Do The Scottish And Irish Share A Common Culture?
The implication that the Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh have a . “It would be wonderful if it improved relations, but I somehow think it won't. It is always a pleasure to be back in Scotland again and I am delighted to speak at Edinburgh's Festival of Ireland. Eyes will be firmly focused on Scotland's frontier to the south, not on the damp and misty west, and telling the story of Scotland's relationship with Ireland in the.
On a clear day it is possible to see across the channel between Scotland and Ireland. September 18 was misty but even so it is easy to imagine figures on either side looking out and recalling that as well as being the day of the Scottish referendum it was also the centenary of the Irish Home Rule law that was immediately suspended because of the First World War.
Had it been implemented, John Redmond would likely have become the head of an Irish Government in Dublin, the Easter Uprising might not have occurred, and nor perhaps the Irish Civil War. Redmond had persuaded the English Prime Minister Herbert Asquith of the case for home rule just as Salmond had persuaded David Cameron of the legitimacy of an independence referendum.
To the Irish of the present day the possibility available to the Scots of self-determined independence seemed a ripe fruit waiting to be picked which were it not might then rot away. II First, the experience of the two countries and their relationship to England is only superficially similar.
Scotland was never a colony, nor was it subject to lengthy English conquest. The Kingdom of Scotland came into being in the tenth century with the Scottish Parliament existing from the early thirteenth. An English invasion in led to the Wars of Scottish Independence, and in at the Abbey of Arbroath the Scots declared their sovereignty and called upon the Pope to acknowledge it, which he John XXII did, followed by European principalities and kingdoms.
In the next century the universities of St. Andrews, Glasgow, and Aberdeen were created adding a system of higher education to a separate legal system. In the period between the two World Wars, a Scottish Home rule movement was established and in the Scottish National Party was born, but it was only in the last thirty years that the appetite for political autonomy grew to the point where a devolved Parliament was created in and met for the first time the following year.
The drafters of the voting system for its election tried to ensure that no party would ever have an overall majority, though it was assumed that unionist parties would be dominant. It was a shock, therefore, when the SNP secured a clear overall majority in the Scottish general election, and it was not long before it agreed with London on a determinative referendum on the issue of complete independence.
A further aspect of Irish interest was due to the large scale immigration from there to Scotland that began in the eighteenth century and has continued intermittently even to the present. With the near destruction of the Catholic Faith in the centuries following the Reformation the subsequent growth of the Scottish Church in the nineteenth and twentieth was due largely to immigrants, those from Italy, Poland and Lithuania supplementing the Irish population.
Given this variation in party fortunes, a particularly bad argument in the recent referendum campaign was that if you wanted to avoid Conservative government you should vote for independence.
In the period before they came to power, no-one predicted the Westminster electoral triumphs of Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair, or the Nationalist ones in the election for the Edinburgh parliament, and likewise no-one can say where Scottish politics might be in a decade or two.
Anti-Irish hatred has no place in modern Scotland
First, there was a real doubt as to how an independent Scotland would stand. When I arrived in Scotland, it occurred to me that although I had studied Irish history for most of my life, Scotland had never been a particular interest of mine. At that time, I had spent decades reading, writing and thinking about Anglo-Irish relations but rarely giving any thought to Scotland. I have learnt my lesson. I now refer to British-Irish relations and of course am very conscious also of an important Scottish-Irish dimension.
This neglect of Scotland was perhaps inevitable.
After all, 19th century Irish history in which I had specialised was dominated by efforts to undo the Act of Union in which the scene of the action was in Ireland or at the Westminster Parliament where Daniel O'Connell campaigned for the repeal of the Act of Union during the s and Parnell and his allies pressed for Home Rule during the s. There was not much scope for Scotland to make its appearance in the Irish story with its broadly nationalist narrative.
Until recent decades, Scottish history was in a very different groove. In order to see how Scotland has fared in Irish historiography, I had a look at two major works on Ireland's history, looking at their references to Scotland.
Thomas Bartlett's single volume history of Ireland published in contains a number of references to Scotland, which is perhaps to be expected because when the book was published Bartlett was a Professor at the University of Aberdeen. Bartlett covers the monastic connection epitomised by St. This resulted in a Scottish army of 10, men under the command of Major-General Robert Munro being deployed in Ireland during the s.
This era of upheaval, which included Cromwell's campaigns in Ireland and Scotland, did not come to an end until the s, by which time the Scottish presence in Ulster was well established.
Irish-Scots - Wikipedia
In Bartlett's account, Scotland disappears from Irish history from the 18th century onwards although he does pick up an unusual vignette from the years of the Second World War when Ireland's Department of Agriculture astonishingly 'undertook to interview Irish girls in Dublin to ascertain their suitability for agricultural work in Scotland'.
There must be many in today's Scotland who can trace their roots to those who passed through that particular interview process. FSL Lyons's classic modern history, Ireland since the Famine, published in also contains some references to Scotland. These include the impact of two Scottish brothers, William and John Ritchie who were instrumental in establishing the shipbuilding industry in Belfast.
He refers to the phenomenon of post-Famine emigration and the establishment of Irish communities in Scotland where, he maintains, a virulent anti-British sentiment developed.
Those Irish emigrants were not always made welcome in the very different Scotland that existed in those days. One of its leading lights, James Henderson, looked to stir up religious feeling in Scotland so as to aid Ulster unionists in their struggle against Home Rule.
These are all essentially passing references and my conclusion would be that, at least in the period covered by Lyons's book, Scotland was a marginal factor in Irish history There is another way of gauging our historical links - through the Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Of the 10, or so names that feature in the Dictionary, were born in Scotland. They are a diverse crew - soldiers, academics, writers, clergymen, engineers businessmen and sports figures.
Some are famous like leader, James Connolly, but others are largely forgotten today. Here are some examples. John Arnott was born in Auchtermuchty in and moved to Ireland in the s. By the time he died in he had become one of Ireland's leading businessmen and philanthropists, owner of a chain of Department stores one of which is still trading today, Arnotts of Henry Street, Dublin. George Clarke who came from Paisley became a leading Ulster unionist and shipbuilder whose business career illustrated the importance of the Liverpool-Glasgow-Belfast triangle 'in the industrial growth of late Victorian Belfast' which had 'political as well as economic implications' as the economic development of the northeastern counties created an urban business and working class community with a vested interest in the Union.
A final example is John Jameson who moved from Clackmannanshire to Ireland in and in the process learned how to spell whiskey correctly! His name is being immortalised to this day on countless millions of Irish whiskey bottles sold all over the world. There are also some interesting entries on those Irish who ended their lives in Scotland, a number of early medieval monks, Kenneth McAlpin, the first King of the Picts and Scots, the Glasgow Celtic footballer, Patsy Gallagher, who began his life in a workhouse in County Donegal, and someone I got to know when I was posted in Scotland, the rugby international Des O'Brien who won the Grand Slam with Ireland in and went on to manage the Lions on their four-month tour of Australia and New Zealand in !
Des was a fine man who spent 45 years of his life in Scotland and was an active sportsman into his 80s.
Anti-Irish hatred has no place in modern Scotland | Kevin McKenna | Opinion | The Guardian
There were, I would say, two connected reasons behind this decision. First, the Good Friday Agreement altered the relationship between Britain and Ireland as co-guarantors of the agreement. Even without the incentive of the Good Friday Agreement, I believe we would have wanted to respond to the changed status of Scotland as a devolved entity with a sharper more distinctive political profile. The BIC has taken on an enhanced relevance in light of last year's referendum result as a framework within which the various political entities on these islands can discuss matters of mutual interest.
The 20 years since have seen Irish-Scottish relations enter into a whole new and entirely positive era. The success of the NI peace process has removed a complicating factor from our relations. In the wake of the Good Friday Agreement, the Irish Government took seriously the East-West strand to that agreement and thus decided to establish consulates in Edinburgh and Cardiff.
The advent of devolution and the emergence of a Scottish Government has provided a focal point for political relations. It means that since Irish Ministers and politicians have had Scottish counterparts with whom they could deal.
Scottish politicians started to attend meetings of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly and Ministerial-level meetings of the BIC, thus getting to know their fellow Ministers from Ireland. Since the opening of our Consulate, Scotland has become an established part of the St.
Patrick's Day circuit for Irish Ministers who travel the world promoting Ireland. Ministerial visits in both directions are now a regular feature and First Minister Sturgeon was warmly welcomed in Dublin last year when she was invited to address our Seanad, a rare honour for visiting politicians. Irish people took a keen interest in your referendum inwhich received substantial coverage in the Irish media.
This reflects an enhanced awareness of Scotland and of its relevance to Ireland. We have come to know Scotland, and the Irish community here, better in recent times. This is part of a growing Irish engagement with our global diaspora. We now have a dedicated diaspora Minister and an agreed government policy on the subject. As part of this process of engagement, we have become more conscious of the global spread of Irish emigrants and their descendants, and the diversity of their experience.England and Scotland relationship - Countryballs
We know that the Irish came to Scotland in large numbers in the decades after the Famine and that things were not always easy for them. Their presence in every walk of Scottish life gives us a special connection with this country.
Another link that I was very conscious of during my time here is the link between our Gaeltacht and the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland, fostered through the Columba Initiative. There you can feel the age old cultural connections between our two countries.
We occupy a shared cultural space with both countries exhibiting a beguiling blend of Celtic and contemporary cultural strands. Fittingly, Ireland will be the partner country for next year's 25th Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.
Our economic links have also matured greatly in recent years with significant flows of trade, investment and tourism between us. There is obvious potential for further export growth in both directions. The setting up of a Scottish Innovation Hub in Dublin last year is an important development.
Here in Scotland, an Irish Business Network Scotland was established last year, pointing to the presence here of a significant business community dedicated to developing economic links between us.