A report by Brian Gillespie
The Irish History Circle met as usual on the third Monday in May on Level Three at the Celtic Club.
Jim Cusack got things under way hosting an open forum asking:
‘What defines Irish Nationalism ?’
The topic got everyone thinking and another hour could have been spent exploring this question. Some recollections on the discussion are……
Today Ireland has grown from an inward looking monoculture to a multicultural society and in some ways it has been evolving through the ages with the influence of various invaders though we have never been an invader ourselves. At times it has been about revolution as we value our land, our sovereignty and our culture above all.
Language was seen as the glue and we are seeing a great revival in the 21st century
In the early centuries AD we educated the known world and were known as the Island of Saints and Scholars. The Church has played a pivotal role through the ages though today despite having a population that is 74% Catholic, the vote on same sex marriage and divorce was popularly received.
Division and infighting has marred our development at times. ‘Ireland long a province, be a nation once again’, although not fully achieved, took great strides in the 20th century.
Our emigrants have given much to their adopted lands all over the world.
In sport Ireland punches above its weight. In film, theatre and literature our contribution is immense.
Nationalism has meant different things in different eras.
This conversation proved popular and left the audience wanting more…. so at our June meeting Renee Huish will pose the question
As Ireland now stands as an independent nation and has a respected place on the world stage, what does it mean to identify as a Celt and what do we mean by Celtic consciousness?
Don’t miss it!
Our second speaker in May was Maireid Sullivan who explored Michael Davitt’s theory that land ownership was the key to getting independence. The father of the Land League, he led agrarian agitation in the late 19th century.
His call fro the three F’s – Fair Rent – Fixity of Tenure – Free Sale gave irish farm workers greater security reducing evictions ( primarily by absentee landlords).
This Mayo-born Irishman who spoke with a Lancashire accent agitated for change in Scotland and Wales as well as Ireland.