Showing posts with label Easter Rising. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter Rising. Show all posts

Thursday 30 November 2017

Irelands Road to Freedom

Act of Union between Ireland and England 1801.

Easter Rising 1916, Irish Free State.

Thirty Years of Troubles Northern Ireland with a great deal of violence  - 1960s – 1990s.

Northern Irish Peace Agreement - (1998) - The Good Friday Agreement Belfast April 1998. (Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta) –  Northern Ireland system of devolved government is based on the agreement - created a number of institutions between Northern Ireland and Ireland - and between the Ireland and the UK.  
It was clear to me, having Irish parents, that during the Brexit debates that no attention was paid to the Irish dilemma over the EU customs and trading union. Just like Scotland, Ireland was a mere after thought. No one in Ireland wants a return to a hard border – there are always nutters on either side just looking for an excuse. Why should Ireland give up its peace and prosperity? Ireland is crucially split on ancient religious grounds
Scotland too has opposite needs to England – our farming is mostly hill rather than arable; our fishing rather than cars is a major concern; we want to welcome young immigrant workers to grow our economy and support an older population; Scotland wants to pursue progressive socialist policies to work for a more socially inclusive nation – where England wants to be a low regulated, low wage economy like a new Singapore. (which is unacceptable for the EU).
AND on a personal note. My parents were from Co Down and Belfast and I visited there every summer from Scotland. I understand the deep divisions and problems there (unlike many London politicians). These divisions will not be easily healed. And I feel extremely angry at the thought that some feel a hard border is an answer there – just because of this crazy Brexit. Brexit is about looking backward.  While my husband's father came form Kilkenny in southern Ireland.

A hundred years ago Ireland embraced its rich heritage and culture – and developed its own identity again. Many had to die so Ireland could achieve self government. I hope Scotland can achieve this dream too – peacefully and through informed debate for a healthier partnership with its larger partner England. Scotland is often an after thought
England has pursued a policy of over-centralised government for more than a century, particularly during the wars and then complains of too many immigrants! By contrast European parliament encourages healthy regionalization and encouraging regional language. Why is wanting more local government against the national interest? In fact the UK is the most lop-sided geographically unbalanced major country in the world!

The great poet WB Yeats, was persuaded to write on the old Irish  songs, heritage and ballads, at the same time he lived in London and was before this part of the Anglo-Irish group who dominated Irish politics.
After the hangings of the Irish rebels in the Easter rising Yeats wrote -
his poem 'Easter 1916' 
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: (YB Yeats)

The Northern Ireland peace process is often considered to cover the events leading up to the 1994 Provisional Irish Republican Army ( IRA) ceasefire and the end of the violence Troubles, and the Good Friday Agreement 1998.
Issues relating to Sovereignty, civil and cultural rights, decommissioning of weapons, justice and policing. The agreement was approved by voters across the island of Ireland in two referendums held on 22 May 1998. The British-Irish Agreement came into force on 2 December 1999.  The DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) was the only major political group in Northern Ireland to oppose the Good Friday Agreement.

Ultimately between Scotland and England - a good partnership for trade, security, environment. and defence.. rather than control from Westminster

The European countries are committed firstly to Peace and Prosperity – any other consideration is secondary. Ireland exemplifies and tells us the real UK conflict. Also that harmful over centralization in the south east.
Why should Peace and Prosperity be sacrificed by Scotland, the EU or Ireland just to suit some backward looking Tory politicians we have not voted for?

Sunday 9 April 2017

English Untruths

The English Press wrote of the death recently of the Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuiness, of his murderous acts when he was younger as an IRA leader.
Crucially they conveniently failed to mention ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1972, 26 unarmed civilians were shot at in the Bogside Derry, Northern Ireland during a peaceful protest march against internment. 15 were killed. Many of the victims were shot while fleeing from the soldiers and some were shot while trying to help the wounded. The Saville Inquiry (1998)  reinvestigated for 12-years, made public  2010, concluded that the killings were “unjustifiable". It found that all of those shot were unarmed, that none were posing a serious threat, that no bombs were thrown, and that soldiers "knowingly put forward false accounts" to justify their firing. British PM David Cameron then made a formal apology on behalf of the UK. 

They also conveniently failed to mention English criminally corralling women and children for murder during the Boer war, where they starved to death, in the first extermination camps.
They also failed to mention the hanging of the Irish leaders of the Easter Rising or of sending tanks into spectators at a football match in Dublin.

In Ireland, India and elsewhere England created divisions with their ‘Divide and Rule tactic. They sent over Scots who stole land in the North of Ireland. In any conflict there is usually two sides that are unable to find common ground or communicate.

Scotland also took part in the slave trade (Tom Devine, Recovering Scotland’s Slavery Past , The Caribbean Connections 2015). In Scotland we try to acknowledge our part and attempt to recognise our very weaknesses.

We cannot build a fair, or equal society built on Lies.  In any conflict there are usually two sides that are unable to find common ground or communicate

Sinn Fein Martin McGuinness helped bring about the Good Friday peace agreement in 1998 - with Unionist Ian Paisley 'the chuckle brothers'. He was involved with the IRA. My parents are from Northern Ireland and I remember visiting there when the helicopters were circling overhead and there were many barricades. Who wants hard borders again? I won't condone the terrors of the Troubles but there were dreadful murders by the English in Ireland too.

Those in England today appear to care nothing of what Brexit means for Ireland or for Scotland. In fact they care more about Brexit than they do about the UK breaking up, according to polls! Time to take control away from the centre (London) and return it to the people!

Saturday 8 April 2017

*Poetry changes Lives - W B Yeats

POETRY – is the window to our souls, the hidden beauty, the longed for memory, the secret truths, the way nature sings…. Poetry is connected to music, rhythm images and changing seasons…

William B Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century. He belonged to the Protestant, Anglo-Irish minority that had controlled the economic, political, social, and cultural life of Ireland since at least the end of the 17th century. Most members of this minority considered themselves English people who happened to have been born in Ireland, but Yeats was staunch in affirming his Irish nationality.

Although he lived in London for 14 years of his childhood (and kept a permanent home there during the first half of his adult life), Yeats maintained his cultural roots, featuring Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays.


The poet was staying in England at the time of the Rising, and learnt of developments in sketchy news reports, and in letters from his friends and family. Yeats and his family were horrified.
It was left to the poet to conjure up the phrases that summed up the events, and the mixed feelings felt by the public towards the rebels, who had seized the GPO. As he put it himself, all had "changed, changed utterly".  Revolutionaries, who were initially heaped with opprobrium by a significant section of the populace, were turned into heroes.
Yeats wrote his poem 'Easter 1916' in the months after the rebellion, but he waited for four years to publish it in the magazine The New Statesman. He predicted that the rebels would take their place in history:
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly: (YB Yeats)
*And I write of Robbie Burns
Who wrote of our being at one with nature, and of being created equal..
Then let us pray that come it may, 
(As come it will for a' that,) 
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth, 
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that. 
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's comin yet for a' that 
That man to man, the world o'er, 
Shall brithers be for a' that.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

'Ireland 2016 - The Chieftains' commemorating the Easter Rising @ Celtic Connections 2016

Breath of Magic! Exhilarating! ..telling the dark days of fighting to the joy of freedom..
This fun night was to celebrate the Centenary of the Easter Rising 1916.
The concert began softly and poignantly with the fiddle of former Dubliner John Sheahan and the deep vocals of Declan O'Rourke and songs of the heroes of the Easter Rising.

We might have been fooled into thinking this would be a serious night - even while the warm firelights flickered up and down at the side of the stage. Upstairs the galleries were packed out and the stage was set for a much bigger gathering of musicians.

The main event was up next when the Irish legends The Chieftains took to the stage to play their reels and jigs and to take the energy up a notch with those tap-dancing rhythms.

Alyth McCormack read the Roisin Dubh over Maloney's whistle and then she sang impressive in Gaelic, music of the mouth, the Foggy dew into Poirt A Beul, when we were also treated to some Irish dancing by Canadian fiddler John Polanski and his brother.  

Next to sing was Karen Casey how sang The Mountains of Pomeroy - when she remarked 'Freedoms do not fall from the sky, they have to be fought for. To fight against Inequality and child poverty.'  Kris Kristofferson, with his shock  of silver hair, looked slightly bemused with the proceedings and he sang with his honey-toned deep vocals, Help me Make it Through the night and Bobbie McGee.

The second half was s celebration joy-filled party. A half orchestra was conducted by Robert Maxwell (my son played with him years back on a wonderful trip to Gozo). Scots singer Eddi Reader sang Light Over the Horizon and spoke of the Scottish connection to the Easter Rising, such as James Connolly.

The Glasgow Gaelic Choir performed Shenandoah and the Long Journey Home. To express those Celtic connections the Chieftains and orchestra played the Galician Overture with Moloney's uilleann pipes over the Spanish acoustic guitar. Several well known Scottish piers joined in for the March to Battle.
This was followed by an exuberant finale with also performances and was greeted with a rapturous standing ovation! A rip-roaring night of fun!   

Perhaps Ireland is just glad to have their freedoms - to be socially free and equal. The Easter Uprising of 1916, the concert was preceded by the launch of Luath Press’s thought-provoking essay collection, Scotland And The Easter Rising.  Irish Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, director-general of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, recently observed - "Our cultural identity was central to the aspirations and motivation of 1916", as embodied by the presence of several poets among the rebels, and the simultaneous artistic ferment, encompassing song, literature, theatre and journalism, which fuelled the nationalist cause."  Irish culture has increasingly flourished over the ensuing century
The Chieftains are a traditional Irish band form Dublin that consist of Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts and Michael Tubridy.