

    Anti- “Holy Joe” sentiment surely?

  • johnny lately

    Are you so naive that you believe anyone who supports a united Ireland is a republican or are you attempting to collectively label everyone from the nationalist community who believes in the reunification of Ireland as Sinn Fein supporters ?

    Giving up on the United Ireland dream lol Unionists really do bury their heads in the sand its Manna from the gods to republicans. Even though all the evidence of the unionist decline is right in front of their faces they still refuse to accept reality and continue to promote their own particular sectarian, myopic brand of Britishness, which is anathema to everyone but themselves. Like I said walt away and keep doing what your doing, meanwhile –

    http://www.larnetimes.co.uk/news/catholic-population-set-to-dwarf-protestants-in-years-ahead-1-7872318

  • Macca

    My experience of being a student in Belfast is that many students didn’t come from the north. I would wager that a high proportion of these youngsters were all out to simply experience and celebrate Ireland’s national day in Ireland’s second largest city.

  • johnny lately

    Or the 1.6 million and rising for policing Carrickfergus the place where all those British agents of the state can murder, intimidate and peddle their drugs at will and the PSNI allow it to happen in front of their eyes.

  • erasmus

    We do actually. No kidding.

  • John Collins

    What part of the words ‘appalling’ ‘inconsiderate’ and ‘reprehensible’ do you not understand?
    However I emphasise those words in relation to the unacceptable behaviour of these louts in Belfast.

  • Annie Breensson

    Well? Where’s your proof? Is this an example of a unionist calming a situation?

  • North Down dup

    How many native Irish are there in Ni,my surname is Scottish, 800 thousand people came over from Scotland they say 200 thousand came mom England, most of the Scottish went to ulster, am not in the oo ,I would love to no how many thousand catholics are Catholic because the priests told the woman you can only get married to your protestant boyfriend if you bring your child up Catholic, I tell you nearly every Catholic I meet now has a prodestant surname, 2 guys I work with from west Belfast Irish as you can get have prodestant surname’s told me they granddad was prod, so tell me how many native Irish there is in Ni , I guess 12 percent

  • the moviegoer

    Maybe the marching season could be reduced to one day and quarantined into one small area of Belfast. That might help.

  • the moviegoer

    Every year there is a moral panic in Dublin about drinking and debauchery on Saint Patrick’s Day. Ascribing political motivations to it is perhaps intentionally misreading the situation.

  • the moviegoer

    You need to remember that a Catholic with a Protestant surname could have one male British ancestor and dozens or hundreds of native Irish ancestors. Saying none of these people are native is like saying one drop of British blood overrides a full tank of Irish blood. Also if your surname is a Mac or Mc or another anglicized Scottish Gaelic name like Campbell, Buchanan, Patterson, Ferguson, Boyd, Craig, Dowie, Kane, Douglas, Sinclair, Taggart, and loads more, you are Irish in origin. The tragedy of Ulster is so many descendants of gaelic Irish have been turned against their kinfolk by fundamentalists like John Calvin and John Knox.

  • Katyusha
  • North Down dup

    There was a poster who might as well have said invaders go back to Britain, and leave the Irish natives alone, my point was most of Ni would now be invaders, Irish natives are hard to find in Ni, down south yes

  • the moviegoer

    You should have a wander around Tyrone, Derry and South Armagh, you will find more than you will in North Down I’d say. If they’re Catholic they would be mostly native Irish even if they have a Protestant name I’d say as it would only take one Protestant male in the family tree going way back to ensure the name stayed the same for generations. Catholic women were more likely than men to change their faith to marry (for money and status in some cases) so there might be a lot of native blood in Protestants too but the Gaelic name has been lost as it was on the mother’s side.

  • Jollyraj

    “However I get the impression that what really annoys many are the Ireland and GAA tops and a few tricolours.”

    Not really. If you ever spent any time around QUB student’s union you’d see that many young lads seem to wear GAA tops until they’re practically worn out. And there are just as many Green, White and Orange fleggers in and around the same building Monday to Friday, all year round.

    The issue is people being loud, obnoxious, drunk and disorderly, and a public nuisance. The fact that the de rigeur uniform of said yobs seems in this episode to have been GAA tops is neither here nor there.

  • North Down dup

    Protestant male in family tree going way back ,you only have to go back 20-60 years for the so called protestant male letting his kids being brought up Catholic on behalf of the Catholic Church, so the native name had been lost yes , I will always have a view that the people of Ni have so much in common prod and Catholic, that we are a different breed in general than the people from the south

  • erasmus

    The reality is that prior to the Tudor/Stuart invasion and occupation Ireland was a Christianised country with, by
    the standards of the time, an advanced system of jurisprudence, a limited form of democracy (clan chiefs were elected by senior members of a clan and not
    selected via primogeniture), and one of the oldest written languages in Europe.
    The Brehon Law incorporated a relatively enlightened approach towards women’s rights. It had no death penalty; quaint customs such as hanging, drawing,
    quartering, and sticking severed heads on pikes were introduced by the English.
    It was so complex it had to be translated into seven volumes. It also gave the world its first documented copyright ruling: ‘to every cow her calf, to every
    book its copy’.

    I suggest you take a trip to Dublin to see the Ardagh Chalice and the Book of Kells and drop
    into Newgrange en route.

  • johnny lately

    Thats nice ND your from Scotland and here you are lecturing us native Irish about how many of us there are and that many from Northern Ireland have Protestant surnames, are you for real, you even believe every person who came to Ireland during the plantations was protestant, have you got any proof of your beliefs.

    “I pointed out there is no Irish natives left in NI”

    Yet now your saying you guess there about 12% native Irish, lets just cut to the chase, you haven’t a clue what your talking about and then the bullshit story about “most Irish natives have good protestant unionist surnames” what a turnaround from there being none,

    Come back when you read up a little and you actually know what your talking about.

  • the moviegoer

    Well my mother’s maiden name is English so her ancestors were invaders hundreds of years ago too. My paternal grandmother’s family were protestants up to the late 1800s. There are parts of the south with lots of English/planter/Anglo-Norman surnames (particularly in Leinster – Dublin, Wicklow, Kilkenny, the midlands – check out the names of the Kilkenny hurling team and you will see loads of planter names) so I don’t view Irishness as being about being Gaelic. Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen were all Protestants. I think there are loads of NI Catholics west of the Bann who would see east of the Bann as very different to where they live so I think lots of them would dispute that everyone in NI is one big happy family. When a UI happens the more variety there is the better. That’s what makes a nation interesting.

  • North Down dup

    I agree with most of what you say, I was jus geting back at a poster who said invaders go back to Britain, and leave the native Irish alone,

  • Devil Éire

    I’ve previously had to point out your own racist attitudes (“the closet racism of the Irish”), so I think that someone who doesn’t understand what behaviours (including their own) the term ‘racism’ encompasses should refrain from calling other people ‘stupid’.

  • North Down dup

    First of all I didn’t say I was from Scotland, second I didn’t say what the plantationers religion was, I was being kind do you by giving you 12 percent that’s all, a story about catholics having protestant surname’s, a nationalist poster was telling me why that is, so tell me how many native Irish there is in NI, you come back when you read up a little and phone your mum and ask is there any orange blood in the family see how native Irish your are

  • the keep

    Let’s face it, how many cities like Paris and Bruges did the Planters find when they came here? Sorry but the Gaels were lazy and not given to industry

    Try answering Gavins question?

  • Jollyraj

    Ah yes, the classic Republican technique of misremembering, or wilfully misrepresenting, facts. All you need to do now is repeat it ad nauseum and it will have been true 😉

    What actually seems to have happened in that exchange is that I pointed out a racist tendency within a certain type of Irish person.

    You, using presumably some sort of smug Millenial faux-logic, countered that it is racist to call someone out for being racist (?!)

    Post-truth era indeed 🙂

  • Devil Éire

    …classic Republican…smug Millenial (sic)…

    How amusing. You’ve assigned me to all your little hate groups, and all for presenting you with some unwelcome truths. Let’s see who is the one “willfully misrepresenting facts” (hint: it’s you).

    Jollyraj: What actually seems to have happened in that exchange is that I pointed out a racist tendency within a certain type of Irish person.

    Actually, no. In response to a post by a single Republican-leaning contributor that you deemed racist, you replied:

    Jollyraj: Ahh..the closet racism of the Irish. Often carefully concealed, but never far from the surface..

    So, far from pointing out “a racist tendency” in a single Irish person, or even in “a certain type of Irish person”, you went from (as I said then) alleging a negative characteristic in a single individual to assigning that characteristic to the whole of the individual’s assumed ethnic grouping. This is classic racism.

    So, you didn’t “call someone out for being racist” – it was the Irish in general, as the following exchange makes clear:

    Jollyraj: So if I feel that a particular group (in this case the Irish) has marked racist leanings, it makes a racist out of me to point it out?”

    Devil Eire: If you are suggesting that all members of a particular race or ethnic group share a common characteristic, then yes, that is a racist sentiment.

    For example: “lazy Poles”, “stingy Chinese”, “intelligent Asians”, “racist Irish” – these are all racist statements.

    So to summarise:

    1. For some reason, you’ve lied about what you previously wrote on Slugger, even though the record is clear.
    2. You (still) don’t understand the term ‘racism’.
    3. You’ve expressed racist attitudes on Slugger.

    To repeat: I wouldn’t go around calling other people stupid, if I were you.

  • Jollyraj

    “Devil Eire: If you are suggesting that all members of a particular race or ethnic group share a common characteristic, then yes, that is a racist sentiment.”

    Indeed it would. But I’m not.

    I was simply pointing out that I notice a tendency towards a racist mindset amongst Irish people – I’m hardly unique in remarking upon that – but that doesn’t mean that all Irish people are racist. I don’t think they are. But there is a pattern.

    Tell me, if I were to say that Japanese people typically aren’t tall – would that make me racist? While we’re on the subject, if I said that Japanese society is somewhat xenophobic – that me being racist again?

  • Macca

    I did!

  • North Down dup

    Well are they an old Irish family

  • Devil Éire

    I was simply pointing out that I notice a tendency towards a racist mindset amongst Irish people…

    Were you? Let’s try the substitution test:

    If, in response to a comment suggesting laziness in an individual black person, you posted:

    “Ahh….the laziness of black people. Often carefully concealed, but never far from the surface..”

    or, if in response to a comment suggesting miserliness in an individual Jewish person, you posted:

    “Ahh….the miserliness of the Jews. Often carefully concealed, but never far from the surface..”

    then I think that most people would agree that these are racist statements.

    Your eagerness to extrapolate from the comments of a single individual to Irish people and society in general certainly indicates racist tendencies.

    if I were to say that Japanese people typically aren’t tall – would that make me racist?

    No, because assertions about height are empirically verifiable.

    …if I said that Japanese society is somewhat xenophobic…

    This is different to your assertion about the Irish in that it refers to society and it contains the qualifier somewhat.

    …that me being racist again?

    But that aside, it depends. I would like to hear your evidence, assess whether you are a knowledgeable commentator on Japanese society or you have an axe to grind. If your evidence of Japanese xenophobia consisted of a single comment in an online forum by one individual (along with vague references to personal observations) and you expressed it thusly:

    “Ahh….the xenophobia of the Japanese. Often carefully concealed, but never far from the surface..”

    and you had a history of trolling, anti-Japanese commentary, on online forums, then yes, I would probably take it as evidence of a racist tendency.

  • Jollyraj

    Oh my….

    That’s an interesting batch of stereotypes you’re associating with my name, so…. to guard against the likelihood of you referring back to these things three months later and trying to claim I actially said them I suppose I ought really to deal with them first:

    1. Black people are lazy – I know a lot of black people personally. I wouldn’t say they were more or less lazy than any other group.

    2. I know very few Jewish people personally. None of those few I do know could be described as miserly.

    3. Japanese people are short. I’ve lived in Japan. Generally speaking, they certainly are shorter than your average North European.

    4. Japanese people are generally xenophobic. Yes, they are. I loved them as people, but they are in general very wary of foreigners.

    You said “Your eagerness to extrapolate from the comments of a single individual to Irish people and society in general certainly indicates racist tendencies”

    I think I see your problem (beyond the not-uncommon-on-here pathetic desire to prove that all unionists are racist bigots because it fits your purpose) I am neither eager nor basing the comment on one individual.

    I’ve met a lot of Irish (mostly of the NI variety, granted), and my honest opinion is that there is a marked tendency among those I’ve met towards racism. Sorry.

    If you’re asking for my scientific research I will have to disappoint you. I am not a sociologist, nor have I interest in becoming one.

    If you feel one has to be a sociologist with a body of research to have an opinion on a national group then again, sorry, but that’s daft.

    If you think any unfavourable opinion on the Irish as a people makes a person racist, sorry, but that is stupid.

  • Devil Éire

    That’s an interesting batch of stereotypes you’re associating with my name, so…. to guard against the likelihood of you referring back to these things three months later and trying to claim I actially said them…

    0/10 for reading comprehension, I’m afraid. In the substitution test, in order to more clearly understand if a statement is racist, one substitutes the name of the racial or ethnic group with one which is more usually associated with racism. So to assess if your statement:

    “Ahh….the racism of the Irish. Often carefully concealed, but never far from the surface..”

    was racist, I substituted ‘black people’ and ‘Jews’ for the Irish. The result, I think was clear (note how quick you were to disavow these statements, but not the one with identical language but referring to Irish people). Note that I wasn’t suggesting that you made those comments about black people or Jews (I’m surprised I needed to state that, but I am happy to do so).

    I think I see your problem (beyond the not-uncommon-on-here pathetic desire to prove that all unionists are racist bigots because it fits your purpose)

    I have no interest in trying to prove that all unionists are racist bigots, largely because I do not hold this belief. You see, unlike you, I am not the type of person who takes the racism of one person as evidence of racism of their larger group.

    I am neither eager nor basing the comment on one individual. I’ve met a lot of Irish (mostly of the NI variety, granted), and my honest opinion is that there is a marked tendency among those I’ve met towards racism. Sorry.

    Yes, I have no doubt that everywhere you look, you find your worst prejudices affirmed. It’s called confirmation bias.

  • Bobbell

    Fear not Gavin culchies are equally despised down south.

  • Katyusha

    Ever climbed Croagh Patrick in your bare feet ND, or spent three days on St. Patrick’s Purgatory? I’ve unfortunately not yet done the former but can definitely recommend the latter.

    St. Patrick’s Day may have become a commercial, faux-Irish drinking festival for many people and lost any religious meaning, but the true day that Patrick is venerated in Ireland is the last Sunday in July – Reek Sunday. One of Patrick’s most striking habits was his tendency to retreat into isolation to fast and pray, and it’s good practice for Christian who venerate him to follow suit. It’s good for the soul.

  • North Down dup

    Someone who knows the true meaning of St pat ,get you up that hill

  • ted hagan

    Sadly St Patrick’s Day too often degenerates into a drunken mess all over Ireland.
    It”s great to see town and villages celebrate during the day but the aftermath is quite honestly pathetic. Ever seen Dublin on a St Patrick’s Night? It’s grim.
    Why can’t we celebrate our national day in a mire civilised fashion, like other countries do?

  • ted hagan

    The PSNI aren’t there half the time. It’s a part-time police station.

  • the moviegoer

    The Reivers from the Scottish Borders and Northumbria which planted Ulster were never likely to bring civilisation and haven’t. Ireland’s curse is we never even got the quality of planter we needed to elevate us. One group of backwoodsmen visiting another group of backwoodsmen.

  • Reader

    johnny lately: Do we just ignore all those polls and take your word for it that the majority dont want a united Ireland…
    You have faith in polls? I’ll make a note of that for future reference.

  • Reader

    johnny lately: Proud to say he (Henry) considered my kin one of the 100 Irish families he considered his enemies in Ireland.
    Impressive, so that’s one of your ancestors accounted for. Maybe even a whole Y chromosome. But what about your other 131,000 ancestors alive at that time?

  • Granni Trixie

    I made the mistake of staying in Notting Hill during the Festival. Never again. You could smell cannabis everywhere and see little packages being handed about. The noise was incredible 24/7 and people selling beef burgers took over other people’s front gardens. The police seemed to take a “pragmatic” approach by which I mean chosing their battles.
    Close up I found the atmosphere and crowds v threatening not the happy clappy carnival you see on TV.

  • Granni Trixie

    Your prejudice is showing. See above.

  • Granni Trixie

    The police were there all week.

  • Granni Trixie

    Your inverted snobbery is showing.

  • Gingray

    I think auld Havelock may be faking it a bit here 🙂
    Seen a few fake unionist posters who are obvious republicans but hes the first the other way.

  • Annie Breensson

    Your prejudice is showing. See above.

    I assume your reference to ‘above’ means
    this post
    , Granni. If so, is my post any more prejudiced than yours? Are you complaining about the ‘tone’ I tried to us to use to highlight obvious double standards by certain posters?

  • MalikHills

    I have often compared the Notting Hill festival of today to the Twelfth in the old days.

    The official media line is that it is a hugely popular cultural event, the police are friendly and deny that any problems related to crime and public disorder take place, while local residents lock up (often board up) their homes and leave town to avoid the noise, disorder and unpleasantness as well as the anti-social behaviour of the hangers-on.

    Any suggestion that the event attracts people into an area where they are no longer welcome (through demographic changes) is howled down as an affront to a “traditional” event.

    I used to live in Westbourne and know of which i speak.

  • Katyusha

    I wear my heart on my sleeve, after all.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Pardon the hair splitting but are these residential areas?

    I liked Katyusha’s idea of moving it to Botanics.

    Everybody gets what they want that way.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Judging by the many cheap flags i’ve seen over the years I’d have to say “no”

  • William Kinmont

    Cheap flags or flags that cheapen

  • Annie Breensson

    What’s the relevance of your hair-splitting question? The discussion was about drunken, loutish behaviour, the location wasn’t a factor.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    It very much is.

  • Annie Breensson

    Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree on that point. But, if it satisfies your curiosity, the two links I gave (Newcastle & Cardiff) are not in residential areas, they were chosen as they provide evidence that such behaviour is not limited to South Belfast on one day of the year. Similar behaviour is evident in many English towns and cities every weekend. I, personally, have witnessed similar in places such as Basingstoke, Carlisle, Horsham, Liverpool, Manchester, Northampton … and others. All these were adjacent to residential areas.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    That’s a good answer, my point was regarding antics on a residential area.

    I think Katyusha is right in that the city should step in and sponsor & control it.

    What has to be remembered is that English people acting drunkenly in England or Scots acting drunkenly in Scotland is not the same as people in northern Ireland acting drunkenly, we have connotations with nearly everything.

  • Macca

    Yep. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/7145951.stm
    Good old Emerald Isle stock! Converted to Protestantism for business/political reasons, which is understandable given the imposed societal restrictions of the day.