A Nation Once Again

A Nation Once Again

It is the first of March and of course, I am focusing on all things Irish.  Let’s start with the recent cover of the Economist, a British magazine with the most insightful and clever covers of any publication.

This month the cover is this:

As I look at it I am hearing in the background a song I belted out over the years in Irish bars with great enthusiasm…”A Nation Once Again.” 

A Nation Once Again

The Wolfe Tones

When boyhood’s fire was in my blood
I read of ancient freemen,
For Greece and Rome who bravely stood,
Three hundred men and three men;
And then I prayed I yet might see
Our fetters rent in twain,
And Ireland, long a province, be.
A Nation once again!

A Nation once again,
A Nation once again,
And lreland, long a province, be
A Nation once again!

And from that time, through wildest woe,
That hope has shone a far light,
Nor could love’s brightest summer glow
Outshine that solemn starlight;
It seemed to watch above my head
In forum, field and fane,
Its angel voice sang round my bed,
A Nation once again!

It whisper’d too, that freedom’s ark
And service high and holy,
Would be profaned by feelings dark
And passions vain or lowly;
For, Freedom…

The highlighted part is the chorus that those of us “feeling Irish” would belt out in solidarity with whoever was performing.  For us, on this side of the pond, it was easy and fun.  Yes we were Irish, of course we supported the cause. and the British should get out and stop oppressing our people-

But….. We were American Irish, never really there.  We were not experiencing the actual hardships of the catholic Irish in Ulster.  We were incensed by what our parents and grandparents told us.

Three of my four grandparents were born and raised in Ireland.  My mother was full of stories about the atrocities committed by the British against the Irish over the years.  The Irish would always be second class citizens at best for the English.  They had taken one of Ireland’s four provinces for their own, and Brits and protestants would always be the ruling class there, with advantages in jobs, education and housing.  The idea that Ireland’s four provinces would one day reunite was just that a dream. It was a subject for poetry and song lyrics and wistful reminiscing amongst the older and still hopeful.

The Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921 established the Irish Free State, which would later become the Republic of Ireland and the province of Ulster was also established in 1921 as a separate entity.  The seeds for the troubles, which would start some 40 years later had already been sown.

“A Nation Once Again” thundered out hopes that one day Ireland would regain its full identity and be re, dignity, and be united, one people… A Nation Once Again. So there it was on the cover on the Economist- as if this were something that could actually happen, not just some crazy dreamy image of reunification cooked up at the Dubliner or Ireland’s Four Provinces, local Irish bars.  No, this was the real deal!

I wish my mom could have seen that cover.  She remembered the actual partition.  To think that the Brits may have actually brought this on, after so many years of efforts to do so on the part of the Irish failed   Brexit may have done the job.

I remember when the Berlin wall came down.  I also remember how amazed I was to see a reunited Germany in my lifetime.  So, maybe there is just something within the spirit of a nation that eventually pulls people back together, regardless of what has gone under the bridge in the interim, a cultural reunification magnet.

So as we start the Irish month of March, the prospect of Ireland becoming a nation once again looms large .  Maybe this is what is at the end of the rainbow, beyond that pot of gold.

7 thoughts on “A Nation Once Again

  1. Colleen,
    So glad we are writing together again!! I love how you used a magazine cover and then song lyrics to hook me into your topic. Then you taught me lots of irish history which I understood so well because you built my background knowledge first with the visual and song lyrics. No wonder you are such a great EL teacher!!

    TIP: Be sure to copy and paste the current blog’s URL into the comment space on the TwoWritingTeachers. I could get here by clicking on your name. But it is best to have the URL so I get right to your post for the day.

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    1. Thanks for reminding me how to post. I went back and reposted with the link to practice. Also, thank you so much for bringing me into this writing community last year. I really enjoy it and I would not have been able to figure out the logistics of joining without your patient guidance.
      Always enjoy reading your posts as well. Thanks for always helping us celebrate together as well.
      C

      Like

  2. I love this paragraph: “I remember when the Berlin wall came down. I also remember how amazed I was to see a reunited Germany in my lifetime. So, maybe there is just something within the spirit of a nation that eventually pulls people back together, regardless of what has gone under the bridge in the interim, a cultural reunification magnet.” Love the idea of a nation wanting to be reunited. I also remember when the Berlin Wall came down. Such an interesting slice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my grandparents was from Northern Ireland, and two from the Republic. It is interesting that we don’t know how Scotland will handle Brexit either. I feel like we are living history with all of this. It would be amazing to see a united Ireland in our lifetime!

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