September 8, 2013 at 12:58 pm
It sounds like farming animals and potatoes was not profitable but weaving was. The weavers were also called farmers depending on which stage of life they were in. The weaver who was the head of the family and his family, wife and daughters (spinners) would be employed. The sons would also work the flax farm.
They had small plots of land in which they planted flax so that they could manage their homespun linen industry and make a profit. The English didn’t want to allow regulation of rent-control whereby the tenants would be able to control their rents and be reimbursed for improvements on the landlord’s estates. The English were envious of the Irish success in the linen industry and they wanted the profits for themselves. Through laws they regulated the industry.
September 8, 2013 at 10:09 am
‘Tenant right originated from the tenant having built his house, enclosed and ditched the land, and made all improvements without the least assistance from his landlord. Although the term of years granted was sufficient to repay him for all the outlay, still he never would have lost sight of the original expense [the biggest expense he would ever outlay in his life] and he looked to receive compensation from his successor equal to the improved value of the farm. As the landlord did not interfere as long as he received the rent the custom was handed down until it established an equal right in effect to a law. No one could be found to take possession of a farm unless the outgoing tenant was perfectly satisfied on leaving. Even when the rent of the outgoing tenant was four years in arrears, the incoming tenant’s house and cornstacks could have been set on fire’.
September 8, 2013 at 10:21 am
‘Between 1845 and 1848 the government introduced three bills, signalling a shift in landlord position. The first of these bills required that any new improvement be registered and agreed with the landlord and specified strict time limits after which tenants could no longer claim compensation – 31 years for house, 14 years fro drainage. The third bill set a limit on compensation for improvement to be no ore than the equivalent of three years’ rent, provided that the holding was valued over £10 per annum. None of these bills made it through the House of Commons’.
September 8, 2013 at 12:14 pm
The English by not passing these measures ensured that Landlords would continue to take advantage of the tenants.
September 5, 2013 at 6:19 am
Tenant Right in Ulster
‘It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast than between sixteenth-century Gaelic Ulster and England. The development of a market was inhibited by frequent cattle-raiding and violent conflict between kin-based communities. Gaelic rents, paid to chieftains in token sums by family groups, were far too low to allow sufficient income to develop estates or for them to accumulate capital or political or military power’
Comment: Ulster Gaels were far too penny-pinching and too concerned with squabbling between themselves to organise themselves into any semblance of force that could adequately repel the English.
September 5, 2013 at 6:31 am
‘After the Treaty of Mellifont, Hugh O’Neill [with the help of the English] held nothing short of palatinate jurisdiction over Tyrone but after the Flight of the Earls in 1607 the central thrust of colonial endeavour in Ulster was to escheat all land held by Gaelic chiefs and to replace the former proprietors with immigrant undertakers, servitors and acceptable natives’.
The Ulster Earls had it in their grasp to transform Ulster society but their duplicitous behaviour towards the English, who were minded to play fair at that time, led to The Flight of the Earls which left their tenants to the mercy of colonisation by the English. In other words, the Irish had only themselves to blame.
September 5, 2013 at 6:36 am
Gaelic freeholders were before 1641 given opportunities to accumulate property but they were unable to cope with the new demands of land ownership. Crown rents and poor farming techniques meant that they were in constant difficulties’
What is being implied is that native Irish were completely clueless about how to modernise their society and it took immigrants to show them how.
September 5, 2013 at 6:58 am
‘It is entirely appropriate to apply the term colonisation to the Plantation of Ulster [by dint of its] domination of its space, reformation of its natives’ minds and integration of its economy into a Western perspective’.
Those writers who object to the notion that Ireland was colonised by the English do so on the bizarre basis that it is not possible for one Western country to colonise another because all Westerners come from the same genetic pool.
September 5, 2013 at 7:14 am
‘Native but modernizing landowners like Phelim O’Neill, who ousted natives and replaced them with British tenants, were no less significant for the plantation than the planter of English stock’.
The impression is left that Celtic chieftains in Ireland could have galvanised their clansmen better if they had been made of stronger and more reputable stuff. Instead, they were duplicitous scoundrels who failed to outwit the Anglosaxons.
September 7, 2013 at 8:10 am
‘There were two different Donegals. The mountainous coastal baronies were granted to Scots undertakers while Kilmacrennan was given to servitors and natives. Inishowen was given to Chichester and the flat, fertile country known as the Lagan was largely Protestant. The valleys were filled with Protestants of the Scottish churches, the mountains were tenanted with Catholics’.
This gives the lie to the Watson claim that the Donegal immigrants at Duffys Cut, who came mostly from the Lagan, were Gaelic-speaking native Irishmen’.
September 7, 2013 at 8:30 am
‘In the Foyle valley [and for as long as Abercorn kept tight control] the landjobber and middleman were almost non-existent. This picture changed as the decades passed [and as control was handed over to undertenants] until nine-tenths of tenant-farmers did not look after their cottiers and very many of them had to go to workhouses. The generality of farmers treated their cottiers very unfeelingly, oppressing them with heavy rents and getting as much work out of them as they were able to bear’.
September 7, 2013 at 8:45 am
‘A parish which has one year 200 Catholics one year may not have thirty the next. Catholics, being as a rule leaseholders, often lose their leases which are given to Protestants or Presbyterians or Anabaptists or Quakers. These are the dominant sects and every time a new colony arrives the poor Catholics are put aside’.
September 7, 2013 at 9:56 am
‘The dizzy fluctuations of fortune shaped a distinctive Protestant mindset. Brought to the edge of destruction, then redeemed by Cromwell; threatened by Charles II’s complaisant attitude towards “innocent papists”; then plunged into mortal peril by the Catholic King, James II; then deilvered by William. These experiences determined the character of the Protestant state and its attitude towards vanquished Catholics’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:02 am
‘Native Catholics were content to take land for less time and give a greater rent than the English not only because they spend not a tenth part in building and fencing, in diet and apparel but because of an inveterate malice towards the English. They will rather impoverish themselves so as to get the lands into their own hands and overthrow the English Plantation in those parts most fit to be planted with English’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:13 am
‘With plentiful and docile Catholic labour, Protestant tenants in the 1770s became more dispensable. By 1792, vast carloads of people from upper Tyrone [leaving behind large debts] passed to Derry on their way to America’
September 7, 2013 at 10:20 am
‘Tenants who could draw higher tenant-right prices were more prone to emigrate. The money taken with them through leases being sold at exorbitant prices was inconceivable. Hence, the misery of Ireland did not proceed [alone] from landlords racking their remaining tenants’.
Some land agents were wise to this haemorrhaging of money to America. James Speer of Aighnacloy in Tyrone insisted upon quick settlement of outstanding rent arrears before a tenant could be allowed [often having their passage subsidised by the landlord if insufficient funds left over] to emigrate to America. In fact, emigration could be encouraged for this very reason’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:34 am
‘After a bad harvest, the pressures of high food prices and rent payments forced smallholders into debt with local creditors. The grain seller, petty landlord and linen dealer might even be the same person. To discharge their rent and buy food backward tenants got money advanced, mostly from yarn buyers to whom they were obliged to give their yarn as they spun it, at much under its proper value, nor could they dispute it as that could destroy their credit with them’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:39 am
‘Many tenants were greatly in debt in order to keep their holdings. Many gave up acres of their best land to creditors without rent to meet their debts. When they got their land back it was worn out and they were obliged to buy bread at a high price on credit’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:45 am
‘The high price of corn benefitted those who could sell but they were very few compared to those who were obliged to buy. The active market presented an opportunity for speculators who laid up stores of meal in anticipation of high prices that would follow. The farmer who had provisions to spare would not dispose of them while cheap but [waited] till the poorer sort would buy at exorbitant prices’.
September 7, 2013 at 10:53 am
‘Agents lamented that occupants of larger tracts of land had become completely dependent on weaving and neglected their farms. They lamented in poor years for the linen market that people branch out on other trades and not be solely dependent on the linen-cloth business. Farms were so small that ten acres was large, five or six would be found on a good farm, and all so subservient to manufacture that they no more deserved the name of farmers than mere occupiers of cabbage gardens’.
September 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm
‘Weavers’ preoccupation with the loom made it impossible for them to hold land more than the minimum acreage necessary for subsistence. A large group of tenants in these circumstances inflated prices for smaller farms and so the fewer acres a tenant occupied the more highly each acre was valued’.
September 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm
‘By 1844 there were villages without looms where before the shuttle was unceasingly plied at every window. The poor son of the once flourishing weaver poorly tilled his thirty acres but by then the march of machinery left him without the basic comforts’.
September 7, 2013 at 12:40 pm
‘The cottier system was analogous to slavery and those tenants who complained most of their rents were the greatest grinders of their under-tenants or cottiers’.
September 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm
Extract from Letter by Millers of Draperstown 1848
“The great curse of Tenant Right crept in from the Province being the seat of linen manufacture. This coupled with the anxiety of the Romish Priesthood to increase their flocks to increase their wealth – for priests are paid so much on baptisms and marriages – but also to increase their numerical strengths so they might carry their point by brute force if necessary”.
September 8, 2013 at 7:03 am
‘During the early nineteenth century the scope of agent duties expanded to include accounting, collection of arrears, distribution of plots and the management of large-scale relettings. Landlords ignored these developments at their peril and those who did so were as likely as not to be liquidated by the crisis of the 1840s’.
September 8, 2013 at 7:14 am
‘The role of tenant right as collateral for loans increased dramatically with the increasing complexity of the economic fabric of estates. Landlords had to be wary of tenants losing their farms to third parties after mortgaging them to neighbours, middlemen or banks beyond their value’.
As times got hard in the nineteenth century, farmers increasingly sold off their farms to clear their own debts but they made no effort to clear their rent arrears from the money that they received. In other words, tenant-farmers allowed themselves to be double-mortgaged, they defaulted on the first ‘mortgage’ and they emigrated with their proceeds.
September 8, 2013 at 7:36 am
‘If an agent successfully took possession of a tenant’s cattle to settle rent arrears there was the vexing problem of finding buyers. While tenants would readily exchange cattle between themselves to resolve debts they would seldom buy at a distraint sale or [risk public odium]’.
September 8, 2013 at 7:50 am
‘By the 1840s the gathering of arrears of rent had become impractical since there was scarcely one who could pay a year’s rent without disposing of their stock and chattels and leaving themselves without the means of support or payment of ent in the future. Abatements were therefore necessary’.
September 8, 2013 at 8:05 am
‘The capacity of agents to resort to ejectment and to terrorize the tenantry dramatically increased in the nineteenth century. The legal system through which tenants had to be pursued had been radically transformed by 1823. The creation of the quarter sessions court in 1796 and the petty sessions court and the constabulary in 1823 marked a sea change. An Act of 1816 allowed ejectment by civil bill in the quarter sessions court but the procedure was still technically exacting, though less costly, with a high burden of proof’.
September 8, 2013 at 8:52 am
‘It was not until 1851 that streamlined powers of ejectment were extended to all tenancies, written or implied, where arrears had accumulated to at least one year’s rent. Before 1851 the procedure for recovery of rents could only be used against leaseholders, not tenants at will or yearly tenants. To serve notice on the latter it was necessary to proceed in the same way as against tenants whose legal interest had been determined and who were still in possession. Quarter session ejectment only cost five or six shillings’.
September 8, 2013 at 9:53 am
‘In 1851 one lqndlord commented “as to any tenant giving up his farm without an ejectment we might as well ask him to pay the national debt of England. They would as soon give up their heart’s blood as their bit of land”.
September 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm
Did the English ever try to take land from the Chieftains before this? The English seemed to have inside knowledge that the chieftains would be disorganized and would be unable to farm the land. The clans may have been resistant to modernize?
September 6, 2013 at 6:06 am
Potted History of the Times around the Initial Colonisation of Ireland
September 7, 2013 at 7:42 am
Eleven Years War 1641-1653
This was the Irish Civil War which set Anglo-Irish against native Irish and which caused major bloodshed throughout Ireland, and especially in Ulster. It was brought to an end by Oliver Cromwell, but at a cost of putting to an end for centuries any prospect of civil or religious liberties.
As a result, the Ulster Plantation received a major set back but it started to recover in 1672-85. During that period, Tyrone recovered the most and settlement there increased by 60%. Donegal and Derry by contrast only increased in settlement by half that amount, with the London Companies being blamed in the case of Derry.
Peace did not last long in Ireland before the Williamite Wars started up in 1688-1691 and this led to the destruction of property and land in much of the border counties and Derry, it being the focus of the famous Siege.
September 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm
‘Like the native American Indian, native Irish did not improve their land and since improvement constituted the right to property this made it easy to dispossess the Indian [the Irish]’.
September 1, 2013 at 9:11 am
The Squat Pen Rests
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests
I’ll dig with it
August 16, 2012 at 12:49 am
Bloody Sunday (Truth, Lies and the Saville Inquiry), Summary of the Book by Douglas Murray.
Lord Widgery sat alone in the initial Tribunal (named after him) which exonerated the British Army. Widgery himself had a strong army background, albeit with the Territorial Army (a kind of Home Guard or Dad’s Army) and had been awarded with the TD medal for twenty years sevice with them.
The Paraffin Test, the main forensic evidence relied upon at the time to ‘prove’ proximity of a suspect to a discharged weapon, and which Widgery put his faith in, was shown later to be fatally flawed as a test. Proximity to a car starting up could give a false result. On the basis of the test findings, a number of the dead were falsely accused of having shot weapons. This conclusion caused outrage and it sullied the memory of the dead and innocent accused.
Directly after the Widgery Report was released, the coroner, Major Hubert O’Neill (a Unionist), came to a very damning conclusion ” The Army ran amok that day and shot innocent people. I say without hesitation it was sheer unadulterated murder”.
After the Tribunal and inquest, the British Government in 1974 attempted to close the matter by offering relatives of the deceased sums ranging upwards from £250.
Tony Blair used the promise of a fresh inquiry into Bloody Sunday, on the 25th anniversary of the event, as a trump card in getting republicans on board for talks that later led to the Good Friday Agreement and peace.
The new Inquiry would be chaired by Lord Saville who would be joined by two judges from the Commonwealth.
Six months before Bloody Sunday, the same Parachute Regiment, shot dead in the street eleven innocent civilians in Ballymurphy in Belfast. No enquiry has ever been carried out into these deaths.
Colonel Wilford, commanding officer, has never admitted to any wrongdoing by his soldiers and has said “Any killing of innocent people was done as an act of war and my men did not run amok. If they had, there would have been far more than thirteen killed, dozens. But what were we supposed to do, just sit around and twiddle our thumbs?”
During the Tribunal, Colonel Wilford came out with the statement, “Almost every Ulster Catholic represents some strain of Republicanism”.
Saville’s summary of Wilford’s part in Bloody Sunday was that Wilford had disobeyed orders by sending his soldiers into the Bogside, neither he nor his soldiers could know who were rioters and who was simply marching, he should have realised the area was volatile and dangerous, and he should have anticipated the response of the soldiers was likely to be a risk to civilians. But, Saville continued, Wilford could not have foreseen his soldiers would act the way they did and so he could not be fairly criticised.
Martin McGuinness was supposed to be the star witness of the Inquiry, except that all he did was to make a pretence of cooperating. For every single question that was put to him he fell back on his version of the tried-and-trusted ‘no comment, on the basis that anything I say might incriminate me or my confederates’. He repeatedly made it clear that his one and only priority was to demonstrate allegiance to his confederates. He also used the occasion to grandstand and show off his supposed cleverness, for which he was cheered to the rafters. All of this fiasco of course undermined the supposed purpose of the Inquiry which was to get to the truth of what happened on Bloody Sunday. Next!
Despite McGuinness’s best efforts to stonewall the Inquiry, other witnesses were more forthcoming, including Fathers Daly and O’Gara. The truth then emerged that there were indeed IRA gunmen in the vicinity of the march who took aim and who shot at the soldiers. The Inquiry failed to establish who shot first in what was now becoming apparent – the IRA had indeed used the crowd as a shield and had come to the march armed with weapons. There is no mention if the gallery cheered at this disclosure.
The outcome of the Inquiry is now well known as it finished with David Cameron’s public apology for the actions of the Army on Bloody Sunday, and this had always ben the purpose of the Inquiry from the word go, so as to pave the way for the peace process. Gerry Adams asked for a similar inquiry to be made into the Ballymurphy Massacre, where there had been no IRA involvement, but there has been no interest or stomach for seeking the truth of what happened on that black day that happened six months before Bloody Sunday.
Conclusion of the book:
‘If the peace in Northern Ireland is ever fully secured it will be when the exaltation of the men of violence is consigned to the past and people exalt instead men and women of peace’.
PS I was an intern on-duty on that Bloody Sunday, I was on intake for the victims who poured though ER and I saw for myself first-hand.
May 23, 2012 at 8:49 am
I have completed the IDEX test (as if I were you), and representing you as the well-grounded, confident and logical person that I know you are. The results, which you might like to correct as appropriate are as follows and are based upon your assessments of these historical characters:
Everything is marked out of a hundred (percentage if you like).
Your empathy with the characters:
Governor Q 100; Sir John 81; Dr Mac 65; General Hugh 54; Viscount C 46; Colonel G 31; Cardinal T 27
(Sounds like a game of Cluedo?)
Positive Role Models
Governor Q 100; Sir John 81; Dr Mac 65; General Hugh 54; Viscount C 46; Colonel G 31; Cardinal T 27.
(This of course means you can turn these values on their head so that for example Cardinal T as a Negative Role Model reads 73 etc).
May 23, 2012 at 10:20 am
The values and standards against which these historical figures have been judged were as shown. The confidence level with which these standards could be assessed are shown as percentages in brackets. Percentages of 50-70 are middle of the road and are probably reliable; anything above may need revision downwards; anything below may need revision upwards; anything below 20 is unreliable.
Was fair-minded in their dealings (76)
Has been broad minded (72)
Has looked out for others (69)
Treated others like equals (69)
Acted like a true Celt (67)
Respected values and traditions (67)
Has looked out for his own people (64)
Has been a peacemaker (61)
Has been fine and worthwhile (63)
Has listened to others (60)
Showed compassion for others (60)
Has been a conscientious servant (59)
Has kept his feet on the ground (55)
Has been loyal to country and countrymen (54)
Has stood up for what is right (51)
Has shown strength of character (47)
Has been courageous (47)
Has stolen what was not theirs (45)
Has learnt from mistakes (44)
Has been passionate (42)
Has felt proud (42)
Has kept his promises (40)
Stood their ground (18)
Has been a free spirit (11)
Achieved their goals (4)
Came out on top (4)
May 23, 2012 at 11:50 am
Hi Don! That’s amazing you got this information from something I wrote. When you say something is unreliable a score less than 20, or a score that needs to be revised, does that mean I would need to evaluate the attributes of the grid differently? How does that work? Thanks for doing this!:)
May 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm
Nothing wrong with your scores that need revision. First step would be for you to confirm, or disagree as the case may be, that the results are an accurate reflection of what you think, then a case of further interrogation of the data.
The reason for the lower scoring items is because of what is known as Dual Morality. This means that it is possible for negatively evaluated entities to have positive qualities.
Just two examples:
Positive Attributes for Colonel Gordon
Stood his ground; Achieved what he set out to do (?); Acquired possessions honestly; Has been a free spirit; Has felt proud.
Positive attributes for Cardinal Troy
Has come out on top;Has stood up for what is right (?); Has kept his promises; Has felt proud.
May 24, 2012 at 7:53 am
Seems to me that people can demonstrate qualities such as these that are not used for the general good.
To take Gordon
He achieved what he set out to do (to build his personal fortune); was a free spirit and stood his ground (did his own thing without regard to others); and felt proud of his fortune. His Uist adventure was a business move that turned sour and gave him a bad press. His businesses elsewhere made him into a modern-day Donald Trump.
To take Troy
He was so strongly Establishment that he allowed himself to be a puppet of the British Government when the Catholic Church was severely weakened(the Pope and his cardinals had been put into exile by Napoleon). Meanwhile, the French were knocking at the door. If they invaded Ireland, Troy’s number was up. So his pathetic attempts to control his people, dressed up as loyalty to his masters (albeit he was confused at times as to who his masters really were)may have been partly to save his own skin. He justified his own actions as keeping the Brits on side while they made their minds up about Catholic Emancipation. He obviously didn’t know his Bible! Luke 16:13 ‘No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon’.
May 23, 2012 at 9:24 pm
Governor Macquarie, Not Such a Paragon of Virtues, More of an Accidental Tourist?
From the Australian Directory of Biography we get the following:
Macquarie’s lineage goes back to the first and Pictish King of Scoland, Kenneth MacAlpine; Macquarie could have been in line to become chieftain of his clan; his immediate family of origin were poor and may have fallen on hard times; one parent and probably both were illiterate; his mother was a close relative of a MacLaine chief; a MacLean cousin who commanded a Highland regiment got Macquarie the escape he wanted – the Army; when he first set off for foreign shores he left his relatives in significant debt (but later repaid); he married well and into polite society; a prenuptial arrangement kept him from raiding his new wife’s dowry; in his new married life he lived well beyond his means; his young bride died aged 24 of TB leaving him her fortune; with his new found wealth he bought himself a more senior rank in the Army; he served with General Ralph Abercrombie in India; he became a colonel at the recommendation of General Baird; his MacLaine uncle who had hit hard times sold him 10000 acres on Mull; he multiplied his wealth three fold while inn the Army and was now a millionaire; he partied in high circles in London for a year ignoring his uncle’s appeals to come home as he was preterminal.
More to follow.
May 24, 2012 at 7:33 am
Macquarie Biography Continued.
When the Napoleonic War broke out again, Macquarie was stationed in India and wryly omplained about th amount of socialising he was expected to do.
On his return on leave in 1804, that was his first time of seeing his widowed mother for seventeen years.
Married for the second time, aged 44, his first child(a daughter) was born but died in infancy.
Further promotion eluded him in the Army and Macquarie was displeased at being stuck at lieutenant-colonel rank,making him the oldest of that rank in the Army. There was the suggestion of a black Mark against his record which impeded his further advancement.
Macquarie chanced his arm and applied for the Govenorship of Australia, a position that should have been beyond his reach. He had already been appointed as secretary of state to the colony and the governor vacancy suddenly appeared and needed to be filled with him being the only applicant.
He was appointed Governor by Viscount Castlereagh who Macquarie had approached directly to intercede.
Macquarie was given clear instructions by Cstlereagh what his mission was to be and Macquarie kept to these religiously.
Macquarie wad described as ‘the last of the autocratic and non-constitutional Governors of Australia’.
The new boy in the colony, he nonetheless cut corners to get things going and did so without prior authorisation from above, so working well beyond his remit.
Macquarie’s masterstroke was to commission good men to carry out his plans and make them reality, even if they were convicts.
He took much of his moral lead from his own wife and from Admiral Arthur Phillip.
May 22, 2012 at 8:00 am
You say it is years since you studied psychology. You’ll wish you hadn’t mentioned that. Here is an academic psychology paper to get your teeth into tho’ it is not light bedside reading! I haven’t read it myself yet but it seems at a glance to be a pretty comprehensive review of the area of interest. According to the politically correct, it now gets called collective identity, with the ethnic bit being in small print.
A different study looked at people from a distinctive ethnic background to get a measure of their sense of collective (ethnic) identity. The results showed that those people:
Had strong attachment to the group (60%)
Had pride in the group/clan (60%)
Felt happy to be a member of the group/clan (50%)
Felt good about its culture (50%)
Understood what group membership meant(50%)
Participated in cultural practice (40%)
Talked to out-group members about the in-group (40%)
Spent time to learn about the group (30%)
Had a sense of belonging to the group (25%)
Were active in ethnic organisation (25%)
Thought about the group membership (25%)
Had a clear sense of ethnic background (20%)
These figures appear to say that most people who have a strong interest in their roots and attachments consider that to be a private matter and see no need to get involved with others in that pursuit. That might reflect the visitor activity on this website which is mostly ‘shopping’ for information rather than stopping by. Fine as far as that goes but less good is that the vast majority have no clear sense of their ethnic background.
May 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Hi Don! I can see why people think that studying their roots is a private matter as my Dad would never discuss his family. However, how do you explain all the chat rooms on Ancestry.com and Rootsweb.com? I found several cousins I did not know I had on-line both here and in UK. I didn’t know if you still wanted me to work on what I was doing since it’s only us in this chat room or wait till we have more folks to hash in? I was thinking that when you put up the article about the poetry and the quotes and people responded to that- that this could be a good way to bring people in to the group. Like they do on Twitter and Facebook. People sometimes just like to write down a random thought. Maybe there are less people doing research type projects like this one. You could have a place for both? Thanks for the paper I’ll check it out!
May 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm
I think a lull would be quite in order to guage what effect the introduction of the Bookclub has had on the site. Despite the falling out that Winnie and Mary have had, it was an interesting few twists and turns which have breathed new life into the website. I feel I have gained enormous benefit from the exchanges in terms of clarifying my ideas.
This paper I linked you into confirms that my thinking on these matters, even within the ivory towers of academia that I have never been part of nor wished to be, I am not quite as out-on-a-limb as Winnie would infer. I think also that Mary was just trying to say that same thing.
I will be using you as a sounding board still if that’s OK but don’t feel you have to respond at every turn. My questions may often be rhetorical. When the book gets published I would wish to acknowledge the wisdom that all three of you have brought to the project so it would be good to have your proper name, not just your nom-de-plume.
May 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm
Hi Don! When I said I hadn’t had a psychology course in 25 years that was a signal for you to go easy on ME!:) I’m going to have to takes some notes here!:)
May 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm
Hi Don! Just an observation on this article is seems they place an importance on asking people how they relate to a group by asking open ended questions. When we put our leaders through this grid we can’t do this. So when we evaluate whether these traits are positive / negative I feel this is kind of one sided. So, is collective identity an external factor that would be included in how sociological factors affect a person’s behavior? Does how someone views how a person is in relationship to a group and how the person views himself in relationship to the group affect the way he is seen as a negative or positive role model of a Celt or leader?
May 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm
It probably all boils down to what Weinrich refers to as Dual Morality (other people may use different terms). What that refers to is consistency of response, whether self-completed (ego-recognised) or attributed by others (alter-ascribed). In other words, if a person’s responses are ‘all over the place’, it probably doesn’t matter whether the source is internal or extenal as it is inconsistent anyway. The reverse applies as well and this is where IDEX (Identity Exploration), a separate thing from the Dynamic Identity Grid, and something we haven’t really looked at, comes into its own. Using IDEX I can tell whether a person is in complete self-denial viz I know more about them than they know about themselves. In other words, a person may think they are the bee’s knees when they are anything but, or as Rabbie Burns would say (that’s rich coming from him right enough!)|
‘O would God the giftie gie us
To see oorsels as ithers see us’.
May 22, 2012 at 8:23 pm
As I have mentioned their national poet and songwriter twice now, here are two songs from Scotland’s Rabbie Burns:
May 23, 2012 at 11:57 am
Hi Don! Beautiful music! Thanks!:)
May 13, 2012 at 7:32 am
This is from The Guardian (a slightly left-wing UK Newspaper) Books Blog in reponse to the report that there is a a new book out, an Anthology of Taliban poetry:
“It kind of helps if, before you invade somewhere, you learn to speak the language and comprehend the country you’re about to occupy”.
“Much as I detest the Taliban, there are bound to be those we can relate to. Poetry can reveal the inner soul”.
“If humanising Pashtun culture equates to propaganda, then we need more of it. I can’t wait to read it”.
“How many of the poets are women?”.
“Presumably a poetry book by the Waffen SS would be of equal merit and would show their ‘human’ side?”.
“In short, it would. Or would you deny that the Nazis were human?”.
“Poetry is one way for the soldier to hold onto his reason and his humanity”.
“You vile lot are defending the Taliban. You couldn’t make it up!”.
“I am as atheist after reading the Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost as before, even though God-bothering was their intention”.
“Surely the healing balm [of poetry] can heal the mental scars of war?”.
“We are never going to ‘win’ in Afghanistan so let’s see what values we share”.
“This anthology of Pashtun poetry has the Taliban seal of approval”
“Poetry is a highly valued and everyday part of Pashtun life, certainly not something one could say about poetry in the west”.
“The Taliban think they are respecting women – maybe this poetry will make that clearer”.
The general perception in the UK is that the Armed Forces must have lost their GPS and they ended up in the wrong country. Likewise, the sense is that the invasion of IRAQ was a wild goose-chase in the search of imaginary long-range weaponry. The belief is that, although there is the utmost admiration and compassion for the soldiers, the leaders and politicians must have been barmy. If there is substance to any of this, what must the Taliban leaders have thought on finding Western forces on their doorstep, having packed off the Russians so many years before? What people in the UK thought of George Bush’s notion of the ‘evil axis’ as explanation or justification for the invasion is probably impolite and unrepeatable. I need Winn, my octogenarian Australian, to come back and sort this all out.
PS Anybody read or seen the Kite Runner, an excellent inside look at that culture?
May 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Hi I read the article you cited. apparently there is only one Pakastani girl age 11 that wrote poetry to stand up against the Taliban. The blogs included “I hope someone gets her and her family out of the country”!.” She’s putting her family at risk”. My favorite “I hope she will be a snowball at the top of a mountain”
I think Americans were shocked we were going to invade Iraq back in 2005. I stayed up nights just watching with disbelief what was going on. I didn’t feel our motives to find WMD was the sole reason for us going in there.
Check out the film Charlie Wilson’s War about the first time we went to Afghanistan.
May 12, 2012 at 11:29 am
As for the motivation for the project, this was partly tied up with the PhD research I had done on identity. Through that I became familiar with Prof Peter Weinreich and his work on identity exploration which became the basis of my own research. In his case, he studied racial conflict in the context of displaced identity (hence my poolside reading on Palestine) and immediately I could see the connections.
You will have noticed the section headings in my book are variations on challenged identity – whether oppressed, conflicted, displaced or whatever. So I have brought these concepts back to their roots, and away from my clinical applications, only in this case Celtic. My sense is that I have failed so far in my objective for the book that it could spell out these ideas but using examples and authors from a variety of disciplines, all the while grounded in the real and sustained interests and mostly unnoticed work of amateur family researchers.
May 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm
I hope you’re not feeling discouraged, Don. Your plan was a good one, but hard to carry out. Where academia is concerned, it seems there are always in-groups and out-groups. And while some of the concern about the intellectual company one keeps of course stems from principles and deep convictions, it also seems to be amplified by the circumstances of scholars working in the humanities: God knows we don’t get paid well, and universities are continually demanding that we teach more students (and keep them happy as customers paying ever increasing educational costs) while at the same time increasing the quality and quantity of publications, all out of the goodness of our hearts: any raise we get in salary will be small, no matter how much or how well we work.
There has been such a speed-up in Britain in the past 20 years or so that scholars who are highly accomplished, such as Robert Young, who’s in Literature at Oxford, preserve their sanity by working half-time in the States, so that they can enjoy a breather. Others leave their jobs in Britain in order to accept a relatively lucrative professorship somewhere in the States, where they can do less work(especially less teaching and administrative work) for the last five to ten years of their career, and then go back home in retirement. As far as I can tell, intellectuals are still generally respected in Europe, unlike in the US. But the main payoff comes nonetheless from recognition by their peers for a certain specific type of work. Symbolic rewards are basically all they’ve got.
So people are really touchy about protecting or enhancing their reputations and about appearing in print only with like-minded colleagues who speak a certain language, approach things a certain way, publish in certain venues, and have a certain cachet, even if it be as brilliant young proteges. Maybe you’ve taken on too much, especially in the wake of your surgery. Are you still doctoring and shrinking heads on top of everything else? If so, the website should be the least of your worries! Maybe you’d benefit from a couple of weeks off in some warm, sunny clime where you could identify as a carefree Mediterranean soul.
May 13, 2012 at 9:03 am
I can fully understand the sniffiness amongst certain academics at the idea of dilettantes meddling in their fields. The same attitude was prevalent (perhaps still is) in medical circles and there was a disinclination to ‘get down and dirty’ with non-medic stakeholders, most notably patients, and who has a bigger stake? My own experience as a medic/patient underscored my belief that it is a potentially fatal mistake if you don’t listen to your patients.
Likewise with history, I believe it should not solely be the domain of academics and everyone, lay or professional, has a relationship (even when the interest is not there) with their antecedents. Hence the USP (unique selling point) of the book and no, I am not discouraged, as I have always (even in childhood) been like a dog with a bone. I had to rewrite my PhD but it was all the better for it.
In my next post, I will get round to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the book. I greatly appreciate the feedback already which has helped to give me a good steer on how to put some badly-needed finishing touches to it.
May 13, 2012 at 10:33 am
While I liked the introductory chapter by Prof Eric Richards on the Antipodean Diaspora, and it was well-written as expected, it didn’t grab me other than the rather sad exchange of correspondence of the father in Gairloch with his son in Australia whom he had just as surely banished there as if he were a convict.
Likewise, Annie Tindley’s chapter on the Sutherland ‘Clearances’ was well-written and it tried to evoke a measure of understanding for the Duke and Duchess but I doubt whether Annie’s stance will change the popular view that the Highland aristocracy were just a bad lot.
The Murder of Annie Beaton was one of my favourites and it portrayed the Prince Edward Islanders/Highlanders as backward and superstitious people who might as well have stayed at home in Scotland with their Wickerman mentality.
Prof Willeen Keough’s chapter on Newfoundland was another of my favourites, portraying God help anyone who was a Catholic in Conception Bay.
I expected John Sheets to write about the Lord Selkirk venture in Canada and the encounters with the Metis Indians in Hudson Bay. That would have been much more invigorating to read. As it was, I blended his short chapter with some material from Angus MacMillan and I am sure that the ‘slip shows’.
I found Laurie Gourevidis’s chapter on memorialisation to cover similar ground to work by Dr Paul Basu and I probably would have preferred her work on Patrick Sellars.
I found Prof Christine Kinealy’s chapter on the Young Irelanders to be interesting but somehow I felt I could not relate or empathise with any of the players in that chapter.
Three Hundred Lashes by Merle O’Donnell was overlong but I didn’t mind the goriness of the subject as it is a worthy subject as convicts and their hardships is a sorely neglected area.
My own concluding chapter ‘Loosen the Knot’ is a bit mish-mash and it does not properly set out the treatise of the book which the chapters were intended to support. The Dynamic Identity Grid is also just stuck there in the middle of it as a bit of an enigma or afterthought.
May 13, 2012 at 4:49 pm
After reading your analysis of your book, my response is “Thank God.” I had pretty much the same thoughts on the material, but I had a few more entries in the Bad and Ugly column. The Murder of Annie Beaton was my favorite.
I think you were being rather kind in your analysis of the Young Irelanders. I took better notes in class when I was in school. The others I found to be rather statistical heavy with not much effort put into thoughtful dialogue.
As a reader, I found it rather a tough row at times. I was at a loss to figure out why. The books fluidity seemed compromised even though you had them expertly organized and the conceptual nature of the book is sound. At first, I thought it was simply the different writing styles of the authors, but that didn’t seem to quite fit as an answer. After a lot of thought , and some time, I came to the conclusion that for me, the book read too much like a textbook rather than what you set out to make it. It is a straight line approach to each subject, but don’t ask me how to correct this feeling. I do think the insightful commentary you put in the book was good, but more of it is needed, especially in the beginning of each section. Possibly critiques from others placed after each?
You cannot fix the tediousness of some of the writers, but could there be fillers that you could possibly place in strategic places so the reader does not feel as if he is studying for the class final? That would be the only reason that I would be reading some of those essays.
As my professors used to say to me, your concept is fine, it is the execution that is lacking.
May 13, 2012 at 8:15 pm
The patient is definitely not beyond resuscitation. It just needs a couple more zaps of the defibrillator. When I said critiques, I was thinking along the lines of writers who had opposite thoughts on the specific work. I know that some of the essays cannot really be critiqued, but there are a few that can be.
As you say in your review, some of the essays are flat, and uninspiring. The ones that you mentioned are also the ones that come to my mind. What is missing is the “fire.” Or an evoking of an emotion, one way or the other. I do not know if these are things that are fixable.
For the man who rewrote his phd thesis, this should be cake, right?
May 21, 2012 at 9:17 am
Hi Don! I was thinking that it would be nice to see the flow (with the same people/ events) from the situational factors that influence someone, their identities, the grid discussing the clan attributes whether they were positive or negative and how they affected society. I got a little lost w/ identities grid and situational factors. I had a lot of looking up to do for defining these and trying to figure out the grid. I haven’t had a psychology class in about 20 years! Also I think that maybe there are too many posts left on each page and that’s what’s throwing our posts onto different pages. Today I read a post from you and went back to look it up and couldn’t find it. i also realized I missed a weeks worth of posts because i didn’t see them. I think the web page either moved them because of lack of space? I swear yesterday I was on the media page when I posted but it appeared on the home page. So maybe saving posts to a storage area if you need to pull it up again may save space. When people google your site maybe you could have a link to the book club page?
May 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm
I think if you tick one or both of the buttons (underneath the Reply window) that should flash up on your email every time there is a reply to your post, then you won’t miss anything?
May 13, 2012 at 1:01 am
Winnie, I agree with your anaylsis completely and you have said it much more precisely than I could have ever said it. Have you seen his choices for poolside reading?!! That really needs help.
I would like to make a few observations as a non-academic. In my perception of the scholarly mind, especially those who are in the university setting and are “published,” there does not seem to an ability to empathize, there is a disregard for ideas that do not fit with theirs done with a condescending manner, with a flip of the hand, so to speak; in other words, scholars think in a completely narcissistic way towards their theories and conjectures. And do so with an almost “how dare you question” attitude. Example: the reaction Charles Darwin received from his “colleagues” at his notion of an “evolution of man.” This is not to say that all scholars act in such manner, but I think those that you have chosen to seek approval from are of such a mind. Expectations of being treated the way you would treat another are not being met. And if I may say, in the crude manner of the non-academic, those who do not even have the common courtesy to respond to your requests are horses arses.
Now, some pop psychology for the Dr. As Winnie noted, there seems to be some manic pace that you have taken with your life and your projects. Having your mortality placed so squarely in front of you (“surviving the widow-maker”) has created the reaction of putting your mind in overdrive; there is a compulsion to complete everything as soon as possible because time might run out with you not even knowing it. The fear of dying has now presented itself in your mind and refuses to leave. If you think that this is true, whether it is or not, then more time should be spent on your wife, your family, the beauty of the world outside of your office. And yes, Don there is fun to be had. Think about the man in your avatar, the one by the sea.
May 13, 2012 at 9:17 am
I get the ‘conjecture’ and there is a measure of truth in it but I have come though the stage of alarm over a sequence of ventricular bigeminy, atrial fibrillation, coronary ‘steal’, Mueller effect and gastroparesis etc which all set in after my heart procedures, waking me up in the middle of the night.
I still have loss of atrial kick but I am doing twenty mile cycles twice per week and I expect to live at least another five years. My wife and son get more anxious about me than I do about myself anymore – if I sit in the barber queue for longer than expected they are almost sending out for the emergency services!
May 13, 2012 at 3:29 am
To Doctor Empiric
by Ben Jonson
When men a dangerous disease did ‘scape,
Of old, they gave a cock to Aesculape.
Let me give two, that doubly am got free
From my disease’s danger, and from thee.
May 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm
Let’s reach out to the Orthodox Celts of Belgrade, a band with a clever name.
May 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm
I suppose they meant Unorthodox – there goes the language barrier again! Unless they are making some obscure point (unlikely) about their origins – Belgrade was occupied by Celts around the time of Christ but chose to become Eastern Orthodox rather than Roman Catholic,which is still the case today.
Seriously, someone else we could adopt as an honorary Irishman, and also from that part of the world, is Vitali Vitaliev from Ukraine, and I can thoroughly recommend his book, the
whimsical travelogue, ‘Vitali’s Ireland’ for the Bookclub.
And while we are at it, Ireland has already taken Marianne Green from Denmark to its heart-incidentally her spoken Irish is impeccable as well!
May 6, 2012 at 11:40 pm
My assumption is that the name Orthodox Celts is ironic, since these Southern Europeans–Serbians I suppose–play and sing Irish songs in Belgrade, and thus are “foreign” imitators who are nonetheless intent upon making Celtic music and culture their own. I assume that “orthodox” also refers to the Eastern Orthodox Church in their region, to which they probably don’t belong, as they are young entertainers of the ex-Second World, with its fifty year history of anti-religious communist rule. In both cases then, their “orthodoxy” is proclaimed tongue in cheek, and this proclamation pokes fun at those who have a narrow definition of Celtic identity and culture. Maybe Tom Devine would like them!
I didn’t know there were actual Celts who settled in that area and adopted the Eastern Orthodox religion. This adds yet another layer of irony, this time in connection with the Balkan wars of the 1990s and the Serbs’ official policy of “ethnic cleansing,” ie genocide. The ethnic violence was perpetrated in the name of preserving or re-establishing a fantasmal ethnic “purity” in a given part of Yugoslavia, such as Serbia. If Celts settled there eons ago, they provide a good example of the myth of ethnic purity in Serbia and elsewhere.
An analogy in the US South might be that, because of the “one-drop rule” according to which a single drop of African “blood” made a person “colored” by law, blacks of mixed race (ie, at this point, all US blacks descended from African slaves) are usually thought of by whites as being unproblematically within the black race and outside of the white race, whereas in fact they are genetically both black and white. Whites’ ongoing blindness to this obvious truth–the inability or refusal to see a black compatriot as “one of us” and conversely, to see ourselves in him or her without denying differences altogether–is a necessary condition for the perpetuation of the ethnic and racial hierarchies structuring our society (to speak only of blacks and whites in America).
So Don, were there Celtic tribes (if that’s the term) spread all over Europe in ancient times, with Ireland and the Scottish Highlands and Islands as their supposed place of origin? Or did Celts settle in various parts of Europe, say, on their way to or from the Holy Lands during the Crusades, as the Normans surely did? But since all peoples originated in Africa, there must have been SOME non-Celtic peoples in Ireland and Scotland before Celts became the dominant group. Alternatively, since the Celts, like all other peoples, originated in Africa, in what sense can they be seen as a single “unmixed” ethnic group that is “native” to the region? Isn’t it the case that they must have traveled to Ireland and Scotland from somewhere else and intermarried with people from other ethnic groups, eg with the Norsemen of yore, who didn’t necessarily limit themselves to willing sexual partners.
May 7, 2012 at 5:53 am
Catherine Nash refers to much of this in her book ‘Of Irish Descent’ but the main source is Brian Sykes, Professor of Human Genetics at Oxford Umiversity, who in his book ‘Blood of the Isles’ states:
The genetic makeup of Britain and Ireland is mostly what it has been since the Neolithic period and to a very considerable extent since the Mesolithic period. Those people who in time became identified as British Celts are Cro-Magnon and most of the genetic contribution to the these Atlantic (Insular) Celts came from western continental Europe.
By comparison, the Anglo-Saxons contributed under twenty percent of the total genetic make-up in Southern Britain and the Vikings (Danes and Norwegians) made up to forty percent in Northern Britain. There are only sparse traces of the Roman occupation, almost all in southern England. In spite of all these later contributions, the genetic makeup of the British Isles remains mostly a mixture of the first Mesolithic inhabitants with Neolithic [Celtic]settlers who came by sea from Iberia. The Celts of Ireland and the Western Isles are not related to the other group of Celts who spread south and east to Serbia from the heartlands of Hallstadt and La Tene during the first millennium BC.
There is a difference between the genetic histories of men and women in Britain and Ireland. The matrilineages show a mixture of original Mesolithic inhabitants and later Neolithic arrivals from Iberia, whereas the patrilineages are much more strongly correlated with Iberia. This suggests replacement of much of the original male population by new arrivals with a more powerful social organization. There is also evidence that some male lineages were much more successful in leaving large numbers of descendants; e.g. Niall of the Nine Hostages in fourth and fifth century Ireland and Somerled in twelfth century Scotland.
I didn’t know of the ‘drop of blood’ rule and I was always mystified why Barack Obama allowed himself always to be referred to as the First Black President and largely overlooked his ‘celtic’ origins until post-election when he arrived in Ireland.
May 7, 2012 at 7:32 am
Thanks to Don for the detailed information on the Celts of Britain and Ireland. I’ve heard of the Iberian connection to Ireland but I always forget how and when it’s forged. So this was very helpful.
May 6, 2012 at 9:55 am
Excerpt from ‘The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry’, 1903.
‘The bardic schools of Ireland helped to keep the lamp of Gaelic learning aglow for centuries in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland during the period of Gaelic supremacy. It would be interesting to compare the evolution of the Gaels in Scotland and Ireland and how this was affected by their history from the fourteenth century. Scotland was never conquered, Ireland was. Yet Ireland more than Scotland resisted the impact of foreign influence and retained its national life and character’
May 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm
I have been listening to the audio version of “The MacDonald Collection of Gaelic Poetry” on archive.org and I am wondering how close the pronunciation is to the actual pronunciation? As I read along, it seems to be pronouncing the words as I would. I know that can’t be right.
May 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm
Wow, I’m really impressed! But I didn’t even know there was an audio version, how do you access it?
May 7, 2012 at 9:13 pm
I didn’t say I understood it, only listening to it. Trying to get an ear for the lilt and tone of the language. When you go to the collection on archive .org, the right hand side has as one of the choices, read on-line. Click it, the book will pop up and on the top banner, click on the icon that looks like a speaker. There you go. The program will highlight what is being read.
May 7, 2012 at 10:48 pm
Still can’t seem to get the sound to accompany the Macdonald poetry but here is a song about an Irish prince who came to a bad end while on his travels they say to a sweetheart in the Outer Hebrides, sung by Capercaillie. The sound and rendition by Karen Matheson is pretty authentic Scottish Gaelic although she is not a native speaker.
Picking up on an earlier exchange with Winnie about the supposed Iberian origin of Celts, note that Capercaillie are playing at the annual Celtic Festival in Galicia in Northern Spain where the people are big into their Celtic heritage.
May 12, 2012 at 8:36 am
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Picking up on Winnie’s perhaps not so tongue-in-cheek analysis of the Irish race (people/ethnie), I said I would do a similar self-analysis on my edited volume ‘The Sea is Wide – New Celts from Old Horizons’ before moving on to reprise the many other ideas thrown up by the Bookclub that could be developed. This analysis takes in my inner reflections, motivations, frustrations and feelings about the project as well as an analysis of the process and product of the project itself.
Before I get into the meat of the analysis, I should say that I am appreciative of Eileen, Mary and Winnie’s late-night reading sessions. I am also very much appreciative of Eileen’s detailed feedbacks on chapters.
It was only after I had already started the process that I realised how contentious was the debate as to whether the term Celt had any relevance or meaning and the initial title was ‘Divided Race or Divided People’. Thinking about it now, that still might be the better title but if Celt was contentious I thought for sure Race could be misconstrued as well perhaps even more so. Anyway, Celt it was and the use of this term caused me to fall foul of Prof Tom Devine who was to do a Foreword. Likewise, Professor Catherine Nash backed off at a rate of knots. I’m not sure where I stand with Professors Graham and Hunter as they have failed to respond to me after having been sent the manuscript and having initially indicated they would be supportive of the project.
It has been a very winding road of at least two years now, probably longer as I have lost track, with multiple approaches and multiple polite refusals. Polite refusal was more the order of the day than failure to acknowledge the invitation to contribute and the book would have looked entirely different if a number of those approached had joined up. Topics that were lost have included the Church and the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, Myths and Legends, French Conspiracy etc etc.
As a stranger to this field of study, I became deeply immersed on the Internet in tracking down possible authors. I am sure a negative consequence of that was that my target authors did not know me from Adam. Many would have been flattered (or very likely not) but mystified by the approach, not to mention being highly sceptical of being involved with the likes of me. All the more credit therefore to the likes of Professors Richards and Kinealy who agreed and are highly acknowledged authors. They seem to have bought into the fundamental premise of the book.
As for cosmetic reasons I am not a believer in long-winded posts I will promptly continue this navel-gazing in a follow-up post.
May 12, 2012 at 8:59 am
It has been a similar story with multiple approaches to publishers, small and large, in mainly Ireland and Scotland. As I was getting nowhere fast I also approached multiple agents but their responses were likewise along similar lines either of – “interesting project but it would not fit into our ”catallogue’, [or] too academic for us” or not (presumably) academic enough as there was an admixture of non-academic contributors.
The content of the book had taken on a distinctly Australian flavour, more by accident tnan design, as a lot of the diaspora material is currently coming from that corner of the world. This meant I could not approach North American publishers and, as it was, the book was too mongrelish (Irish/Scottish/Australian) to fit comfortably with specialist publishers. Currently, there is a provisional offer of publishing from a small and specialist publishing house in Australia. I almost had a bite from the History Press but they were being ultra-careful with having been hit by the financial recession. This might have been the case with other publishers as well as always a query would have been raised about the book’s potential commercial saleability. The History Press also backed off (perhaps an excuse) when they spotted it was already up on Smashwords/Amazon. I offered to take it down but that made no difference. While the book was on Amazon, two hundred copies were downloaded (free) in a month which seems to show that that the interest is there.
May 5, 2012 at 8:29 am
Apologies for going AWOL the last few days.
The idea for the Bookclub, plus a request from a visitor to my Hebridean website, has inspired me to think about setting up a Bookclub for that other site too! My Nova Scotian visitor asked for a translation of a lengthy Gaelic poem from the late eighteenth century so that has kept me busy!
May 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm
I think I found a book for the book club: Reading In the dark by Seamus Deane. Available on Amazon.UK. It was not available on Kindle yet. But maybe local stores could order it. You can buy it from Amazon new or used. It got good reviews. The writer was born in Derry. It’s about his childhood in Derry in 1940’s-1950’s. It talks about grief, political and violence of the period. There were other books on Amazon but didn’t seem to fit. Some were historical, fiction, non fiction. The other true story I found : The Girl Nobody Wants: A true story of child abuse in ireland. Might be hard to get through? By Lily O’Brien. Historical: A New Life In Ireland: Multiple volumes depending on what you want to study.
May 5, 2012 at 11:05 pm
I should check this website (see below) out a bit more; an aide for on-line reading groups which perchance has already looked at the Seamus Deane novel/memoir that has been suggested. It sounds like the book is very much along the lines of Angela’s Ashes which has also been suggested.
I for the moment will have to concentrate on getting my own book fully polished for the publisher (a few weeks should do it) and, thanks, Eileen, for taking the trouble to read through it all as carefully as you did. I am very impressed and your detailed reflections have been duly noted.
I will also complete the reorganisation of the Bookclub page, collate by theme, do some indexing, revisit the various themes and sse which ones to pick up on etc. For the next few days I also have visitors over from Australia staying with us whom I have never met and who are tracking down their roots in Ballymoney, County Antrim,
May 3, 2012 at 6:52 am
It would be nice if regular visitors could, as Winnie has done, have their Avatar photo attached to their posts as it personalises things. If you don’t know how to do this let me know or ask Winnie.
May 3, 2012 at 6:05 pm
I will put up a photo when I can find one that does not look like a mugshot taken after a high speed police pursuit during a botched armed robbery!:)
May 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm
Eyebrows down–I just went to the link for “The Sea is Wide” to refresh my memory on some of the chapters as it has been awhile since I have read it and—it is not there. I never thought to download it as it was always in place to read as I went along. Hoping that you are doing some maintenance on the book.
May 3, 2012 at 6:32 am
I think I have stumbled across that problem Winnie mentioned about a post getting lost. This could be it. Sometimes, and at random I find, WordPress leaves you with your comment box and the Post Comment button seems to have disappeared. Merely pressing the Return key on your keyboard does nothing but you think ‘fingers crossed’.
The way round it is to scroll up to the post you are responding to and press the Reply link again, then the Post Comment box should reappear. Then carry on as normal. The post may end up in the wrong place (which I can fix) but it will not be lost. Clear as mud?
May 3, 2012 at 6:24 am
Thanks for these ideas which I will explore further.
Maybe it’s me getting senile but which Nash chapter is that? I have her book but I wasn’t aware we were studying that?
May 3, 2012 at 12:59 am
I was reading about the clearances and how memorials were made in tribute of those who were displaced from their homeland and families. Both the new home of the emigrants and the homeland residents worked together to remember what was lost and what the people accomplished in the new homeland. I was also thinking that our gravestones also memorialize who we are. It would be interesting to learn more about how we use our memories to invoke a sense of nationalism at home and abroad. We also use the gravestone to remember our relatives and their accomplishments. We have in our cemetery a few stones that has the deceased photo on it. Also we have large buildings w/ stained glass to hold an entire family with statues of angels surrounding it and others that pay tributes to the last name of the deceased to those that remember the person for his contributions to society.
May 3, 2012 at 12:02 am
I was looking up the Punch cartoon and I noticed there was a Melbourne edition covering topics of emigration. The linen Hall Library also has a large collection of Punch and Judy. You can type in the topic on their site and see what comes up. Any thoughts on the Nash chapter? I’m not sure how to respond to this except it seems when we look up our family tree is based on a male lineage dependent on the x chromosome. Why is this? It’s the Y chromosome that decides the sex of a child. Therefore the woman should have a bigger role in the evolution of Ireland and not the man! When you trace your heritage back to Niall or Adam you have to use the male’s last name and DNA. Any pearls of wisdom would be greatly appreciated!:)
May 2, 2012 at 11:18 pm
Hi I was thinking about uncle sam getting thin. Perhaps it’s the sentiment that although the USA has and open door policy that is perceived to welcome everyone who comes to our boarders because of religious persecution, war, famine, disease and poverty in reality our outpouring of generosity also has a downside. Our hospitality is wearing thin or wearing out. the USA is feeling the economics of the situation: overcrowding in the cities, unskilled labor, not enough training for jobs, ESL, healthcare. All these factor into the discrimination of the newest immigrant that they are taking from the system but not giving back. It probably wasn’t until government funding was provided in these areas that the immigrant could improve their standing in society.
May 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm
The Bookclub seems to have been a shot in the arm for this website. Exactly one third of the 500 posts/comments to this site since its inception four years ago have been in the last two weeks and on the Bookclub page! Apologies if I have kept the ladies up too late at night!
I am going to pick up on another suggestion of Eileen aka Celticknot and I will start up an Index page to ease a search for posts by topic rather than for it to be a laborious scroll. That should take a good few days to sort out.
May 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm
Hi: I still like the bookclub name. I think it is an attraction to the site. Many places have book clubs. Like when Oprah did it on her show. I have a niece that belongs to one where she works. I think if we break this up too much it might loose something in the translation. Don said other people are starting to look at the site under this title. We don’t want to loose them now! Dr MacFarlane: perhaps inviting people in to join the discussion maybe from your other sites. I would like to get back to some books. Perhaps Catherine Nash’s chapter or the grid project might be interesting. Are there any books on some of the topics we covered? Perhaps something that covers the time of the Troubles or about the leaders of the peace treaty.
May 3, 2012 at 1:37 am
I was reading in your last chapter on compromised identity that suggestions on improving the situation for crofters brought about the feelings of suspicion and resentment. Perhaps this is how the immigrant felt. The USA felt there must be a pressure valve to release the tension of large amounts of unskilled, unhealthy, poor coming into the USA. The immigrant were suspicious of what the USA’s motives were. As in the Lowland Scot’s when they told them they could only plant potatoes every other year. this crop was their only source of nutrition and how they earned their money. Other improvements were in land cultivation. They were suspicious b/c England had reduced the land to sheep herding instead of farming which destroyed their family structure, economical and social well-being.
May 2, 2012 at 2:22 pm
What’s the date of this cartoon? Three of my Frain ancestors, originally from Sligo, came to the US from England in 1913 (the year after the Titanic sank!), were detained for 3 days at Ellis Island as “likely public charges.” This even though they were joining relatives in Pennsylvania. I think it may be that my great-grandfather, who was 63 and claiming to be 50, may have raised some eyebrows either because of his age or due to illness–as if any steerage passenger had much chance of looking hale and hearty after traveling across the Atlantic. The old guy lived to be 80, having worked outside the coal mines until he was 70 or more, according to census data.
May 2, 2012 at 2:08 pm
Wow, the Outer Hebrides. Seems almost mythical. Are you still fluent in Gaelic? Do you speak it enough not to have gotten rusty? Also, have most of Scotland’s Catholics been in the Highlands, or at least in the North, more or less since the Reformation?
About young mothers, yes, that work must be very hard. My mother was 22 when she had her son in 1942. At that time she had finished two years of college at the U of Pittsburgh (a catholic university), then moved to Washington, as did her brother and sister, to take advantage of the government jobs that materialized there during the War. I think she was a vulnerable coal miner’s daughter dazzled by the big city–unless she had become a major party girl at Pitt! Doubtful, I must say. In her file at the maternity home, she noted that the nationality of the child’s father was an Italian Catholic (there was a large Italian immigrant community in Washington at that time) and that he was a 28 year old automobile salesman. I wanted to both laugh AND cry at reading that and picturing my mother being sweet-talked on the way to her bus stop by some character at the edge of a car lot with all those ridiculous plastic banners flapping in the breeze. The only information about him on her son’s birth certificate was his race; there was no name given. Washington in the age of segregation.
May 2, 2012 at 8:27 am
I just started Catherine Nash’s chapter. I may need a lot of help here!
May 2, 2012 at 7:34 am
What an eloquent statement. Very moving, especially coming from Kenny as head of state and a practicing Catholic. Such a sad state of affairs. Has anyone seen the movie Oranges and Sunshine, about the British “orphans” (not all of them orphans at all) who were rounded up during WW II and sent off to Australia, ostensibly to spare them the rigors of remaining in Britain (particularly in London) during the bombings? In reality, as shown by a sociologist who looked into the matter decades later, the British government had yet again resorted to transportation to solve the “problem” of having cumbersome human beings to deal with, in this case children whose welfare it didn’t want to have to ensure in the midst of a crisis. The result was that once they had landed in Australia, the children were taken into custody by a Catholic institution that seems to have outdone even the Magdalene laundries in its sadistic abuse of vulnerable children. What is it that drives the cruelty? Perhaps power over others combined with the smug assurance of people who believe themselves to be not only godly but god-like. The revenge of the guilt-ridden?
I have a big emotional stake in this matter not because of child abuse, but in relation to my mother and the son she bore out of wedlock in 1942 at a catholic infant asylum and maternity home in Washington, DC. I’ve done a lot of research on US maternity homes and asylums from 1890-1945. I’ve also visited the one my mother went to and have spoken with the current director, who showed me my deceased mother’s file. Her son was in Catholic orphanages for some years, it seems. So I just hope they were both in the hands of good-hearted people rather than sadists, eg the in the maternity homes where girls were deliberately left alone all through their labor as punishment for their sins, and told that they were now “ruined.” I imagine the “bastard” children weren’t warmly received by such people either. But of course these attitudes prevailed in most religious and social institutions of the time. In the US in the 1940s, unmarried and divorced mothers were ineligible for the federal funds distributed, since the Depression years, to low-income families with dependent children.
On the other hand, one 1948 study I read about the home my mother checked into claimed that it was among the progressive ones in which the “old-fashioned” nuns were light years ahead of the social scientists who were fast taking over the functions that until then had been performed by churches. That is, they did everything they could not only to persuade women to keep their babies, but to encourage family members to support the single mothers,materially and morally; to get the biological fathers involved; and failing that, to get them to pay child support. They also arranged housing for women whose families had shunned them, and helped all women find employment. (Granted, this study was the master’s thesis of a nun from Catholic University, around the corner from the maternity home. But I have to believe she wouldn’t have lied outright about the home’s M.O.) The more “modern” view, which had been gaining adherents since the 1920s, was that working-class unwed mothers were “depraved” (ie they hung out at dance halls) whereas their middle-class counterparts were neurotic. All were declared unfit mothers and were pressed to put their babies up for adoption. What a world.
May 3, 2012 at 12:44 pm
Hi Dr MacFarlane: Yes, it’s sad how many young woman have children so young. My city had the highest incidence of teen mothers and the highest infant mortality rate in the state if not the country.In their culture they have babies yung and leave school at age 16. I work w/ a young mother who was 16 years old when she had her son. Her family doesn’t always support her and for a while didn’t know who the baby daddy was. Now she does but he refuses to acknowledge the child. His history is sketchy too. She doen’t have it easy. I had another friend when she had a child out of wedlock the catholic church tried to encourage her to give up the child. She kept her son.
May 3, 2012 at 12:52 pm
Hi Winnie: There was a documentary on the children from Britain who were sent to the USA by their parents during WWII. The film was called The Orphan Train. They too were not accepted by people in America. Many of these children were used as servants for the Americans. A lot of these kids were abused. Very sad.
May 2, 2012 at 7:07 am
Hi! Mary I think you made a great point that the USA wanted to be selective in who they let in not just taking everyone.
May 2, 2012 at 4:09 am
I think I have caught Don and Eileen’s ADHD. While I was doing some research for more background information, I came across this book which looks like it would be great for some of our readings. Don and Winnie may have already been aware of it.
“The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writers, Vol. IV and V, IRISH WOMEN’S WRITINGS AND TRADITIONS, Seamus Deane and others.
I’m not sure which page will appear with the link. If it is the simple description, just click on the book cover and scroll down through the table of contents. A treasure of women’s writings. If the book cover is already there, just scroll down.
The book is over 3000 pages. So Eileen and Don could you have it read by tomorrow!!LOL
Note to Winnie and Eileen– In Vol. V, there is an article by Brid Rodgers, p. 452, that the two of you would find interesting, as well as the articles before and after it.
May 2, 2012 at 7:49 am
Speaking of Seamus Deane, his memoir/novel Reading in the Dark is an incredibly sad and beautiful account of his boyhood in Derry during hard times.
May 2, 2012 at 8:38 am
Hi Mary! LOL! Your up at 4AM too! I’m glad your joining the ADHD club! Now we have to get Winnie to join! I don’t know about 3000 PAGES! Boy your ambitious! We can give it a try! I’m having trouble w/ Catherine Nash’s chapter if anyone has read it let me know!
May 2, 2012 at 9:05 am
I’m still up, too, although in CA it’s “only” 2 am! Yes, the Field Day volumes are great, and the articles you signaled, Mary, are very stimulating. Are all the editors men???? The abortion debates–oy. Such a sticky wicket.
I know from some notes my mother’s sister wrote shortly before her death that at least as late as 1940, when my aunt was 25 and still living at home, she was turning her wages from work as a secretary over to her mother, who then gave her enough back to cover clothing and busfare. I wonder if her father also turned his paycheck over to her mother? (Maybe the women were still paying the taxes in 1940!) I remember my mother complaining that her mother, who was raised in England by Irish parents, always made the kids come in for tea at 4 pm, no matter how exciting the outdoor play may have been down by the coke ovens. No wonder my poor mother developed debilitating asthma in her 50s.
Let me tell you, Eileen and Mary, I’ve been ADD (no H) from birth. In the digital era I find myself staying up all night half the time, which isn’t conducive to functioning well in the brick and mortar world. Last night I stayed up reading several of the chapters in Don’s book. If only I could talk to my students about emigration from the Highlands and skip the reading I really have to do.
Which is the Nash chapter, Eileen?
May 2, 2012 at 11:50 am
Hi Winnie! Glad your up late too!. Luckily I can sleep during the day! The Nash chapter is on DNA and identity.
May 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm
That was interesting insights into the lives of these men. I was looking again at why the USA didn’t sign the Human Right Agreement. The USA lost it’s seat on the Human Rights Committee in 2001 and was voted off even by some of our allies as well as China. We are criticized for not practicing what we preach such as child labor, prisoner abuse, police brutality, and the death penalty. The US does not want the UN to dictate when it is an appropriate time to take action on an issue. I’m sure there’s a lot more to that story.
May 1, 2012 at 1:19 am
Food for thought for the book club. I thought the chapter on Australia was interesting. Would anyone want to open the discussions to other areas not just Derry? I was thinking looking at colonization, immigration and plantation. Identifying the impact a place has on a person whether they chose to immigrate, they chose to emigrate or they were transported. The social impact, identity to the place and how they adjusted to the place. Other issues from the chapter on Australia: concerns religion, nationalism, disruption in culture, forced separation, discrimination, racism and how one race justified taking over country that didn’t belong to them and how it impacted them. England/ Ireland, England/Scotland, Ireland/Australia.
April 30, 2012 at 2:00 am
The chapter in the book about the Scottish convicts and the immigrants on the ships was interesting. I was amazed at all the information the researcher found in the records from what they ate, how they died, logic for giving nursing mothers alcohol but not nutrition for the infants and their tattoos. However, for me the section on the punishments for the convicts though interesting was very hard for me to get through. I can’t believe someone thought it was a good idea to bring lashing back as a form of punishment and that was in the present day!
April 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm
I hope I didn’t insult anyone when I made my comment about Ian Paisley. I didn’t mean to make fun of anyone’s religious belief’s. I was thinking how different the US and Ireland’s politians are. To me it seems that there is a complicated relationship between one’s religious beliefs and how they vote for a candidate or an issue. In Ireland the politians can be more vocal about their religious views and in America they seem to tone it down as in the case of our own President Obama who wanted to be seen as a church going and family oriented man. When his religious belief’s were called into question he didn’t emphasize his religoin as much.
April 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm
And what about catechism class when you were a child? Your fingers crossed that the nuns would never call on you whether you know the answer or not! Mine was Sister Ruth, God rest her soul.
April 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm
I went through the posts on everyone’s suggestions for the bookclub: Professor Nash on Irish ancestry, Political cartoons: Irish point of view, Home Rule, stereotyping of the Irish immigrant, “greedy boy who cried for the moon”, all on Mary’s links. Also the identity grid project, folklore, fiction VS nonfiction and we didn’t really finish the concepts from the Maggie Blanck site. Also politics seemed to be a hot topic. Did any of these men write books? Are there any present day leaders in Ireland that might be good to look at? Lastly, maybe a bibliography page for the book club in case a link gets lost or to go back and review something.
April 30, 2012 at 6:00 am
All of these are good ideas. I think we still have to get our heads round what source materials everyone could access. Does that mean – only what is on the web, or everyone agreeing to purchase on Kindle or iPad (or as paper copy) the same book so that the material is familiar to everyone?
Another thought – there is plenty source material on the Mayberry site, albeit the Irish people went to Australia, not to America, but reading between the lines there are lots of poignant stories and insights to be had.
April 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm
Interesting, especially the Kindle idea of lending the book to someone which makes it all that bit more practical. I will look at Mayberry and throw up a few teasers for people to get their teeth into, focussing only on Derry as the Bookclub is on the Derry site, see where it takes us. I have also in mind to download a book of an associate of mine, Dr Liz Rushen in Australia, and I will ‘lend’ it out if you can find out more about the mechanics of how one actually does that. Give us a few days to sort this all out.
April 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm
On the lending out question: My friend showed me on the Kindle. It’s very easy- as easy as pressing the lend button. For example, if the book for the original owner cost $15.00, about the average cost of a book she says. Then you have it downloaded on your Kindle. When your friend wants to borrow it, you just press lend and the book goes to them for a smaller cost of say $7.50 for two weeks. They have to return it to you from their kindle. They can borrow the book again for another two weeks if they have not finished the book. I think it may cost another $7.50 to borrow it again.
It’s just an option if we are focusing on multiple books at the same time or it might just be easier to buy it. Sometimes you can get deals on the Kindle on-line and in the book stores. Sometimes Amazon books has good deals and has bargains on shipping if someone wants to order the hardcopy.
Barnes and Noble and I’m sure other book stores can order books too though the computer version of Kindle Cloud and Kindle Nook may speed thinks up a bit. I live close to Barnes and Noble if anyone has a question I don’t mind asking them for you. Also the Kindle Cloud App downloaded your book in less than 2 minutes!:)
April 30, 2012 at 6:15 pm
There is a good review about Kindle Cloud on the internet. Kindle Cloud uses only Safari and Chrome. Amazon has Apps for their amazon Cloud that supports other browsers. It also has limited use for organizing your library. If you do a lot of reading you may like the abundant features of the Kindle VS Kindle Cloud App. Using the kindle cloud i found it a little frustrating to go back to the beginning of a chapter to look at something. You had to go back page by page! Take Care, Eileen:) What about putting up a cartoon while we deciding how to proceed? The debate continues!!!:) I thought it was interesting that the research about the australian convicts showed there were more scottish convicts than english or Irish one’s. Also, that the courts used Australian prisions for short term sentences as well even more than the long term sentences as in the case of John Mitchel and the Young Irelander’s. Some of the woman prisoner’s stories were interesting and what happened after they finished their sentence. Some of the woman because they were such good workers during their sentences the judges found something else to keep them in prison so they wouldn’t loose their source of free labor!
May 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Hi i just found out that Kindle uses Amazon. The nook uses Barnes and Noble. It would be easy for everyone to use Kindle (there’s different versions of it) and Kindle Cloud because they have Amazon.UK. and other countries. Once you set up your account w/ them it’s very easy to use the site. I have even ordered music and books w/ them and never had a problem.
April 29, 2012 at 6:48 am
I found something that might be right up your alley, Don. I found this book on-line, but it does not seem to be easily available in the US. Maybe it is easier to find in the UK.
Coloured Political Lithographs As Irish Propaganda: Warrior Artists and the Battle for Home Rule [Hardcover]
Joel A. Hollander
Publication Date: February 28, 2007 | ISBN-10: 0773456716 | ISBN-13: 978-0773456716
This comprehensive study of late nineteenth century Irish political cartoons published in nationalist newspapers and periodicals examines how popular art in the service of propaganda became a primary means of shaping public opinion during the first seven years of Charles Stewart Parnell s struggle to lead the Irish peasantry into Home Rule (ca. 1879-1886). This period, which was marked by intense political upheaval characterized by coercion and conciliation, raised such issues as landownership, censorship of the press, and legislative relations between Ireland and England. The complimentary emblematic Irish types Pat Murphy and Erin whose features affirmed the patriotic desires of the masses, embodied the heroicized ideals of the tenant class and stood in remarkable contrast to the vulgar hyperbole of James Gillray s earlier physiognomic models and to the siminaized Fenians appearing in contemporary English satirical journals such as Punch. Other visual also approaches appeared in the Irish nationalist political cartoons with great frequency, including: pantomime and farce; the convergence of high art and popular art; the fantastic; the cult of Shakespeare; Faustian allusions; Swiftian appropriations; nursery rhymes; and anthropomorphic narratives. Moreover, these Irish nationalist images are not what we at the turn of the twenty-first century think of as political cartoons today: small, black-and-white inserts set alongside editorials. Instead, they were large-format and color, suitable for framing, and placed gratis in the Saturday editions of large-run periodicals that reached an expanding, literate audience
April 28, 2012 at 11:46 pm
I was thinking, would a bibliography page be in order for the book club. Some links to film clips, articles and photos have been lost. It may be a glitch with the Londonderry word press. Maybe it could be organized by topics or chronologically so if anyone wanted to review something it would be easier than reading all the comments again.
I don’t know if this would be interesting, but maybe taking a look at folklore or short stories about people or places such as Moxley and Beaton stories or mythological stories of the Celts just for amusement. Some of the stuff we’re talking about is a little sad to say the least. Awesome job in sending comments, articles and news clips. It really does bring history to life and it is very interesting. It makes it fun to learn! Thanks again!:) PS I liked your Majorca story and the psychiatrist joke!;)
April 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm
I was thinking about John Mitchel that back in those days he was not allowed to participate in Parliament because he was a “convicted felon”. Yet Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams are allowed nowadays to participate in government as part of the peace process in Northern Ireland. I know McGuinness is the Deputy Minister. Both of these men also had used violence as had Mr Mitchel. Why the change of heart in letting people with this history be allowed to be in the government? I’m not judging by the way, just curious about the process. When Gerry Adams came to my city, the Catholic church refused to let him go to Mass. Does this topic you proposed go along with your premise that in the UK, people like their leaders with a mixture of saint and sinner?
How do the Irish people justify the use of violent and non-violent means to achieve their goals? I did view Mr McGuinness’ interview that you suggested. I’m not sure I can agree with what he said. Is this a combination of saint and sinner? Perhaps the Irish like this combination because in their history they too are saint and sinner?
April 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm
Don, if we’re on our way to Scotland and the Hebrides, could we first go back to your reply to celticknot about the O’Cahans in the Hebrides and the trans-ethnic marriage alliance there with a Scottish noblewoman (the daughter of the Duke of Argyll?). I thought you were suggesting that there would have been descendants of the O’Cahan clan (high-born only? a mixed group?) in the Hebrides, and that celticknot’s ancestors may have been among them.
Based on this inference, in responding to celticknot I ventured a hypothesis about O’Cahans in the Hebrides subsequently moving to the mainland (in the Highlands) as so many islanders were eventually obliged to do, and about the “low-born” ones becoming crofters who also worked seasonally harvesting kelp on the Scottish coast–a development I believe Devine referred to in the lecture I listened to online.
Did I have this all wrong? For example, you edited my comment, substituting “North Antrim?” for the Highlands and erasing my reference to crofters in favor of another occupation (one I’d never heard of). Could you please explain?
April 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm
I would have to trace back to see what my train of thought was on this topic as I have forgotten. However, there are a few things I am fairly certain about.
The traffic between West Highland Celts and Irish Celts (from whom the Scottish variety are descended) was said to be mostly traffic to Ireland from Scotland in the form of the Gallowglasses, although Colkitto does make a significant appearance later.
This does not take account however that a number of Scottish clans had Irish as their progenitors and these include Buchanan, MacInnes, MacLachlan, MacLaren, MacNeil, MacRae, Matheson, Morrison, Munro, Urquhart, MacFadyen. Added to these might be McCain who are thought to be a branch of O’Cahan and the most famous of these would be your own John McCain.
With reference to the change of term from crofter to cottar, the term crofter did not come in till later and for the period in question landworkers for official recording purposes were classified as agricultural labourers, cottars and artisans. As far as kelping goes, the method to reduce kelp is thought to have been brought to the Hebrides from North Antrim where it had already been established as a lucrative business. The Hebridean industry then took off and was the saving grace of the Highlands and Islands during the period of the late 1700s till the end of the Napoleonic War, exactly as described by Tom Devine. The successful settlement of Australia, not picked up on by Devine but I like to think by me, was the result of an oversight by Lachlan Macquarie of the lucrativeness of the kelp market. But that’s another story!
April 27, 2012 at 9:48 am
Top of the morning to you! Do each of the four men you listed have these traits? I’m not sure what this means. I just read the story of Mr Moxley in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. What a macabre story. It was interesting how Catholics and Protestants responded to the man’s suicide and how the Catholics invaded their sacred ground- their cemetery to have him buried X2! Even though the Catholics had sympathy for him they still did not want him on the Catholic cemetery. Even in death the two sides couldn’t agree.
April 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm
In some ways, Moxley got off light that they even made the attempt to bury him in hallowed ground! In those days, suicide was classed (as the original meaning of the term implies) as self-killing or self-murder and was given the legal term, felo de se. Cases of felo de se (and Viscount Castlereagh was one such) were as a rule not buried in hallowed ground but at a remote country crossroads, perhaps with a stake driven through the heart!
A similar account is given in the Cork Examiner in Ireland in 1864 in relation to the death by suicide of Sir Thomas Judkin Fitzgerald. There was a general outcry from the populace that a verdict of felo de se was not returned at inquest as there were many volunteers ready to drive the stake through his heart!
April 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm
It was interesting that in Mr Moxley’s case the people rationalized that because of what he did in the past to others they could justify blaming him for what happened. Just like in the case of the murder in PEI. The crimes he committed in the 1798 uprising justified his death.They didn’t want the blame of the crime to go against their religion and the the crown. His crime hurt the crown physically and personally. This allowed them to understand what happened to protect and preserve the community. The Catholic church to this day won’t perform a service for someone who committed suicide because it’s a mortal sin. What did they hope to accomplish when they drove the stake through his heart?
On another note on ethnic groups, why do ethnic groups always have to compare themselves with others to posture themselves as being the most important. Why do we always have to have a conflict? The celts coexisted for hundreds of years with their neighbors sharing land resources and family members.
April 27, 2012 at 4:50 am
Well, not everyone outside Ireland looked askance at the Irish people’s violent retaliations. The International Workers of the World were delighted (Mother Jones!), as was Frederick Douglass, an ex-slave from Maryland famous for his autobiography. Douglass was named ambassador to Haiti after the Civil War and traveled to Ireland to express his solidarity with the Irish.
While I’d certainly agree that it’s best to avoid violence whenever possible, in my mind the violence of the Irish was akin to that of the Palestinians who throw rocks at Israeli soldiers only to be pounded by US-subsidized Israeli missiles in return. The violence of the weaker party just isn’t on the same scale, and it comes in response to real and symbolic forms of violence that the powerful refuse to recognize as such, from depriving the Irish of civil and political rights, to evicting peasants from the land and leaving them to starve, to unleashing what were then the world’s most powerful armed forces to put down Irish rebellions. As I mentioned before, It wasn’t so much that the wealthy couldn’t see the deprivation and suffering of the poor. Rather, they saw their privilege, coming at the expense of the majority, not only as their right but as an essential feature of God’s plan for human beings. It took a couple of centuries of resistance, including violent acts, to have the “rights of man” incorporated into a new secular system of government and to have them woven into the common sense of industrializing societies. It was only at the latter stage that the principle of non-violence could be widely embraced (though never by nation states, to my knowledge, and the Irish were certainly aiming to liberate their nation from Britain).
On another matter, having read a bunch of recent work by historians of Ireland, including writings by Northern Irish scholars, it seems there’s a growing interest in rethinking 19th and 20th c. Irish history in more nuanced terms than those that have understandably prevailed so far, ie the wicked, wealthy Protestant usurpers versus the valiant native Catholics fighting for freedom and goodness. I’m not interested in the line of inquiry based on the notion that “the Protestants suffered too,” since many of them were poor, and all but the Church of Ireland flock were disadvantaged in some ways. What’s more interesting to me is Kevin Kenny’s willingness to mention that quite a number of the wicked landlords were themselves “native” Irish whose self-interest led them to give priority to their class privilege over the “natives'” political cause. (I’m always wary of nativist claims based on supposedly primal, authentic belonging to a society, as in today’s “Real IRA” and, presumably at the other end of the political spectrum, the Tea Party.) More interesting still are the investigations looking at social networks (as well as conflicts) in post-Cromwell Ireland that can’t be accounted for in terms of a clear-cut religious divide or a good guys/bad guys duality, and that can come into view now that Ireland’s existence as an independent nation (Eire at least) is no longer contested.
There’s something about Irish nostalgia for native belonging that I can’t help but find amusing, because Irish history stretches so far back while ours, barring that of the Amerindians who crossed the land bride from Asia 6000 years ago, is so brief. Someone I know, who completely embraces the science showing that all human beings are descended from people living in Africa, was quite despondent upon getting confirmation that his family name derives from a French place name that identifies one side of his family as descendants of the Normans who invaded Ireland in the 12th c. I couldn’t get over his reaction. I mean hey, that was eight &*@%#$(*#$ centuries ago!!!
April 27, 2012 at 7:01 am
Confession of James Beagham, executed at Vinegar Hill, 24th August 1799
“Every man that was a Protestant was called an Orangeman and was to be killed, from the poorest in the country. Before the Rebellion I never heard there was any hatred between Roman Catholics and Protestants;they always lived peaceably together. I always found the Protestants better masters and more indulgent landlords.The Rebels thought it no more sin to kill a Protestant than to kill a dog. I have never heard them express the least sorrow; on the contrary I have heard them say there were not half enough killed.
Remember what I tell you. If Protestants are ever in the power of Catholics again there will not one be left alive. Even them that campaign with them will be killed. If it were not for the priests we would not have dragged five unfortunate persons out of the windmill to be murdered”.
From Castlereagh’s Memoirs
I think English crown used the the bond of church and state to manipulate the Protestant church as a pawn to wage a war with the Catholic Church. They saw them as a threat to their goal of becoming an imperial empire. The crown knew it could order it’s Church to influence the congregation. In so doing, the peaceful Protestants and Catholics were dragged through the mud by the encouraging a war between the Churches in England’s quest to rule the world. Once the parishioners came to the aid of their respective Churches the war began. The Churches on both sides fed their constituents with anti-Protestant and anti-Catholic rhetoric. Unfortunately, the once peaceful Catholics and Protestants could no longer live side by side now they lived with fences between them and guns to protect them.
April 27, 2012 at 1:32 am
William Shakespeare said it best “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” What matters most is what something is, not what something is called. For John Mitchel’s supporters and critics, this debate has continued.People label things in order to understand. They fear what they don’t understand. It makes you feel uncomfortable not to know what that person is. Even though it does not pertain to you psychologically, it does affect you.
In Ireland in 1848, England was trying to become an imperial power It was a time of mass starvation, disease, immigration and political upheaval. John Mitchel, was a member of Young Ireland and the Irish Confederation. He advocated for the human rights and dignity of the irish citizen and criticized the english government for it’s maltreatment of the people of Ireland. England’s response was to suppress his right to free speech and freedom of the press in order to protect their own interests. Through the use of punishment, inhumane laws and a slur campaign against John Mitchel, they vowed to suppress the “irish question.” The establishment assigned a variety of negative labels to mock and punish him.
In Mitchel’s formative years he was an advocate for change. Although he was Protestant, he wanted an Irish Catholic on an election ballot. He won the hearts of his father’s congregation, his father who was the church’s minister disagreed and was on the side of the Establishment. In 1848 in a series of pamphlets, speeches and editorials Mitchel debated that the English government caused the famine. Further, they used coercion and slander to remove the irish off their land demonstrating England’s greed to take Ireland for themselves.In response to Mitchel’s accusations, England bombarded a multitude of negative labels to describe Mr. Mitchel and to punish and supress his voice. England feared a catholic rise to power would destroy the cohesive bond between the church and state and result in a civil war.
During Mitchel’s trial in 1848, he was called a nationalist who was sentimental to Ireland’s plight but also saw him in the role of a patriot as one who supported his country and his way of life. A person with this description was expected to live. Later, it was decided by the judicial system that he was a rebel who had an acceptable moral code and could receive the sentence of transportation and a lengthy jail
sentence. When Mitchel changed his tactics against the government from a passive to an aggressive use of force, England responded by labeling him as a insurgent, one who rebelled against the government. In England’s eye, to rise above the government could expect the worse. Mitchel was charged with sedition for speaking out against the government. These actions under the old law should have sentenced him to a few months in jail. When Mitchel objected the court changed the conviction to Felony Treason. Under this new law, he was transported first to Bermuda then Australia to complete a fourteen year prison term in the harshest conditions.
While recording in his Jail Journal, Mitchel contemplated how his legacy would be viewed by his peers, countryman and his supporters of the irish cause. He would have liked be seen a a patriot or a martyr where he would be memorialized in song. He feared others would see him as a fool and mock him in the streets. While in prison he saw a newspaper from Dublin about the account of his trial. When a judge was asked about Mitchel’s sentence the man replied “the convict Mitchel who was pronounced with authority to not only be a convict but a scoundrel”.
After escaping from Australia to southern America, Mitchel became a spokesperson for the southern cause in the American Civil War. Irish citizens disagreed with Mitchel in his maltreatment and contempt for the African slave. Mitchel in his later years returns to Ireland and is elected to parliament, a legislative body that he loathed and did not respect. The establishment would not allow him to take office because he was a “convicted felon”.
In order to describe who a person is we need to be colorblind. We all bring in our biases and prejudices into a situation. Negative attributes hurt, demoralize and punish. Using positive adjectives shows the love we have for someone and his ideals. This allows us to forgive and to heal. Forgiveness is hard to achieve. Perhaps, distance and time gives us perspective. American president John F. Kennedy stated “forgive your enemies, but never forget their names”. We need to remember Ireland’s history and those who fought for her freedom. There comes a time in which we must let go of the past and become united to ensure that freedom, dignity and human rights are included in our laws.
April 27, 2012 at 8:32 am
Mitchel grew up in a Unitarian household that subscribed to the belief that Jesus was a truly exceptional human being but he was not divine. Unitarians were out on a limb in these beliefs with not only Catholics but most other Protestant faiths and notable Unitarians included Charles Darwin, Florence Nightingale, Charles Dickens, Albert Schweitzer, John Quincy Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
April 27, 2012 at 9:03 am
It is true that how a person is called is in many ways of secondary importance, and in the worst cases it can be a source of jealousy, rivalry or hostility. Nonetheless, identification with the customs, attitudes, behaviours, outlooks and perspectives of a particular group whose existence is ‘imprinted’ upon the person from an early age is part of the development of self identity. It comes down to where that puts the person in relation to others who are not part of that particular ‘in-group’ and who may feel threatened by it.
April 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm
Was England threatened by the attributes of an Irish person or did they just use these attributes to mock them to gain more land. I don’t think they were jealous of them because they were in the ‘in group’. I think England couldn’t identify with their customs socially, politically and religiously. They wanted only their customs in place.
April 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm
I think you’re right. Irish were the ‘out-group’, not the ‘in-group’.
April 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm
Much of the writings of John Mitchel, including his Jail Journal, can be downloaded free in various formats including Kindle, ePub, PDF. There may be something in there worth studying and discussion.
April 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm
The first sentence really stood out! “In 1530 Irish catholics owned 100% of the land in Ireland and in 1703 they owed only 14%”.
The pictures were interesting in that it showed the Irish at first tried to resist the evictions but were unable. It must have been frightening for the tenants to have their possessions sold, their houses burned, then they had no shelter, food or clothing that are the most basic elements of human dignity. I have a Great Grandmother and her sister and father that immigrated from Mayo in 1872. I wonder if they suffered the same fate?
April 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm
All of these aspects apply but unfortunately have all been poorly researched and unexplored. Not much progress there then from when the Establishment could not decide what to call the United Irishmen once they were caught and prior to punishment – were they patriots, rebels, insurgents, conspirators, collaborators or what?
April 24, 2012 at 11:02 pm
Why did they give up and emigrate before they were evicted? I can see if they were evicted then they would leave. When they emigrated to another country owned by England did they face a similar struggle or was it only for the Irish living Ireland? If the RC Irish bought or rented a lot of land in another country owned by England would the RC church follow them there and try to exert it’s dominance there thus causing a similar conflict?
April 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm
I’m puzzled by England’s union with Scotland. Why was England so terrible to the Scottish people for example on the Sutherland estate and towards residents of Benebecula?
I was also thinking about Prospero meaning England in one sense but it may be defined as want or greed in the English to take over Ireland in their zeal to become an imperial power. England during this time owned twenty five per cent of the land in the world but still wanted to continue its escapades of plundering and pillaging.
The romanesque style tunic of Prospero (England), aspiring to be the most powerful entity reminds me of a judge’s robes and the staff maybe a precursor to a gavel.It may represent an ill wind or a sentiment that England felt they were able to judge what was best for Ireland.
April 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Another thought on the Scottish people who lived on the Sutherland estate. The establishment stated that despite giving the Scottish people the ability and the means to get off the estate, the scottish people would not better themselves and emigrate. It is through a learned helplessness that this occurred.
In an experiment on the subject two dogs were placed in separate kennels. One dog had a kennel with a high fence and the other a low fence. On the floor of the kennels was a sensor that would give a shock to the dog when the light went on. The dog with the low fence learned to jump the fence and get out of the kennel. The dog with the high fence could not get out. Next the fence was lowered in the kennel with the high fence. Again the dogs were each given a shock when the light went on. The dog with the newly lowered fence was in fear when the light went off and despite the lowered fence he did not jump out of the fence. The Scottish people were so used to being in fear after receiving so many punishments that when they were given benefits and the means to get off the estate they could not get off the estate. If this is true why did the residents of Benebecula who had also received similar hardships by the establishment find a way to get out of the circumstances they were in and emigrate? Was it freedom of choice to emigrate that was the deciding factor?
April 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm
I’m glad you’ve caught the bug!
The poll on a sister website I have
shows that about 50% of respondents think it is important to know about the social history of the times as well. There is also an accompanying website to the book which might be of some interest
Many thanks for your own contributions and suggestions for the site which have breathed fresh life into it as it had gone distinctly stale and, as they say in Ireland, ‘Go robh maith agad’.
April 22, 2012 at 2:47 am
Dr. MacNevin in your chapter was an interesting character. He wanted to shake the British establishment to its roots but to still have a relationship with the monarch. This is like trying to revive a quivering heart and using a defibrillator hoping to restore it’s heartbeat. You hope for a good outcome that the heart will function and the person will be vibrant but there is also a good chance the body will become vegetative. He could have brought Ireland to it’s knees with his dishonesty and double dealing.
I admire Mr Pitt for stepping down as Prime Minister and standing up for what he believed, that human rights were important as up to this point in the British rule that was not even considered. I had always heard about Ireland wanting to be a totally free state but did not know that the United Irishmen’s primary purpose was not political but one of equality for all. America still struggles with this concept even though Thomas Jefferson wrote it in our Declaration Of Independence in 1776!
I also thought it interesting and confusing all the labels that the British government gave to the Irish: from rebel, patriot, insurgent, nationalist and that the variety of punishment they endured that was like a lottery. The manipulation and scheming that the establishment did to prevent the Irish to be citizens of their own country, disregard for the human rights and dignity of the Irish people was unjustified, inhumane and catastrophic!
April 22, 2012 at 7:15 am
William Orr’s gallows speech (in my chapter) says it all, in my view, and it would almost make you weep. Likewise, the submission from the Inishowen presbytery in Donegal showed that there was a body of Irish Protestant opinion (not just from within the ranks of the United Irishmen) which favoured equal treatment for all Irish people, irrespective of their religion or of their financial means. The problem was that Presbyterians were also considered second-class citizens as they had broken away from the Established Church – the Church of Ireland was just the Church of England by another name and had the monarch as its head, as is still the case today.
April 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm
I also find Mitchel’s motives later in his life in support of slavery in the US quite incomprehensible and a book was published on Mitchel called ‘One Cause Too Far’. His eagerness to be an MP in Westminster is also puzzling, given everything that went before.
As it was, it became a forerunner of the present-day Sinn Fein position on election to Westminster and Bobby Sands was the first to be elected MP for Sinn Fein, just before he died while on hunger strike. The idea was that Sinn Fein would paralyse the political process by never taking up a seat in Westminster and block election of Unionists as a way towards Home Rule.
Likewise, I also fail to understand the casual attitude of the British Government towards the Young Irelanders once in Australia as it seems to have been like a rod with which to beat their own back. Perhaps Christine Kinealy can shed some light on that.
April 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm
Prof Richards in his chapter covers the different types of emigration scheme very well. Pride of place went to the HIES, Highlands and Islands Emigration scheme, which was Government-sponsored, with the infamous Sir Arthur Trevelyan (fresh from having cleared Ireland) having a big hand in that. I am fairly sure the University of Aberdeen has records of who emigrated via that scheme.
The Presbyterian Church, the main reformist church in Scotland, did a U-turn on the issue; first condemning it, then later advocating forced or facilitated emigration, as a Malthusian ‘safety valve’ for surplus population. I have never heard of the Catholic Church in Scotland taking a stand on it, one way or the other. The Catholic Church in Ireland is a different matter, as described in my own chapter. Cardinal Troy tried to force the population to take their medicine, show some respect for their masters and stop fomenting trouble. Ergo, rebel priests sprang up all over the place.
The term agricultural labourer referred to the least skilled manual labourer, bottom of the pile, and just below a cottar. As described by Angus MacMillan in his chapter ‘A Hole in the Fence’, your level of skill predicted what your destination would be, with the least skilled heading for the Scottish Lowlands, not for the US or Canada.
I have never heard of an apology forthcoming from the aristocracy but the Scottish Parliament debated and delivered an apology in 2000 – of doubtful merit as the culprits had no mention made of them nor did they include themselves in it.
Most aristocracy has been rooted out of Scotland and been replaced with landed industrialists or businessmen; the richest landlord in Ireland is still the Duke of Westminster, cousin of the Queen, who also owns a good portion of the City of London.
April 20, 2012 at 2:38 am
Hi Dr MacFarlane! If you came to my city on St Patty’s Day we would make you an honorary Irishman! We won’t tell anyone your from Scotland!:)My Great Grandmother was born in Scotland but was Irish! I think!
About your book: did the affluent landlords in Scotland have a co-dependent relationship with the cottars? At first they seemed to make improvement to get them to stay on their estates to make them richer. When they gained skills they passed laws to to keep them there. When the population increased and it cost them money they forced the to emigrate.
Finally when they left them alone the cotters made the decision to improve their lives
(what the landlords thought they would never do) and emigrated and prospered. What a story!
Still reading! about 30% through the book! P.S. you should put up a u tube version of you playing the flute for your website! Thanks again! Slan Var!:)
April 20, 2012 at 7:38 am
That’s a pretty good synopsis of the main themes running through the book.
For me, the stand-out messages in the book are the realisations that:
Sometimes the stay-at-homes did not want the emigrants to return (even their own children and grandchildren) when times at home got better. It was like “don’t be thinking you’re coming back here, there’s nowhere for you”.
The level of trust, even naivety, that emigrants showed in the transport arrangements that were made for them. In so doing they often put their own lives unnecessarily at risk, even those of their babes-in-arms.
Irish convicts to Australia banished for petty offences had all sorts of obstacles placed to their return even when sentence was served. That meant enforced divorces and breakups for families. Even lauded governors such as Macquarie, a supposed Christian and who is still idolised in New South Wales, was complicit but had the brass neck to frown upon cohabitation. What choice was there?
Those emigrants that made good often just looked after their own interests from then on in and were not in the least charitable to disadvantaged fresh newcomers caught in the middle when systems changed.
Check out the Mayberry site on Irish convicts to get a fuller picture. It makes my blood boil!
April 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm
Immigration vs Emigration
If the oppressed people in Scotland and Ireland wanted to get away from these lands and away from the Establishment why did they choose to emigrate? I know now that in many cases they were forced to emigrate but in many cases they went to lands still owned by the Establishment. Why not make a clean break and go to countries not owned by the Establishment? Was the devil you knew better that the one you didn’t?
When the landowners “gave” the people the aid to emigrate was emigration the only choice available to them. In other words could they “ship” the oppressed people to foreign countries or only countries that were owned by England? Was the lament over loss of their homeland different for those who chose to emigrate or immigrate, or different for those who were able to choose vs those who were not have. I noticed in the case of The Young Irelanders that one of the men chose to return to Australia after being given a pardon and his freedom.
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