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Session 10

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1. "But let's remember one thing: Peace was not imposed on the Irish. The Good Friday Agreement was not an Imperial document. It was, in fact, an assertion of Irish autonomy. Nationalist and Unionist, Republican and Loyalist - all sides were active partners in the agreement. They were not simply vessels of American or British diplomacy." Discuss.

2. Every nation has its own cherished national mythology, the English no less than the Irish.
'Instead, O’Donnabhain theorizes that the idea that the Irish are descendants of the Celts was created by the English to justify the invasion and colonization of Ireland, by attempting to differentiate between the English, who considered themselves “Anglo-Saxon” and the Irish who were “Celtic.” “The way in which people write about history and archaeology can often tell you more about the writers themselves … than it does about any kind of objective reality,” explained O’Donnabhain. He said that the “Germanic” English would try to portray the “Celtic” Irish as childlike and incapable of self-government. O’Donnabhain said the English belief of the time was that, “The ‘Germanic’ steadfastness of the English gave them the ability to rule, the ‘child-like’ idiosyncrasies of the ‘Celts’ made them good at poetry and music, but not much good at anything else, so it justified and legitimized the relationship between the two groups.”
However, O’Donnabhain said the idea of the Celts was embraced by the Irish people, and has provided a source of unity for the nation. “Irish nationalism was to lay claim to those concepts and to use them to justify the cause of Irish separatism,” O’Donnabhain said. Therefore, he contends, it has been hard to erase the idea of a Celtic past for the Irish, since it has helped create an Irish identity that was separate from the English.'
What do you think?

Copyright ©2008 Aidan Breen, Ph.D.