Imagine you are shipwrecked and come ashore on a land you don't know. You are taken in by some kind people. You are naturally curious about where you are. So you start asking your hosts about the their country. Sooner or later you get round to politics. The conversation could go like this:
One family's history over two centuries in Scotland and Ireland through tumultuous times from ploughs to poppies and to a shattering of old beliefs.
I remember October 5th 1968 well. I was 14. I wrote an essay on the events in Derry in school. I wish I had kept it. No, on second thought maybe I don't. In my boy's mind events in Derry in October 1968 are always connected to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in America three … Continue reading Educated ignorance
Under the Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland politics became like a football match where neither team was sure which goal they should attack and which to defend. Now that particular game is over, the teams are wondering why they did not see things more clearly. The answer is they were spellbound by a master story-teller.
Some might say Belfast is a city in waiting, looking to find its identity in a new and more confusing era. Others would say it is a lost city being discovered by cruise ships, legal firms and location scouts for dystopian films. Henry Joy must be mightily vexed, publicly executed where today shoppers scurry about . Maybe we need to listen to him and his ilk..
Somebody just asked me if I had ever met St. Patrick. I have. Here's the story: the saint appears in a dream, speaking in several tongues, and confesses the many sins he has committed against the Irish.
Contrary to myth, there were many Irish Nationalist Protestants/Dissenters - given their percentage of the overall Irish population. They cannot be dismissed as a tiny handful of eccentrics and misfits, but part of the norm i.e. many Protestants wanted an all-island independent nation and actively worked collaboratively with their Catholic fellow countrymen and women to achieve such an outcome from the late eighteenth century until Partition - then Protestant participation greatly reduced.