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Will the real Ireland please get up, stand up?

Tramping the Temple Bar in Dublin with old friends, we were in search of native music, and a cold Guinness. Despite our best efforts, we could not find one authentic Celtic pub, that was open at lunch time, anyhow. Every place we went was either blaring the same exact mix of John Denver, U2, the Beatles, and Neil Diamond, or had someone playing those same songs on a guitar. Really loudly.

This was not the real deal Ireland we came to see and experience.

What the hell is all that incongruous music doing on native Celtic soil? So out of place was this alien cacophonous tumult that we finally fled to what we thought was a quiet spot, only to have the talking-level ambience be detonated by just one guy with a guitar. Singing John Denver, Beatles, U2, and Neil Diamond songs. Really loudly. So loudly that we could not speak to one another at the table, except in between his songs. And believe it or not, this pub had run out of Guinness.

No Irish music and no Guinness in this Temple Bar Irish pub….the heart and soul of Ireland. Supposedly.

This arrangement was, to us, utterly bizarre and not at all what these Americans wanted to hear, or experience. We had traveled back to the old country to hear the heart-felt authentic sound of the old country, either old or modern, not modern, plastic inversions from and for the New World. We put up with it and enjoyed each other’s company for a while, and then fled to greener pastures.

Now about that old time Irish religion…every Catholic church we visited there was a museum. They all had small charity shops, selling post cards. Dark and uninhabited, after a thousand years for some, they now sit mute. How sad to see the backbone of Irish morality, spirituality, and identity cast aside so abruptly.

While talking to anyone who would share their views with us about this, which included at least a dozen natives, from taxi drivers to cops on the street to the barber Seamus who cut me hair, we heard the following themes: The Catholic church overplayed its hand and alienated the very flock under its care. By being part and parcel of the public schools, the Church had a lot of control over people’s lives. But instead of being a positive force, the Irish we spoke to said that when they saw a priest coming, they ducked the other way. Their schooling was unhappy, not inspiring. The Church did not have to compete for the people’s trust and allegiance; it took them for granted and treated them like a captive audience.

And then there was the same molestation issue as here, except that it was bigger, known longer, and covered up in plain sight much longer in Ireland than in America. One man, Martin, our taxi driver on the way to the ferry to Holyhead, said “And you loved Pope John Paul, right?”

To which I naturally answered “Of course! He was a powerful force for good on Planet Earth!”

To which Martin replied “Yes, of course you would say this. All the Americans say it. But did Pope John Paul, the greatest pope in modern history, ever apologize for the molestation problem, here or in America? No, he did not, and it caused most Irish to turn away from him and the Church. Including me.”

I was then reminded of Sinead O’Connor’s bizarre outburst on Saturday Night Live decades ago. “Fight the real enemy,” she shouted at a picture of the Pope. Most Americans were stunned and unhappy about it, regardless of their religious affiliation or identity.

Apparently Sinead had a reason that the rest of us did not know. And at that time, Ireland was just an island a million miles away. We did not know what she was talking about, what Martin was telling us about. There were no social media to broadcast her message, just a brief appearance in front of a big TV audience. It was up to the audience members to dig deeper to find out what she meant.

Today, it appears that outside of the really rural areas, the Catholic Church in Ireland is being abandoned by the Irish. Like completely abandoned.

This terrifies those of us who believe in the supremacy of Western civilization. Without the Church, a cornerstone of Western Civilization, the whole falls. What fills that vacuum could be anything, and there are some powerful forces at play, playing for all the chips that spoiled, soft, fantasy-driven Westerners seem to be oblivious to. The Irish are not soft, or spoiled, but they are like children in a way. They are largely innocent children, in my eyes, unexposed to the harsh realities of the outside world, waiting to eat them up. Their guard is down, not up. The Irish are vulnerable, in the way that middle-income American kids are clueless and big hearted about the intentions of their enemies they call friends.

It is painful to see an Irishman drop his own music in Dublin, drop the source of his soul and family, and drop his guard when a fight for his culture is looming in his face.

Will Ireland please stand up? Will the real Ireland please get up? Yes, we know you are tired of fighting, but sadly, we all must fight to stay free. It is a constant thing. You Irish should know this better than everyone else.

For those who want to hear some authentic, modern, native Irish music, in the symbolic spirit of James Joyce; it is possible:

Fairy Forts: Being Truly Green, and Emerald

On a really neat hike around Howth, Ireland, guided by a really neat guy named Mark, I was introduced to the weird world of Irish politics two weeks ago.

Just two weeks before I had an even stranger introduction to Irish politics, when at the Yuengling beer plant tour in Pottsville, PA, a little Irishman with a big Brogue said to me “Yer nawt Oirish, becauz yew doon’t leev ‘n Ireland, and I’m nawt Oirish becauz ah leev ‘n Northr’n Ireland.”

The little master was quite assertive in his girly long shorts (thankfully these have not yet arrived in America) and me, for the first time in my life not knowing what to say and how to not say it, I simply said “Brother, you need another beer.”

And yes, he did drink another beer. Guess that meant he’s not really Irish…

So two weeks later on Howth, I described this encounter to our guide Mark, himself of Belfast like the non-Irish Irishman in the girly pants, but Catholic, and he responded like a PhD historian.

To wit: After 750 years of English occupation, colonization, violence, repression, uprisings, death, mayhem, chaos, cultural suppression, etc., the Irish are still sorting a few things out now that the English are mostly out.

The idea that an Irishman from Belfast is not really an Irishman is to me, like, I don’t know, let me think of something incongruous, well, it is like finding out something so incredibly outlandish that your whole world view goes topsy turvy for a week. That was the effect.

But Mark said matter of factly “Oh yeah, that is the mentality and attitude up there [Belfast], and that is why I left to come down here [Dublin].”

You would probably have to live there over a few lifetimes to figure it all out, because just as I was starting to comprehend the political and cultural dynamic of Northern Ireland, Mark then went on to describe Irish MP Danny Healy-Rae in the way someone from some deep urban ghetto cloister in New York City or Los Angeles would describe a rural NRA member farmer in flyover country.

It was not pretty, but hey, who am I to judge, and I just sat and nodded along. Mark was an excellent guide and passionate about his homeland and his happy life there. I can relate, and so like I said, I just nodded along.

Danny Healy-Rae is probably all alone in his singular rural style of political representation the world-over. Despite having a lot of rural areas and a lot of fired-up rural people, I do not think America has anyone like him in politics. Danny Healy-Rae is both principled and colorful, with a straight face.

The incredible irony of Danny Boy’s place on the political spectrum was totally lost on Mark, who only moments before was explaining Irish politics very cogently, and advocating for new roads in the deepest rural areas as “progress.”

See, Danny Boy objects to new roads being built through really rural areas, especially those places that have “fairy forts.”

Yes, fairy forts. Wonder if you will, laugh if you must, but the man is indeed worried about how new roads will destroy or impact ancient fairy forts. Setting aside the rural traditions and folklore about fairies and fairy forts (and I do tend to side with both Native American Indians and Native Irish on their spiritual sensitivities to real things in the natural world that city folk aka Town Mice completely miss), fairy forts are real.

A week after Mark had explained Irish politics so clearly to me, we visited Stonehenge.

Have you gone there? Stonehenge is literally surrounded by fairy forts. Lots of hill forts and burial mounds and mystery places clearly built by the ancients for mysterious purposes that were really important to them and unattainable to us desensitized moderns. I was not expecting this side of Stonehenge, and it turns out it’s the presence of all those hill forts and mounds that make the big Stonehenge rocks so important.

After seeing this unexpected oddity in person, I looked up “fairy forts” and read most carefully this one (of several) reference. Naturally the Irish ones came to mind first, because of the footage of Danny Boy talking about Fairy Forts in Ireland’s parliament.

Archaeologically a “fairy fort” is a fascinating historic remain, and it’s evident why the ‘hick’ locals in all these places both revere and fear them. The English seemed to have plowed theirs extensively, which is very bad from the view of the historian, archaeologist, or Druid.

Turns out that Danny Boy is not only concerned about new roads destroying Fairy Forts, but he is also publicly concerned about the explosion of rhododendron in rural Ireland.

Now as much as Mark mocked Danny Boy’s unpersuaded opinions about man-made “climate change” (like Danny Boy, I too am unpersuaded by the heavily politicized, faked data behind the mere statistical models purported to be and shouted to be irrefutable “science”), Mark admitted he did not know the flora and fauna subjects along our beautiful walk on Howth. Nonetheless, he mocked Danny Boy over the rhododendron thing, too.

That flora issue includes the tidal wave of invasive plants moving in on the beautiful Irish countryside. That would also include rhododendron, and you will not find a bigger faunal representation of imperial Victorian England (something Mark is very much opposed to) than the various copses of rhododendron planted and quickly spreading from one end of the Empire to the other.

In other words, Danny Boy is objecting to invasive rhododendron for environmental and cultural reasons, things that his detractors say they care about, and his supposedly proud Irish compatriots are mocking him about it. They mock him simply because he comes across as a hick, not because they actually know better than he or care more for the environment than he.

I think this hillbilly Irishman MP, Danny Healy-Rae, should get a lot more credit from his fellow countrymen than he has thus far received. At first I thought he was just an aggressive environmentalist trying to keep roads and invasive plants out of undeveloped Paradise. Now I think he’s also a keen historian!

We will return to Ireland. Several other friends and friendly couple friends of ours were simultaneously touring Ireland when we were there, and between us all we all pretty much covered the whole country by car, bike, kayak, and foot. The collective photos we all took showed Ireland in all its splendor. What a beautiful, unspoiled, undeveloped, magical place is Ireland.

Turns out that Ireland, the whole entire place, is one big beautiful, magicalĀ  fairy fort!

We are coming back, and we hope that Danny Boy has succeeded in diverting the roads, protecting the fairy forts, and uprooting the rhododendron. Mark, you will have to come with us, because I think you should see Ireland through our eyes. It might help you better appreciate the incredible natural beauty you have.

And this next trip might help us all better figure out Irish politics, because as we can see with Danny Boy vs. the liberal Irish, Irish politics are a complete mess where up is down and left is right. When you have liberals advocating for environmental destruction and keeping the symbols of imperial England, and the conservatives opposing them are the greens, things are just not yet sorted out.

That’s the best way to put Ireland. It just isn’t yet sorted out. But it is beautiful, thanks to the fairy forts.

Howth and the “Eye of Ireland”:

Some Westerners still adore Imperialism despite their protestations

If there is one hotbed of kooky political extremism in Western Civilization, it’s England.

As it was in the 1920s and 1930s, England is full of self-proclaimed “peace” activists and anti-imperialism yellers and screamers.

Their weak righteousness brought on World War II, and paved the way for massive treasonous infiltration of English government at all levels.

Many Soviet Russian spies were warmly welcomed by these activists to set up shop and undermine the individual rights and liberties that mark the strongest European democracy.

Anti-British sentiment ran and still runs quite deep in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, the Falklands, and many other far-flung places unassociated with England proper.

Yet where were those activists then, when those nations next to England yearned for their own self-determination? Sure, the activists accused everyone else (America, Israel, the actual anchors of Western freedom and tolerance) of vicious imperialism, but they themselves loved the unfair, artificial, imperialistic, forced notion of a UK. Scotland, Ireland, Wales were independent places with unique languages, cultures, and religions. They were hardly “united” with England by choice.

The Falklands? WTH?!

Why now that Scottish citizens are finally waking up to their own freedom are the British trade unions, left wing activists, and self-appointed bosses of equality silent on Scotland’s chance for true opportunity?

I’m not Scottish, Welsh, nor Irish, I am an American, but I do know that my country fought British imperialism many times, and that Americans greatly benefited from their Constitutional republic’s individual liberties.

It is time for Britons to act in a consistent, civilized way, and set aside their imperial self-interests.

As a former Scottish freedom fighter once said on film, FREEDOM!