Irish pre-history is a pain. Because Celtic culture was non-literary, it wasn’t until the arrival of Christianity that Irish myths and legendary history were written down.
As a result, a lot of the myths were Christianised. St Patrick crops up a bit, meeting legendary figures like Oisín.
One myth that has really suffered is that of the Milesians, the last group to “invade” Ireland and establish Irish culture according to the Lebor Gabála (Book of Conquests). It’s loaded with medieval history and links to Spain, Egypt, the Holy Land and has been discounted as being entirely created by monks.
Continue reading “Reinterpreting the Milesians in Irish pre-history”
I’ve been researching my family for a few years with a view to writing their story. My mother’s family were the Bolands – major figures in the Irish revolutionary movements pre-independence and government ministers in the decades afterwards.
I’m trying to go back over four generations. The more recent generations – Kevin Boland and his father Gerald and uncles Harry and Ned and aunt Kathleen – are fairly straightforward. Much has been written about their lives, including by themselves. And there’s no shortage of information about 1916.
Continue reading “19th century Irish history – help needed”
After yesterday’s popular blog about Irish slavery, I wanted to write a short one about another issue with Liam Hogan’s work.
Another thread of his work is researching Irish slaveholders. Where he’s traced information those who left Ireland and “became white” and bought into the slave owning population, that’s all well and good.
Continue reading “Slaveholders in Ireland”
The debate about Israel is one of the most stark and heated, if not violent, in modern politics. The rights of Palestinians to life and self-determination are set against the right of the state Israel to defend itself and its population. Israel is touted as the only liberal democracy in a Middle East full of dictators and absolute monarchies, justifying anything the state chooses to impose on its stateless neighbours.
Continue reading “The Cromwellian logic of the Israel debate”
Right-wingers seem to have gotten a bee in their bonnet about development funding to parts of India by the British government. Incredibly hypocritically, they point to cuts being made in the UK to argue that we shouldn’t be wasting money on an increasingly rich country.
Continue reading “Aid to India – the historical perspective”