Ireland – An island of reluctant West Brits and enthusiastic East Yanks?

When the very mention of “British” axiomatically throws up the spectre of the Black and Tans or Charles Trevelyn, it’s natural that any positive material contribution to Ireland made by Britain is ignored or lost to amnesia. I’m Irish, the “other Irish” – an Irishman with an Irishness that is conjoined to a Britishness. My sense of British national pride is weakened by historical wrongs as much as any American’s patriotism is reduced by the awful wrongs visited upon native …

Read more…

Edward Carson, ‘No one on earth is so clearly the “typical Irishman”‘

Edward Carson rose in the Lords on December 3 1929 and made a number of points about the Irish Free State and the Privy Council, the legal forum the young Irish state was seeking to do away with. Interestingly, he called the Anglo-Irish Treaty the “Treaty of surrender and betrayal”.  On the matter of his identity, he said: “I am very proud as an Irishman to be a member of the British Empire.” He also said: “I was born and …

Read more…

Unionism’s anglophobia

The slogan used to be ‘Brit’s Out’. It marked a gross misunderstanding of the people of Northern Ireland. As Conor Cruise O’Brien wrote of the Easter Rising: “Irish-Ireland wrote and talked as if it assumed that the battle would be over once Dublin with its garrison of dentists’ wives had surrendered.” The “British” of Northerm Ireland are the several hundred thousand people loyal to the Crown, not the Crown forces. While the “Brits Out” slogan is no longer daubed, the …

Read more…

Catholic, Erin and virtue. Protestant, Saxon and guilt.*

    Watch this video, it punched me in the sternum – ‘momondo – The DNA Journey’: We divide people in two. Native or immigrant. Authentic or blow-in. We want certainty, especially in Northern Ireland – Protestant or Catholic, us or them. Catholic is Erin and virtue. Protestant is Saxon and guilt (and “imperialistic blood-suckers” as southern Protestant Hubert Butler said). It’s not unique to Northern Ireland, but is a universal condition. Mistrust of “the other” is typeset into man’s …

Read more…

Ian Paisley – “We are Irish!”

    Of the DUP membership, 1.4% self-identify as Irish. Yet the founder of the DUP was 100% Irish. This is not speculation or conjecture or troublemaking, this is a statement of fact based upon unequivocal and repeated testimony from Ian Paisley. Ian paisley wrote in 2012 on the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant: “Edward Carson was a life-long Irishman, as well as being a life-long unionist, and that made all the difference… On this 28th day …

Read more…

St Patrick’s Day a time to reflect on an openness that, at its best, Englishness encourages

For St Patrick’s Day Mark Perryman outlines the meaning of the forthcoming Easter Rising Centenary for models of Britishness. St Patrick’s Day across England has always been more of a party than our own St George’s Day. Down the local, one of the best night outs of the year, a non-stop evening drenched in all things Irish. A celebration of Ireland’s freedom, which can never be entirely separated from its place in English, and British, history either. But the framing …

Read more…

Protestant Identity, Vulnerability and Bonfires.

Chris Jenkins writes for us about his experiences touring some bonfires last summer…. The cameraman runs up towards the bonfire. The wooden pallets tower over him. Teenagers begin to light the colossal structure with flaming torches. “He’s gone too close”, I think straight away. The fire started to move quickly, and the young men lighting it stayed a step ahead, using their torches to light the petrol in the middle of the wooden structure. One of the teenagers who we …

Read more…

How Would Rory McIlroy Vote?  And why that’s important.

Predicated as it is on avarice and greed and standing as a monument to the necessity for mandatory wealth re-distribution, the most useless supplement of the year reappeared last week. The Sunday Times Rich List likes to rank all the people in the country who have more money than you. And expects you to pay for the privilege of reading about them. Not surprisingly, a certain young County Down sports celebrity –always keen to reassert his affinity with his place …

Read more…

Who cares about Voting and Identity? Nicholas Whyte explains the stats … #ImagineBelfast15 (updated with charts)

Nicholas Whyte spoke at a lunchtime event being run under the umbrella of Imagine!2015 The Belfast Festival of Ideas and Politics in the Ulster University’s Belfast campus: Who cares about Voting and Identity. You can listen back to his half hour presentation and follow along with the slides below. He broke down census results for national identity and looked at the most British / Irish / Northern Irish / Other wards and constituencies. He asks which parties are engaging with …

Read more…

Who stands for an Irishness that includes the British of Northern Ireland?

Heard about the one about the Catholic priest who watched the Twelfth and thought it wasn’t Protestant enough? Here’s the News Letter reporting on Fr Martin Magill’s piece in the Irish News… “One of the Orangemen I met told me he had carried a Bible in previous years but didn’t this year because he was afraid it would get wet. For me, this was a parable of what is missing in the Twelfth — people living by the Word of …

Read more…

Friday thread: Flags make a difference to how we think and feel…

Via Peter Curran with a h/t to Phil Mac Giolla Bhain. Fascinating piece of quick and dirty research on the Scottish Sunday Politics Show regarding the effect of flag displays during a detailed online questionnaire from last week… It’s well worth watching the whole way through, but the findings themselves are at the beginning and are interesting enough on their own. They provide, I suspect some very important cues for a very complex soup of identities in modern Britain. Not …

Read more…

Why Northern Ireland is becoming less ‘Northern Irish’, and more divided.

I want to illustrate a few concerning features of the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey (NILTS) data that haven’t yet received media attention, particularly in regard to cross-community contact and the Northern Irish identity. There are some trends that exist which suggest Northern Ireland is becoming a more divided place, especially for young people economically affected by the recession. Northern Irish Identity Since the release of the 2011 census when it was shown that 45% of Catholics and 48% …

Read more…

Cartoon – ChristmHaass carve-up

Enjoy the cartoon and have a Merry Christmas and happy new year. Full acknowledgements to James Gillray and his infamous piece, ‘The Plumb Pudding in Danger’. Martin Rowson also gaves his take on it recently here. Morten Morland has his take on it with Cameron and Osborne here. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ www.brianjohnspencer.com/

On Ireland’s strange romance with ‘Euronationalism’….

Ever wondered why nearly all our Northern Ireland MEPs have been Eurosceptic (with the exception of the SDLP) whilst those in the south have been almost universally Europhile? John Coakley on the remarkably protean nature of Irish identity, and it’s willingness to engage with wider notions of European identity… It may well be the case that the pillars on which Irish nationalism has relied in the past – such as its ancestral language, a perceived link to the Catholic tradition, …

Read more…

Alternative Ulsters: Conversations on Identity (Mark Carruthers)

Mark Carruthers describes his new book Alternative Ulsters as a “collection of conversations” and “an attempt to take the notional temperature of a place where identity tends to inform a great deal of the day-to-day civic debate”. The book has a simple structure: three and a half pages of introduction followed by thirty six interviews, arranged in alphabetical order, with public figures connected with Ulster from the world of arts, journalism, politics and sport. Each is quizzed on their connection …

Read more…

Northern Ireland: Who Are We Now?

Northern Ireland: Who Are We Now? was broadcast on Radio 4 on the eve of Derry~Londonderry taking on the mantle of UK’s City of Culture. Presented by William Crawley and produced by Claire Burgoyne, the half hour programme used the national identity census results as a way in to discuss possible shifting self-perceptions and the conundrum of how we describe ourselves. While there were a lack of There weren’t too many extreme polarised views from contributors to the programme, but …

Read more…

Here’s to a united Ireland on the morrow (though not necessarily the day after)…

There’s something deeply gratifying about the way Ireland coach Declan Kidney has melded an unexpectedly powerful sporting force from three of Ireland’s historic provinces. There’s always one missing! We may have Eddie O’Sullivan to thank for drawing the provincial successes of Munster and Leinster upwards into the Ireland squad, but tomorrow’s team performance will (win or lose) be wrought from more than a touch of Ulster genius from Best, Ferris, Bowe and Trimble. International Rugby is one of the few …

Read more…