As Ireland’s Decade of Centenaries (2012 – 2022) comes to an end, the enlightened Newstalk team have drafted a list of Ireland’s “greatest moments” throughout the past 100 years. The following 20 bullet points have undoubtedly been deliberated upon for hours by a clueless boardroom of social progressivists struggling to recall Irish historical landmarks before the 1970s and arrival of Reeling in the Years.
Rural Electrification of Ireland begins – 1946
Ireland becomes a Republic – 1949
Donogh O’Malley announces Free Education – 1966
Contraceptive Train to Belfast – 1971
Ireland joins the EEC – 1973
Munster win over the All Blacks – 1978
U2 Release The Joshua Tree – 1987
Ireland elects its first female President – 1990
Ireland at Italia 90’ – 1990
Sinead O’Connor on SNL – 1992
Riverdance at the Eurovision – 1994
Seamus Heaney wins the Nobel Prize – 1995
The signing of the Good Friday Agreement – 1998
The Saipan Saga: Roy Keane V Mick McCarthy – 2002
Introduction of the Smoking Ban – 2004
Katie Taylor winning Gold at London 2012 – 2012
Marriage Equality Referendum – 2015
Repeal the 8th Referendum – 2018
Fine Gael and Fianna Fail entering government together – 2020
Garth Brooks plays 5 nights in Croke Park – 2022
Immediately standing out on this list is the overrepresentation of sporting or music events and socially progressive landmarks, including the state’s permission of abortion and gay marriage. The weighted distribution of “great moments” in Irish history on this list towards the past 30 or 40 years of social liberalisation is indicative of the ignorance and historical deracination of not only its writers, but the Irish public itself. The supposed “landmark events” on this list vary between irrelevance and the idealisation of subversive social policies.
Juxtapose the historical significance of Ireland completing its journey out of the British Empire in 1949 with the batty women involved with the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement; there is no justifiable comparison for these historical events. The Newstalk team mistakenly suggest that the legalisation of gay marriage was one of Ireland’s greatest moments of the last century, when in fact the real achievement was that the Irish State was able to maintain sodomy as a criminal offence until only 1993 – longer than most other European nations.
The sample size of the Newstalk’s “greatest moments” has been cherry-picked from a number of events appealing to the socially liberal left-wing stance of most people today – with a kind of plastic patriotism demonstrated through the representation of Irish victories in meaningless cultural and sporting events such as Garth Brooks concert in Croke Park this year. How could any nation take itself seriously if its claim to fame was that it had transformed itself from a traditional society in which local communities were maintained into an individualistic society that is both mundane and morally subversive?
Even a simple peruse of Irish history in this past century illuminates several markers of symbolic or national significance which are either indicative of the fidelity to Irish identity at that time, or of major political decisions which we today have experienced the consequences of. Even a paltry list as this one shown here takes greater care and consideration as to representing truly stand-out moments of Irish history in the 100 years than that of the Newstalk crew:
The Creation of the Irish Free State
The Creation of the Irish Manuscripts Commission
Irish Diplomacy Succeeds in Establishing the Statute of Westminster
The Battle of the Bogside
The Ratification of Bunreacht na hÉireann
Irish Popular Support for General Franco in the Spanish Civil War
Ireland Maintains its Status as a Neutral State
The 1981 Hunger Strikes and Death of Bobby Sands
Ireland Becomes a Republic
Ireland hosts the 31st Eucharistic Congress
The decade of centenaries has demonstrated the general apathy, decadence and amnesia of the Irish public, which enjoys a largely hedonistic economic lifestyle without regard for the historical foundations of their nation nor the trajectory in which it was directed throughout the 20th century. Should the Irish people and state have truly cared to honour the efforts of their predecessors far more would have been done throughout these past ten years. Fancy military parades are aesthetically important for a nation’s commemoration of its historical struggles, achievements, successes and tragedies, but they are only momentary.
To date, how many aesthetically pleasing, symbolic and quality monuments honouring Ireland’s national history have been made? The Irish government ought to concern itself with greater cultural works projects during its decade of centenaries than putting Pokémon statues outside the Dáil.