With that in mind it was decided that some of the quirks of themuns should be brought under the microscope too.
So without further ado (but with perhaps a little bit of hypocrisy) here are some things that Republicans and Nationalists (more so?) 'do' that are ridiculous in the eyes of Unionists and indeed many impartial bystanders.
1/ THEIR VERSION OF HISTORY (800 years of fighting the 'English')
Once upon a time your narrator would have applied this to only the less well educated or the overtly political and sensationalist variety of Republicans.
However, recent perusals of blogs have led to the discovery of some educated types who also swallow this bilge.
Many people it seem, actually believe that somehow, despite having their social elite removed under the weight of the Norman Conquest that 'the English' invaded Ireland in the late 12th century.
If so then this was quite an achievement by a group of people who had been pushed into the ground to such an extent that the invading french speaking Norman gangsters managed to compile a book that documented ever piece of taxable property in England, impose a new language for the social elite and attempt a plantation or two in Great Britain (Flemmings, would you believe, even brought them to Ireland too).
When said French speaking gangsters had settled in, a century later one of their number who was having a time of it in the Welsh Marches received an invite from an Irish Chieftain.
This Chieftain (in an offer remarkably similar to an alleged offer by an Irish king to the Roman Agricola a millennium before) wanted a spot of continental military know-how to help him advance his position in Ireland.
The Cambro-Norman known as Strongbow obliged.
Now, according to the songs and tales of oppression whom do you think was the first to feel Strongbow's wrath?
The ever oppressed (yet somehow at the same time valiant and militarily adept) Irish?
Vikings. Or Norse (and Danes). Or at that stage they were known as 'Oostmen', Gaelicised Vikings.
They were the first port of call.
When Henry II came over, his 'invasion' wasn't so much to subjugate Ireland (he had enough on his plate) it was to put the leash on the Anglo/Cambro-Norman lords there as he didn't want the place to turn into cold and wet version of Sicily (where Norman Lords had parceled the place out between them and were constantly kicking the shit out of each other).
Henry couldn't even speak English. He spoke French. Was born in (what is now) France and spent most of his time there. His Empire stretched from the Scottish border to the Pyrennes in what is now Southern France.
|Henry II: the 'English King' That Invaded Ireland? Really?|
His son John invaded in the early 13th century for similar reasons (to crush an Anglo-Norman rebellion), although he didn't have a papal blessing like his father.
From that point on, it was in fact like a wet and cold Sicily after all as the Normans, the Crown and the Irish Chieftains were constantly trying to better their own station at the expense of others, with Anglo-Normans teaming up with Chieftains against one another to the extent they went 'native'.
And as for the idea of 'Ireland vs Cromwell' or 'Ireland vs the Crown'? Well, all I can say is read a book or two, it certainly wasn't that clear cut...
2/ ATTITUDE TO IRISH SOLDIERS IN THE BRITISH ARMY
|Young Irish Men, Soon About To Go To The Massacre|
Irish people have been fighting for and against the various monarchs from the Island (or archipelago???) of Great Britain for a long time.
Even yer man the 'baddie' in Brave Heart had quite a few to fight against the Scots (in real life they weren't so 'pally' as the film suggests).
To turn around and label them all as 'traitors' smacks of the typical despotic approach of 'you're either with us or against us'.
Even now you'll find hundreds (thousands IF you include Protestants) in the British army.
The 'Ireland vs the Saxon' narrative is such a fabrication and twisted story that the only people who can swallow it are Republicans themselves and Irish Americans.
It's understandable if you're from some of the conflict zones of Northern Ireland, what you've seen is what you've seen and no one can take that away from you, but to back date your anger and retrospectively apply it to 10's of thousands of your fellow Irishmen is petty.
Though to be fair:
|Loyalists: NOT. HELPING. THE. POPPY.|
3/ TURNING ON AND OFF A PERSON'S NATIONALITY DEPENDING ON THEIR OPINIONS OR RELIGION
Sometimes identity in Ireland is like a light bulb.
It can be turned off if deemed unnecessary/a hindrance.
For example, in general, back in the day, if a family was moneyed, had English ancestry, owned a large business, had servants and sent the kids to school in England as tradition, then they were considered to be 'Anglo-Irish'.
Simply apply Catholicism to the above recipe and they're back to being Irish, for example, the family of Richard Harris (the hell raising actor).
Simply apply a Rome based version of a middle eastern religion and they're somehow Irish.
Apply an English one or a Swiss or German based one and they're quasi-foreign.
Despite the best efforts of Rome to eradicate the 'indigenous' Celtic version of Christianity it is some how rewarded with a monopoly on identity.
Your narrator finds this baffling.
When the Anglo-Norman lords who came over to further their own greedy ambitions (NO patriotism in their goals whatsoever) they were 'English'.
Then after being hibernicised (statutes of Kilkenny my ass) they were 'old English'.
Until Henry VIII comes over and tries to whip them into line (in a blood thirsty over zealous manner), then they're 'Irish'.
Then the smarter ones who knew how to bend in the wind like the Lords of the O'Neills, McDonnells and Fitzgeralds are back to being 'Anglo' (despite their respective Irish, Scottish and Norman roots).
You narrator envies Scotland, for over there one can be of Anglo or Gaelic or Pictish or Nordic or Norman or 'British' (high-Welsh?) background and still without any doubt whatsoever call oneself a Scot.
One can be a clan chief, live the life of a gent in London and be a Unionist to the hilt and still be a proud Scot.
Not in Ireland. There are clauses. No one's sure who's in charge of them though...
4/ THE GREAT WARRIOR - OPPRESSION PARADOX
It's on a par with Christian paleontologists: Should be contradictory but there's a surprising number of them out there.
FYI, the Tibetans, not known for being a warrior nation given their pacifistic nature managed to throw off the yoke of the Mongols (military nutters) within THREE centuries.
Also, the population difference between Ireland and England was only substantial as of around 160 years ago. Before that although England was bigger, it wasn't THAT much bigger.
Plus it had been dealing with France, Scotland, sometimes Spain and sometimes the Netherlands for centuries.
So it's not like they spent all their time thinking " so how can we f*ck up Ireland today then?"
Which would lead your average Joe to think that one of the suggestions must be wrong: either the Irish aren't great warriors after all or the 800 years of solid oppression is a crock of sh*te.
As some one who is proud to be Irish (your narrator considers Ulster-Scots/Scots-Irish to be just that, a subset of the Irish family) and very proud of Ireland's calibre of soldiers and generals in centuries of warfare your narrator must biasedly choose the side of a proud military history and cast off the '800 years' as gross exaggeration bereft of context.
There, I've said it.
5/ HIGHLIGHTING THE NUMBER OF PROTESTANT REPUBLICANS
|Henry Joy McCracken: NOT a Provo.|
Pretty much a Presbyterian invention, Republicanism appears to have aged for the worse over the centuries, so much so there's very few Republicans from the Protestant side of the fence.
What does that say about Republicanism?
Especially as there is a large number of open minded Protestants quite averse to Loyalism and it's accompanying British nationalism, why then are they so seemingly impermeable to Republicanism's ideals?
It's a bit of a cheek to salute and hail Henry Joy McCracken or Roddy McCorley when very few of their modern co-religionists find anything appealing in the modern day version of the movement that they helped to found.
Please leave them out of it until your house is more appealing.
FYI: Mentioning Billy Leonard will not impress anyone.
There is no quicker way to start the eyes rolling on a Unionist than to start citing the injustices of 'perfidious Albion'.
Seriously, not everything is the fault of the British.
They did some good too you know, the tourist industry of Dublin is for one quite grateful for the Georgian Architecture, Victorian pubs, museums and infrastructure that the British left behind.
Furthermore, the perceived gains of years of gurning has spawned a worrying new breed of creature: The Orange-MOPE.
Thank you guys, thank you so much for giving us the Protestant Coalition...
|Protestants: So much better when they weren't 'appressed'|
Now they think that if they can persuade the under educated and the over zealous that every one is against them then the 'Prawtestant Peepal' will rally around some sort of Protestant renaissance.
An ironic choice of word given that to many of them, as to Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that 'happened to other people'...
7/ DENYING THAT THERE'S AN IMAGE PROBLEM WITH THE GAELIC GAMES
Read any Unionist paper in the country or go on any political blog with any kind of Unionist representation and you'll hear the complaints from the Protestant community about how uninviting to down right offensive the GAA is to the Protestant community at large.
|ORC WITH HURLEY STICK: NOT an image problem?|
There have been a some gestures made but by and large it's the refuge of themuns and thought of in harsh terms by many Unionists.
How is that not an image problem?
|IMAGE IMPROVEMENT: Just a suggestion...|
8/ HOBBLING THE APPEAL OF THE IRISH LANGUAGE
|"STOP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAN JUST STOP!!!"|
Once upon a time it was the academic plaything of the Anglo-Irish gentry who embraced it as they finally realised that they were in the eyes of their English counterparts 'a bunch of Paddies'.
|Gaelic Mosaic in Kintullagh House, now St Louis Convent|
Which must have been lovely, till many were burned in '23 for being on the wrong side.
Or indeed, as mentioned before the ever shifting goal-posts of Irish identity caught them off-guard:
"today's Tuesday, today you're..." *rolls dice* "...a SIX! ENGLISH! BURN THE HOUSE DOWN! In a polite fashion mind...."
A turning point in the history came in 1915 when the Gaelic League was taken over by people with a Republican political agenda.
This helped to alienate Protestants who were instrumental in it's formation and facilitated the slow death of the language in the newly formed Northern Ireland.
If it was the language of nationalism then it wasn't suitable as a language for Unionists which helped to reduce the number of Protestant Gaelic speakers in the Shankill from nearly 20% to S.F.A.
So lads, a job well done eh?
A well known quote (or perhaps an urban myth, either way, the phrase is famous) allegedly by a Sinn Fein
Try and keep the safety catch on please...
Seeing Gerry Adams et al speaking Irish is a bad image for the Irish language in the eyes of Unionism and many Protestants in general.
Thankfully, there are people like Linda Ervine, the Ultach and a few Presbyterian churches which are striving to over come this imbalance.
Linda Ervine's class: http://www.ebm.org.uk/communityirishclass.php
Fitzroy Presbyterian Church: http://www.fitzroy.org.uk/Groups/80951/Fitzroy_Presbyterian_Church/Get_Connected/Irish_Speakers/Irish_Speakers.aspx
Good luck to them.
9/ SAYING 'THE NORTH OF IRELAND' INSTEAD OF 'NORTHERN IRELAND'
It still exists.
If it didn't, then you may not have become a hard line Republican in the first place.
Some even call the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland the 'Six Counties Deputy First Minister'.
Sorry, but that's just stupid.
You sound petty, small and biased when you say this.
In which case why would we listen to you?
10/ READING BOOKS BY TIM PAT COOGAN
Well, it depends if you want to be objective and critical regarding Ireland's turbulent history or just want to take the slippy slope to full blown MOPEry.
If you ever want to be taken seriously in a debate with a Unionist, DO NOT quote Tim Pat Coogan.
He has a gift for writing, a great way with words and a tremendous tenacity for research.
All in all a waste of talent that could have been better served to give people a sense of respect and belief in themselves instead of compounding an inferiority complex regarding the dreaded Saxon.
(With the exception of 'Wherever Green is Worn', but then again he just goes overboard)
Seriously, when you type an author's name into Google along with the word 'bias' there should not be nearly a full page of Google hits related entirely to that particular historian's views. Except maybe Niall Ferguson...