It’s the centennial for the Irish Republic’s genesis. Today, the place is the envy of the EU (the Economic Celtic Tiger is one nickname) given how past English policies prevented the land from being devastated by the Industrial Revolution; other than losing its good trees to the British Navy. I’ve been told if you tour the land, you won’t see a rust belt littering the countryside like my home turf, the Midwest…thanks job-stealing, anti-union, dipshit Southerners who then lost out to China.
The population finally hit five million residents over the last couple years too, something Ireland hasn’t been at since the Famine (1830-40s), which led to the Irish Diaspora.
Much like the numerous places the English occupied for decades, in order to steal its resources and set its people against each other, Ireland was off to a rough start when independence happened. Independence is a generous term given how the English had trouble doing things without strings attached. It all began with the armed Irish uprisings in the waning days of WWI, aka the 1916 Easter Rising and I think the foundation of U2’s preachy song “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” I need to find a good book/account about the conflict which raged from 1919-22. I do recall in History classes that the German/Central Powers tried to smuggle guns into Ireland to create a problem in England’s “backyard.” Personally, I don’t find a problem with this. WWI wasn’t an ideological war as WWII was. WWI was a moronic conflict akin to a bunch of empires acting in the same manner as two drunk assholes in New Orleans picking a fight over something as equally stupid as them. Wilson was also full of shit on dragging America into this, to “make the world safe for democracy” my ass. A more accurate slogan would’ve been “make the world safer for WASP-based corporations, WASP-run republics and predatory Kapitalism by purging rightfully elected Socialists/Leftists at home.” It doesn’t excuse Germany’s subs sinking US vessels running supplies to their enemies. We should’ve just stayed out or told the greedy Americans trying to profit from the conflict, you can’t sail the American flag on your ship and you’re on your own.
Anyway, I’m pretty sure the non-Irish majority of the UK was exhausted with war, forcing the UK Parliament to set up a treaty giving Ireland its autonomy. Given how the UK is mostly run by pompous Englishmen (cough…Churchill), the deal they offered sucked. The six counties in the north(east) would remain with the UK because their majorities were Protestant; these people were mainly descendants of colonists placed there since Elizabeth I and later to “pacify” the Irish Catholics. I don’t blame the residents of Ulster though. Whenever a colonial power withdraws, old scores get settled due to the favoritism the former ruler used to dole out, often to minorities (see Uganda, Libya and Vietnam). As expected, the spineless Irish Centrists (today they’re the Fine Gael who still suck, they’re about on par with Amerika’s inept NeoLiberals) took the UK’s offer, causing a split and about a year of fighting. The other side said “no way, it’s all or nothing.” We know how it played out, the Fine Gael-backed team won courtesy of military aid from the UK. I wouldn’t be shocked if Wilson and Harding pitched in. The opposition to FG split again into the Fianna Fáil (their Conservatives today) and Sinn Féin (usually the political arm of the IRA in both lands).
Grudges remained but 100 years later, Ireland has transformed into a more secular place as it has gradually broken the Catholic Church’s grip its the culture and government; being a tax haven helps. Divorce, gay marriage and abortion (up to 12 weeks or if the mother’s life is jeopardized) are legal; they beat Amerika on two out of three. Even the politically radioactive Sinn Féin has a larger presence in their parliament (Oireachtas). One positive legacy of Slick Willie would be the Easter Accords to make this possible. These changes have also made Ulster’s concerns to join the Republic a non-issue now. With Brexit, it’s possible the entire land of Ireland may be restored.
For now, let’s reflect and be grateful the open killing came to end today. The Irish have come together and successfully governed themselves for a century despite having “no experience” at democracy as the pedantic UK prime minister David Lloyd George claimed.