Ireland: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Ireland, psychology compared to Italians, the Catholic Protestant rift, England and Ireland problems.



In a 1959 study comparing Irish and Italian schizophrenics, Marvin Opler found that the Irish were more repressed, more passive, and significantly more guilty and concerned with sin than the Italians.

For centuries Protestants have been the educated, property-holding, politically dominant group in Ireland, while the Catholics, despite their numerical majority, have been the predominantly landless, illiterate, and politically impotent group. The Protestants have been the absentee landlords while the Catholics have been the peasants; the Protestants have been the bankers and industrialists, while the Catholics have been the workers; the Protestants have been the creditors--while the Catholics have been the debtors.

In 1155 the King of England was given title to Ireland by the Pope. Things were relatively quiet until Henry VIII converted to Protestantism and the Catholic Irish felt that he was a traitor to the Pope and therefore had for feited his right to rule Ireland. When Henry VIII's daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1558, the political situation worsened because, from the Irish standpoint, Elizabeth was not Queen since the Church did not recognize her father's divorce from his 1st wife and, hence, his marriage to Elizabeth's mother. Thus, the religious conflict was inextricably connected to the question of political legitimacy. In 1609, James I established a colony of Scots and northern English in Ulster, in an attempt to create a power base for English rule. The Irish Protestants who now dominate Northern Ireland are the descendants of those passionately British settlers. The Protestant domination and introduction of English law in Ireland drove the Irish to revolt in 1641. When Cromwell took over control of England after the Puritan Revolution, he came to Ireland to colonize it and to destroy the hold of Catholicism. The Catholics were ordered to give up Catholicism or lose their land and be exiled. This became the root of the link between religion and economic position in Ireland. In 1688 Catholic Ireland and France supported James II in his unsuccessful fight to maintain the English Crown. When James was defeated, the British passed the "penal code" which banished the clergy, forbade the Catholics from voting and sitting in Parliament, and forbade Catholic schools. Nor could Catholics be attorneys or constables or buy or inherit land from Protestants. In 1916, and later in 1919-1921, the Irish Nationalist party fought a war of independence against Britain which resulted in the division of Ireland into the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland. The Irish Free State was granted dominion status in 1922. When the IFS was born, the world looked to Ireland to see if the Protestant minority in the south would be discriminated against after so many generations of Protestant domination and oppression. Interestingly enough, the Catholics did not confiscate Protestant property or make violent attacks on remaining Protestants. In fact, Protestants in the south still remain in their traditional position of dominance in banking, industry, and land ownership.

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