You can’t party forever

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There appears to be general agreement that the south’s Easter Rising commemorations (so far) have gone extremely well. The rain held off, the people came out – there was a rejoicing in the courage of the handful of men who challenged an empire and created conditions for its defeat. I heard of no instance where a citizen of the southern state said “Here, we should stop codding ourselves. We haven’t got within an ass’s roar of the republic declared by Pearse and Co.”

Why is that? Well, like it or not people take their lead from the media. Occasionally they over-ride the media and take things into their own heads and hands, an example being the mass demonstrations against water charges. Another might be the reception that the Love Ulster brigade received when they visited Dublin some years back. But by and large the media make clear what public response should/will be, and the public breathe this in and accept it as a given.

So none of the people on the streets of Dublin and other southern cities called a halt in their festivities to reflect on the appalling government they had endured for five years, or on the broken health system, or on the housing famine or the mass emigration of their sons and daughters. Does that mean they have wiped their minds clean of such foul-smelling matters? I think not. One thing the Irish people are good at is having a party, and over last weekend they paused for a mass party.

So although in my gloomier moments I’m tempted to think that the southern population regard northern nationalists/republicans as a pain in the ass that they wish would go away, just as the people in Britain see the northern unionists as a pain in the ass they wish would cease to exist, I think it’s more than that. The very fact that the southern population were partying over what Easter 1916 had delivered for them doesn’t mean they don’t know a lying, oppressive government when they see one, and it doesn’t mean they don’t have a sense of Ireland as stretching from Derry to Dingle and Newry to Achill. It’s just that they’ve been taught it’s not polite – maybe even dangerous – to talk of such matters in public. But it’s a superficial lesson they’ve been given. Change the media environment along with the government and we might be surprised at what lurks in southern hearts.

15 Responses to You can’t party forever

  1. MT March 30, 2016 at 9:44 am #

    Partying over an act of violence. Nice.

    • James.Hunter March 30, 2016 at 11:30 am #

    • Antonio March 30, 2016 at 2:14 pm #

      Inconceivable that Unionists would ever gather to celebrate acts of violence of course. Inconceivable

      • Ryan March 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm #

        I agree Antonio. The Battle of the Boyne was just a friendly picnic that ended in a non-violent squabble between King James and King William….

        PS: Don’t mention fact the Pope gave his total support for King William during the squabble and King William carried the Papal Banner…..the Pope even had a Mass of celebration in the Vatican after the Battle in honour of King William…..there were even bead rattling Catholic Monks praying and walking ahead of King William as he went into battle….but shush! just agree that it was all about those pesky Catholics fighting against Protestant civil and religious liberty lovers, as the Orange Order preach……

    • Ryan March 30, 2016 at 9:44 pm #

      I take it you weren’t celebrating Carl Framptons boxing victory over Quigg last month, MT? Boxing is, after all, a sport of violence….along with Wrestling, Kick Boxing, UFC sports, etc….

      I take it you oppose all violence, including violent sports MT? and, of course, I’m sure you will also be boycotting the commemoration of the most extreme violence the World maybe ever seen when Britain declared War on Germany and started WW1?….

      • MT March 31, 2016 at 9:56 am #

        If you’re referring to Remembrance Day, it’s not a party, but a solemn act of remembrance.

        • Antonio March 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

          Actually it was more the twelfth I had in mind. The twelfth is more like a party than a commemoration.

          As for remembrance Sunday it’s an act of remembrance for the British who died, a cursory mention of the French, Russian allies of the time are ignored, the German, Austrian & Turkish enemies aren’t remembered. Maybe that means they got what they deserved. Food for thought for unionists and their revisionist pals south of the border as they demand equal recognition for the British soldiers killed in Dublin in 1916.

          • MT March 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

            “Actually it was more the twelfth I had in mind.”

            But I wasn’t responding to you.

            “The twelfth is more like a party than a commemoration.”

            It is.

            “As for remembrance Sunday it’s an act of remembrance for the British who died, a cursory mention of the French, Russian allies of the time are ignored, the German, Austrian & Turkish enemies aren’t remembered. Maybe that means they Got they deserved.”

            No it’s just because remembrance is about remembering our own servicemen.

            “Food for thought for unionists & their revisionist pals south of the border as they demand equal recognition for the British soldiers killed in Dublin in 1916.”

            Not really. I don’t think unionists in NI have the power or influence to change Remembrance Sunday across the UK and Commonwealth. In any case Remembrance and the 1916 celebrations aren’t equivalent.

  2. michael c March 30, 2016 at 10:49 am #

    It’s not over yet.All roads lead to Dublin on April 24 when the masses minus the elite get to have their day.!

  3. Iolar March 30, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    Events in Dublin were described as “respectful and dignified,” during a discussion on RTÉ Radio yesterday, while others took issue with RDE’s “vitriolic” comments about 1916 in a recent debate from the GPO.

    It is evident that the electorate remains disillusioned with politicians squabbling over ministerial mercs and perks. After its worst election, the Irish Labour Party is locked in a debate about the umbilical cord between it and Fine Gael in spite of a clear message from some voters about the pursuit of right wing austerity policies.

    The ‘independence’ of many independents will be put to the test in the days and weeks ahead, particularly those who reached a quota on the basis of a handful of votes. The electorate have thrown down a gauntlet to elected representatives. It is a case of putting people first, not another rainbow coalition advocating the tightening of belts. Political posturing is no substitute for a political process that places the priorities of the electorate at the centre of a programme for government.

  4. Belfastdan March 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm #


    Yes I too get the feeling of the being the child that wasn’t invited to the party and looking through the window watching all the others enjoying themselves. That aside it could yet spark a mood of introspection and reflection within the people of the entire country.

    Yesterday evening on RTE’s programme about the daily workings of the GPO a homeless man stated that the current set up in the Republic was not what those who fought in the rising listen had died for, and over the days I have heard many people echo that statement.

    In the coming months and years there are many events to be commemorated, all of them more contentious and potentially divisive than the rising. I feel a period of national soul searching has begun and that can only be for the good.

  5. Perkin Warbeck March 30, 2016 at 1:45 pm #

    Re. the title of today’s bulletin, Esteemed Blogmeister, somebody should try telling that to the theatrical wing of the coalition parties, the wing that really likes to party.

    That would be the Abbey Theatre which has been in party mode this celebratory year for longer than most and displays all the signs of outlasting all the other parties put together. One was reminded of this by their most recent piece of gushy puffery about this week’s production in their bargain basement theatre, the Peacock.

    ‘This week we are delighted to welcome the first play performed in Arabic in the Abbey Theatre.

    Oyoun Theatre and Khashabib Theatre


    30th May – 2 APRIL

    (Four Performances only / Tickets from 13 euros)

    A masked soldier stands beside an open grave.

    He is burying somebody alive. This soldier is fulfilling his duty and this must be his victim.
    We are delighted to stage this production at the Abbey Theatre during Easter 2016.’


    Indeed, Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

    Coincidentally, even as this hoopla was being hyped, on the other side of the Liffey in a different theatre of the absurd with a captive audience another bit of Barnham and Bailey biz was being ballyhooed in Baile Atha Cliath.

    It involved one, Frank McGuinness announcing an upchucking, oops, upcoming cultural event to celebrate or even to commemorate the Easter Week thingy in Kilmainham Gaol (for it is !). Though, perhaps, Jail might be more appropriate in one regard (see below) just as concelebrate might be le mot juste in the other regard.

    For, seemingly, it involves Frank McGuinness gathering together around him a , erm, cell of six other uber Irish fellow writers to do some readings, possibly even from the works of the Middle Eastern, oops, Easter 16 poets. A sort of post-mortem, postmodern plug for the poetry of those who were, erm, plugged in the Stonebreakers’ Yard.

    Fascinating all the same how so many (gulp) internationally-acclaimed post-Leprechaun scribblers in the Q’s English have suddenly and simultaneously stumbled on their national pride. Gone so far, indeed, as to put the Pat back into Patriotism even as they queue up to take their elbow-jostling, high-profile places in the, erm, Green Room.

    Confucius say: the gig is mightier than the sword.

    As for the staging of a play in Arabic in the Peacock, and despite being (gasp) trumped as the first production in that lingua, The Perkin has (all too) vivid recollections of the Bould Frank circa 1990 sitting on a panel on the stage of the Peacock at a forum on Irish Theatre, that sorta thingy.

    Back then, the Donegal Dramatist peered through a gap in a prototype Conor McGregor-style red beard; nowadays that facial fungus has morphed and matured into a really patrician Hemmingway show of snowy white.

    When a fellow groundling, an Egyptian academic, as one recalls, put his hand up and politely asked the Donegal Dramatist, known for his translations from the Norwegian, Russian, Greek and possibly Swahili itself, what his take was on the Irish language, the replay was frank, eminently Frank.

    -My native language is: ENGLISH !

    That snarled retort of self-denial fairly made the abashed Arab academic wish he was back on the banks of the Nile. No, Frank is not as enthusiastic about being a Gael, whatever about being a Gaol wordbird. (see above).

    Did one mention that the Abbey Theatre are also delighted to put on a production of Frank’s masterpiece (which McGuinness play has been good for them in the past) later in the year as part of their carefully calibrated programme of drama for this Year of Commemoration 2016:

    -Observe the Sons of Ulster marching towards the Somme.

    Bids fair to be another (yawn) Enchanted Evening. That is bound to put many bums of seats.

    The courageously imaginative and imaginatively courageous playwright from Buncrana is on record as saying his original ambition was to become a songwriter like…….Paul McCartney.

    Such a pity, therefore, that he did not experience a lightbulb moment which might have facilitated the presence of Sir (optional) Paul on the line up on the Kilmainham Gig. He could have sung two of his eminently apt songs for the occasion:

    -Maxwell’s Silver Hammer and Give Ireland back to the Irish.

    The Perkin is in no doubt about the Liverpudlian genius (whose Mum was a Moen from Monaghan) from experience in a Millennium project. This songwriter of the ages was then all set to give that gig a go till a death in the family unfortunately knocked that plan on the head.

    Just as the Golden Fleecy drama about the Somme and Sommy and co with their Tommy guns will keep the greasy tills of the Abbey party fumbling merrily along, and along, one ought not to forget that the party got off to a hearty start with a pottytboiler called ‘Cypress Avenue’ in February.. It featured a Loyalist who febriley imagines his five year old grand-daughter is……A Leader of A Particular Party.

    -Arlene Foster? Enda (?) Kenny ? Joan Burton? John Bruton? Seamus Mallon? Rev / Irrev. I. Paisley ??

    -No. No. No. No. No. No/ No.

    In fact, it was Fear an Feasoige / G. Adams.

    Not sure about this play, the actors or the playwright, but the Abbey Theatre’s timing was impeccable, with its hint of the topic du times, Abuse, erm, Political Abuse; smack bang in the middle of GE 2016.

    Meanwhile, let us enjoy the current production ‘New Middle East’ by the good old, dear old New West Britain.

    Epilogue: did the Abbey Theatre seek get permission from its De Facto De-bearded Board of Dungareed Directorettes to stage this Muslim (i.e. anti-wimmin) play ? And having sought it, did they actually get it?

  6. TheHist March 30, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    It was clear the Irish Government were not enthusiastic about commemorating the truth of the Rising, or its legacy in terms of today. The fact is, the motivation of the Rising has still not been achieved – any outside observer with little knowledge of 100 years ago, from watching the state commemoration, would have thought the ideals of 1916 had been achieved. The question remains- is there an appetite to see the ideals of 1916 become a reality? I’ve think you’ve hit the nail on the head!

    Commemorating the Rising was a mere embarrassment for political elite in the South. The same political elites in the South who would rather forget the history of the country and those men and women who died, striving for a country based on the principles enshrined in the Proclamation. The attitude of the political elite and that of the media in the South has born the brunt of criticism – but how much criticism from the southern Irish people? “Ireland Inspires 2016” video. The “don’t mention the war video.” A Video showing Queen Elizabeth, Cameron, Kenny and Paisley – not a single mention of leaders involved in the Rising. There is a clear Indication of nervousness and reluctance on those in power and those who elect these people to power, to embrace the motives, ideas and people of the Rising. Recent Irish government’s are a million miles removed from the radical ideas contained in the Proclamation. The people of the South are the same, illustrated by the reemergence of FF – the very party responsible for decimating the State. The very party who’s principles are in contradiction to the proclamation. The political class are embarrassed by 1916 and most are afraid to say so publicly. There is ambiguity and dishonest historical revision with an avoidance on the truth. The Easter Rising has been used as a vehicle to promote and connect people to the peace process and the building of Anglo-Irish relations under the guise of reconciliation and respecting traditions – political correctness gone mad.

    I always stated I would be in Dublin for that commemoration – I have continually watched the sanitising and “bastardisation” of the Rising over this past few years and made a conscious decision not to attend. To watch some of the southern political elite attempting to commemorate men and women they probably despise, is sickening. To hear Enda Kenny, even mention the proclamation angered me so much, the TV took the brunt of my reaction (if only goggle box had captured me). To the establishment in the South, there’s an embarrassment about the History of Ireland, there’s an apologist attitude for the actions taken by those of the past. It’s seems Anglo-Irish relations have taken precedence and what’s deemed the “wrongs” of the past have to be rewritten in a way not to offend – France and America, to name but a few – are these countries embarrassed by their past? Have they rewritten their past to suit a contemporary agenda? The past should be remembered for what it was, not how people would like it to have been.

    • MT March 30, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

      “There is a clear Indication of nervousness and reluctance on those in power and those who elect these people to power, to embrace the motives, ideas and people of the Rising.”

      I think it’s more the methods that they’re reluctant to embrace.

  7. Ryan March 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    I think I understand why you can be gloomy sometimes Jude about the southern population, when you see the likes of Fine Gael being elected it is disheartening.

    But I think the vast, vast majority of people in the South do want Irish Unity. Its not at the top of most of their agendas but it doesn’t need to be, as long as they support it that’s all that matters.

    Poll after Poll in the South show a clear majority support Irish Unity, even during the Troubles, the number of people opposing Irish Unity has declined. Of course a poll is a poll, its not a border poll, its just a number of people being asked their opinion, it doesn’t necessarily represent what all the people want. The same of course applies to polls in the North which show a majority support the status quo: a devolved government within the UK. Half of all Pro-Union Protestants support the status quo and devolution, the other half of Pro-Union protestants support Direct Rule from Westminster. But again, its just a poll. The only way we can truly find out if the people in the North or South want rid of the border is through a border poll, obviously.

    I think if a border poll was held next week it would be 70% yes to Irish Unity from the South but I think it would be 60% no to Irish Unity from the North. But that’s only if it was held next week. I think it would be a lot closer in 5-10 years time if a border poll was held. That’s just my opinion anyway.