It’s funny the things that set our blood simmering. I was online the other day, trying to enter for the Dublin Half-Marathon later this month. I got to a Required slot that demanded “Nationality”. Nothing wrong with that, except that it wouldn’t let me write “Irish”; I had to choose from a long list on the drop-down menu. Long but Irishless. In the end I had to choose between two alternatives: “Republic of Ireland” or “Northern Ireland”.
Now I have no problem with saying I’m from Northern Ireland. Given a choice I’d say “North of Ireland”, thus making clear that I thought all of this island was Irish and I wasn’t in love with the state called “Northern Ireland”. But I don’t mind using it when required. The irritating thing in this instance was that I either had to lie and say I was from the Republic of Ireland, or pick ‘Northern Ireland’ and identify this as my nationality. In the end I did just that, but made a point of contacting the race organisers to tell them that Northern Ireland is a state, not a nationality, and that ‘Northern Irish’ is a state of mind, much loved by unionism because it suggests that those so labeling themselves are happy with partition and their place in the UK. My blood bubbled and simmered because I’d been backed into a corner where I couldn’t give my nationality.
Not that the organisers of the Half-Marathon are unique. Time and time again online, I find myself asked to give my post-code. When I give it, the system has raging indigestion because earlier I told them I was Irish. “You can’t be Irish and live at that post-code – you must be British since you’re in the UK!” – that in so many words tends to be their position.
But then my blood cools and I realize we all get too hung up with this sort of thing. Anyone who lives along the border will know that smuggling is part of life. Smugglers use the fact of partition to purchase or sell goods in a way that adds to their bank balance. Since the authorities insisted on creating a border, let’s see what we can squeeze out of it.
When I taught at the Ulster University, I used to get application forms for a course I was teaching. Part of the form required the applicant to say what school they had attended and also what nationality they were. I was struck by how many young people – women particularly – reported that (i) they had attended a school in West Belfast and (ii) their nationality was British.
This could be interpreted as young people abandoning their Irish identity. But two seconds’ thought showed differently. These young people were assuming that the person vetting their form would be a unionist bigot who’d respond badly to someone declaring themselves as Irish. It’d be an own goal and they wouldn’t get on the course. So they put ‘British’. Smart.
Because maybe we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. That greatest of Englishmen William Shakespeare, as usual, cuts to the heart of it all. When Hamlet’s mother lectures him for wearing black and mourning too long over the death of his father, he replies that the outer stuff – dark clothes, sighing, weeping – aren’t important: “I have that within which passeth show;/ These but the trappings and the suits of woe”.
There are people who would be outraged to be classified British, but do nothing to help create the kind of Ireland they say they want. Mercifully other people, like Hamlet, don’t get hung up on labels or nationality correctness: they’re too busy working for the kind of Ireland they want. For those who say they take pride in their nationality, JFK had some advice : ”Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
As you’re presumably a citizen of the Republic of Ireland you could have ticked that box without lying.
But the organisers probably weren’t really asking for your nationality but your place of residence?
No, MT, it was quite clear? “Nationality”…
“No, MT, it was quite clear? “Nationality”…”
But what did they mean by nationality? What would a Polish person have ticked?
Depends on your Pole, I guess. ‘Nationality’ calls for an adjective. I was offered a series of nouns…
“Depends on your Pole, I guess. ‘Nationality’ calls for an adjective. I was offered a series of nouns…”
That’s exactly what I’m getting at. Would the Pole have had to click ‘Poland’ or ‘Polish’? If he former, then maybe they were really looking for residence.
I guess you two are just Poles apart!
Ha ha …Jude.Here’s something else to chew on.It concerns the mysteries of the postal and carrier system. About a month ago I ordered some bits and pieces for my beehives. There are some really excellent plastic frames made by a specific firm which can be used as quick replacements for the traditional wooden frames.They’re novel,quick and snappy and are great in an emergency instead of having to build the usual wooden ones with hammer and nails.I odered them and expected delivery within a few days .There was even tracking info to follow their progress.From the UK they first arrived at something called the “international hub” somewhere in the Republic of Ireland.Then they were re-directed to another “hub”(apparently the right hub) where they seemed to lie static for about three days .At this I began to worry somewhat. Then they were reported as “lost”. Then ,a few minutes later ,they were “found” but instead of being sent to me from that point they were immediately returned to the sender.I contacted the sender and explained all this and eventually got an e-mail message a few days later that she was on holiday, but would send them again and actually double my order as a goodwill gesture for all the hassle . I hadn’t lost the bap as they say, because I’m patient with this sort of thing …just so long as my chain is n’t being pulled and it ‘s a genuine error.I was only too glad that i wasn’t shouting down an empty well.I was overjoyed that I wasn’t actually going to get ripped-off on the deal and so waited patiently again. She eventually got back from holidays and sure enough I got a message that the package (with double goodies) was indeed on its way again. I tracked it again and indeed it entered the system at this same “international hub” again. …..and sure enough it appeared to be heading for that same black hole where the other package got lost.It staggered off again on that same trajectory to its proper “hub” and i fully expected to read that it too was “lost and then found” and sent back to the sender.I waited a few days and then last week as I was building that little wall I ‘d written the story about last week , a big red post -van arrived in the afternoon. I conferred with the postman and we had a chat and a laugh. ..Yes …he said there is a bit of confusion with your parcel alright. There are two labels on it. There on one of the labels was the legend …”Armagh, Co. Dublin, Republic of Ireland”….( what?!!!)… You gotta laugh, eh?……Did I miss the revolution?
Didn’t Kafka or someone write about this outer hell of bureaucracy and endless circles? I feel your pain, PK
Now , Jude …your man , Kafka really had a point, alright.
Oscar Wilde once remarked that it was the inalienable privilege of the artist to give an accurate description of what has never happened. It is also said that there are three sides to every story, your side, my side and the truth. Perhaps it is best to let facts speak for themselves, even when it makes for uncomfortable listening.
Are you throwing in the towel, Jude? After all these years they have finally ground you down. Wouldn’t it be worse if the Nazis had won the last war and you had to call yourself Juden Collins-berg? Did you get a response from the race organisers?
I’m baffled, fiosrach. Not sure if you’re referring to my athletic prowess or my mental state…
As they say: for a man of your age …..”. No I mean are you going to stop bitching about small things that upset us Irish? I hope not! We need a bitcher.
I see, fiosrach. Probably not is the answer. Bitching is too deeply ingrained. But I’m coming more and more to think, if we aren’t prepared to do something, bitching is a waste of good emotional energy
Jude, at your age, do ‘athletic’ and ‘prowess’ really go in the same sentence, or is it all in the mind of the beholder?
I recall, Jude, my first term as a 1st year boarder, at st columbs derry, sept-Dec 1969. You got home every three weeks , but the interim period of time could be frightening and overwhelming fo a child of 11 adjusting to new harsh structured environment, teachers and fellow pupils of varying ages, Anyway, you would console yourself writing letters home and acquainting parents of the poor food, endless study times, teachers nicknames, coldness of the place etc. I had put on the letters ( that first three weeks ) mum and dads home address with Northern Ireland at the end of it. Well, such a telling off I got ,when I came home after three weeks, from dad. Needless to say,that error was never repeated. Henceforth, home address on envelope concluded with Co. Tyrone, or Co.Tyrone Ireland.
You didn’t have ‘Occupied Six Counties”, then, Patrick?? All that you describe re frightening, hunger, etc., I recognise completely. Only we didn’t get home every three weeks – we MIGHT get out town – i.e, a feed of chips and the pictures and smokesmokesmoking fags. It was the worst of times and it was the best of times…
Jude, if your collecting for Trocaire I will pledge a donation ?
Alas, Moser, I was too lazy (and not sure I’d be running) to do the run for charity. But many thanks for the offer. Another time?
Some of these online petition things are worse. I filled in a few for what I thought were noteworthy causes with a comment and my postcode only to see my comment appear on the website followed by my name and a Union Flag. Oh the shame of it!
This morning, Esteemed Blogmeister, one flipped the coin of communication: it fell on the crown side on the first time flip, and on the harp side, the second time around.
Two sides of the same coin: two diametrically different sides, one might add. (A daarlin word, ‘diametrically’, Joxer).
Your own blog is the harp side, EB. Only half-Irish need apply for the Half Marathon in Dublin.
A letter in that august page of rage, the Letters Page of The Unionist Times played the role of Crown Side.
By a bizarre coincidence the writer of the Crown Side of the Coin turned out to be a Marathon man. None other than the Professor Emeritus of Detritus Studies in the Queen’s College, Cork.
Now, there are those who are unkind enough to suggest that the only thing even remotely interesting about John A. Murphy (for it is he !) is the brain teaser embodied in his middle initial: A.
Suggestions have ranged all the way from Aristotle to Archimedes to Algernon down as far as Achilles itself.
Settle, petal: The Perkin can reveal all:
-A for Ahab.
For Cap’n Ahab comes equipped today with a harpoon as he normally does, gunning for one target and one target only:
That would be the M.D. OF S.F.
-For Mr. Adams, on the other hand, as is evident from his numerous memoirs, a visceral hatred of England is a central component of his nationalism.
Certainly, a visceral h. of E. is certainly not a c. component of Cap’n Ahab’s imperialism. No, sireee. Having noted , many a lofty time and oft, that one of the highlights of his own stellar academic career was his peerage-worthy steerage of his exact contemporary Hausfrau Saxe-Coburg-Gotha around the groves, nooks, crannies and cloisters of the college named in her honour in de capital of de Re-bel County.
(Chorus: And de old maid and her lover
De wild daisies pressed ,boy
On de banks of dere own lovely Lee).
He has been up the 90 himself ever since that red letter and red carpet day in de City of de Blood and Bandage. And if he has been absent for some time from his usual reserved seat on the Epistle Omnibus of The Unionist Times then that is understandable. Only a pure langer would begrudge him that absence.
Btw, the commendable personage on the other hand to which the M. D. of S.F. has been compared (unfavourably, somewhat) in today’s letter continues the ruddy motif for the Fuddy Dudds:
-John Redmond, as well as being a genuine nationalist – indeed ‘the Leader of the Irish Race’ – was quite at home as well in a British and imperial setting.
So, where has Cap’n Ahab been at all summer, then ? Like Hamlet, per chance, ‘too much in the sun’?
Or, perchance, not. Some might suggest Youghal where, as y’ll know, the movie of ‘Moby Dick’ was fillumed by John Huston in 1956. One fancies however it could quite easily have been further west along the coastline of Cork, specifically in Union Hall.
Union Hall is a grand place entirely from which to take boat trips during the summer for the watching of whales (including Fin Whales, Minke Whales and, ar ndoigh, Humpback Whales). One can easily imagine this is where Cap’n Ahab honed his tour-guiding skills, oops, skill sets.
One can easily imagine him too being, happy, oops, best pleased with the civilized translation into Union Hall of the fishing village formerly known in former, barbaric, pre-Elizabethan era as:
Which, as Gregser’s inner Moby Dictionary would be only too gleeful to reveal, translates literally as:
There are other reasons too as to why Cap’n Ahab might feel in his comfort zone, not least his historic comfort zone. F’instance:
-During the Civil War, the Free Southern Stateen troops landed from the Helga at the quay of Union Hall in order to outflank the local Republican forces.
Yes, indeed, folks, the same Helga, which first made her debut as a demure gunship in the Season of 1916 on Liffeyside Her pair of, erm, 12-pounder naval guns turned many a local male head that Season of Seasons, by all accounts.
After the FSS had purchased her for use as a fishery protection vessel, she changed her name to (gulp):
Of course, Cap’n Ahab would be the first to inform y’all that ‘Muirchu’ is not in ANY way to be confused with ‘Murchu’ :
-Muirchu means ‘Sea Hound’ whereas ‘ Murchu’ means ‘Murphy’.
Cap’n Ahab has, erm, history , for the odd bit of ould pedantry when it comes to the Leprechaun and in the august September columns of the Letter Page of Rage in The Unionist Times too:
-Beal na Blath and NOT Beal na mBlath.
That sorta thingy.
Youse Half-Irish up there in Norneverland, EB, don’t know the half of what youse are missing ! As Hermann Melville himself might have said about the same Norneverland:
-It’s not down on any map; true places never are.
Call me Fishmeal, but mine’s a Murphy.
Jude,both you and Patrick should have followed the example of my late father and uncle.They were both at St Colms for a short period but could’nt adjust to the concentration camp conditions and literally fled over the wall to the freedom and wide open spaces of their South Derry bogland home!
” I was struck by how many young people – women particularly – reported that (i) they had attended a school in West Belfast and (ii) their nationality was British.”
I have done the same thing when applying for my college courses. Your asked to give nationality and I always write “Northern Irish”. Why? because I don’t know who is vetting the application. I don’t put “British” or “Irish” because I fear a staunch Unionist vetting the form or a staunch Nationalist and both turning my application down because of my nationality. But am I “Northern Irish”? lol not a chance, I’m Irish. I have never entertained the idea of being “British”. I don’t feel British at all. C.S Lewis always considered himself British but that changed when he actually went to Britain itself. He found the culture clash terrible. He spoke of how England made him feel “Sick” and how the accents were like “the voices of demons”. Hence, forever afterwards Lewis considered himself Irish. I think many Unionists would feel a similar alienation if they actually lived in Britain itself.
The media here, who are definitely Pro-Unionist, declare the claim that most Catholics support the Union because of small trinkets like people saying they see themselves as “Northern Irish”. This is despite the fact less than 1% of Catholics vote Unionist political parties, far more Protestants vote Nationalist than Catholic vote Unionist on a regular basis. But they are talking about people like me who don’t support the Union and most likely never will because it doesn’t make social or economic sense. If you want to see the Pro-Unionist bias in the media, you just have to look at the poll done last month that showed 70% of people in the North supported Irish Unity. The Belfast Telegraph came out and said the poll was just a “bit of fun” (yes, seriously). They even kept the poll running for well over a week, hoping for more people to vote Pro-Union. Contrast this to a poll they ran last year that showed a majority wanting to keep the Union, the Belfast Telegraph made that front page news……
There’s a campaign of brainwashing going on to fool people, especially Catholics, into thinking other Catholics support the Union. I acknowledge that its people like me who are helping them do this by stating “Northern Irish” on forms instead of my true nationality. I think its time for people like me and other Republicans/Catholics to just drop this mentality and to stop making propaganda for our political enemies because I’m not British or Northern Irish, I’m simply Irish and proud of it….
“I have done the same thing when applying for my college courses. Your asked to give nationality and I always write “Northern Irish”. Why? because I don’t know who is vetting the application. I don’t put “British” or “Irish” because I fear a staunch Unionist vetting the form or a staunch Nationalist and both turning my application down because of my nationality.”
You have a low opinion of college staff. Do you really think they break the law and turn people down because of their nationality??
“The media here, who are definitely Pro-Unionist, declare the claim that most Catholics support the Union because of small trinkets like people saying they see themselves as “Northern Irish”.”
Surely it’s based on the opinion polls in which a significant proportion of Catholics polled declare support for the Union?
“This is despite the fact less than 1% of Catholics vote Unionist political parties, far more Protestants vote Nationalist than Catholic vote Unionist on a regular basis.”
What evidence do you have for this?
Do you ever consider that the discrimination you fear Ryan is not real?
Perhaps in reality you could have written whatever nationality you liked on the form and it would have no bearing on your application to your college courses.
Perhaps your immersion in the long history of sectarianism in Ireland has affected you in a way that you see ghosts of sectarianism around every corner, even perhaps when none exists.
I’ve been to college myself and I’ve attended classes with people from all different walks of life. Perhaps your experience is different but I’ve never experienced discrimination that would make me lie on a application form.
Is the discrimination a real threat or only in your own mind? It’s an interesting question I feel as it perhaps tells us something about ourselves and how we are conditioned mentally.
“This is despite the fact less than 1% of Catholics vote Unionist political parties, far more Protestants vote Nationalist than Catholic vote Unionist on a regular basis.”
What evidence do you have for this?
“These young people were assuming that the person vetting their form would be a unionist bigot who’d respond badly to someone declaring themselves as Irish.”
I’m beginning to pity the fixation with unionism.
And your explanation would be, PF?
An explanation, Jude, might be that a continued and unbroken run of stereotypical comments characterising an entire community as bigots might point to some insecurity in the author.
Although I suppose it’s also possible that it reflects a lack of knowledge of the said community.
Then again, it could be that however pleasant and accommodating people from the targeted community are found to be that an underlying prejudice remains
But I could be wrong.
PF – I simply reported what some of those applicants did. Some years later I got to know them better and raised the matter – and that was how they saw it at the time. I suspect they were wrong but (i) Don’t underestimate the possibility that they might have been right; (ii) What had brought them to the point where they thought it’d be a good idea to put down ‘British’? I definitely don’t believe they saw themselves as British.
Good evening, Jude.
“PF – I simply reported what some of those applicants did.”
Yes, you did, you reported what some applicants did; whether it was ‘simply’ that, though, is a matter for interpretation – remembering that wider context of the use of the word ‘bigot’ on this site.
“Some years later I got to know them better and raised the matter – and that was how they saw it at the time.”
So it was their perception, rather than a know reality?
” I suspect they were wrong”
So you have no evidence of any bigotry or discrimination directed towards applicants by any Unionist members of UU staff?
“but (i) Don’t underestimate the possibility that they might have been right;”
I didn’t; the point I was making was one about the recurring negative stereotyping of a community, even when there is no evidence for it – as in this case.
” (ii) What had brought them to the point where they thought it’d be a good idea to put down ‘British’?”
I don’t know; but as I have already said, if it was an attempt to counteract a perceived bigotry, it would be a reasonably dim-witted bigot who would be influenced by the word ‘British’ on an application form from a member of a community he was determined to discriminate against, when the applicant’s community background was reasonably clear from other information given.
In addition, as you have said yourself, the reason isn’t explained by any evidence of bigotry.
“I definitely don’t believe they saw themselves as British.”
I agree, as might most people – which merely confirms that the use of a word like ‘British’ would be again attempts to sidestep any bigotry which might have existed.
Which brings me back to a concern I have about the use of the words ‘bigot’ and ‘unionist’ on this site – shouldn’t you be aiming to overcome false stereotypes?
And good evening to you, PF. As I’m reading your comment on a separate section from my blog I’m in danger of getting what I said wrong. However, I THINK I said that these applicants assumed their form might cross the desk of some unionist bigot who would not view the ‘Irish’ term too enthusiastically. I don’t remember saying I knew they were right, or that I knew quite a few or any unionist bigots on staff – I said (I THINK) that that’s what they did – wrote ‘British’ – and did so lest saying ‘Irish’ would prejudice their chances. So where did I go wrong? I might add that I knew the occasional bigot – on both sides – among staff, but I have no evidence that they would have rejected an application because someone filled in ‘Irish’. But where did the perception that they would/might come from, that the applicants clearly harboured? I’d suggest from decades of discrimination here, where if you went to the wrong school or had the wrong sort of name or…lots of other more subtle ways in which unionist bigotry operated in this state. I don’t think anybody, except maybe Gregory Campbell, disputes that any more. Anyway, as a simple lad coming back to the north after being away for some ten years, I found it an eye-opener.
Jude (my main point was not about UU, but the almost constant conjoining of the words ‘bigot’ and ‘unionist’, but I mention that below.)
“However, I THINK I said that these applicants assumed their form might cross the desk of some unionist bigot who would not view the ‘Irish’ term too enthusiastically.”
That is what you said.
“I don’t remember saying I knew they were right, or that I knew quite a few or any unionist bigots on staff”
Your memory serves you well.
“I said (I THINK) that that’s what they did – wrote ‘British’ – and did so lest saying ‘Irish’ would prejudice their chances.”
Again, you are correct.
And the point is this – my clarifications have demonstrated that the applicants did what they did on the basis of a perception rather than reality.
So, so far, the facts about applications to UU (I have a vested interest in its good reputation) are these:
There is absolutely no evidence of any prejudice against any Nationalist by any Unionist member of staff in regard of applications.
And that is worth stating because it explodes a perception of unionist bigotry in UU (and perhaps elsewhere). And it is worth stating lest people perceive UU in the wrong way.
Isn’t that worth clarifying?
“So where did I go wrong?”
This brings me back, again, to the wider, and my main, point, which is that to relentlessly and stereotypically attach the words ‘unionist’ and ‘bigot’ in the same sentence without clarification perpetuates the perception that (all) unionists are bigots.
“I might add that I knew the occasional bigot – on both sides – among staff, but I have no evidence that they would have rejected an application because someone filled in ‘Irish’.”
I appreciate the acknowledgement that bigotry exists on both sides – it helps to heal divisions.
“But where did the perception that they would/might come from, that the applicants clearly harboured?”
Jude, my point is simple, it is better to correct false perceptions, than to risk perpetuating them. And it is better, if you must, to do this by commenting on actual examples of bigotry influencing discrimination, which can be apologised for and, if still possible, put right.
I’ll put it this way, if my comments here were littered with the words ‘Nationalist’ and ‘bigot’, what impression would that give?
“And your explanation would be, PF?”
I’m guessing PF’s logic is bigotry within Unionism doesn’t exist, just like Rangers/Linfield fans openly singing about being up to their knees in fenian blood last week at Windsor Park didn’t happen either…..
Of course we have a power sharing government at Stormont just for the craic, nothing at all to do with Unionisms history of discrimination/bigotry……
Guess on, Ryan
Because “a unionist bigot”, and one educated to at least postgraduate level, who wanted to discriminate against prospective students from the Nationalist community would have been so intellectual incapable that they would have read an application form from an applicant who was so obviously attending a Maintained Sector School in an almost exclusively Nationalist part of Belfast and thought, ‘Sure, it’s alright, they must be Nationalist Unionists.’
Yep, that probably explains it.
That made me laugh PF.
Are you sure the A in John Murphy’s name doesn’t finish with sshole?
Indubitably so, Sherdy, a chara: that too.
On the basis that all opinionated folk have same.
Incidentally, to address this topic of addressing envelopes bound for destinations within Norneverland. We have an equivalent of sorts down here in the Free Southern Stateen. One example will suffice.
A chap of one’s acquaintance – calm, reflective, tolerant in general but cantankerous in one particular instance – dwells in a rural part of Royal County Meath, not a million kilometers from Regina Doherty, TD, indeed. The latter, of course, is the current, leather-clad Chief Whip of the Doll’s House on Kildare Street and is affectionately known to one and all, both foe and friendless alike, as Lady Lasheroo.
One’s acquaintance says ‘it is all his own fault’ their home addresses are in such proximity.
Anyhow, his cantankerousness comes into play when the addressing of envelopes in Leprechaun in concerned. So, on a dull day once in a blue moon, and out of pure mischief (a compulsory trait of all, erm, lovers of the Leprechaun) he purchases two postcards and two appropriate stamps.
He claims the cost is slender compared to the plump crack, oops, craic he derives from the time-worn experiment. And what craic compares to the crack/craic one gets from having one’s deepest predges confirmed?
He addresses both postcards to himself, one in Lerprechaun, the other in the German Q’s English.
(The Royal, in County Meath, incidentally refers back to the time High Kings of Ireland dwelt there in their marble halls with vassals and maybe, just maybe, even serfs by their side. Thus the ‘Royal’ prefix definitely predates the German Queen of England and quite possibly, Regina D, TD, sheself as well).
Having written messages to himself on the two postcards, the first in the Second Official Language and the second in the First O.L. he then proceeds to mail the two postcards to himself, in a green post box just over the border, in the North County Dublin, where salt is a prohibited substance when it comes to the eating of Meathmen.
One’s acquaintance then returns home, sits down and waits. The result never varies. Two days later, the first postcard inevitably drops through his letterbox , the one addressed in the German Q’s English, with the same greeting:
-Hi, Monoglot Meathman. Glad you are there. Best wishes, Guess who ?
Two months later to the day, on cue, the second postcard makes a soft landing on the deep pile of his hallway carpet, the one addressed in the First Official Language of the FSS, with the same message:
-A Channcarain, a chara. A, Rundiamhair Mhilis na Beatha, faoi dheireadh ta tu aimsithe agam !. Is mise, le meas, VHI.
-Dear Sorehead. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, at last I have found thee ! I remain, respectfully, VHI.).
The V.H.I. refers to one of one’s acquaintances song-writing heroes. Being a Meathman it is only natural that he should be into song-writing and song-writers. As he never tires of telling it, the most famous Irish song of the last century was written by Dick Farrelly on the CIE bus from Kells to the Busaras.
DF’s day job was as a Detective in Dublin Castle. It took him just an hour to jot down the lyrics of ‘The Isle of Inisfree’ which went on to feature in not one, but two mega-movies:
-The Quiet Man and The Not so Quiet Alien, aka, ET.
(The Singing Detective, hammered out the toon on his upright Walton’s pianer on his return home that evening).
The VHI mentioned above as the’ sender’ of the snailmail postcard is:
-Victor Herbert, Irishman.
A statue stands in Central Park, NY to the same composer of popular operettas and songs. Not insignificantly, Woody Allen uses it religiously as one of his touchstones on his morning jog through this celebrated urban woodland.
As one’s occasionally cantankerous acquaintance is fond of pointing out, Victor H did not pick up his song-writing talents off the hallway carpet. As a child, he spent a lot of time in his Mammy’s Daddy’s house in Dublin during the 1860s.
That would have been the other noted songwriter, Samuel Lover. Among whose most memorable songs was ‘The Low Back Car’ which featured the sweet-featured Peggy on a market day and she to be seated all upon a truss of hay.
One’s acquaintance is of the sneaking suspicion that all mail in Meath which is addressed in Leprechaun is delivered in, erm, a low back car. And contained in a Little Green Bag. The said bag not being entirely unknown to the Reservoir Dogs of Quentin Tarantino.
Btw, Risteard O Fearghail, Bleachtaire/ Dick Farrelly, Detective also composed many a song in the Leprechaun. Though it would probably need the elementary sleuthing skills, oops, skill sets of a Sherlock Bailte to track down a wireless station in the Free Southern Stateen able, willing or sufficiently ill-disposed to play said tracks.
One might have to wait two months. Or,indeed, it might be for years, it might be for ever
My brother who lives in Belgium sometimes has occasion to write to me enclosing acard, book or newspaper cutting. He concludes the address as follows. “Newry, Co. Down Ireland (32). The poor man does not realise that we all now live happily on ” the Island of Ireland” which comprises “Ireland” and “Northern Ireland”. Which begs the question how long is it since you heard any politician, even a SF spokesperson, use the wholesome term “the 32 counties of Ireland”?. ( come to think of it should it not be 33 counties now that we have Fungal!). Partition is deeply ingrained. South and west of the border we are often referred to as “nordies”, while I have heard people up here rrom a nationalist or republican background refer to their neighbours from Dundalk or Knockbridge contemptuously as “Mexicans”. A doubly racist appellation
“The most distressful nation”
Jude, I had a conversation recently with a friend who works in the C.A.B. She remarked that in her dealings with both sides of the community she found that some from the nationalist persuasion would put a tick in the ‘northern Irish’ box when filling in forms and even more peculiar those from the so called unionist community often ticked the Irish box. Either we are all ‘cute hoors’ simply playing the game or maybe the lineage of the founding fathers of Irish republicanism havnt gone away you know! Lest we forget, ‘Northern Ireland’ may have been a cold place for Irish republicans of a catholic persuasion; it was even colder for Irish republicans of a Protestant and dissenter persuasion.
I think.Jude, you defined “Northern Ireland” as a State.
Brian Faulkener used describe it as “a country” and once reminded James Callaghan, that he
(Faulkener) was also one of Her Majesty’s Ministers. Heath swept away that conceit with less
ceremony than Thatcher abolished the GLC.
So Faulkener might well have conceded that he was A Bolished.
Other Unionists proclaimed “Northern Ireland” a Province. Another stupid conceit.
They never could admit it was a Statelet.
Not even a Free Statelet.
I sometimes think it’s a state of mindlessness, if not of chassis..