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

Port Alberni city council to ‘stay on course’ for five-year budget plan

Next budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m

Alberni businesses nominated for Island excellence

Coulson Ice Blast, Port Posh Wash, the Blue Marlin Inn and Totem… Continue reading

BCHL: Speedy left winger commits to Bulldogs

Forward Ethan Jang will be suiting up for the 2018-19 season

Rollin Art Centre open now

Make sure to renew your Community Arts Council membership

BCHL: Bulldogs take the ice after trade deadline

Alberni team picked up one loss, one win with new roster

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

Renowned Comox Valley sasquatch researcher passes away

A renowned biologist and leading Canadian sasquatch researcher who called the Comox… Continue reading

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Most Read