1641 – The first recorded insurrection. No doubt due to the fact that before then the cave dwellers couldn’t read or write. So nothing was written down, but an old bloke in the pub who claims to be a direct descendant of Finn McKool’s mother-in-law, said it had something to do with the Catholics and the Scotts and the English and their damn ‘plantations.’ – that is a reference to the practice of ‘planting’ Pommies in Ireland.
“A lot of wild oats were sown too” he added sotto voce.
This hapless attempt to dislodge the landed gentry is led by one Phlegm O’niel, despite having a nasty cough at the time. Alas it was a damp squib.
1798 – Uprising Number 2. A failed attempt to copy the French and Americans, who had set the world aflame with their daring-do.
1803 – Number 3. Another fizzer, due to inclement weather.
1848 – The potato blight sweeps the European continent. Europeans survive on turnips and bloody rebellion. The Irish don’t like turnips, so they move en mass to the antipodes, where they studiously set about creating over-population. A craft they have honed over many generations. This project was proceeding well – (70 million people proudly claim Irish heritage, 6 million of whom are still stuck in Ireland) – until some spoil-sport invented the contraception pill and abortion was legalized.
1852- French second wave – Napoleon stages coup – the rest is history.
1867 – Enter the Fenians – stage left – the mother of modern Irish Republicanism,
The fiendish Fenians recruit Irish veterans of the American Civil War for an Irish revolution. The veterans start by attacking the British in Canada.
(l guess because it was closer…..and they didn’t have a boat)
Once they finally arrive in Ireland the Fenians begin by stealing a man’s house and heading for Killarney. They kill a policeman along the way, just to show they are serious. As they near the town it is noticed that the British army are occupying it, so they retire to the pub to sing rousing songs of rebellion.
A fairly standard Irish uprising, by all accounts.
After their latest set back the republicans realize it is futile to attempt fostering an uprising by example. (take note, all budding revolutionaries. Look what happened to Che Guevarra, who tried the same thing in Bolivia, and he at least knew what he was doing)
So the Fenians set about the far more laborious job of organizing the masses before-hand. This takes some time, as you can well imagine, but history shows us it is the only way to have any chance of success.
1916 – some 50 years later The Easter Rising is staged – Proclamation of The Irish Republic.
Yet another damp squib!
– Background – WW1 – (The war to end all wars) 1914-18
– The Russian Revolution – the world’s first socialist revolution
a resurection sorry, an insurection is declared.
( The Resurection Insurection perhaps? )
Everyone sets about arguing the toss – as per usual. Some folks join the rebellion – some decline. It is a fizzer, as per usual. All the rebel leaders are executed and instantly become martyrs. Job well done! Let’s drink to that!
Sinn Féin* is born, covered in blood.
(remember that name, it will pop up when you least expect it – like a volcano, or a bomb!)
Nothing much happens for 3 whole years, due to WW 1, where Irish loyalists to the Crown take a break from killing their fellow Irish, and march off to kill some foreigners for a change. (A change is as good as a holiday, they say)
The Irish Brigade are sent straight to Gallipoli, and an early grave.***
The Anglo-Irish War of Independence 1919 – 1921
For three years the IRA engaged in guerrilla warfare against the British army and paramilitary police units known as the Black and Tans.
This results in the British Government finally agreeing to offer a take-it-or-leave-it treaty. All those failed rebellions and resurrected insurrections have finally produced a tangible result. The moment of reckoning has arrived. Is this what so many have fought and died for, or is it a sop?
After so many battles, are the Irish capable of accepting a peaceful solution?
The British said Ireland had fought valiantly enough to earn themselves the title of Free State within the commonwealth – like Australia or Canada – and they should be grateful for that. It sounds OK doesn’t it? But too much blood has been spilt.
No ‘true’ Republican can bring themselves to swear an oath of allegiance to their sworn enemy, The King of Bloody England. Heaven forbid!
(If it had been our Lizzy, things might have turned out differently.
She is such a sweet old duck, isn’t she?)
The IRA are in turmoil, so to help them decide, the British make it quite clear;
Accept our sop or we shall “ launch a terrible and immediate war”
(something they are very good at and enjoy immensely)
Very hard to make an objective decision with the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head. So what do the Irish patriots do?
They do what they do best. They take up their trusty muskats and go in to battle, against each other.
l guess if you’ve been fighting for generations it can be hard to stop all of a sudden.
A short and bloody war ensues.
The Free Staters – The take what you can get pragmatists – the ‘bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ folks – Versus – The Republicans – the Do-or-Die, “The King of bloody England can rule over my corpse” types.
Most of the IRA rank and file are republicans, but hey are poorly organized and widely dispersed. (mobile phone reception was woeful back then, as you can well imagine, so they were in a pickle) – while the Free Staters have more guns, and all the heavy weapons that their recent sworn enemy, the British Army has kindly lent them, along with some top strategists in fighting against guerrilla war. A novel experience for the Irish.
So the Free Staters win.
‘Only’ about 2,000 people die, but this is an internecine war of brother v brother
that ends with atrocities and executions and assassinations, that tares families and communities apart for generations.
The treaty is signed. Ireland becomes a Free State, sorry 2 free states.
Somewhere in the midst of all that fighting the willy Brits insert a
claws sorry clause, that they will waiver Southern Ireland’s enormous debt in exchange for Northern Island remaining part of Britain, as it is to this day.
1922 – Ireland is split asunder by partition. It is still asunder today.**
1923 – A general election is held to sanctify all that ugly bloodletting.
Fine Gael – the Free Staters – win
Fianna Fáil – the Republicans – lose
So what does this mean?
‘The Irish want the Free State, or the Irish are sick of war?
Can you have democracy in the middle of a war?**
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail go on to dominate Irish politix for years to come.
While Sinn Féin, the dotting mother of these two squabbling siblings, fade into obscurity. (in the south at least) Right up until the 1970s almost all of Ireland’s prominent politicians are veterans of the civil war, followed by their offspring. Ironically, they both become pretty indistinguishable as Centre-Right Christian parties – endlessly swapping between government and opposition, in that dance we so quaintly call Democracy.
Inevitably ending up sharing government when a real threat emerges.
That existential threat to the status quo finally rears it’s ugly head, 100 years later in the 2020 election, when Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee are forced to grip each other in fond embrace in order to ward off the downfall of civilization as we know it, in the guise of…. you guessed it, Sinn Fien no less! – the dog that just won’t lie down. Not that they were really lying dormant all this time. They were busy making mischief (then peace) in Belfast, weren’t they indeed!
** The smaller part – Northern Ireland, has a Protestants majority.
The other bit – the Republic, is full of Catholics, as we all know.
But not for long. Irish Catholics are excellent breeders, as we all know, so at the present rate Northern Ireland will be majority Catholic within a generation. Then they will reunite with the rest of Ireland, without a shot being fired, and what a glorious day that will be, to be sure, to be sure. Such is the awesome power of the Catholic Church. ( if nothing else, they know how to fuck their way to world domination!)
This inexorable result will only be thwarted by those Femenists with their contraception pills and their abortions, putting a coat hanger in the works – so to speak.
– Before we start the
hate male sorry, hate mail, please note –
This cheeky comment is ‘tongue-in-cheek’
*** Sound familiar? Using Irish loyalists as cannon fodder helped foment a thirst for revolution in Ireland. Just like it did in Australia – not!
Here in Australia we worship that shameful episode as a test of our loyalty to The Crown, an auto-da-fe.
With immense pride we describe in great detail how our brave young men fell in wave after wave, for months on end, in futile defense of a British Empire past it’s use-by-date!.
It was a seminal moment in the pregnancy of both our Republics; Ireland and Australia. But als and alak, only one republic was born.
As we all know, the Gallipoli Debacle took place in 1915. In Ireland the Easter Rising happened very soon after, in 1916. Followed by the war of Independence from 1919 to 1922, giving birth, after much hemorrhaging, to the Irish Free State, and it’s spavined little runt of a sibling; Northern Ireland.
(the poor we thing is still suckling at the breast to this day)
Australia became a separate nation in 1901, without a shot being fired, l might add.
(The Pommies were glad to get rid of us, l do believe.)
This put our two countries on an equal footing – Free States under the British Crown.
But the Irish, not being so enamored of our British rulers, continued their quest for full emancipation, via less bloodthirsty means. A republic was finally proclaimed in 1949, without a shot being fired! This was just after the second ‘war to end all world wars’.
Presumably because the Irish figured the Brits would be exhausted and sick of war.
(that is quite a presumption. As if the British would ever get sick of war)
But the strategy worked. (who said the Irish are lunk-heads)
Here in the Australia, after a long gestation the mother country, England was expecting a Republic to be born. But the local midwife, one John Howard would have none of it. He proclaimed Oz was too young to give birth. Best she take his sage advice and wait until she was grown up. But the little blighter was coming out ready or not. Something had to be done. Yes, the pregnancy had to be aborted! Dr. John did what had to be done. He made ‘the problem go away’- very late term indeed!
Some say it was heard kicking and screaming from the rubbish bin!
Ben Boyang 2022