We Could Be Heroes

Pictured: Craig Pearse?

Pictured: Craig Pearse?

As our readers will no doubt know by this stage, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

Many honourable people gave their lives so that Irish men and women could lead lives of dignity and value ruled only by the edicts of freedom and self-determination.

In this column, your friend and humble narrator, will attempt to gauge just what the likes of Connolly, Pearse and Ceannt would make of the modern day Ireland that they fought so hard to forge.

Well, we might as well start off with the positives. Modern day Ireland does not have the same problems regarding tuberculosis and bronchitis that it once had (although we seem to be making great strides in increasing the instances of heart disease among the masses). And also, due to the fact that we have access to such exotic substances as Oil of Olay and Old Spice, one can surmise that the general public possesses an aroma slightly less on the fetid side. But that’s enough with the pleasantries.

Everyone knows the sequel. Ireland has subsequently been run by a succession of inept governments the likes of which your average banana republic would refuse to touch with a ten-foot clown pole.

Every ‘hardcore gaeilgeoir’ who throws his weight about the place demanding that we should all learn a “cupla focal” very often doesn’t even know what the word “amadán” means. Not to mention the fact that Irish men and women of yesteryear were certainly not afraid of asserting their rights as a free people, whereas their contemporaries seem to think that organising protests against water charges counts as a “revolution”.

Where did it all go wrong? There was a time when we once had rebel songs as a catharsis to our common suffering and these days we humble Hibernians have to be subjected to a common suffering at the hands of Jedward, a two-headed monster that constitutes the biggest waste of carbon known to man. Roger Casement died for THIS?

And at this point we have to come to the pertinent topic of Arthur’s Day. One was bad enough. But the fact that the denizens of this democratic republic had to milk this one-off event to the point of parody should remain embedded in our memory banks until the day we embrace the grave itself.

It’s all well and good to go out and get intoxicated and turn the streets of Dublin into the type of violent bloodbath that would make an ancient Mongol army blush (sure that’s what we have Paddy’s Day for), but when the Proclamation speaks of Ireland summoning “her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom” something tells me that this was not the sort of freedom that our provisional signatories had in mind!

So, would our forefathers be proud of the way their beloved national project turned out? Judging by how many kids actually live abroad due to a veritable Sahara Desert-sized lack of job opportunities, one would assume not entirely.

However, we are a young nation. We have much to learn. It could be argued that we are still in our infancy and our best days are yet to come. And as for time-keeping, scientists have confirmed that our sun is not due to implode for another five billion years, so there is plenty of room (and time) for improvement. I believe in Ireland.

And so should you!

By ‘Cranky’ Craig Kinsella