Easter 1916: they shouldn’t have bothered



There’s an article in the Irish Times this morning titled ‘1916 centenary a time for reflection not celebration’.  I think that’s a reasonable proposition, so I pushed my marmalade to one side and had a closer read.

It’s by a man called Dennis Kennedy and from the first paragraph he inches towards his central point: “The Easter Rising was indeed the catalyst for the creation of an independent Irish State…but does that mean we should be proud of it?”  That’s what you’d call a rhetorical question, Virginia. The answer  on its way is No.

Kennedy makes clear it was an “armed rebellion by an extremist group outside the mainstream of nationalist politics, and with no electoral mandate”. True enough. He goes on to note that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland were at war at the time, and the war had the support of Ireland’s democratically elected representatives. The 1916 leaders, in contrast, sought and got help from the enemy Germany.

While he concedes that the men and women of the 1916 Rising were courageous and won “some public sympathy”, they did what they did when “unprecedented progress, albeit stalled by the war, had been made by democratic processes towards the goal of an independent Ireland”.

Kennedy thinks it would be more appropriate to honour Grattan, O’Connell, Butt, Parnell and Redmond, all of whom worked peacefuly and democratically for Ireland’s independence. How much better, he argues, “than to worship…at the shrine of violence cloaked in the veil of heroic sacrifice”. And he concludes by blaming partition on the men of 1916.

Now, one of the first things that Media Studies students learn is to ask of any media text “What is the agency of this text?”  That is to say, who or what organisation has produced it? The answer in this case is straightforward – Dennis Kennedy produced it, with the assistance of a platform provided by the Irish Times. Mr Kennedy is, as one on-line comment notes, an Ulster-born unionist and founder member of the Cadogan Group. Other founders were Paul (now Lord) Bew and Graham Gudgin. The founding aims of this group was to “base its views on what was most likely to produce long-term peace and stability in the region, and not on what was most likely to achieve a political end”.  In short, its brief was to help put an end to the Troubles and let’s forget all this stuff about nationalism and republicanism. (No, Virginia, I don’t think there were any notable nationalists or republicans among the founding members).

As to the platform from which Mr Kennedy speaks, The Irish Times could be accused (or praised) for many things, but not, it’s safe to say, for its consistently republican or pro-united Ireland line. For decades most Irish people referred to it as ‘the Protestant paper’. It has of course changed considerably over the years; but like most Irish mainstream media, it is anxious to avoid putting wind in the sails of Sinn Féin – a danger to which Mr Kennedy alludes in his article.

So while the agency or source of a media text doesn’t necessarily determine what it says, it’s an important factor. In this case, it’s an instance of someone who is unionist in his background and sympathies.  He’s a man of peace, however, which is why he doesn’t want to celebrate the Easter Rising: “The long shadow of the gunmen of 1916 has helped inspire IRA campaigns in practically every decade since 1922, and still does today”. I take my hat off to him for the honesty of that last sentence: the one thing that most southern commentators and politicians are uber-keen to avoid is any link between the IRA of the second half of the twentieth century and the IRA of the first half of the twentieth century.  His analysis, however, is like the analysis of those who say that power-sharing now would have come without violence. He believes a united Ireland would have come without Easter 1916.

Do you?


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42 Responses to Easter 1916: they shouldn’t have bothered

  1. Freddy Mallins January 14, 2015 at 9:51 am #

    Hi, Jude. I believe Denis Kennedy to be from Lisburn. Ex deputy- editor of said IT. Whilst he appears to be a man of some temperance and substance he is fairly typical, I think of a lot of unionists who fear the Irish martyr more anything else. Just look at the Hunger strikers. Whether or not we agree with their political analysis, they were brave enough to starve to death for a cause they wholeheartedly believed in. They were anything but common criminals. Unionists know well that criminals do not offer up their lives for any cause, no matter what it is.That spooks them and they are unable to level the usual terrorist narrative with credibility.
    All the references to terrorist shrines were flannel.
    I do not wish to appear harsh, but think Mr. Kennedy is attempting the same diversionary argument.

  2. neill January 14, 2015 at 10:10 am #

    Without violence I suspect there would have been an United Ireland . However what I suspect really hurt the dreams of a United Ireland was how the Catholic Church dominated Irish society during the period of the first sixty years even to the most liberal Protestant it must have been unpleasant .

    That situation has now almost completely changed which I am sure everybody would agree is to the betterment of the Republic.

    The IRA`s violence over the last 40 years against the section of the community they were trying to force into a united Ireland has obviously caused the majority of Protestants to be against the idea of a united Ireland all the killing in Northern Ireland just lead to a hardening of peoples souls and feelings right across both communities.

    • The Hist January 14, 2015 at 2:53 pm #

      Neill, I am intrigued by your comment “Without violence I suspect there would have been an United Ireland” – Would you like to expand on this and explain how you believe this was possible? So, Ulster Unionists who orchestrated a formiddable campaign against Home Rule would have just accepted a United Ireland? This,at a time, whenthere was numerous armed militias content in ignoring constitutionalism and using the point of a gun to make their political statements!

      • neill January 14, 2015 at 3:35 pm #

        Sorry I didn’t make myself clear there was always going to be a Northern Ireland however I think what came from the Easter rising and the almost complete control of the state by the catholic church was very big factor of why there isn’t a united Ireland now

        • TheHist January 14, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

          Neill, if there was “always going to be a Northern Ireland” how can the Easter Rising therefore be at fault for preventing a United Ireland? I do agree partition was inevitable, but it can be stated this was the case before the Easter Rising began. If we delve deep into it, Ulster Unionists would have always opposed a United Ireland or a Home Rule Ireland regardless of a Rising taking place or not and thereafter. In theory it was the political dynamics existent from 1912 on that created a partitionist mindset that eventually split the island. Partition was not what any of the big stake holders would have wanted when the crisis began, but it became a Unionist saviour as it looked as though Home Rule on the whole could not be stopped. Don’t forget Carson and Bonar Law were proposing such measures, again, prior to a Rising taking place. The argument could on the other hand be that without the Rising, Ireland would not have been given dominion status …

          • neill January 14, 2015 at 10:00 pm #

            The easter rising in it self didnt prevent a united ireland the violence that stemmed from it caused many of the problems were violence began to be very acceptable and any sort of compromise went out the window. In many ways the character of Ireland changed it became more Gealic more conservative and any sense of the Ireland being reunited slipped away as both countries went there different ways this in fairness has certainly changed over the last generation which is no bad thing in my opinion

    • paddykool January 14, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

      Much of what you say is very true there Neill. There were many of us who did not agree with the conservatism of both the southern state and the stranglehold religion had on society , north and south . The same goes for unionism’s adherence to the religious right and it’s attached “never on a Sunday” philosophy in the north. Books were banned in the south that would seem innocuous now or at least “No Big Deal”. Some of us didn’t want that kind of censorious life…we wanted neither of those things… but Ireland as a whole can even still be a very conservative place for some of us ..That is what Civil Rights meant for a lot of young people then. The freedom to do what young people in England or France did and not what some ranting preacher wanted . You know what we got….There’s no doubt that the Troubles soured everything, but looking back there was an inevitability about them.If something doesn’t bend in the winds of change it will break …and it did.Nobody… but a very few… really wanted all that violence.. They wanted changes….

      • Jude Collins January 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm #

        I agree that the Catholic Church was a powerful force in Ireland in the twentieth century. But having been brought up on this side of the border and lived in Dublin for some seven years as a young man, I’m not sure I knew too many people who felt oppressed by the Catholic Church. For example, there were priests among our lecturers in UCD but we treated them with the same respect/lack of respect we accorded to such as our venerable Professor Dudley Edwards.I personally found the Dublin 4 types to be far more overbearing than any clergy I encountered.

    • fiosrach January 14, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

      Neill, the armed uprising of the last 40 years was not against the Protestant community in the six counties but against the British state which maintains its hold on part of this country. If the members of your community chose to act as fodder in the ‘Ulsterisation’ of the conflict then whose fault is that? The fact that their colonial masters stabbed them in the back by insisting on equality for all is indeed just reward.

      • neill January 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm #

        I am British am I a legitimate target?

        • fearfeasa January 15, 2015 at 1:23 am #

          Depends on the position you take up

          • neill January 15, 2015 at 10:50 am #

            There was me thinking the troubles were over obviously not

    • Antonio January 14, 2015 at 11:22 pm #


      what a shame the violence of so many Protestant Unionists did not soften Protestants’ attitudes to the idea of maintaining the union

  3. North Munsterman January 14, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    It’s always hugely entertaining to listen to Unionists like Dennis Kennedy blather on about “democracy” in a country that was colonized and annexed by Britain – and forcefully kept under British rule by military force of arms.

    Thus, the logic of Dennis Kennedy’s article is that annexation of other countries WITHOUT the consent of the people is perfectly acceptable – but armed rebellion for freedom by the very people of the annexed country amounts to terror.
    Thus, Pearse, Dev and Collins – all participants in the Rising – were all terrorists, according to Dennis Kennedy. By Dennis Kennedy’s own logic, Nelson Mandela was a terrorist too.

    By this logic, the American Revolutionaries in the War of Independence were also terrorists. I have no doubt Dennis Kennedy will be consistent and follow up with a similar letter to the New York Times advising the Americans of this too.
    The response from American readers will be well worth waiting for.

    John Redmond was no pacifist – complete nonsense to suggest he was – and he encouraged tens of thousands of Irishmen to fight for Britain Imperial Empire ambitions in WW1, thousands of them losing their lives. He died a broken man.

    Complete nonsense to also suggest that 1916 created the Partition of the country – Partition was already part of the (shelved) Home Rule Bill in 1914.

    No mention of the democratic mandate of the Irish people in 1918 when voting – by a HUGE majority – for a 32 county independent republic. Unionists like Dennis Kennedy always avoid mentioning this democratic mandate expressed by the Irish people.

    It’s a shame that Unionists refused to respect democracy at that point in Irish history and saved us all from the FUBAR that became the North ever since.

    Anyway, the good news is that an increasing number of Unionists realize that a Re-United Ireland is inevitable.

    Reflect on – and celebrate that – Dennis.

    It’s all good.

  4. michael c January 14, 2015 at 10:15 am #

    “He’s a man of peace” but that pacifism does’nt seem to apply to the mass slaughter of world war 1.

  5. The Hist January 14, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    A pretty pointless article from Mr Kennedy that realistically has little substance and is contradictory in parts. Kennedy makes reference to the leaders of the rebellion seeking and receiving aid from Germany. He fails to mention that this aid made no difference to the Rising as no German troops landed, nor did the Aud successfully land it weapon shipment. So factually the leaders did not “receive aid” as nothing materalised into Ireland. Kennedy also fails to mention that the UVF armed themselves successfully in April 1914 with the help of Germany through Fred Crawford’s contacts, supported by Edward Carson.

    Kennedy goes on to make a contradictory point when he mentions that the Rising was a catalyst for partition and states that partition had been mentioned before the Rising. Personally I disgree with his assertion that the Rising was the catalyst for partition. Since 1912 members of the Liberal cabinet including Churchill and George were interested in some form of partition – it was subsequently debated at length and became a reality! The Liberal government were to buckle under pressure from Carson, Craig and Ulster Unionism as the Home Rule Crisis proceeded through 1912-14. By 1914 Asquith had presented Redmond and Carson with partition proposals to exlude 6 counties – Redmond accepted although Carson wanted a permanent solution! Partition was moreless a sold deal in 1914 as the Liberal government edged closer to giving Craig and to a lesser extent, Carson, what they wanted. The same partition proposals of 1914 were in effect the make-up of 1920 GOIA, where Ireland was partitioned. So the proposals pre-Rising became the “solution” post Rising – How can the Rising then be responsible / the catalyst for Partition? If any thing the Rising radicalised Irish people and allowed them to press the British government as far as they could in extracting more than was on offer – hence being offered dominion status over Home Rule during the 1921 Treaty negotiations.

    It was the frustration with Home Rule and the lack of conviction from Redmond to extract concessions after the GOIA (1914) was suspended that alienated and radicalised many! So can we blame the Rising on Britain’s mismanagment of the Irish crisis? Can we blame Redmond for his lack of convicition politics or refusing to “rock the boat” with the British? Can we blame Carson as through the UVF he “brought the gun back into Irish politics.” Was a British government with Carson and Law forming its coalition going to give all-Ireland Home Rule? One thinks not! Asquith had moved thus far towards partition and with his inept leadership and management, he was open to further concessions! Kennedy makes reference to celebrating Redmond – was Redmond not repsonsible for legitimising and sending many Irishmen to an early grave? Redmond supported Britain’s War effort in a vain attempt to “keep on the right side” of the British Government, to ensure the suspended Government of Ireland Act was to become law! Did his vision as the Prime Minister in waiting supersede his desire for his people? Irishmen were used as his pawn even though recognition of Ulster was part of the provisio.

  6. Joe McVeigh January 14, 2015 at 12:22 pm #

    As Vincent Browne said last night (he got it right for once) there is only one word for it ‘hypocrisy’. He was referring to the hypocrisy of those like Enda Kenny who now defend free speech and supported Section 31 preventing people in the 26 counties from hearing the truth.The hypocrisy of the Irish Times..and the southern political and media establishment. We are in for a fest of hypocrisy during the next year or two. So Jude you will have plenty to write about and no better man to take on the hypocrites..north and south of the border..

  7. LARRY FOGARTY January 14, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    he throws in the usual rubbish a united ireland would have come without 1916……so the bad boys and women of 1916 stoped us having a united ireland……i think he is on his own on that one

  8. ANOTHER JUDE January 14, 2015 at 1:17 pm #

    I don`t know why these characters continue producing their propaganda, any person who changes their political views based on the revisionist musings of a Unionist really doesn`t deserve to be called Nationalist. We know the truth, the `narrative` as tv Mike (with all credit to paddykool…..) would call it. We are Irish.

  9. paul January 14, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Revisionist history. A man who is against a united Ireland suggests it would have happened if nonviolent means only were used, Curious thinking. A country that was denied basic human rights for centuries and was allowed to starve or emigrate while its food was exported to Britain would be united if they had just waited a bit longer? The myth of the great war being fought for small nations was especially true for Ireland. Mr Kennedy seems to conveniently forget that the 6 county statelet was founded on the threat of violence by Carson and those who signed the covenant. He also forgets to mention that the 6 county statelet was perpetuated through violence on the catholic or nationalist community. Fast forward to the 60’s early 70’s. Peaceful civil rights marches for one man one vote, equal housing and employment were met with violence from the State( Burntollet) and culminated with state murder on Bloody Sunday. Mr Kennedy shoudl read his British history and see just how many times ‘his country’ left any of their occupied territories of theiur own volition. However many days I am allowed on this earth, I will never understand why some of the population of Ireland are ashamed of how they won their freedom. It beggars beleif

    Thank you Jude for this column. has anyone asked an Taoiseach his thoughts on the men of 1916? Liam Mellows?

  10. Mick Early January 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm #

    Thanks for the analysis Jude. Have not read the IT yet today. Did they identify him as being part of the Cafogan Group? Sounds like a construction firm anyway

  11. paddykool January 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Jude …It’s a bit like one of those time -travel conundrums that are usually the base plot device for a “what if ?” storyline.Well..what would have happened if there had been no 1916 Rising? You might as well ask what would have happened had Germany won the war. There might have been no second world war or Hitler and nazism .Jews may not have been consigned to death camps ….and in further consequence there might not be an Israel now….and all that followed from that……. This is great fruit for stories and films …but the Rising in 1916 actually did happen and in doing so ,triggered a series of events that led us to where we all are now .
    Conservative elements both north and south wish it would be quietly forgotten.Some would wish to re-write it without the nasty “execution” bits . They’ll argue that something else would have happened without it, forgetting that the Final Settlement was forced on a falsely constructed nationalist minority within the boundaries of a re-drawn “Ulster”…minus three of its counties.The nationalists of the entire experiment never actually agreed to any of that ..and if they did , they are guilty of abandoning many of their fellow citizens to being subjects of a monarchy.
    None of the british have any bother commemorating the First World War like some annual circus, a hundred years after it happened. That’s their right but will that go on forever? Probably ..until a generation down the line can’t remember anymore….like those really old battered headstones in a graveyard that nobody can relate to anymore.Poor forgotten… very old people from long long ago.
    These 1916 Rising stories are beginning to appear in the press …probably seeded there …as 2016 approaches . The surviving family members of those involved have apparently been kept out of any preparations. Well you know , if Netanyahu can arrive to protest in Paris , it’s a sure thing that the Establishment in Ireland will want to invite some British representatives to the “celebrations” so that might upset a few applecarts… Things are far from resolved in many minds both nationalist and unionist by the look of things.I can’t see it being a celebratory event somehow..

  12. Norma wilson January 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    God pray for us and keep us safe when this UI COMES.
    I would have no faith in the government, I don’t believe they could stick tails on sweetie mice.
    They are a poor country, it has fought for its independence and then gave it away, to be ruled by Germany. All this in less than a century, for biggest part they were dirt poor.
    Then they got rich, (Celtic Tiger) and the rest is history.
    I don’t know how they live down there, paying for Doctors school books.water income tax 52%.
    It’s at times like this I am glad I am over 60.
    Say what you want about being BRITISH, you lot have lived well of the fat of the land.

    • paddykool January 14, 2015 at 3:55 pm #

      Ahh Norma ..there’s another good forty years in you yet!! Sixty is the new forty , isn’t it?

    • Surveyor January 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

      They seem to be doing ok Norma judging by the numbers of big fancy cars I see in Newry with Republic registered number plates. Even the dole is better paid down there than in the North which says a lot about the financial might of Britain, which only seems to help the Super Rich.

      And the last time I looked the local A+E departments here were full to overflowing which necessitated operations being cancelled, and that’s not to mention the 10,000 odd people having their water cut off suddenly. And add in the high price of heating oil and electricity it’s truly nirvana indeed!

      • Antonio January 14, 2015 at 11:25 pm #


        Others have tried to get through to Norma in the past but alas it is a futile exercise.
        In Norma’s south of the border is a third world country and no amount of facts and figures will change a persons mind when they are determined to believe whatever suits them

  13. Iolar January 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    “Upon mature reflection…”

    A major flaw in the article on ‘1916’ is its lack of context, that being an analysis of the redrawing of the world’s frontiers after 1918. Robert Fisk in his book, ‘The Great War for Civilization’ writes,

    “…it was to take …just twenty-three months to create those artificial borders and the equally artificial nations contained within them…The new state of Great Lebanon was torn from the body of Syria… 30 August 1920…the so-called Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was promulgated on 28 June 1921. And the Anglo-Irish Treaty that partitioned Ireland was signed…6 December 1921…It is still a quaint reflection…that most of the redrawing of maps and setting up of nations was supposedly done on behalf of minorities…who did not want their maps redrawn at all.” (Fisk 2005:376)

    Mr Kennedy does not define or explain what he means when he writes,
    “…to worship as Nationalist Ireland has done…at the shrine of violence cloaked in the veil of heroic sacrifice?”

    The north of Ireland became a shrine for Unionist misrule constructed with violence and the threat of violence. It was maintained by discrimination, gerrymandering and partial policing. If in any doubt, Mr Kennedy should watch the manner in which the RUC responded to Civil Rights marchers in 1968. The violent and reactionary face of unionism was exposed to the whole world, dressed in the uniform of an officer in the RUC.

  14. Catholicus January 14, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Easter Rising led inexorably to partition. It created the violent counterpoint to the UVF. It’s impossible to say, of course, how events might have evolved, but think of Canada or Australia – independent, with provincial levels of government as well. A way could have been found to help move unionism.

    • TheHist January 14, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

      Catholicus, “a way could have been found to move unionism” – any suggestions how you could move or change the mindset of 90,000 armed Volunteers and some 450,000 men and women who signed the Ulster Covenant to resist Home Rule “by all means necessary”? Not to mention having the backing of the formal opposition at Westminster! In effect it was the UVF who created the Irish Volunteers not the Easter Rising!

  15. giordanobruno January 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

    The argument should stand or fall on its merits.
    Whether it is made by a Unionist or a 7th day adventist or a monkey.
    We can speculate about what might have happened without the 1916 rising but what we know is it failed to produce a United Ireland.

    • Jude Collins January 14, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

      I’m trying to remember what the argument was, gio…But you’re right, it didn’t produce an independent Ireland. Yet.

      • North Munsterman January 15, 2015 at 11:23 am #

        There were 2 choices :

        (I) A United British-annexed Ireland within the UK
        (ii) as much as possible of Ireland independent – and to bring the remaining
        Green Field back when possible.

        Option (iii) a 32 county independent Ireland was not obtainable – by any means – at that time.

        Jude – if you had to make the choice a 100 years ago between (i) and (ii) above, which one would you have chosen ?

        Unionists may try to crow about the fact that there is not yet a Re-United independent Ireland – but they can hardly be proud of the shameful sectarian FUBAR statelet in the northern 6 counties that they helped create on the back of their rejection of the democratic wishes on the Irish nation in 1918.

        The good news is that re-United Ireland is inevitable – of that there is no doubt.

        • neill January 15, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

          The good news is that re-United Ireland is inevitable – of that there is no doubt.

          Yeah yeah yeah once again just because you say so doesn’t make it so

  16. Antonio January 14, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    It is a warped mindset that condemns the violence of Irish republicanism yet seeks to celebrate the violence of world war one as a just cause of sorts. Warped!

    • Roisin January 14, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      very well put……..and the crown sell poppies to keep them in luxurious lifestyle.They couldnt care less about ex vets.Its all wrong.i was in the Poppy factory on a special tour years ago and spoke to the workers.They have terrible conditions of work.Slaves really and no proper employment rights.Its disgusting.

  17. Perkin Warbeck January 14, 2015 at 8:44 pm #

    Could be, Esteemed Blogmeister, that The Unionist Times could do more worser (best English in the world is spoke in Dublin) than take a falling leaf out of the Met Office book as long as they laughingly persist in styling themselves as The Irish Times.

    Thus, an Orange Status Alert could be issued with such restrained rants from the likes of the liberal laptop of Denis ‘Diffident’ Kennedy. This could be upped to a Yellow Status Alert when,say, Brigadier K.Myers, CBE gets his opportunity (fret ye not: he will ! he will !) to gently brandish General Maxwell’s Silver Hammer..

    The same hammer which proved quite a useful tool in the Stonebreaker’s Yard in 1916.

    Joan was quizzical,studied pataphysical
    Science in her room
    Late nights all alone with her test tube
    Oh, oh, oh.

    The reference to ‘late nights’ in line 3 might well go some way towards explaining why she has made the position of An Yawnaiste her very own.

    And as for the p for ‘pataphysical’ word. This has caused some head scratching in the groves of academe. But no longer, ever since it was pointed out that this was a socialist science pioneered by a former colleagues of Joan’s in the Free Southern Stateen branch of the Mainland Labour Party.

    Conor Cruise O’Brien, so good they named him thrice.

    The first syllable of pataphysics refers to those Paddies who belonged to what Congo Crisis O’Brain (so good they named him thrice – twice!) coined such a memorable sobriquet for: Bog-oak Monolith.

    Bog-oak Monolith: geddit? Its acroynm is BoM. Boom ! Boom !

    Another of Corn on the CO’B’s (so good they named him thrice – thrice !) unforgettable coinages was: The Fairyhouse Tradition.

    This, of course, refers to the majority (overwhelming) of ordinary decent down to earth Dublin folk who betook themselves to the Royal Meath racecourse on Easter Monday, 1916. That is, those of whom hadn’t gone abroad (for perfectly valid reasons ranging from flat feet to nocturnal emissions) to participate in the Great Donkey Derby 14-18.

    Which rattles the tin cup of curiosity and begs the question obvious: what IS it exactly that these loyal readers of TUT have about …..quadrupeds?

    The 3.10 to Yuma got a timely mench from you recently, EB. At first one thought it was in connection with the recent success of Andy Lee, successful dabbler in the sock exchange, and who dedicated his victory in Vegas to his former mentor, the great Emmanuel Stewart.

    The author of the short story upon which the movie(s) 3.10 to Yuma (surely one of the great titles in fillumic history) were based was also a great fan of Emmanuel S and indeed namechecked his legendary boxing gym, the Kronk (of yellow trunks fame) on occasion in his novels.

    That was the poet of Detroit City, Elmore Leonard. Before he turned his wry eye on the mean streets of his native MoTown to pen his imperishable, brake fluid books, he had tried his hand at horse rather than horsepower stories. Thus, the 3.10 to Yuma.

    Town Drunk: What’d they look like?
    Sheriff: Oh, they’d be easy to catch. That’s three large men on three white horses.
    Town Drunk: Three white men on three large horses. Ok.

    This dialogue took place in Contention City and it focuses on the unreliability of the hearsay version of history that those belonging to the Bog-oak Monolith have been subjected to.

    For Contention City, read Dublin. Hence the necessity (sheer) of this series in The Unionist Times. in which disinterested and professional Largebrains on White Horses ride into town to clear up certain, erm, misconceptions.

    Thus, 1916 is well on its way to being morphed into: 19.16 to Fairyhouse.

    Mind you, it will not be without its potholes and An Yawnaiste might well ponder the second verse:
    Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine
    Calls her on the phone
    ‘Can I take you to the pictures,Joan?’
    But as she’s getting ready to go
    A knock came to the door
    Bang ! Bang ! Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
    Came down on her head……’

    To conclude: with three simple words of warning: Conor. Cruise. O’Brien.

    Think, Yawnaiste, what happened to ……the Golden One on the Gold Coast.

    Up ‘n Down.

    That’s life.

  18. Cushy Glen January 15, 2015 at 2:32 pm #

    It’s an odd world we live in, full of contradiction and illusion. Things are rarely as they are perceived, especially so in Ireland.

    Revolutionary Irish republicanism has all but destroyed the prospect of their nirvana: a united Ireland and now their northern leadership helps administer the British state.

    On the other side of the coin, Ian Paisley (the Daddy) did more than revolutionary Irish republicanism ever did to destroy the unionist monolith in the north. In fact he did no harm whatever to his allegedly sworn enemies – the IRA – in his 50 year career. He even ended his days best friends with a former IRA leader who he worked with in government better than he had ever worked with his unionist rivals. Indeed Paisley ended his days alienated from most of his former comrades and brethren while the IRA leader paid the elderly Paisley kind house visits.

    Since the dawn of time Ireland has been full of myths and legends. Nothing has changed since the time of Finn mac Cool.

  19. James January 15, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    Hi Neil, I am intrigued by your comment regarding ‘the almost complete control of the state by the catholic church’ This is a genuine question. Could you give me some instances where the catholic church had/has control of the state? I have been racking my brains to come up with some answers, I have failed miserably so I am looking to you to enlighten me.

    Norma, I always get the feeling that secretly you go all warm and fuzzy when conjuring up the south as a place where people go about barefoot and have barely enough to eat. I get the impression it makes you feel a little superior.. I hate to burst your bubble Norma, but the country I inhabit is none of those things, rather it is a dynamic and forward-looking society where everyone gets along, no matter what their religion or none. All this in spite of having to bail out the European banks (note in reality Ireland did not receive a bail-out) rather we came to the rescue of Europe in her time of need, if we did not, the whole European project would have been in grave danger. At this point in time Europe owes this country a considerable sum of money, not much chance of getting it back either! So Norma, I am sure that you are, at heart, a very nice person, but give your well-worn line regarding the ‘poor relations in the south’ a rest. In making those remarks you are just showing how little you know about this part of the country. When I say country Norma I mean the whole 32 counties. Ouch, I hope that did not hurt too much!

    • NorthMunsterman January 16, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      Excellent post.

      • Jude Collins January 17, 2015 at 10:33 am #

        You talkin’ to me, NM? (Thinks: I do hope so …)

  20. James January 17, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    I don’t mind sharing the plaudits Jude!

  21. NorthMunsterman January 17, 2015 at 6:03 pm #

    Jude / James

    Both of you take a bow 🙂

    and keep up the excellent posts.