On a mild September morning, a demolition crew sets to work on their new project, a dilapidated suburban house in South Dublin. Before long, the structure is a heap of rubble, which will soon be cleared to make way for a planned apartment complex. 

A seemingly ordinary occurrence, the scene demonstrates concerning developments in Irish society. The rubble at 4 Herbert Park was once the house of The O’Rahilly, the rebel who gained eternal fame through his heroics during the Easter Rising. Despite half-hearted condemnations from Council and Government officials, and some news coverage, the event soon passed out of the public consciousness. 

While the demolition controversy is complex, with reasonable arguments on both sides, the entire event seems to speak of a profound crisis afflicting modern Ireland. The ease with which the O’Rahilly home was demolished, and the rapidity by which the story was forgotten, seem to suggest a widespread apathy regarding preservation of the national heritage. 

The transformation of Ireland in recent years has affected somewhat of a “disconnect” with the country’s history and culture. Surveying the bleak cosmopolitanism of modern Dublin, the soulless glass structures which adorn the Dockland skyline, the myriad of ethnicities which populate its streets, one cannot help but recognise that Ireland is in the midst of a cultural revolution.

Across the country, Ireland’s culture has undergone dramatic change in the last half-century. To be blunt, the country faces the very real risk of losing its soul, of forfeiting its national character through a reckless dedication to the project of globalism. 

It could be argued that the ideologues at the forefront of this movement have weakened Irish culture to a degree surpassing that of British colonial efforts, having practically invented a “New Ireland”, the distinguishing feature of which seems to be its radical commitment to self-annihilation. 

History and culture antedating the last few decades is deemed remote and foreign. Modern Ireland cares little for its historical inheritance, instead viewing the past with suspicion, a time of “oppression” from the forces of Catholicism, nationalism, etc. Traces of the old Ireland are therefore subjected to attack, culminating in an assault upon the most fundamental aspect of the Nation — the Irish people itself. This assault upon the Irish people manifests itself in mass immigration and “deconstruction” of the concept of “Irishness”. The sheer number of immigrants precludes a functioning process of assimilation, and places national culture and identity in mortal danger.

The foundation of national culture, a sense of identity, is increasingly weak or wholly absent in Ireland. The advent of globalism, combined with its accompanying philosophical and cultural influences, has dramatically altered Ireland’s notion of itself as a nation. Having blurred and expanded the definition of “Irishness” to the extent whereby the term loses real meaning, we are incapable of sustaining or promoting a genuine national culture. The raison d’être of an independent Ireland, that the State should be the vessel of the historic Irish nation- its people, culture and language, has been stealthily dispensed with. Instead, Ireland is degraded to the state of a soulless landmass, or a commercial zone, one without a tangible sense of history or continuity. 

The soil of Ireland has been divorced from its people and culture, and the State thus assumes the nature of a mere regulator of economic and social activity upon the island, mostly uninterested in the preservation of the national identity. State-supported multiculturalism has become an integral feature of the current political order.

Such developments are sustained by a constant media propagation of globalist “values”. While the quality of content showcased on the annual “Culture Night” has often been questionable, recent years’s events have been marked by an aggressive emphasis on multiculturalism. RTE’s primary advertisement for this year’s night consisted of an African man performing a tribal dance to the accompaniment of traditional Irish music. Similarly, much of the State sponsored events consisted of the celebrations of various migrant cultures and traditions. While such displays could be viewed as harmless novelty, celebrations of immigrant assimilation, they seem indicative of a nation which has lost faith in itself, which no longer sees its own self-preservation as desirable.

A cursory examination of contemporary Irish culture will reveal deeply troubling developments. With each passing year, Ireland is further integrated into the globalist/American milieu, as the core elements of the island’s unique culture either vanish or weaken.

Appreciation of Irish history, art, literature etc. has declined significantly. Where such fields are studied, it is in a deliberately sterile manner, one which is careful not to celebrate these things as achievements of the Irish Race. A peculiar unease surrounds the idea of national culture in modern Ireland. While not admitted officially, one gets the sense that Ireland, (or more specifically its elites) has made the decision to separate itself from the historic Irish nation. Implicitly, there “is no going back”. The Taoiseach is no longer the leader of Irishmen, but the figurehead of a commercial entity. When he speaks of “we”, does the term hold any tangible meaning, other than the loosely connected individuals who reside (often temporarily) upon the landmass? Official policy seems decided upon the advancement of globalism to its final stages, in which all ties to place, tradition, and blood are deemed fluid and malleable. 

National consciousness and cultural taste have been severely damaged by a vulgar mass media, which has saturated Irish society with Anglo-American popular entertainment. The unending barrage of trashy television, debased music and unrefined cinema has poisoned the cultural life of Ireland. A crude, Philistine education system has perpetuated this cultural decline. Irish education, one of the most standardised and vocationally orientated systems in the world, places little emphasis upon cultural instruction. The meagre literary study usually consists of poor quality, contemporary American texts. Students graduate without even a basic grasp of the national cultural patrimony, or indeed that of the broader West. The great writers, artists, philosophers and statesmen of the West are largely unknown to our students. Consequently, the artistic life of the country is a veritable wasteland, incapable of equalling the achievements of our forebears.

In such an environment, “Irish culture” becomes defined as a shallow, effectively meaningless set of mannerisms, consumer habits or personality traits, or at best is permitted to exist (in a compromised form) within the framework of the new, pervasive, globalist/American order. Instead of celebrating the Irish people’s substantial cultural achievements (as a healthy nation would do naturally), current opinion sees the national character as somewhat of a joke. 

Ignorant of Ireland’s past, and still bearing residual colonial self-hatred, many mock the national culture or are unable to view “Irishness” through anything but consumerist eyes. This attitude, combined with mass immigration, is cancer of indescribable severity, which possesses the very real power of destroying Irish nationality, or what remains of it. Critically wounded by centuries of suppression, and further undermined by a disdainful intellectual class, the culture of Ireland was bound to be gravely damaged by the rise of globalism. Indeed, one struggles to find a nation which has been so violently undermined by the ideology. In France and Italy for example, a distinct national identity has endured to a degree, cultivated by an education system which places heavy emphasis on national literature and history (aided by the obvious linguistic aspect). 

The global phenomenon of Americanisation has been particularly sweeping in Ireland. Cultural insecurity, coupled with failure to extricate itself from the Anglosphere, left Ireland particularly vulnerable to this “silent conquest”, in which the essential constituent elements of culture have been largely Americanised. 

If we are to be honest, is the United States a nation we wish to emulate? A country founded upon individualism, greed and materialism, which had contributed little of a positive nature to Western high culture, despite its place as the richest state in human history? One need only compare tacky, repugnant Times Square with our own European counterparts — Piazza Navona or Place de la Concorde. Surely the latter reflects the values of a higher state of civilisation? 

Evidently, the experiences of Ireland form part of a broader movement affecting the entire Western world. The idea of a Western decline has been proposed and debated by generations of scholars, notably Spengler and Toynebee. Ireland’s inability to cultivate a healthy cultural life is symptomatic of a greater tragedy affecting modern man. The reasons for these developments are many, including materialism and the loss of religious faith. A more detailed study of the topic is envisioned in a future article. 

Our “crisis of culture” obviously antedates mass immigration, and in many ways has been the primary facilitator of such extreme demographic change. The near total collapse of Gaelic Ireland, alongside the suppression and decline of its culture, inculcated a certain self-hatred in the Irish psyche. Despite the noble ideals of the Irish revolutionaries, dreams of a national rebirth soon faded amidst the bureaucracy of an unimaginative Free State, whose unenthusiastic attempts at cultural revival proved disastrous. 

The intelligentsia of independent Ireland eventually reacted negatively to what was perceived as the artificial nature of the contemporary Gaelic Revivalism. While often responding to legitimate grievances, they failed to offer a viable alternative, leading to the confused, insecure cultural atmosphere of modern Ireland. The tiresome “national denigration” was continued by many of Ireland’s writers, perpetuating British colonial attitudes. The advent of Irish Historical Revisionism, exemplified in the character of Conor Cruise O’Brien, further weakened the nation’s self confidence. It is no surprise therefore, that a country whose writers and historians have been unhealthily obsessed with “demystifying” and “challenging nationalist myth-making”, should itself be especially vulnerable to the cultural genocide affected by the rise of contemporary globalism.

Unsurprisingly, the Irish language has been permitted to follow the path to extinction. As has been noted by several commentators, contemporary urban Gaeilgeoir trends often reduce the language to a sterile, artificial existence, within an effectively foreign culture (not to denigrate the genuine dedication of many to preserving our native tongue). Government grants and schemes are used as a smokescreen for the dire prospects of the language. 

The Gaelic literature of Ireland, which is of great quality, is criminally underappreciated within this country. Such a complaint can easily be dismissed as trivial. “What does reading ancient stories have to offer modern, forward thinking Ireland”? Nations transmit and develop their character through their stories and writings. Every national literature therefore contains the unique genius and soul of its people. The ancient sagas, the Fenian cycle, the poems of Ó Rathaille and Ó Bruadair, the Aislings of the post-Cromwellian nation, all contain a spirit and wisdom which belongs to the Gael, and which forms part of the rich inheritance from our ancestors. 

Regarding the Gaelic culture of Ireland, the objection is often raised that modern Ireland should accept its Anglicisation as a natural course of cultural development. Such ideas are often accompanied by the irritating view that culture is “the here and now”. While recognising that such an argument possesses its merits (a Cornish national revival is hardly likely nor desirable), it is not particularly applicable to Ireland . The Irish are a distinct people, they are not wholly English or American. Reviving the historic language of Irishmen, which in historical terms, was only abandoned relatively recently, would not be constrained or excessively artificial. A refined culture, by nature, requires the ability to locate the individual as part of a continuity. Anglophone Ireland, neither English nor truly Irish, is desperately lacking in this sense. The revival of the national language is therefore of primary importance in recovering this essential aspect of civilisation.

The rapid cultural collapse of Modern Ireland is sourced in a variety of causes, however, the abandonment of the Catholic Faith is a central one. The rejection of supernatural Faith in favour of degenerate hedonism has obviously engendered a major cultural decline. A movement seeking a revival of Irish culture must recognise the central importance of the Catholic Faith to the nation. It was the Church which brought literacy to Ireland, which recorded the ancient sagas and epics, which made Ireland renowned as the “Island of Saints and Scholars”. A rejection of the anti-Catholic myths of modern Ireland, alongside the effeminate, lifeless form of liberal Catholicism practiced in much of the nation’s churches is necessary. A return to the traditional Catholic Faith, which built Europe and Ireland, is essential. Without it, Ireland will never recover the daring and boldness which characterised its Golden Age, which led Irishmen to make the Book of Kells, to settle Sceilig Michael, to travel to the furthest corners of Europe on missions of conversion and civilising.

Despite the dire state of the current situation, hope should not be lost. The Irish nation has recovered continually from seemingly cataclysmic disasters. Such recoveries however, have been dependent on the dedication and self-sacrifice of countless men. A movement seeking to restore and elevate Ireland’s culture must be prepared to suffer the mockery and ridicule of current cultural elites, to be branded as foolish idealists and tasteless boors. 

In response, it must strive to emulate the courage and patriotism which inspired the Fathers of the Gaelic Revival. A lasting cultural rebirth would involve a newfound appreciation for Ireland’s history, literature, language and art, alongside a rebirth of the values and states of mind which created these things. It will involve a recognition of the broader cultural patrimony which we have inherited as Europeans, heirs to the glories and triumphs of Christendom. The soul of Ireland, contained in the culture which Her people have cultivated over centuries, must be preserved at all costs.

The death of this culture, a real possibility within the next century, will be an unspeakable crime, for which our generation will be eternally guilty.

Posted by Dáibhí Ó Bruadair

22 Comments

  1. Brilliant ! Maith thú!

    Reply

  2. I’m in a bad mood so I gotta say this.

    Seems to me that some nationalists think that either we go full on PAST, or we keep an open mind and risk diluting nationalism so that it means essentially nothing ( liberalism contamination etc ).

    Seems to me that the only legit path, is to estimate the power of the forces of the past, the auspicious or repulsive ( depending on trait openness ) civil war paradigm, and the catholic church … to command loyalty from the people once again as they did in the 50’s.

    Next step: Can you, or any of us, get the average person to have fanatical reverence towards oul’Dev or Mick Collins or yer man Pearse? Or can you fix the church with its complete saturation of marxism and homosexuality in the clergy?

    If not, seems then that reviving the 50’s seems to be just a fantasy held by some ascetics among us.
    The word “Materialism” seems to be got into people’s heads now, fully loaded with extra connotations of liberalism, nihilism, and degeneracy, which are extra add-ons which are added by nationalists looking for philosophical grounding for their beliefs.
    Its nice to use philosophical terminology, but they don’t know what it means if it does not mean liberalism, degeneracy, or nihilism.

    They see religion, the one they chose being Catholicism, as the barrier to liberalism, degeneracy and nihilism.
    Ok so you think your vacuous church can oppose nihilism ( get the eucharist in yer hand then leave before mass is over )
    OK so you think your liberalized church can oppose liberalism.
    Ok so you think your clergy full of homosexuals can oppose degeneracy.
    Seems legit. After all we got here after thousands of years of Catholic rule in Europe.
    Or are you saying that we can have this as a good and effective barrier, except we must be on the look out for any sparks of a new enlightenment or any Karl Marxses and nip them in the bud before they destroy the whole planet’s christian heritage by their refusal to conform to catholicism?
    Are you going to ascribe this undeserved place as the foundation of civilization to this institution, instead of the people themselves?
    And are you going to stigmatize materialism so you can keep the soul of the past, which is the soul of a zombie, alive??
    That zombie ireland, the pious, stupidly naive, impressionable, malleable, docile, innocent yet sleazy and coy as a maiden while being a cute hoor at the same time, the Ireland that battered its kids, locked them in institutions over farms or inheritance for life never to be seen again, the Ireland that stigmatizes the downtrodden, the Ireland that glorified nepotism and an economy of cartels… yeah, your kind of Ireland, you all think you will be part of the IN club, but you will never be, and that’s why you write on this website VAINLY railing against materialism which is quite a necessary philosophy to have to liberate you from a past in which you were nothing but a prisoner, lackey, workhorse mule, for an aristocracy who were more than willing to throw a few public hail mary’s to ye, and appoint a few holy joes and teresas to positions of power, so long as it kept you in your place and didnt change a thing. Or do you think you will get power somehow and then YOU will never change a thing? How long must Ireland’s psyche be frozen in stasis for decades, fixating on some moment in some sort of overdrawn cultural PTSD, alcohol in the mix as well.
    Bolix.

    Reply

    1. Haha you’re a gas man. Your view of how we did things in the past, where you only focus on the negative and mischaracterise, can be equally applied to today. The so-called “stupidly naive, impressionable, malleable” Irish people of ages past, how could the exact same not be said for the indoctrinated Irish of today’s society that repeat the mantras of the globalistic media and NGOs?
      “the Ireland that battered its kids, locked them in institutions over farms or inheritance for life never to be seen again” right totally unlike the parents of modern Ireland that are willing to chemically castrate their children to gain social capital, to bring them along and expose them to the obscenities that are gay pride rallies & drag queen story hour. Give it a rest lad, it’s clear you’re still suffering from your internalised Liberalism and Whig view of history.

      This postmodern view of history as a series of power relations and your subsequent dismissal of the author’s endorsement of organised religion as just some sort of power game on his behalf and not true belief and desire to engender a real change in how people live and fundamentally interpret the world, it’s interesting how you don’t cast that same critical eye on the secular era of today.
      You giving out about the attack on materialism is pretty funny to me as well, how it dovetails so well with your view of history, as if before we were in the dark, subject to the whims of selfish elites that used irrational superstitions such as religion to control us, totally unlike today (sarcasm). This betrays a mind that has actually failed to understand anything outside of philosophical matierialism, for example idealism.
      Despite the fact that materialism is absurd and can be refuted easily (for a quick & easy refutation look up David Chalmer’s philosophical zombie argument), it is also the culprit of the malaise that affects the West today, first and foremost the nihilism inherent in such a belief system.
      To me, the only real long-term solution would have to engender a change in how people philosophically interpret the world on a fundamental level, and a near total revival of the national language, each both highly unlikely and near impossible. To think we oh we can just shut the borders and be a bit more conservative is laughable, it is ultimately enlightenment thinking that got us here.
      But then again I don’t really know what your solutions would be since you actually never offered any.

      Reply

      1. Agreed. Interesting that the commenter, ‘DT’ began with an unprepossessing caveat, as though he were unsure of his very-thoughts and motivations, however aggressively asserted to the contrary.

        Reply

    2. Ralph Oldenburg 18/10/2020 at 6:54 pm

      Very good points DT, well said!

      You know in Ireland’s past, including in the earliest mythical stories, the vast majority of people in Ireland could be described as both ‘materialist’ and ‘materialistic’. The truth is that gaining wealth, status and glory was their main preoccupation.

      Anyone in our traditional stories who advocated either lowering the standard of living or reducing the ‘price value’ of a person is treated with utter contempt and is promptly destroyed. The Irish were a pro-materialist people. ‘Anti-materialism’ is modernism at its finest. This was meant for the practice of ascetics, not for the everyman.

      Also we can see that the main concerns of Michael Collins were related to prosperity and economic forwardness. He knew that culture was downstream from economics (which is in turn downstream from religion) and that the whole edifice needed to be re-created on an unprecedented scale. He foresaw that prosperity was the only means to achieve a full Gaelic cultural revival.

      I don’t see many nationalist talking about such things today. Yet this is our roots! They ignore economics for the most part. Neo-liberal Ireland has cleared the field in this regard. For example, I’ve never seen anyone point out that adjustments in the corporate & other tax rates can also be treated as adjustments in terms culture.

      Reply

      1. I wonder why you state that “the main concerns of Michael Collins were related to prosperity and economic forwardness” or that he “knew that culture was downstream from economics”.

        Speaking of what was to be achieved after independence, he said :
        “The biggest task will be the restoration of the language”.

        Spirit and character (in other words values, at the core of culture) would determine economic success:
        “The strength of the nation will be the strength of the spirit of the whole people. We must have a political, economic and social system in accordance with our national character”.

        Reply

        1. Ralph Oldenburg 18/10/2020 at 9:47 pm

          The fulcrum of Collin’s ideas in The Path of Freedom are based on his words: “The Sinn Fein movement was both economic and national”

          Collins said that economic revival must go hand-in-hand with cultural revival. He specifically mentions these two as central aspects to Gaelic identity: one being the spirit of individual enterprise, and the other, the rejuvenating capacity of our Irish language. He paired these two ideas up to a couple dozen times in his essays.

          Regarding Collins’ economic vision and forwardness as a basis for national freedom:

          “The new movements were distinct, yet harmonious. They were all built on the same foundation the necessity for national freedom… that the people must look to themselves for economic prosperity, and must turn to national culture as a means to national freedom.”

          He uses ‘economic freedom’, ‘democratic economic system’, ‘democratic Gaelic social system’, and phrases encompassing the right to private property / a market economy many times over. He contrasted this to state socialism of any kind, whether communistic or ancient Roman, which he disfavours.

          He also seems to argue for a limited form of wealth equality or redistribution of one sort or another . The above could be summed up in:

          “The pertinacity of Irish civilization was due to the democratic basis of its economic system, and the aristocracy of its culture.”

          Another interesting point: In his last two essays he determined that it was through economic integration, not armed struggle, that we would regain North-East Ireland. Failure to do this, he thought, would lead the English reconquering of Ireland, first economically as an initial inroad, and finally, culturally. Hence why he pushed for modernisation and Irish language fluency as an urgent matter.

          I think his worst fears have been realised at this point. He knew exactly what he was talking about and was right to highlight it. We are far from beaten though. A tribal-national soul is an incredibly hard thing to extinguish.

          Reply

          1. Well put. Thank you.

        2. Ralph Oldenburg 19/10/2020 at 4:28 pm

          The real shame is that immediately after Independence we turned into a ‘state socialist’ backwater, which Collins would have abhorred.

          Franky, with the signing of the Treaty, we had to focus more on economics than on an ill-timed Irish cultural revival. That had to be postponed for later. The priority must be to keeping what you already possess. For example, the USA managed to define their own identity through this economic method, breaking away from the British in cultural sense later on due to their own economic independence. I think Collins wanted to emulate this to a large degree.

          But what actually happened was the British always maintained an economic hand over our affairs. As the early SF/FF governments tried in vain to instill cultural reforms, we were never ‘free’ in the real sense. It was the British who buttered our bread; the bedrock of our economic activity and funding.

          The present nationalist movement is trying to do the same thing, more state socialism, in essence making the same mistake – it will turn out the same way. They pay no mind to economics at all. They’ve given up on it like our forebears.

          But the thing is that culture is downstream from economics. Until you can compete with Neo-liberalism intellectually and can learn be innovative with our own economic projects, we will never reach the people. Economics and materialism should not be bad words in our scene. Even in medieval Ireland, a king’s ability to deliver material prosperity was deemed necessary for his possession of ‘fír flathamon’ (right to rule). If he could not do this he was replaced.

          My opinion is that we are now bypassing free market capitalism and entering into a more ‘democratic’ individualistic bidding/freelance economy. This is will heavily lean upon new applications using technology and the Internet of Things.

          I think nationalists should embrace most of these coming changes. We should have forward-looking technological/economic polices. The limitless utility and ease of life they will bring to the masses are immense. Most people will be adopting them as a matter of fact, in the same way they quickly adopted smartphones.

          As a counterbalance we need to focus on eliminating the negative aspects of such 4th industrial generation technologies, i.e. surveillance, privacy, biohazard issues, etc. We also need to created opt-in/out clauses in the same way the EU regulated cookies on the internet. Otherwise we might head down the road of the Chinese style statism.

          *We ought to be the party of the future* – not of the past. One example might be to greenlight a project to move Dublin port further south, perhaps to eastern Wexford, to extend city by building houses for working people on the vacant land. We might call it ‘The Dublin East Project”. The preliminary studies have already been done, 8,000 people can be housed here.

          I would go further and suggest we reclaim land in the Irish Sea. Many advanced coastal cities are already considering this and we should too. We need these projects as a source of confidence and national pride. We also need them to inject new life into our capital, bringing families into what is at present desolate.

          Just like Michael Collins, nationalists should be part of a forward looking cultural revolution. It seems that right now we are ‘living in the past’ out of rhetorical habit. People don’t want this at all. They are telling us that, but we aren’t listening.

          I’m also pretty fed up at what’s on offer. Our parties are either too similar to the competition (Renua, IFP) or stone cold oblivious to the issues of our time / living in the past (SnahE, NP).

          We need a major update in our thinking, a movement not afraid to be materialist & spiritual, national & international, traditional & technological at the same time. We either integrate our unique worldview, using novelty and common sense, or we will disintegrate entirely.

          Reply

          1. I disagree . Collins advocated industrial development in his words “on co-operative lines rather than on the old commercial capitalistic lines”.

            To achieve this, cultural revival was key. Of course, I’m not suggesting that this was done properly in the decades after independence.

            Horace Plunkett, the great agricultural cooperative pioneer, wondered at the success of Danish against Irish cooperatives in the British butter market where the Irish had the ‘advantage’ of being English-speaking.

            His conclusion: “A cultural movement before an agricultural movement….That was our mistake”.

            In the emerging sustainable age, purpose and ‘making meaning’ are becoming far more valuable than merely ‘making stuff’. Yet the latter approach is at the core of the techno-economic world you advocate .

            A deep sense of self nurtures meaning and purpose. Hence, cultural revival is again crucial to Ireland’s industrial development.

        3. Ralph Oldenburg 19/10/2020 at 7:06 pm

          Good point regarding Collins’ system of enterprise. I’d love to see nationalists engaging more in these sorts of debates, they are completely central to our strategy.

          I’m talking as much about ‘meaning making’ in addition to harnessing new products and services. To me they are becoming one and the same thing, each intrinsic to the other, because of how we use technology now. How a person consumes and chooses to spend earnings has become identity in itself.

          Both well-established transnationals and emerging firms have long known of the advantages of ‘aspirant identities’ – It’s a big part of who they are and what they sell. It’s the first thing that hits you when visiting one of their shops, sites or media channels. It can be a very intoxicating experience in my opinion. A rushing in and out of our emotional-psychological equilibrium. It’s gone far beyond return on investment and capital enterprise.

          You’re correct in saying that nationalists should raise the hammer and strike out using identity drivers. I think the best way to do this is along economic and cultural ‘co-operative lines’ as Collins suggested. In my opinion, this means employing corporative structures, which are now as much about culture (community building) as they are about enriching shareholders (capitalist model).

          Consumer communities and political affiliations might even qualify as a postmodern pseudo-ethnicities today in my view. Each speak their own language, symbols, credos, and their own purpose for being. This is a ‘Lingo-State’ as opposed to an Ethno-State. It’s the nominal state of empires, with many ethnic groups, which is what we live in.

          Nationalists should be aware that our brand is far from fleshed out, and is tending towards the fringe. Niches are fine, but in politics you need a hefty minority to play the system.

          We need to promote our own ‘halo of values’, much like a big corporation, which effectively means signaling our unique identities. At present most people have no idea of our value system beyond it being esoteric and past-orientated.

          I think the barrier for entry into Irish populism is quite high, especially for non-active members. There’s a lot of things one ‘must know and be part of’ before that person can be fully utilized. No such barriers exist in other successful political groupings – A simple utterance of a slogan is enough to belong and be active – A huge difference!

          In any case I’ll end it here before it gets too long. I appreciate your insights. Ireland needs its intellectuals and people of good sense now more than ever.

          Reply

          1. Great points! And much food for thought!

        4. I actually thought your comment was sarcastic til I reached the end.
          Yeah Ireland and Gaelic culture was actually always about muh private property rights and the free market.
          Jesus fucking Christ man.
          What kosher big business cuckservatism will do to a brain.

          Reply

          1. Ralph Oldenburg 20/10/2020 at 1:22 am

            I’m not saying that I support laissez-faire markets – But Collins was in favour of some form of individual free enterprise within a corporatist framework – And why shouldn’t he be?

            Economic markets by catering to the collective whims and desires allow for deep emotional control over a population. Socialism by contrast is far too brutal in achieving the same ends. That’s why it failed and reverted to identity-politics.

            Markets and industrial innovation are the means by which a people create wealth, at the same time the government focuses on the important task of building myths and stories. Today we call this ‘history’ and ‘news’ – Together they actively influence the culture and customs of a nation.

            The problem with socialism is the workers never rose up against their oppressors. They were too busy living their lives to to pay attention to such inane pronouncements. You’ll find that ‘the workers’ can be substituted with ‘ethnic group’ if you wish. It’s the same story in motion. The Irish will not rise to your demographic predictions. You’ll need a better strategy!

            Marxism has gone too far in the nationalist movement, especially in Ireland. The Irish who you predict will come to your side, much like Marx’s “proletariat”, have no time for the talk of the socially estranged.

            “What kosher big business cuckservatism” – The language of the intellectually defeated. I have no time for it. Me ne frego.

  3. Des Hanrahan 17/10/2020 at 1:26 pm

    Very interesting article .
    However , I disagree about the influence of Catholicism . Irish Christianity owes at least as much if not more to the Orthodox Tradition as to Rome . This applied at least up to the Norman Conquest and I don’t think that the influence was completely extinguished until the Cromwellian conquest . Has loyalty to Rome done Irish Culture any favours ?

    Reply

    1. Interesting comment Des. I spoke to an ex-priest recently who was also bemoaning the negative influence of Rome on the Irish Monastic tradition. He thought they were more autonomous until Rome reigned them in but I wasn’t aware that they had any explicit connection to any of the Orthodox patriarchies. Certainly nowadays if only from the number and quality of the YT bloggers who are recent converts to Orthodox, I am left with the impression that these creeds while not without their own problems, are experiencing something of a revival. They certainly don’t seem to have succumbed to the widespread effeminisation of their clergy and the reduction of their liturgy into the happy-clappy nonsense which replaced the old Latin Mass, and has contributed to emptying Irish Churches.
      Do you have any historical references which describe ties to the Orthodox?

      Reply

      1. Des Hanrahan 17/10/2020 at 11:11 pm

        Can’t give you any links but here are a few facts that I’ve picked up over the decades . They are off the top of my head and in no particular order .
        Saint Patrick is not a RC Saint .However , the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church know all about him . They regard him as one of their own and believe that he was from what is now Lebanon . This explains two things.
        1,his bad Latin ; if he was from the Levant then he would have spoken Amharic ( or something similar) at home , Greek would have been his second language ( this was the lingua franca of the Eastern Empire ; the Irish alphabet is based on the Greek one , not the Latin .) Latin would have been his third language . Patrick’s father is believed to have been a Roman official and has been presumed to have been Romano Briton . There is no reason to think that . He could have been from anywhere in the Empire.
        2. The roots of the word Shamrock are neither Gaelic or English but Arabic .
        Monasteries originated in Egypt and then appeared in Ireland . They were introduced to Europe by Irish missionaries .
        Hard core Asceticism has appeared in two places in Christianity . The Skelligs and the Desert Fathers in Egypt .
        Irish monks did not use the RC Tonsure . I don’t know if their form was used in Orthodox Christianity .
        The remains of Coptic Churches which were built by Irish missionaries have been found in Scotland and Northern England .
        There is a long history of Rome striving to impose Liturgical Hegemony on churches founded by Irish missionaries both on the Continent and in England/Scotland . Sorting out the Church in Ireland ( with Papal blessing ) was the excuse for the Norman Conquest .
        There are many instances of Irish Monasteries fighting each other . Pitched battles , sackings etc. The reason why is never given . If there were two Churches/Religions then it makes sense .There is more but that’s all I can think of at the moment .

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  4. Thanks for writing this article. This cultural conversation must be had. Why indeed should we wish to emulate the Americans or British? The historic nations of those countries are in drastic decline culturally and demographically too. Listening to my fellow countrymen and women drone on about Netflix shows or global soccer/football every day at work is painful – it makes me feel like switching off.

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  5. Great article – reflecting a lot of similarly held views as John Waters’ excellent “Give us back the bad roads”. I do agree that conservative stiff Catholicism provided the moral backbone for a large part of 20th Century Ireland – which a Marxist state has sought to supplant. It is much easier however to tear down than to build and all efforts should be focussed on the tearing down of that state – e.g. “Taxation is based on the belief that a third party can spend your resources better than you can” and similar ideas along the lines of Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell.

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  6. A WHOLE LOT OF BOLLOCKS!
    Anyone who lived through the early 1900s knows the truth about Ireland! It was a horrible place in time!
    With Mental Asylums, Reformatories, Jails and Magdalene homes full to capacity and the tens of thousands taking the boat to England, it was like an Open Air Concentration Camp, with the Roman Catholic priests damning your soul to Hell for eating meat on a Fast Day or for having a Wank!
    Fuck off you assholes, who never felt raw hunger!
    Strumpet City!
    Did you ever hear about it?
    Strumpet City is a 1969 historical novel by James Plunkett set in Dublin, Ireland, around the time of the 1913 Dublin Lock-out. In 1980, it was adapted into a successful TV drama by Hugh Leonard for RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster. The novel is an epic, tracing the lives of a dozen characters as they are swept up in the tumultuous events that affected Dublin between 1907 and 1914.

    You’ll crucify Christ no longer in this town.
    – James Larkin to the employers of Dublin

    Strumpet City is the impossible Irish novel. The great master of the short story, Frank O’Connor, writing in 1942, claimed that it was simply not possible to write a social novel in Ireland. In Russia, he said, an author such as Chehkov could “write as easily of a princess as of a peasant girl or a merchant’s daughter” but in Ireland “the moment a writer raises his eyes from the slums and cabins, he finds nothing but a vicious and ignorant middle-class, and for aristocracy the remnants of an English garrison, alien in religion and education. From such material he finds it almost impossible to create a picture of life . . . a realistic literature is clearly impossible.”

    O’Connor had a point. After James Joyce, 20th-century Irish fiction was generally defined by strategies for avoiding society. Writers withdrew into the small words of the short story (O’Connor and Sean O’Faolain), crafted novels from confined spaces or foreign destinations (Kate O’Brien), invented their own linguistic landscapes (Samuel Beckett) or turned the novel into a brilliant game (Flann O’Brien). They generally avoided history.

    “History,” says Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus, “is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.” What place could there be for the social and historical novel in 20th-century Irish fiction?

    To say, therefore, that James Plunkett’s Strumpet City , first published in 1969, is the greatest Irish historical novel is to risk damning it with faint praise. Ireland has no Walter Scott, no War and Peace . Plunkett may have learned from both, but he essentially had to invent the Irish epic for himself. To think of the most famous fictional depictions of Dublin is to be confronted with a brilliant minimalism: the tiny lives of Joyce’s Dubliners ; the single day of Ulysses . Strumpet City unfolds over seven years. It deals not with isolated lives but with the way in which large events connect the most disparate of people. It encompasses a wide sweep of city life, from the destitution of Rashers Tierney to the precarious existence of Hennessy, the solid, aspirant respectability of Fitz and Mary, the priestly life of Fathers Giffley and O’Connor, and the upper-class world of Yearling and the Bradshaws.

    Strumpet City does have a relationship to Joyce’s Dubliners , a book that is an obvious influence on Plunkett’s fine short-story collection The Trusting and the Maimed . But Plunkett also moves beyond that influence. Joyce saw Dubliners as an anatomy of the city as “the centre of paralysis”. This might very well be a description of the city in the first part of Plunkett’s epic. But in Plunkett’s case the paralysis is convulsed by the shock of James Larkin’s arrival.

    We encounter the great labour leader first through the eyes (and ears) of Fitz: “At first, the accent was strange. Part Liverpool, part Irish, it produced immediate silence. The voice, flung back again from the high housefronts on the other side of the road, was the strongest Fitz had ever heard. From time to time the hands moved with an eloquence of their own.”

    Larkin is, of course, a real figure, but Plunkett also had to imagine the subject of his epic for himself. If there was going to be a great, sweeping Irish historical novel of the 20th century, there was one event that overshadowed all others, that seemed ready-made in its dramatic power and symbolic scope: the Easter Rising of 1916. Plunkett chose instead a much more complex, and less famous, set of events: the Great Lockout of 1913.

    The Lockout was, as Plunkett shows in Strumpet City , the culmination of five years of increasingly bitter disputes between Dublin’s unskilled workers, organised by Larkin’s Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union, on the one side and the city’s employers, led by William Martin Murphy, on the other.

    Murphy eventually prompted 404 employers to demand that workers sign documents renouncing the ITGWU or be “locked out” of their jobs. (George Russell, at the time, described the employers as “blind Samsons pulling down the pillars of the social order”.)

    The lockout of 20,000 workers lasted for more than six months before the ITGWU members and their families were effectively starved into submission. The conflict included violent police attacks on workers’ meetings and the formation, in reaction, of the Citizens’ Army. But, as Plunkett shows in a way that no documentary could ever capture, it was the slow violence of hunger, much of it directed against children, that was most telling.

    Strumpet City is full of ordinary nobility – the stubborn pride of Rashers, the deep love between Mary and Fitz – and ordinary decency. Moments of unexpected kindness punctuate it. But the novel is, among others things, an anti-romantic portrait of a city mired in vicious poverty. In the period in which it unfolds, 1907 to 1914, a third of Dubliners were essentially destitute, living in single rooms in some of Europe’s worst slums. These were often, in a grotesque irony, the grand former homes of the gentry. On one of the finest Georgian terraces, Henrietta Street, the 1911 census records an astonishing 835 people living in just 15 houses. One house alone, number 7, was shared by 104 people belonging to 19 families. Not surprisingly, diseases such as typhoid, tuberculosis and dysentery were rife: Dublin’s death rate was 22 per 1,000 people; London’s was 16. (From the beginning of Strumpet City , we meet death from disease: Sergeant Muldoon’s young child dying of meningitis.) The city was notorious for high levels of public drunkenness and for the vast scale of its brothel district, Monto.

    At the core of this poverty was Dublin’s failure to sustain a significant industrial base. In 1841, 33 per cent of the city’s workers were employed in manufacturing; by 1911, just 20 per cent were. There was a prosperous middle class working in the professions and administration, and a few thriving firms (Jacob’s biscuits, the Guinness brewery, the Jameson distillery) with steady employment for workers. But many people depended on casual labour as carters, on the docks or in construction. For every Fitz, with his job in the foundry, there were many Hennessys, picking up work wherever and whenever they could.

    James Plunkett was rooted in the world of Strumpet City . He was born (as James Plunkett Kelly) in Dublin in 1920, just seven years after the Great Lockout and among people who had lived through it. He remembered, for example, that his mother had heard it rumoured that Larkin wore a wide-brimmed hat because he was the “anti-Christ and was obliged to hide a third eye that was in the centre of his forehead”.

    It seems significant that the area Plunkett was born in, Irishtown, is bounded by both the poorer district of Ringsend and the well-to-do suburb of Sandymount – hence, perhaps, the accuracy with which Plunkett captures both ends of the social spectrum in Strumpet City . Plunkett’s father worked as a chauffeur and had served in the Great War – again, the confidence with which the novel evokes the Protestant and pro-British sides of the city’s history surely owes much to direct experience. (Dublin’s population, at the time the novel is set, was 15 per cent Protestant.) Plunkett, having left school at 17 for a job as a clerk at the Dublin Gas Company, actually worked for Larkin himself at the Irish Transport & General Workers’ Union before he became a writer and then a radio and television producer with Radio Telifís Éireann.

    Yet the strength of Strumpet City lies partly in the author’s ability to hold his own feelings and ideals in check. Plunkett’s politics were strongly socialist (he courted opprobrium in violently anti-communist Ireland by visiting the Soviet Union in 1955), sceptical of nationalism (it is striking that Strumpet City plays down militant nationalism, confining its expression largely to the old cook, Miss Gilchrist) and anti-clerical. Readers of Strumpet City will be in no doubt that the author’s sympathies lie with the poor and with the workers’ struggle for a better life.

    But this is not a work of heroic propaganda. Plunkett infuses characters with whom he would not agree with vivid, detailed life. One of the finest portraits in the book, indeed, is that of the priggish Father O’Connor and his slow journey towards a fuller humanity – O’Connor is rich enough to be worth a novel to himself. This is why Strumpet City lives on as much more than a book “about” the Lockout. Asked to explain its success, Plunkett noted simply that “I didn’t take my eye away from the people at any stage”.

    This is no boast: readers will find that the novel’s politics seldom exist outside of its superbly drawn people. And even though it is important that he gives his upper-class characters the same humanity as the poor workers, it is even more important that he gives complex life to people whose human dignity was, in reality, often denied.

    At its heart, Strumpet City is a book of cast-offs. It makes itself out of forms and subjects that were largely cast out of Irish fiction. And it deals with cast-off people. Plunkett, in a Thomas Davis lecture on Larkin for Radio Éireann, noted that in the Dublin of the years leading up to the Lockout, the destitute “occupied the cast-off houses of the rich and they walked about – for the most part – in the cast-off clothes of the middle class.” Children and the old searched the bins of the well-to-do for cinders, so that “even the fuel of the poor . . . was gathered through the same casting-off process.”

    This thought is taken up early in the novel itself, where, in a rare and discreet intervention of the authorial voice, Plunkett notes children searching bins for “half-burnt cinders”: “They came each morning from the crowded rooms in the cast-off houses of the Rich . . . The clothes they wore had been cast off by their parents, who had bought them as cast-offs in the second-hand shops.” In this imagery, there is the suggestion that the people themselves are cast-off humanity, discarded and of little value.

    Strumpet City is, above all, a great defiance of this contempt for the poor. Its realism is not just a reflection of the way things were: it is also a statement of the way things should be, that attention must be paid to those whom history treats as the anonymous masses. We might give what he is doing the name of defiant realism.

    Plunkett’s greatest creation, moreover, is a character who is at once the ultimate in harsh realism yet also poetic, even mystical.

    Rashers Tierney, in lesser hands, could have been merely the embodiment of the horror of near absolute poverty. He is utterly destitute, despised and bullied by officialdom. He occupies the margins of life and of history, too poor even for the collective self-assertion of the workers. He is reduced almost to the level of his friend and equal Rusty, his beloved dog. He is King Lear’s “unaccommodated man . . . a poor, bare, forked animal”.

    Yet Plunkett also allows him a dignity, even in this very identification with the animal world: “Anything that lived; men, women, children; dogs, pigeons, monkeys; even lesser things like cockroaches, flies and fleas, had to eat. He had been of their company long enough to sympathise with them all – the child rooting in the ashbin, the cat slinking along the gutter, the cockroach delicately questing along the wooden joins of the floor, its grey-blue body corrugated with anxiety. These were sometimes his competitors, but more often his brothers.”

    In one sense Rashers is not a historical figure at all. He moves around and behind and beneath the history that is happening in the novel. He has always been there and he is still with us – in every one of the megaslums that are the fastest-growing kind of human habitation in the 21st century. There are countless millions of Rashers today, surviving on the edge of the wealthy world as scavengers on its cast-offs.

    Strumpet City reminds us, among its great pleasures of vibrant narrative, that it is not so long ago since such people were part of the developed western world. And reminds us, through the power of vivid fiction, that they are not Them but Us: human, complex, worthy of dignity.

    This is an edited version of Fintan O’Toole’s introduction to the new Gill & Macmillan edition of Strumpet City .

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  7. Ralph Oldenburg 18/10/2020 at 8:45 pm

    It was the Free State’s imposition of a quasi-socialist autarky (with Catholic characteristics) that turned a people enthusiastic for their cultural freedom, into self-loathing Anglophiles a couple of generations later.

    For example, I’m sure if you research your family tree, you’ll notice that pre-1921, many – if not most – of your ancestors had English names, and after that date Gaelic names start to proliferate. That’s a measure of the potent enthusiasm felt by the Irish for re-connecting with their own culture. It was positive in the extreme.

    However the new government chose to use bureaucracy as a means for mass-employment, instead of working with other Europeans to industrialize and modernize, giving people a sense of pride in real economic progress. They had it totally backward.

    By the time World War II was over the young had already packed in on ‘old Ireland’. Urbanization had begun as people migrated to the cities to meet Emergency production quotas, women were liberated from the home, industries began to gear up in a real way, a liberal education allowed for expanded minds.

    Then right away in 1948 the old guard lost their majority in the Dail. By 1966 De Valera scraped by with a paltry 50.5% of the Presidential vote. People had lost faith in our hero myths even by then. I have no doubt they felt cheated by overblown ‘cultural revival’ promises, compared to what they had actually received.

    Fast forward to today: There is a tremendous, almost unbridgeable, disconnect between the Irish and their own history – the majority of that gap being emotional in nature. Hence if Irish culture pops up in conversation you will be greeted with negative outbursts and low-brow sloganeering.

    The root of it is that they believe nationalists would have them return back to live in an economic basket case (they believe the same of red socialists). This is because nationalists have no economic vision whatsoever, no stance on technological society, or maybe even a negative outlook upon it. They are ‘anti-materialist’ in general.

    In short the Irish right are seen as the Free State government 2.0, and until progressive thinking has been achieved on the materialist side of life, I feel we’ll be kept in this weakened position.

    Remember, the same people who talked about cultural restitution last century had no plan for economic integration of the nation or a sense of place in the world… So when people hear you talk about the same cultural framework they start to believe we are similarly economically inept by using parallel logic.

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  8. Daragh Finneran 19/10/2020 at 11:52 am

    Re the St Patrick discussion; he was a Roman Catholic bishop. He wasn’t formally canonised having lived before the current laws of the Church in these matters but he is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church.
    Re different influences on the faith here; it should be pointed out that there are the Eastern Catholic rites so the Church recognises different traditions.

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