Today marks the centenary of Terence MacSwiney’s death while in prison during the War of Independence. A playwright, poet, mayor of Cork and IRA commander, MacSwiney passed away after 74 days on hunger strike, bringing worldwide attention to the nationalist cause in Ireland. One hundred years since those solemn scenes in Brixton prison, since the famous funeral cortege through the streets of London, since the crowds filed passed the starved, ascetic corpse of a man who had dedicated his life to his Fatherland, what is Modern Ireland to think of such events? Do the ideals of MacSwiney and his generation survive in the cosmopolitan Ireland of today?
An honest survey of the country cannot help but conclude to the contrary. The Nation seems committed to advancing an ideology and culture which is utterly at odds with the ideals and spirit of the Revolutionary era. The fundamental concepts of the national revival – the right of the Irish people to a homeland of their own, the necessity of restoring the Gaelic culture, the need for Irishmen to love and serve their country, have all been rejected or diluted in modern Ireland. The very existence of an Irish people is denied, as “Irish people” becomes defined as anyone residing on the island’s landmass. In this context, the events of the early 20th century are incomprehensible. Would men have suffered and died for such a meaningless “Nation”, a community of consumers?
Not content with having eroded national cohesion and identity by attacking the very nature of Irishness, the ideologues have implemented a literal policy of colonisation, radically altering the demography of the nation with mass immigration. There exists the very real possibility that the native Irish will constitute less than half the population in the coming generations due to such a policy. Despite the endless regime distortions of history, nobody can claim plausibly that the Irish revolutionaries would have supported today’s demographic change. The explicit ethno-nationalism of the central figures in Irish nationalism is simply too pronounced. When they did write in favour of assimilation of peoples into the Nation, it was usually out of necessity, ie.with regards to those already on the island, not a future “open borders” scenario.
While the state commemorations have continued, the ideals of the Revolutionaries have been silently dispensed with. With each passing year, the nation’s historical experience is deliberately forgotten, or distorted to validate today’s ideological presuppositions.
However, no amount of distortion or historical revisionism will succeed in changing the past – the Irish rebels died for an Irish people, a distinct race which had the right to their own homeland. Cognisant of this fact, the current regime intends to slowly move away from remembrance and commemoration of such figures. The final stage of globalist Ireland, when the people are completely divorced from the “weight” of the past, seems the goal of our elites.
Among the ever-diminishing amount of people interested in our history, there still remains a delusional group which somehow tries to reconcile traditional Irish nationalism with the globalist values of today. Sinn Féin, a party which is eager to hold 1916 commemorations, yet simultaneously promotes a new plantation of Ireland, is the clearest example of this absurdity.
The official commemorations for MacSwiney have resembled the lifeless, half-hearted pattern by which most historical events are remembered in Ireland. Politicians have made speeches of platitudes, careful to avoid any reference to MacSwiney’s “extremism” or his obvious belief in a distinct Irish race. He is described in shallow, meaningless terms such as having fought for “justice” or “a better Ireland”.
Similarly, the media treatment of the centenary has been equally sterile and uninspiring. At best, McSwiney is treated as an interesting historical figure, but nothing more. National cohesion and sentiment has decayed to the degree that Irish history no longer seems personal to us, it no longer holds the power to move the population’s emotions.
Dry, impersonal history should be the preserve of academe. In order for a nation to thrive, its people must possess a personal sense of history, a sense of belonging to a people which has experienced suffering and triumphs through the ages, which have in turn moulded and formed the national character. The drab manner in which the national history is currently promoted amongst the public makes such a sentiment impossible, it prevents any real understanding and appreciation of one’s people and country.
Among Ireland’s cultural and intellectual elite, there is the sense that Ireland should “move on” from the “extremism” of her past. The nation has entered a time of modernisation and openness to the world, leaving behind the “bitterness” of history. While such a belief may sound reasonable and attractive, what has it actually constituted in practice? -The near annihilation of national cohesion, the decay of Irish culture, the constant undermining of the national idea in favour of a merciless globalist project.
It is supremely arrogant for this generation to view our ancestors as “extremists”. Have we constructed a nobler, more heroic worldview than theirs? How does our new society, saturated with moral degeneracy, drugs, abortion and porn, compare to theirs? In almost every case, the sophistry which seeks to undermine notions of patriotism or self-sacrifice is motivated by moral failure. Modern Ireland scorns patriotism not because it has become more mature and wise, but because it finds love of anything but the individual incomprehensible. Ireland has not “grown up”, it has merely degenerated in virtue, and lost a sense of history and duty.
The end stages of a civilisation are usually characterised by a loss of understanding of “the heroic”. Irish journalists may think they are being “objective” when penning dry accounts of the nation’s heroes, describing acts of heroism as “propaganda”. Such attitudes don’t demonstrate any sophistication or maturity, they merely betray the perversion, cowardice and acrimony of an unheroic age.
The current state of the nation is quite bleak. However, hope should not be lost. We must remind ourselves that the national revival of the last century sprung from a small group of individuals. So long as the example of MacSwiney survives, there will still be those willing to love and defend this country, regardless of the derision, cynicism and mockery of the times.
Our elites can continue their empty rituals of commemoration, but nothing can change the fact that the Ireland they are constructing, is not the Ireland for which Terence MacSwiney suffered over 74 long days.