♪ A curse upon you Oliver Cromwell
You who raped our Motherland
I hope you’re rotting down in hell
For the horrors that you sent
To our misfortunate forefathers
Whom you robbed of their birthright
“To hell or Connaught” may you burn in hell tonight ♪
— “Young Ned of the Hill,” The Pogues
Your humble WPT host proudly wears his seventh-eighths Irish ancestry in his reddish hair, grey-blue eyes, pale and freckled skin, and nearly fatal love of uisce beatha. Despite, or because of, that, Uvular regularly thanks his great-greats for getting the Ifreann out of Erin during the late 1860s and early 1870s.*
Have you seen Ireland lately? Which is to ask, have you seen Ireland since the fissuring of Pangea?
To quote big, fat, talented Englishman G.K. Chesterton:
For the great Gaels of Ireland
Are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry,
And all their songs are sad.
And then you have someone other than the usually cited thin, talented Irishman W.B. Yeats observing, “Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”
Those observations actually came during the relative good, if hard, times between the peace brought by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 and the full-on outbreak of The Troubles following the imposition of Internment in August 1971. Calling a guerilla civil war mere “troubles” leaves little wonder why, in less settled times, Oliver Cromwell wanted to kill all the Irish or Jonathan Swift modestly proposed eating the Irish young.
The Vikings — the damn Norse Raiders — caught so much grief on the Western shores of the Irish Sea that they settled for an armed camp at Dublin and skipped over to Iceland and Greenland rather than try to quell the Gaels. Look across the millennia on the Emerald Isle and you see a nearly unbroken picture of a people who even with all their great writing, music, beer, and whiskey tend to go out of their way to make themselves difficult to bear.
Today, Brexit threatens the island with a militarized bifurcation unseen in a European nation since the walls came down on Cyprus in 2007.** A new batch of troubles brews over the failure to fully implement the Good Friday Agreement 19 years on. The Republic looks poised to come apart at the seams over a referendum to legalize abortion by repealing all or some of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which currently states, “ The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.”
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as you see fit, Politcados. Kiss a leprechaun that you get to do so a long, long way from Tipperary.***
Anyway, we’ve got our own grief here in Uvular’s less-than-good-increasingly-old You Ess of Ay. Did you see what they did Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe last night? Who treats an Irish-American that way on St. Patrick’s Day Eve?
*To read the rest of this header in Gaelic, learn Gaelic and do the translation yourself.
**This almost became a Vienna 1947/The Third Man reference, but the WPT can go obscurer.
***No offense to anyone now living in Ireland.