division that England did not have. A substantial part of the island at the beginning of the seventeenth century held no affinity whatsoever for the outgoing Tudor monarchy or its Stuart successor. Militarily defeated, the GaelicIrish were subsumed into the new triple monarchy. In theory, exposure to English law, language, and civility should have made them into ‘little Englanders’ within a few generations at most, but a colonial elite needed to emphasise the differences that made them civil and the natives barbarous, and so the process of cultural and political
imposition, with rapid cultural as well as economic implications, that ran contrary
to the natural inclinations of the Irish people, who he claimed enjoyed a
non-hierarchical, communistic clan-based society until as late as the seventeenth century, though it was under pressure from the time of Henry VIII
and Elizabeth I: ‘As the dispersion of the clans, consummated by [Oliver]
Cromwell, finally completed the ruin of GaelicIreland, all the higher education of Irishmen thenceforward ran in this foreign groove, and was coloured
with this foreign colouring’ (Connolly, 1910
1960s, the subsequent life in Denmark and then home
revisited twenty years later. The contrasting attitudes of time and in
place are obvious in pregnant Polly’s flight from home when faced with
the uncontrolled rage of her parents whose stance Ní Dhuibhne links
to their romantic ideas of a pure GaelicIreland. When she gets a job
abroad three years later, Polly is relieved that ‘nobody cared whether
or not you were a single mother in Denmark’. More than that ‘All the
talk was of feminism and women’s rights and the country was packed
with creches and kindergartens
Correspondence of Thomas Bekynton , ed. G. Williams (2 vols., RS, 1872), i. 285.
12 D. Johnstone, ‘Richard II and the Submission of GaelicIreland’, Irish Historical Studies , xxii (1980), p. 2; Anglo-Norman Letters and Petitions , ed. M. D. Legge (Oxford, 1941), p. 48.
13 E. Curtis, Richard II in Ireland (Oxford, 1927), p. 132.
14 Thomas Walsingham, Historia Anglicana , ed. T. Riley (2 vols., RS, 1864), ii. 239.
15 The Westminster Chronicle, 1381–1394 , ed. L. C. Hector and B. F. Harvey (Oxford, 1982), pp. 158, 436–8; The Diplomatic Correspondence of
Colbert, who were executed for their roles in the 1916 Rising, ‘met their deaths, happy that it was for Ireland, sure of the heaven that awaited them. In boyish simplicity and purity, and with manly courage, they faced the firing squad.’ 84 Markievicz’s foreword to the second edition of the Fianna Handbook encouraged members to follow ‘the example and teachings of our heroic dead’. She reported that Liam Mellows ‘always urged on the Fianna the importance of educating and training their minds, in the principles and ideals that governed GaelicIreland’. 85 Mellows was
, confirm a dogmatic theology of violence held by Irish
Republicanism’ and ‘they intended to kill, and ultimately be killed, in order
to resurrect GaelicIreland by means of a blood sacrifice which served to expiate sinful complacency and compromise’.33 The tradition of self-sacrifice and
martyrdom is permanently embedded within the republican psyche.
Allegiance to the tradition of republican martyrdom can be seen in discussions concerning hunger strikers. Hunger strikes in Ireland are commonly
presented as a feature of political confrontation where the powerless people
of the Irish
population, he assumes that the Gaelic culture of Ireland has survived,
and outlasted, repeated attempts at colonisation. The notion that Ireland
is ‘Gaelic’ is reiterated frequently in Irish nationalism, from the call by
republican nationalists for a ‘Free and GaelicIreland’ (de Valera, 1922:
14) to the proposition that nationalist principles are inherited from ‘the
Gaelic past’ (Haughey, 7 January 1982). However, Ireland is just as frequently referred to as ‘Celtic’. Indeed, the two are generally used as interchangeable signifiers in Irish official
of the traditional conception of citizenship with that of more recent
interpretations brings to light a process of change in Irish official nationalism. In traditional republican discourse, statehood essentially facilitated vital international recognition of the nation; it was vital because,
as de Valera (1918: 2) conceded, ‘unfortunately it is not the peoples, but
their governments, that count’. Citizenship, according to this discourse,
was based on membership of the nation, ‘a Free and GaelicIreland’,
rather than the jurisdiction of the state (de Valera, 1922