The most interesting place in the world.
When I write about Irish affairs for U.S. readers I generally begin by apologizing for having brought to their attention a tiny country that seems to be of no real consequence to the great affairs of the world. This time I am going to depart from that formula. I am, in fact, going to begin... Read More
They are Europeans now.
There were big demonstrations in Northern Ireland on Tuesday. Around two thousand people, from both the South and the North of the divided island, converged on the fine old 18th-century manor house, rather misleadingly called a "castle," at Hillsborough in County Down. Ten miles away in Belfast city center, several hundred more took part in... Read More
That would be the folk of the Middle East
We all know, and have known since 9/11, that our country faces a threat. What kind of threat is it, though, that has brought us this War on Terror? I doubt there are many of us who think that it is the kind of threat that Britain faced from Hitler, or the Roman Republic from... Read More
Two cheers for the Celtic Tiger.
Ireland is midway between two elections. March 7 saw an election for the new Northern Ireland Assembly in the six counties under British rule. In the Republic of Ireland — the southern twenty-six counties, self-governing since 1922 — there is a constitutional requirement for an election this spring. The precise date will be announced by... Read More
“Give the spivs your taxpayers’ money or we’ll bring down your banking system.”
An American took his phlegmatic English friend to see the Niagara Falls. “Isn’t that amazing?” said the enthusiastic American. “Look at that vast mass of water dashing over that enormous cliff!” “But what,” replied the unimpressed Englishman, after viewing the sight for some moments, “is to stop it?” I owe the story to my father,... Read More
Gerry Adams helps police with their inquiries.
One summer’s day 32 years ago, during a spell of employment at the U.K. offices of Marathon Oil Corp. in London’s Marylebone Road, I was taking lunch at a nondescript greasy spoon near those offices when from the near distance there came an almighty THUD. Startled, I looked across at the proprietor of the place,... Read More
A dangerous lack of understanding about the nature of the threat that Brexit poses to peace in Northern Ireland is based on a misconception about the causes of the 30-year-long Troubles that ended with the Good Friday Agreement. The conflict was never primarily about the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, but about the... Read More
On 8 May 1987 a Provisional IRA unit of eight men attacked a police station in the village of Loughgall in county Armagh 15 miles from the Irish border. One man drove a digger with a bomb in its bucket towards the building, half of which was destroyed in the explosion. But British forces had... Read More
Ireland and Radical Jewish Activism
Prelude Tairdelbach of Munster (Turlough O’Brien 1009–86), who was, by 1079, effectively the High King of Ireland, probably holds the world record for the fastest expulsion of Jews. He dominated the Irish political scene, had crushed the Viking leadership of Dublin, and possessed “the standard of the King of the Saxons.” His son had even... Read More
“People wanted to kick the government and Sinn Fein provided the shoe to do the kicking,” says Christy Parker, a journalist from the beautiful but de-industrialised town of Youghal in county Cork. He speaks of the “chasm” between the elite benefiting from Ireland’s impressive economic progress and the large part of the population that has... Read More