Sunday, August 15, 2010

Learning Irish: Why there are so many Irish in Boston

Of the islands of the world, Greenland is the largest.

Great Britain is number nine and Ireland is Number 20.

Unless you don't count Greenland, then GB is 8th and Ireland is 19th. (There is some dispute over Greenland really being 3 smaller islands under all that ice. Don't let it bother you; Ireland will always be 19th in my mind.

This post is not about islands, but if I had started out with corks and rebellion, you wouldn't have read this far down.

First, there is a difference between nationalism and republicanism. Nationalism is simply identifying with one's land and culture and being proud of it. Patriotism, even. On the other hand, republicanism is the desire to be an independent country, a "republic," technically, but independence is at the core.

One can be a happy nationalist and still be a part of a larger union. One would think.

The Act of Union of 1801 (I am writing this by memory, so please point out any inaccuracies) created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This is not something I learned in any American school, more's the pity. I had to learn it from you from before on this blog, or from researching posts for this blog - the origins of my meager knowledge are murky at best.

Be that as it may (you probably weren't taught that much about the Missouri Compromise or the Kansas-Nebraska Act, either) there was a union created between Great Britain and Ireland in 1801. Of that we may be sure, just as sure as Marley was dead at the beginning of A Christmas Carol.

Some say (some Irish say) that union was not completely and willingly two-sided, that they ("they" being the Irish) were sold out by bribe-taking turncoat politicians. Well, you know how it goes. Always the sour grapes from a minority. No one can say Ireland didn't benefit greatly, in many ways, over the years.

I need to go back to researching now to find out why Great Britain wanted a union with Ireland. The last time I did that, I got sidetracked by Henry VIII. That won't happen this time.

Probably there is more to come on the subject of Ireland. Didn't get very far this time.


  1. Ireland? Don't get involved there mate! Afghanistan is much easier to deal with....

  2. If you'd started off with corks and rebellion, we might just possibly have known what you were going to talk about. Because as far as I can see, that's the only mention.

    I will be patient and wait for further installments.

  3. I am a nationalist with republican tendencies. I probably fall somewhere in the middle of the full spectrum of opinion on Ireland. I don't believe it would be possible to find a solution that will please everyone.

    So that, presumably, is why there are so many Irish in Boston (though I'd dispute their claims to be Irish).

  4. @Adullamite - Ummmm, I'm not dealing with Afghanistan. I'm just a blogger. But I am very interested in Ireland for the moment. The history, that is. Not interested in deciding who is right, only how it came to pass. :)

    @Sheila - The whole post speaks of Ireland; don't be so harsh. :) Thank you for promising to read future installments. I will hold you to that.

    @A. - Really? You should have been Irish. Not much call for nationalism in Britain these days. :) Or France. They like verbal nationalism there. And they also like republics - they've had 5 or 6 of them in the past decades.

    Anyway, I am striving to find out how the present day state of affairs came to be, not pass judgement on Irish politics. I want to try to come to understand why someone, Irish or Muslim or Israeli, would feel it was ok to bomb children. Once I understand that, then maybe I will get into the judging department. I am counting on you to help guide me.

    If you think Irish Bostonians aren't Irish, bone, blood, sinew, monetarily, politically, sentimentally, or any other way, you would very much be mistaken.

    I don't think they came here to run from the bombs, either. :)

    Exploring this together is going to be interesting. Please help me.



Related Posts with Thumbnails