Download PDF by Patricia Levy: CultureShock! Ireland

By Patricia Levy

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The Gaelic Revival’s program of cultural reawakening took on political overtones. It became the beginning of a claim for complete independence in a country that no one had really regarded as a separate culture from Britain for years. The argument went that where there was a separate culture and language then, by rights, a separate nation should exist. Political groups allied themselves with the aims and aspirations of the Gaelic Revival and a new and far stronger nationalist movement developed to challenge their non-Celtic rulers.

Catholic crowds stormed police riot vans in rescue attempts on their Protestant fellow demonstrators. When the police opened fire in the Catholic Falls Road, Protestants from the Shankill Road went to their support. The riots claimed several lives, united the working population in a way that nothing has since and forced the administrators of the Poor Law to extend relief to the hungry. But the Depression continued and by 1938, almost 30 per cent of the workforce was out of work and this in a time when women did not qualify as unemployed.

The Land War. Gladstone re-elected prime minister in England. Ulster Unionists, now an organised and coherent group, prepared to fight to stay in the Union. Home Rule Bill thrown out by House of Lords. Home Rule for Ireland bill passed. Suspended by the outbreak of war in 1914 before it could be implemented. The Easter Rising Republican parliamentarians elected to the British Parliament but they refused to go, forming instead the Irish Parliament and declaring Irish Independence. Anglo Irish War.

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