Prof John A Murphy, 2016 and how to fool yourself


It gets closer every day, and as it does the politicians in the south get more and more uneasy. I’m referring to the coming of the centenary of the  Easter 1916 Rising. Professor Ronan Fanning  has cut through the cringe-making government video for 2016 (which has since been withdrawn) by calling for a “shameless celebration” of the event.  Prof Diarmuid Ferriter has called the video “unhistorical shit”.(No, I didn’t know professors talked that way either, Virginia.)

But now over the hills comes riding Professor John A Murphy, Emeritus Professor of Irish History at UCC. He reminds Fanning and anyone else listening that we will  be “celebrating” (his quotation marks) the 1916 Rising as “a partitioned state, something which would have been anathema to the insurgents”. ‘Strewth. Has the Cork professor, late of the Sindo where he raged against all things republican,  had a change of heart in his old age? Has he dared to mention the 2016 flea-ridden baboon in the living-room that so many other commentators are puffing and sweating to ignore? It would appear so. Until we get to the next sentence in the Sindo man’s letter: “”They [the 1916 insurgents] shared the general nationalist self-deception that the island of Ireland was one nation.”

There you have it. There’ll be those who believe that the men and women of 1916 had a vision of a 32-county Irish republic, there’ll be those who believe the same thing but consider the 1916 people deluded (cf Prof J A Murphy) and finally those (the great majority of southern politicians) who tie themselves in a contortionist’s knot trying to celebrate the birth of Irish independence while at the same time doing their damnedest to ignore the fact that six northern counties still await the dawning of their independence day. The mental knot people will sweat and strain  because if they admit that Pearse and Co had in mind a 32-county republic, someone might ask them what they and their party have been doing for the last one hundred years. And they might even be faced with questions about the link between the violence of 1916 and that of our more recent northern Troubles.

Stop sweating, guys. Hit the Murphy road and declare the 1916 people to be a mentally aberrant posse of self-deluders, that there’s no such concept as a 32-county republic. Only wait a minute…Is it OK to have a commemoration/celebration of men and women who were (i) violent and (ii) codded themselves that Ireland extends from Derry to Cork and from Newry to Galway?

Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive.

, , ,

23 Responses to Prof John A Murphy, 2016 and how to fool yourself

  1. Francis February 27, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    Perish the thought that all of Ireland was included in the vision of these Godfathers of terrorism…
    A friend of mine was shown a map up on a wall,-northern Ireland from outer space….he wet himself quietly as coming from a unionist with a small u background(since renounced being a reasonable sort) he viewed a map of the Six county statelet with none of the rest of the country attached. Superimposed clouds and even the Sea where Cavan should have been, have confirmed what only NASA, Extraterrestrials and FG have known all along….Ireland is one big geographical lie….the mason in question, or flat earth evangelical Orange Order man or whatever form of curious relic he is, found himself a bit embarrassed at my friends remarks on the boundary commission (his mischief couldn’t contain itself) and he ventured that the original plan was all nine counties of Ulster….The flat Earth Zealot has since repositioned the picture from its prominence and the head of the Crime Syndicate Cartel of Windsor is up in its place. As she owns the whole coastline, how she will delight to know she has much more coastline around the colony than until now assumed…..Fermanagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, and especially Cavan, hotspots for Mackeral, Cod and of course the Obligatory lesser spotted Red Herring….Uladh abu

  2. Iolar February 27, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    Éire ina bhfuil romhainn/Ireland in the coming times (Ó Direáin)

    I have no doubt that the signatories of the Irish Proclamation would possibly regard some bankers and politicians as a mentally aberrant posse of self-deluders. The signatories of the Irish Proclamation may have been executed, however, their legacy stands the test of time. Who will remember the bankers and politicians who sold their integrity for euro, dollar or sterling?

    It is not necessary to speculate how Pearse would respond to the suggestion that “they [the 1916 insurgents] shared the general nationalist self-deception that the island of Ireland was one nation.” He addresses it in the context of repression with an eloquence that avoid the need for “unhistorical s..t.”

    “I have claimed elsewhere that the native Irish education system possessed two characteristics: first, freedom for the individual and secondly, an adequate inspiration…The word freedom is no longer understood in Ireland…The English have established the simulacrum of an education system, but its object is the precise contrary of the object of an education system. Education should foster; this education is meant to repress. Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame…”

    Ó Direáin cuts to the chase with surgical precision in his poem,

    Na Coillteáin/The Eunuchs.

    “Óir níl éad níos géire/Na éad an choillteáin/Le fear na gcloch.”

    “For there’s no keener envy/Than that of the eunuch/For the man with balls.”

    • Jude Collins February 27, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

      “Óir níl éad níos géire/Na éad an choillteáin/Le fear na gcloch.”

      “For there’s no keener envy/Than that of the eunuch/For the man with balls.” – Thank you, Iolar. I think I’ll make that my thought for the day…

    • ben madigan February 27, 2015 at 9:46 pm #

      “I have no doubt that the signatories of the Irish Proclamation would possibly regard some bankers and politicians as a mentally aberrant posse of self-deluders.”

      As early as the Fenians Irish patriots were well aware of what was going on so i have no reason to think the Signatories didn’t. Does anyone really think Connolly didn’t agree with the quote below?

      “the disarmament, degradation, extermination and periodical destruction of the Irish people are measures of policy dictated, not by pure malignity, but by the imperious requirements of the system of Empire administered in London. They must go on . . . while the British Empire goes on—and . . . there is no remedy for them under Heaven save the dismemberment of that Empire.
      John Mitchel (1860)

  3. Wolfe tone February 27, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    ‘Roast an Irishman on a spit, and you can be sure to get another one to turn him’.

    The adage above sums up this ‘irish’ clampet Murphy. The legacy of English colonialism still prevails in all parts of Ireland to this day. People like Murphy would have been useful tools for the English centuries ago ie they would have assisted the invader in oppressing his own people. Heck they are even useful now for some…….they havnt gone away you know.

    • Antonio February 27, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

      Quislings: an unfortunate curse on the Irish people

  4. James February 27, 2015 at 1:11 pm #

    I have very little time for revisionist historians, so I’ll keep this one very, very, short. As long as the good ‘professor’ gets the message that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, then I will be satisfied. From this Jude you will realise I am not a member of his fan-club.

    • Jude Collins February 27, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

      A sixth sense told me that, James.

  5. Mary Jo February 27, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    We’re coming up on the 8 March, 50th anniversary of the blowing up of Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street. In 1966, an era of unashamed patriotic commemoration of 1916, this song stayed in the Irish charts for 8 weeks:

    I remember it was the non-stop favourite on the jukebox in my local chipper.

    What a pity we don’t have another Nelson’s Pillar to blow up. It would give us a break from the 1916 deniers.

    • ben madigan February 27, 2015 at 9:36 pm #

      great minds think alike!!!
      i quoted that song in my blog on Edward Carson “Founding father of Unionism, who made no outstanding contribution to British politics”, suggesting his statue outside Stormont should go – preferably straight into some museum as it is a monument to failure

      Next week we could also celebrate the 45th anniversary of this event involving another statue

      3/3/1970 British Army engineers take away the fallen statue of ‘Roaring Hugh Hanna’ after an early morning IRA bomb blast at Carlisle Circus.

      Read all about “Roaring Hugh’s” contribution to community relations and the origin of Orange Parades past St patrick’s Pro-cathedral

    • Mary Jo February 28, 2015 at 8:49 am #

      Oops – that was a very seniot moment yesterday when I mistook 49 years for 50. A whole year to wait to commemorate Nelson.

    • islander March 3, 2015 at 9:10 pm #

      Mary Jo, you touch the memory strings-I remember the bus being blocked for hours along the Quays that morning and missing a very important(for me) Physics lecture.
      Wasn’t that just after Lemass was engaged in dialogue with Stormont and another part of
      his extended family was trying to assert himself.

  6. Antonio February 27, 2015 at 6:45 pm #

    ”They [the 1916 insurgents] shared the general nationalist self-deception that the island of Ireland was one nation.”

    I’m not sure whether Murphy is saying the island is not one nation because northern Protestants see themselves as part of the British nation and not the Irish nation or whether he views the nation as ending at the border. Is Murphy saying Thomas Clarke, from Dungannon County Tyrone and one of the signatories to the proclamation of Independence took part in an armed rebellion to liberate a nation that he was not actually a part of. Clarke was under the illusion that he was part of the Irish nation.

    Was the 19th century leader of the I.R.B Bulmer Hobson, a Protestant from Lisburn, also suffering this self deception that he was part of an all-island nation??

    • Francis February 27, 2015 at 11:16 pm #

      You observations would be above the head of the venerable Professor Antonio. There seems a very generous propensity among some academics to donate a part of the country they are remote from. This selfless generosity would have prevailed Of Course if they had been trapped in the six county stateen. Doubtless Tom Clarke himself was prepared to hand himself over for extradition on tn the solidification of Partition on the outstanding charge of meddling in another countries’ foreign affairs. As he was executed for causing a breach of the peace in the homogenous 26, it remains academic at what part either the schism in his own political confusion might be exposed, or at what point he would generously donate his freedom and the rest of Dungannon’s into the rightful jurisdiction to which it was devinely fated. Treason, he’d have been shot, but by whom? Perhaps Murphy’s forefathers might have escorted him off the premises of the 26 after a success in 1916? The partitionist mind boggles.

  7. Perkin Warbeck February 27, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    On first looking at the photograph which graces today’s communication, Esteemed Blogmeister, one was reminded that road bowling is not the only element which links Cork and Armagh together.

    At first glance, one mistakenly thought it was an actual Other and it required a double take to realise it was not in fact Seamas Mallon (for it is he !) but rather J. Augustine Murphy, Professor Emeritus of Detritus Studies at the Queen’s College, Cork, no other.

    In his own defence, the confusion, Perkie must aver, m’lud, is understandable. While the crotchety duo of curmudgeons have always been feochadan-faced at best the older they get and the more waspish and vinegary have their barbs become (if possible) so also has the similarity between the briar-features of the pair of town criers converged.

    Feochadan being leprechaun for thistle.

    Could it be this outer resemblance is influenced by the sameness of their inner tautness?

    At the merest mench of their Bogey Men both Old Fogeys go into Full Monty mode on a fulltime basis: think bulldog, tongue, nettle, urine. Their Bogeys being, gan dabht, the Okies from Muskogee who like to wave Old Glory down at the GPO.

    The burning of Old Glory at the apex of tyre-pyres (a daaarling phrase, Joxer) on culturally significant bonfires just does not seem to have the same capacity to disturb the mellowness of their sere and yellow.

    Of course, it is not that they are totally interchangeable. Like road bowling in the two counties, there are differences. In South Armagh, moc, as the thrower jogs up to the throwing mark his business arm and bowl are stretched behind him while in Wesht Cork, boy, the thrower’s arm and bowl are lifted up and back.

    But of course, these differences are essentially cosmetic (though not a word one would use in the vicinity of the mocs or the boys, like) as they both are subsumed into the fundamental and crucial end-stroke: the Underhand Throw.

    Already there are whispers of the whiskered comedy duo joining forces with the maddening advent of the Easter 16 Shindig. One rumour more often heard than others is the one that suggests they will take to the low road as a Krankie Tribute Act. And tour what is affectionately known as the Incontinence Pad Circuit.

    The only loose end to tie up is which of the cross-grained pair will take the part of Wee Jimmy Krankie. Though the odds are on the oyster-eyed contrarian from the cloisters of Cork, being that the role demands a hackneyed academic background, complete with school cap and blazer, with striped-tie askew and shoelaces undone and – de riquer – one stocking up and the other one down.

    Now, while the Aardvark of Ard Mhaca (as reasonably famous Seamus is affectionately known) also has an academic back story (or sorts) the deciding factor -apart from considerations of stature – will be on the putative character’s ability to reproduce the shrill-glass-smashing catch-phrase of the original.

    And this is where J. Augustine scores. For in one of those curious coincidences in which Fate seems to specialise, faith, said catch-cry and J. Og Augustine’s rosc catha/ war cry as he wound up the bowl prior to orgasmically unleasing it in his trademarke underhand stroke, were one and identical:

    – It’s Fan-Dabi-Dozi !

    Seems like we’ll be hearing it some during the run up to the Easter 16 Shindig.

    • Francis February 28, 2015 at 8:23 am #

      Vintage stuff Perkin. I am being in absolute earnest when I say I’d order the first ten copies of your book in advance as presents if you would collect or Marshall your writings into a compendium before Christmas.
      Am avoiding the landmine of sycophancy as tentatively as I can, but your contributions ate written with a verve non parell and an absolute pleasure to read, as well as illuminating. A brilliant counter narrative to anti Republicans who vie for the zenith of artistic verve. We have our own luminaries,and you without doubt stand head and shoulders a colossus in this regard. Jude also, and others on this forum on which I count my own dyslexic scribblings but pale shadows in contrast. Your assessments are both timely and visceral and will commit to ten copies of your first compendium in advance if you are disposed to undertake the project. Before the 1916 commemorations, such a book would be invaluable.

      • Jude Collins February 28, 2015 at 9:34 am #

        You never spoke a truer word, Francis

      • Perkin Warbeck February 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

        GRMA,. Francis.

        Although my favourite seanfhocal / proverb from the leprechaun, is ‘molann an saothrai an saothar’/ ‘the work praises the worker’ nonetheless like Samuel Langhorne Clemnens, one can live for a month on a good compliment.

        Or, indeed, so can two, if one includes Mark Twain.

        Truth to tell, one must doff one’s duncher in the direction of our Esteemed Blogmeister.

        For not only providing a sorely-needed soapbox but for setting a standard on a daily basis which coerces all us blogtrotters by his example to trip the light fantastic at a more exalted level than we might otherwise have attempted. (A feeling one first encountered when a callow youth in his coercive classroom where the Prevention of Errorism Act was applied every day).

        Truly does he fulfill the role of the mosquito press in Moscow back in the sickle-shaped Soviet reign of repression. If there were an All-Ireland trophy for the best blogballer then he would be winning the Samizdat Maguire Cup for the umpteenth time.

        Now wonder he was named what he was, given the lost causes and hopeless cases who flock to his blog. He does the Stateens on both sides of the Black Pig’s Dyke some service.


        Perkie’s inner magpie is sorely tempted to filch that enviable phrase ‘am avoiding the landmine of sycophancy as tentatively as I can’ and indeed has. To be stored away in the nest out of sight till use is found for it in the future, when nobody is looking.

        Beir bua agus gach beannacht.

        • Jude Collins February 28, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

          Perkie – you’ve done what I thought impossible – gone up further in my estimation. Me, I refuse all sustenance other than compliments…Grma

          • Sherdy February 28, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

            Jude, I knew there was a reason why you’re so frail!

  8. michael c February 28, 2015 at 11:48 am #

    John A like many other revisionists claims family ties to “the good old IRA” to give his ravings some legitamacy.Apparently his”oul boy” was active during the tan war but was such a gentleman that he never actually fired a shot.According to John A ,his father was “a skilled carpenter” and so his “skills” were deployed in felling trees for roadblocks as he hadnt the bloodlust of the Tom Barry types.I never knew that you had to have served an apprenticeship before the RA would let you cut down a tree or that they compartmentalised their activities to such an extent.At that rate of going ,in more modern times Francis Hughes (a time served house painter) would have been dispatched to the slogan painting department and local wildfowlers would would have been sent to the front line!

  9. RJC February 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    Slightly off topic, but this makes for an interesting take on les événements of 1916, private education in the the Republic, and the manufacturing of consent

    • John March 2, 2015 at 2:38 am #

      Many thanks for the link RJC – very interesting and illuminating. I’ve always had time for David. Brings me back to the year before ‘the crash’ & the bursting of the property / banking bubble. The Parents of an ex (both retired teachers!) at the time were driving me bananas – going on and on that we should buy a house and get on the property ladder. I constantly told them – the ex – and anyone that would listen what was heading down the road. But what did i know – being a Stagebuilder / lighting & sound tech / roadie at the time. – Though i did get a degree in Business Management & Economics some 15 years before – and my Parents were told half way through Secondary School that i had a strong aptitude in the Commerce subject.
      – I still wonder to this day how many people took my advice not to buy property that was vastly overpriced (plus my late Dad had been a house builder etc in the UK for over 40 years) – and at the end of the day, economics is cyclical – always will be. And once again, both here, and the UK – property prices are heading to ‘silly money’ and out-of-reach prices for first time buyers. (and renters). Not helped by policies by the Coalitions on both sides of the water.

      Hope you’re keeping well by the way.