Irish gave more than Guinness

Alberni writer wants readers to consider the legacies of Ireland and its contribution to civilization, which wasn't just Guinness, he says.

To the editor,

As we move towards the eve of St. Patrick’s Day  it would not be amiss to consider the legacies of Ireland and its contribution to civilization.

To many in North America, the Irish are portrayed as a “fighting” race.  This perception is well short of being accurate.

For millennia the Irish have cherished freedom.  In ancient Rome Agricola, their famous general, advised his emperor to “war down and take possession of Ireland so that freedom might be put out of sight”.

Rome did not move, but almost a thousand years later the English did, and in 1147 c.e. they laid down their heavy hand, the weight of which is still felt.

Generally speaking, it is not in the Irish fibre to back away in the face of adversity, but it must also be said that Ireland, as a nation, has never, in recorded history, attacked another nation.

The Irish have held “law” in great reverence;  words like hungerstrike, lynchlaw, and boycott are in common usage throughout the world, but they do not reflect the purity of practice they once held.

Hungerstrike.  The process known as truscead  (fasting upon him) allowed a plaintiff to set his mat at the door to the house of a defendant and remain there fasting until the complaint was settled.

Boycott.  The 1800’s in Ireland spawned many movements that strove to lift the oppressive hand of British Rule.

One such movement was the Land League, which used as its modus operandi the act of boycott.   Captain Boycott was a former British Army officer who acted as Land Agent for absentee landlords.

The modern ‘travelling people’ are descendents of those dispossessed farmers.

In modern times, the acts of hungerstrike and boycott have been trifled with, and their values debased.

And so,  as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, it would be well to remember that Ireland has contributed something more than Shamrocks an Guinness.

Pat O’Connell,

Port Alberni

Just Posted

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Uchucklesaht Tribe purchases former Redford School

Property will be a “multi-use building” similar to The Thunderbird

Merry Makers create new craft fair for Port Alberni

Hansen Hall fair begins as Work of Heart organizers retire

Port Alberni highland dancers invited to North American competition

Kali Nahorney received honourable mention medals in two categories

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Most Read