Rather dark & Swiftian...
August 25, 2005 10:52 AM   Subscribe

Top 10 What Have the Brits Ever Done For Us? - An Irish view. Featuring at #2: the potato famine - apparently much worse than the lesser known 1783 garlic cheese & chips famine, some people resorted to eating each other - starting with the fat sister in the house - "there'd be plenty of eating in her, y'know..."Streaming Flash, Sense of humour required
posted by dash_slot- (27 comments total)
via Dermod's Blog
posted by dash_slot- at 10:58 AM on August 25, 2005

Thanks for providing a translation, I could've understand a thing they were saying.
posted by angry modem at 10:59 AM on August 25, 2005

there's good money to be made in washing ducks...
posted by blue_beetle at 11:10 AM on August 25, 2005

#2: the potato famine

Lots of fish in the Atlantic, you know.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 11:13 AM on August 25, 2005

Refreshingly irreverent given how P.C. this country has become lately.
posted by aidanf at 11:47 AM on August 25, 2005


Irish MeFites, identify yourselves and your opinions on this one.
posted by theknacker at 11:47 AM on August 25, 2005

Olvier Cromwell -- so with hundreds of years of perspective, why exactly are the Irish still huffy about him?

(this is an honest question, I really want to know)
posted by linux at 11:58 AM on August 25, 2005

OMG, that was great fun! I laughed so hard, ginger ale came out of my nose.

Hm. Was I drinking ginger ale?
posted by WaterSprite at 12:01 PM on August 25, 2005

Olvier Cromwell -- so with hundreds of years of perspective, why exactly are the Irish still huffy about him?

Well, aside from his despicable treatment of the native Irish during his military campaigns here (despite his reputation as a leftist reformer in Britain), I remember hearing once that it was he who introduced cabbage to Ireland, via seeds on the muddy soles of his soldiers' boots.

The bastard.
posted by macdara at 12:05 PM on August 25, 2005

The Jesse Helms - an honest appraisal is here. In the sea, but out of reach.
For a more dramatic account of another people who were really prepared to perish rather than eat fish, see this.
posted by grahamwell at 12:07 PM on August 25, 2005

Grahamwell -- "in the seas but out of reach", eh? I was particularly impressed by the report of the fishing village close to the best fishing grounds in Ireland, inaccessible by land. Though it does rather beg the question of why the fishermen didn't sail down the coast a bit to somewhere more accessible, given that they had boats and stuff.
posted by Hogshead at 12:16 PM on August 25, 2005

posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:17 PM on August 25, 2005

Well, aside from his despicable treatment of the native Irish during his military campaigns here

I thought much of this was Royalist propaganda and the in part due to Cromwell's subordinates after he left Ireland. So after all these years, this continues to perpetuate, or are Cromwell apologist historians subduing his actions?
posted by linux at 12:20 PM on August 25, 2005

Laugh out loud funny. Thanks for the links, both the cartoon and Bootboy's blog.
posted by prolific at 12:26 PM on August 25, 2005

Cromwell was pretty shitty to the English, too. Killed thousands of them in a little thing called the Civil War.
posted by watsondog at 12:38 PM on August 25, 2005

The Cromwell thing is pretty clearly a reaction against the fact that his reputations in England has been largely whitewashed in the past (he came 10th in the BBC's Greatest Britons poll a few years back, for example). It's as much counter-myth as myth in its own right.
posted by flashboy at 1:16 PM on August 25, 2005

Cromwell. There's a bit of info here, and note map number two. From what I've read, the plan was to have no Irish people east of the Shannon, and any that were found were to be killed - beheaded, and their heads turned in for a reward.
Which is *nice*.
I may be wrong (date-wise) about this next bit... Indentured servitude was introduced when the poor Irish were unable to pay their landowners, so there were fewer available people to offer resistance to the British who, basically just wanted a bit more room and there were these other people in the way.
It was bad, no doubt and I've noticed that the majority of Irish people have moved on, though it stings a bit, of course.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:46 PM on August 25, 2005

Zack_Replica: If I'm correct, the alternative given by Cromwell to the Irish Catholic and Gaelic chiefs was "Hell or Connaught". Which was indeed nice.
However, I also think that this concerned more landowners and freeholders than the general peasantry. Those were disregarded anyway.
posted by Skeptic at 2:17 PM on August 25, 2005

Skeptic: Ah yes, that rings a bell after I read that. Whadda sweetheart, huh? It's been a few years since I read much about Cromwell.

Irish priest pointing out landmarks to a tourist, "That's Devil's Hill, and to the left there, that's Devil's Field, and awaaay over there is Devi's Ditch."
Tourist: "Well, the Devil owns a lot of land here in Ireland!"
Priest: "Yes, and like all landowners, he lives in London."
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:28 PM on August 25, 2005

I'm Irish, and I laughed.
posted by doozer_ex_machina at 2:35 PM on August 25, 2005

Well either I don't have a sense of humor-or I don't live on an atlantic island.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:26 PM on August 25, 2005

You think this is funny, eh? Just wait until Bono gets a hold of it!!
posted by snsranch at 5:13 PM on August 25, 2005

my 5th class teacher in primary school in dublin liked to call cromwell 'that bastard cromwell'. my granny was delighted with me when i came home telling my family all about that bastard cromwells' antics. she even gave me 50p for it. probably coloured my opinion of him somewhat...
posted by recklessbrother at 5:27 PM on August 25, 2005

Gawd, I went to college with a few like the fella foaming at the mouth over the protestants . . . . this one's been around for a loooong time but it's pretty funny. I'm amazed the non-Paddies understand most of the in-jokes though?
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:58 PM on August 25, 2005

Cromwell slaughtered Irish civilians after one of the uprisings, and then took a really harsh policy on Irish - it was religiously driven. It wasn't worse than various massacres of the Thirty Years War, or the many many massacres this century, but memories of things like that die hard. I just found out that almost 450 years later, the St Bartholomew's Day massacre is still somewhat contoversial in French history.

Of course, the English Civil Wars got started by Irish Catholics attacking Protestants - but there I think the size of the massacre was really exagerrated. (People in England thought hundreds were killed, but I can't remember how many it really was.)
posted by jb at 7:23 PM on August 25, 2005

We are the Silent People.
How long must we be still,
To nurse in secret at our breast
An ancient culture?

Let us arise and cry then;
Call from the sleeping ashes
Of destiny a chieftain who
Will be our voice.

He will strike the brass
And we will erupt
From our hidden caves
Into the light of new-born day.

from The Silent People by Walter Macken

Wikipedia on Cromwell
on the famine

"Fish, although plentiful along the West Coast of Ireland, remained out of reach in water too deep and dangerous for the little cowhide-covered Irish fishing boats, known as currachs. Starving fishermen also pawned their nets and tackle to buy food for their families."
posted by Shanachie at 10:43 PM on August 25, 2005

Morrissey's song "Irish Blood, English Heart" goes into some of this. As an American, I start out quite liking it, then there's a line about British politics and I'm just starting to go huh? when out comes this line that just says to me, once again, we're two nations divided by a common language.

Irish blood, English heart, this I'm made of
There is no-one on earth I'm afraid of
And no regime can buy or sell me

I've been dreaming of a time when
To be English is not to be baneful
To be standing by the flag not feeling
Shameful, racist or partial

Irish blood, English heart, this I'm made of
There is no-one on earth I'm afraid of
And I will die with both my hands untied

I've been dreaming of a time when
The English are sick to death of Labour
And Tories, and spit upon the name of Oliver Cromwell
And denounce this royal line that still salute him
And will salute him forever

posted by dhartung at 11:59 PM on August 25, 2005

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