A lazy history of Ireland

You want the history of the south of Ireland? OK, here it is.

There was 1916 and then partition, which allowed the south to forget about the north. Dev came to power and stayed there for a long, long time. He was revered but totally out of touch with the modern world, him and his comely maidens and lumps of lads dancing at the crossroads.

Then in the late 1950s came Seán Lemass, and as the 1960s developed, he helped the south escape from the decades-long ‘monochrome world’, as William Crawley pronounced it during that interview with Paul Brady today. Dev’s protectionism was ditched, the south got industrialised and quit the crossroads to travel into the modern world.

Then everybody got really rich, only things got a bit out of hand with the Celtic Tiger; although the CT showed how far the Irish people had developed. The Catholic Church, which had restricted thinking and living in so many ways, lost its power when all those clerical abuse cases were exposed. Now the south is part of the EU, is no longer priest-ridden and is doing grand. And one of these decades we’re going to have a look at that fourth green field but there’s no rush, thirty, fifty years from now will do fine.

In the Raidio Uladh interview with Crawley,  Paul Brady said he went from being a student in St Columb’s College in Derry in the 1960s to being a student in UCD in Dublin. That’s when Crawley lobbed in his monochrome line, which Brady politely modified, saying he’d found Dublin exciting. 

I was at UCD at the same time as Brady and like him, I found it anything but monochrome. True, Archbishop John Charles McQuaid wouldn’t let us attend Trinity College, but sure we didn’t want to anyway. There were more showbands than you could shake a leg at, folk groups were sprouting everywhere,  the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem were being hailed world-wide, big stars visited Dublin and played – Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, the Beatles, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, Bob Dylan. There was Myles na gCopaleen, there was Brendan Behan, there was Benedict Kiely.

Monochrome days? Gimme a break. It was the north that was monochrome, busily gerrymandering and discriminating and tying up swings. Compared to that, the south was a place of light and music and dance and books and craic. Enough with the lazy history, William.

4 Responses to A lazy history of Ireland

  1. KEVIN MCGARRY December 28, 2022 at 3:51 pm #

    That’s a great and rapid response to Crawley. He really does believe he’s of a higher intellect but he really isn’t Maith thú.

  2. Jude Collins December 28, 2022 at 6:14 pm #

    Grma, Kevin. Isn’t it odd how, when you actually know something about a topic – in this case 1960s Dublin – you start noticing that people who never knew the topic/time/place are talking through their nether regions??

  3. Niall December 29, 2022 at 7:15 am #

    Jude as always hitting the nail on the head. Love Reading your pieces. wish more from every persuasion would. We’d have a more enlightened public

  4. Jude Collins December 29, 2022 at 8:12 pm #

    Niall – grma…- you’ll find that brown envelope coming through your letter box. Spend wisely….