#1 Daniel O Connell
Myth: Daniel O Connell, the great liberator, the man who lead the charge in achieving catholic emancipation in 1829 was a pacifist.
Whatever his achievements O Connel’s pacifist credentials are a sham. While he appears to have believed it was the best strategy in Ireland he had no problem unleashing horrendous violence on the Chinese as he voted for the Opium War as an MP. The Opium war was, in short a brutal imperial war fought by Britain for the right to sell the drug opium to the chinese after the chinese authorities tried to stop the trade.
#2 The Great Famine
Myth: Ireland’s greatest disaster was a natural unescapable phenomenon.
We’re on well trodden ground here and a favoured topic of revisionist historians and politicians alike. Uncomfortable as it may be the reality is that between 1845 – 51 nearly one million people in Ireland starved to death and millions more fled the island. While this was triggered by the failing of the potato crop the famine was ultimately an economic crisis caused by Ireland’s relationship with the economic system of the British Empire. The crisis’ roots lay in the reorganisation of the Irish economy particularly after the act of union along lines inspired by the economically liberal ideology of the Empire. This crisis reached its zenith when the potato crop which was the staple diet of millions of peasants failed. There is no way of avoiding the reality that the whig government elected in 1846 did not intervene due to a commitment economic liberalism combined with racism.
#3 The battle of Clontarf
Myth: Brian Boru was a saintlike hero who drove the Vikings from Ireland at this battle in 1014
Brian Boru was a violent Gaelic Irish King. He fought other violent Gaelic Kings in Ireland to dominate the island of Ireland. They all used violent Scandinavians to help them in their aims. They all lived violently together in Ireland before and after the battle of Clontarf.
Here’s the unabridged history; In 1013 the Kingdom of Leinster rose against Brian Boru’s dominance of Ireland. In this they were supported by the Viking kingdom of Dublin. By 1014 it was obvious a big show down was on the cards so the Viking king of Dublin went off to seek aid from mercenaries overseas. On Good Friday 1014 Brian’s army supported by Vikings from Waterford and Limerick met the army of Leinster supported by Vikings from Dublin, the western Isles of Scotland and the Irish sea.
The big loser? Brian Boru – he was killed and his families power immediately declined. What about the Vikings? Little really changed. They had lost most independence around 980 after being defeated by the O Neills at the battle of Tara but maintained their dominant presence in the city of Dublin until the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169. You can here this story in detail in this podcast
#4 The death of Michael Collins
Myth: Eamon De Valera was involved in Collins death
This is one simple. Unless you qualify Neil Jordan’s near fantasy film “Michael Collins” as history there is no evidence Eamon De Valera had any role to play in the death of Collins. Indeed he had been sidelined by the likes of Liam Lynch around the time of Collin’s death.
Myth #5 The 1916 rebellion.
Myth: Your ancestors fought in the 1916 rising
So many have claimed their ancestors fought in the GPO indeed after a enough pints you’ve probably claimed that you fought in the GPO. In reality in or around 1350 people participated in 1916 rising which means the vast majority of us have no connection what so ever to the events…