You know, I am not a patriot.
I don’t feel particularly strong unity with the rest of the people of this country. I mean, yeah, we speak the same language and inhabit the same Northern wilderness and have similar traditions and so on, and I’m kinda pleased that we’re not governed by those guys over the gulf or especially by those in the East anymore. But that’s about it.
In fact, I find patriotism kind of dangerous and don’t generally condone atrocities committed in its name.
So why am I sitting here, crying about the Easter Rising of Ireland?
The history of Irish independence is a political anthill I don’t particularly want to poke a stick into (and I’m wary about tagging this because I don’t want a political debate in my hands), but for some reason something about that particular historical event has always had a strong pull on me. Ever since I was little, long before I knew what it was about, The Foggy Dew has made me cry. Bitter, heaving sobs sometimes.
In Dublin, I wanted to visit the GPO, and Kilmainham. I stood before the post office, wondering what it looked like nearly hundred years ago, before it was almost bombed and burned into ashes and then eventually rebuilt. Wondering where Pearse stood, declaring the independence, and how many stopped to listen, or guessed the significance of what was happening.
In Kilmainham Gaol I touched the limestone walls, a lump in my throat. Peeked into the cells where the rebel leaders spent their final days. Knelt down in the Stonebreakers’ Yard, next to the cross, my fingernails digging into my palms as I could almost see the blood on the sand.
In my home, I have a print copy of the Declaration of Independence framed.
No one understands it. I don’t understand it. But there it is. Sometimes it’s almost tangible, like a half-forgotten memory. Could it be? I don’t know. I don’t know.
But in any case, 98 years ago, on Easter Monday, a bunch of brave fools started something that can still inspire people (some, unfortunately, to deeds of mindless violence, but that’s a topic for another day). In Yeats’ words, a terrible beauty was born.
Here’s to you, brave fools.
Poulnabrone Dolmen, Ireland
Poulnabrone Dolmen (meaning “hole of the quern stones”) is a portal tomb in the Burren, County Clare, Ireland, dating back to the Neolithic period, probably between 4200 and 2900 BC.
The dolmen consists of a twelve-foot, thin, slab-like, tabular capstone supported by two slender portal stones, which support the capstone 1.8 m (6 ft) from the ground, creating a chamber in a 9 m (30 ft) low cairn. The cairn helped stabilize the tomb chamber, and would have been no higher during the Neolithic. The entrance faces north and is crossed by a low sill stone.
Why do people insist on photoshopping our grass purple?
It’s fucking green. It’s called the fucking Emerald Isle not the Amethyst Isle you bastards. I’ve seen so many photos of forests, riversides and landscapes that have had the grass photoshopped purple. You don’t need to make the land look like World of Warcraft for it to be beautiful, stop being cunts.
Sights of Ireland I: Newgrange
Newgrange is an enormous 5000 year old neolithic drystone passage grave. Inside (no photos allowed) is a chamber perfectly illuminated by light through the “window” above the entrance at sunrise on the winter solstice. There are three side chambers, where bodies and grave goods were discovered. A beautifully smoothed stone basin is in the center of one of the chambers. Many of the stones bear mysterious markings as do two large stones on the outside. This area is full of dozens of graves, most smaller, but two as large as Newgrange. The sense of history and spiritual continuity is almost overwhelming.
You cant beat a bit of newgrange.
The place older and more technologically advanced than the pyramids at giza. Its water tight and it doesnt fall below 10 degrees celcius even in winter, and thats more than 5 thousand years after it was built.
People see faces and plants, mythological sun chariots and maps of the sky in the art on Newgrange but its the only non representational art style in Europe until the 19th century. So without a rosetta stone we have no idea what any of it meant. People just see what they want to see.
Its one of 3 types of neolithic monuments representing the tribal centres of different stone age ethnic groups at the time. Passage Tombs, Court Cairns and Portal Tombs/Dolmens. It was a subsistance lifestyle back then where people focussed on surviving and leaving that aside to build a monument is huge.
The more complex a monument the more manpower involved and the more dominant the group.The manpower involved in building newgrange probably means that they had to get the other ethnicities to help them construct it. So they might have been the dominant tribal group.
We arent sure which monument in the boyne valley is bru na boinne but newgrange might have been mentioned in medieval lit/myth. The entrance had collapsed but the site still had cultural significance in Ireland 1000s of years on.
Hows that for a building job. My house will probably be pulled down shortly after Im dead.
Statues in Ireland of Goddesses and Heros from Irish Mythology.
We are literally surrounded by mythology in Ireland. When its not in the heritage sites from the stories we are raised on its statues of goddesses and heros legitimising our nation state and mourning our history of unnecessary conflict.
Ireland by florescent
Explosion at the Four Courts during the Irish Civil War which destroyed nearly one thousand years of irreplaceable archives in the Irish Public Record Office, Dublin, 1922.
Pádraig Pearse (via oaken-shield)
Five years ago now. I miss this.
Words! Mere Words!
No Other Troy, W.B. Yeats
The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland (by Maximilian Pilz)
I miss Ireland.
(April 2008 with missevilove)
Aran Island children on the way to school. The boys wore skirts due to a local belief that the Sidhe (people from the underworld) snatched male infants more often than females.
(Maybe I’ve read too much fiction with faeries, but I’m pretty sure the Sídhe don’t care about the silly fashion conventions of silly mortals and just abduct the ones who look prettiest.)
Grafton Street is one of my favourite places in Dublin.
It is being “upgraded”. The red brick paving is going to be replaced by horrible modern grey ones. All bollards and lamp posts etc are going to be replaced with modern ones.
It is going to take at least a year, and will cost about €4 million.
Fucking waste of time and it will ruin the whole vibe that is on Grafton Street and I hate everyone.
I’m in a really moany mood and I am probably going to just complain about the Irish government for the next while.
Oh no no no no NO. :(
W.B. Yeats, In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz (via mixtapes)
Here are some facts about the man behind everyone’s favorite corrupted feast day:
- He might have been two people
- One of those people was Welsh
- The other was possibly French (or, well, Gaulish)
- That one pretty much did jack on his mission
- There had been Christianity in Ireland before either French dude or Welsh dude due to contact with Britain and other semi-Christianized outposts of the Roman empire. Give credit where credit is due (not to him)
- He did not banish the snakes from Ireland, as there have never been snakes to banish
- He is also the patron saint of Nigeria
- The Welsh one’s surviving letters are quite interesting
- He mentions that early Christianity was very attractive to women (see also Itinerarium Egeriae, the Passio Sanctarum Perpetuae et Felicitatis, etc)
- He also mentions that he wanted to leave Ireland and go home.
- Or even to Gaul. Gaul would be acceptable.
- He would probably be really annoyed at all the debauchery going on in his name
- Really, really annoyed
- He’s a saint, did you expect another reaction