Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Bit of Ancient Greece in Auld Dublin

On my daily trips to Dublin, which takes around two hours from Belfast. I like to avail of the time provided to read. My most reason book Full Circle: How the Classical World Came Back to Us This book opened my eyes to how familiar our lives are in relation to the ancient Romans and Greeks. Furthermore, how over the past 1500 years society has come full circle in the way we conduct ourselves in politics religion, and sexual morality. Even down to our thought processes. I was quite surprised to read that the first revival of the concept of spa and health center on the British Isles, was developed by an Anglo-Irishman in the 1820s. Dr Richard Barter of Cooldaniel Co. Cork, he opened the spa at St Anne's Hills, outside Blarney.

If you are visiting Dublin and are looking for a little bit of Greece? I recommend you visit our National Gallery admission is free and the collection holds many reverences to ancient Greek-art and philosophy. Much of Dublin's Goragian architecture is influenced by the ancient world. A short walk from the gallery is St Stephens Church. It is only one of many principle examples of the Greek revival in Dublin architecture. The church is better known to Dubliners as the pepper-canister, due to John Bowden's architectural influences. Mainly taken from the Erechtheion (temple of the four winds) Athens, and the chorogic monument of Lysicates. Apart form being a place of worship, St Stephan's plays host to classical music events through out the year. Which ties in nicely with the monument lysicrates, as it was dedicated to the arts. There is also the Georgian House museum which is situated on the same street (Mount St Up) The museum provides the visitor with a full picture of the whole social development of Georgian Dublin, from architecture to politics.

I have many cultural links on my website i.e Georgian Society, Trinity College Dublin, so if you are looking for heritage links visit Dublin Loyal Tours. I have also copied the words of Pericles speech, I'm of the opinion that every politician on the Island of Ireland should have this speech framed and placed in their office.

Pericles Speech On A Democratic Society

"Our political system dose not compete with institutions which are
elsewhere in force. We do not copy our neighbors, but try to be an example. Our administration favors the many instead of the few: this is way it is called democracy. The laws afford equal justice to all alike in their private disputes, but we do not ignore claim of excellence. When a citizen distinguishes himself, then he will be called to serve the State, in preference to others, not as a matter of privilege, but a reward of merit: and poverty is no bar... The freedom we enjoy extends also to ordinary life; we are not suspicius of one another, and do not nag our naighbours if he chooses to go his own way... But this freedom does not make us lawless, We are taught to respect the magistrates and the laws, and never to forget we must protect the injured. And we are also taught to observe the unwritten laws whose sanction lies only in the universal feeling of what is right.

Our city is throen open to the world; we never expel a foreigner... We are free to live exactly as we please, and yet we are always ready to face any danger... We love beauty without indulging in fancies, and although we try to improve our intellect, this does not weaken our will... To admit one's poverty is no disgrace with us; but we consider it an disgraceful not to make an effort to avoid it. An Athenians citizen does not neglect public affairs when attending to his private business... We consider a man who takes no interest in State not as harmless, but as useless; and although only a few may originate a policy; we are all able to judge it. We do not look upon discussion as a stumbling-block in the way of political action, but as an indispensable preliminary to acting wisely... We believe that happiness is the fruit of freedom and freedom that of valour, and we do not shrink from danger of war... To sum up. I claim that Athens is the school of Hellas, and that the individual Athenian" grows up to develop a happy reversibility, a readiness for emergencies, and self reliance. Pericles of Athens and the Birth of Democracy

Chris Thackaberry: Irish historian and Failte Ireland & Dublin Tourism approved tour guide. For information on Irish history and guided tours visit

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Patrick Pearse & The Birth of Irish Fascism

When we look at the life of Patrick Pearse we focus on defining the man as the Irish teacher, barrister, poet, or writer, and the man who claimed nationhood. But few Irish historians will even touch upon Pearse as the Roman Catholic nationalist zealot. Or ask the question 'was 1916 rebellion the birth of Irish fascism'? The title of Ruth Dudley Edwards Book "Patrick Pearse: The Triumph of Failure " aptly describes the life and dead of Pearse, and the republicanism which he and his fellow rebel leaders advocated in 1916.

Born into a lower middle class family Pearse was influenced by the Gaelic revival of the 1890's and very much a by-product of Celtic Nationalism which emanated from that revival. A resumption that defined Irishness on cultural and religious grounds; to be thoroughly Irish, one had to be thoroughly Roman Catholic and nationalist. There was no room for democracy, bearing in mind that in 1916 Ireland had a fully functional democracy. Nor was there room for diversity of national identity in Pearse's republic. As an "idealist psychopath" Pearse armed his generation to murder, mostly unarmed citizens and children, and by doing so he set in train the legacy of republican violence for political ends.

Pearse the fascist educator: his pupils were to, [P. Pearse] "work-hard for their fatherland and if it should ever be necessary, die for it". Thirty pupils and four teachers of St Enda's school would follow their commandant general of the army of the Irish republic and president of the self-appointed provisional government into the GPO in 1916. These young boys where ahead of their time when it came to their education, for St Enda's school held an educational ethos; like what was witnessed in fascist Europe in the 1930s, with an educational focus on physical fitness, mythology, drama, pageantry, and above all militarism.

These young minds where well brain washed. [P. Pearse] "we may make mistakes in the beginning and shoot the wrong people(...) a nation that views blood in horror has lost its manhood. Pearse's ideology thought young people to rely on the gun and to disregard everything else. But his ideology went further in 1922, by providing a template for creating the mono-cultural Irish State, based on work, religion, motherland. The blood cult of physical force republicanism, and the necessity for blood sacrifice would poison many young Irish minds, and pave a murderous path with the lives of the innocent. The legacy of Pearse's intent, is best summed up by one of his own, nationalist writer O'Hegaty who outlines in his book, Victory of Sian Fein (1924) "transforming it (Ireland) into a physical slaughter house' characterized by contempt for life, for decency, for charity and tolerance." It is interesting to note that O'Hegaty is writing form the point of the citizen and society, rather than the propaganda view of 1916 and the war of independence, which focuses on the patriot martyrs, flying columns, and great prison escapes.

The cult of 1916: as we approach the centenary of the 1916 Rebellion we will find ourselves a-wash with books and social events commemorating the whole bloody saca of the week long rebellion. View historians will highlight nor question the fundamental heresy against a democratic society; 'the use of violence to achieve a political goal'. In buff-ed up reverence to Pearse and the leaders of 1916 rebellion, W.B, Yeats is often quoted "a terrible beauty is born " You will never hear his words from Yeats's 1926 Senate speech; on the passing of the Censorship Bill, Divorce bill, Contraception bill. For Ireland now resembles [W.B, Yeats]"medieval Spain". W.B. Yeats Seanad Eireann Speeches 1922-28

The 1916 rebellion failed, furthermore the ideology of Peares was a failure. For Ulster is firmly set within the united kingdom. The economic and political future of the Irish Republic rests at the center of the European Union. So let 1916 be just a plip in the Nations history. Let not our nation be defined by it, let it be just a tourist attraction. Where you can take a 1916 walking tour and hear the stories of flying columns and great prison escapes, or a visit to kilmainham Jail where you can see the miraculous Republican wounds which will never heal. "if we have not lost our stamina then your victory will be brief, and your defeat final, and when it comes this Nation maybe transformed" beautiful words from senator Yeats in 1926, and in 2012 Ireland has "changed, changed utterly".

Chris Thackaberry Irish historian and Failte Ireland approved tour guide. If you are looking to research Irish history then visit our website we have many informative cultural links to heritage agencies ie National Library of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Making Orange culture a Public History

There are two types of historian, the analytical historian who’s narrative is kept within professional circle; and the lecture room. Then there is public history, which works towards making history accessible to everyone and through every from of media. The challenge that’s facing not just the Orange Order, but the whole orange family i.e. Apprentice Boys of Londonderry, Ulster Scots. Is to make their history, relative, engaging, public, and most important; part of Irish Identity through the tourism industry. This will be no easy task making orange history a public one. With 7.5 million visitors through Dublin this year alone, there is not one tour office or coach-tour provider in the City, that has the Battle of the Boyne heritage site nor Ulster American Folk park on their daily itinerary. This is one reason why was established, to challenge, engage and above all make orange and British heritage on the Island of Ireland a public history; through our Dublin historical walking tours and our website. Many of our politicians have taken a lead in debating the issues around Irish identity. At the MacGill Summer School (2010) the former P.D leader and Minster for justice, Mr Michael MacDowell, said.“That if we were genuine republicans and if the orange panel in the flag meant anything, then we had to consider building an inclusive society (…) the civil and political liberties which were at the forefront of their mind at that time are values that we hold” Is it desirable then, for the members of the Orange Order in the Republic to hold a 12th of July parade in their capital City? If so, what orange heritage is there in the Dublin?

The philanthropist Dr Barnardo was a prominent Dublin Orangeman. The old halls are still there, Upp Rathmines Rd, York Road, Golden Ball Co. Dublin, Graystones, Bray, Ballsbridge and Fairview Strand. I could fill this column with locations. The social history behind these buildings is not a forgotten one, but a silent one tied up in families and parish communities. The last ladies lodge to meet in the City, suspended its meeting in 1978, many of the women lived in East Wall area and worked for B&I ferries. 1912 there was just under 2000 orange members in Dublin city and county, Grand Lodge was situated in Fowler Hall (10 Pernell Sq.)

By 1983 all remaining lodges were amalgamated into (Dublin & Wicklow lol 1313) 2013 will see the re-issuing of Trinity College’s old warrant (Trinity lol 1592) which closed in 1965, its members used a pub in Pearse Street to hold their meeting in. However the most important orange legacy is to be found outside the Orange Institution. The Oireachtas law reform commission report 2007 highlighted the importance of the 1688 Bill of rights, “as the corner-stone of our legal system“. Our Georgian architecture and old parliament buildings are a direct result of a stable constitution that came with William III; imperfect as it was, many of its democratic principle we use today.

In 2011 the state played host to Africa Day, Gay Pride Festival along with the festival of Would Cultures, All of these events where supported by a healthy commercial mix of private enterprise, and public bodies. A twelfth parade in the Capital City should not be a sweetener or the means to the end, of some political end game. It should be a tourist driven event, organised by orange men and women whom the Irish Republic is their home. If its to be a success, then they will have to bring the business community on board, by attracting sponsorship, in addition to receiving support from state bodies. Only then would an Orange parade be attainable for the capital City of the Irish Republic.

This article was crafted by historian and Dublin Loyal Tour guide Chris Thackaberry and was published in the Dublin Informer newspaper Outside the Glow: Protestants and Irishness in Independent Ireland " category="books">Time Line of history For informative tourist information on Orange, British heritage on the Island of Ireland visit our website