Monday, April 2, 2007

Faith an' begorrah

In honor of Mary Robinson's visit to the College of Law today, I've decided to present you all with

A Brief History of Ireland, Based Entirely on What Salieri Can Remember Off The Top of His Head

Mythological Times - Finn MacCumhail tastes of the Salmon of Knowledge, becomes knowledgeable about salmon, leads the Tuatha De Danann to victory over the evil Balor.

Slightly Later, But Still Mythological - Queen Medb of Connaught decides to invade Ulster and rustle their cattle. The warriors of Ulster all go into labor (stupid ancestral curse) and Ulster appears to be screwed until this kid with a messed-up face named Cuchulainn showed up and killed all the Connaughtmen. Cruachan did a song about it.

Real Life, c. 100 BC - Romans discover Hibernia, elect not to conquer it.

c. 300 AD - Escaped slave Patrick arrives in Ireland, uses shamrock as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity, Christianizes Ireland. Old Celtic gods change names and become mythical saints.

c. 700 AD - Vikings arrive, sack monasteries, found Dublin.

c. 1000 - Normans arrive, sack monasteries, find disunified Irish kingdoms, start conquering them piecemeal.

1153 - Local Irish king appeals to Henry I of England for help fighting off invaders. English decide to conquer instead.

1556 - Henry VIII takes his kingdom out of the Catholic Church. His Irish subjects pretty much remain Catholic.

1600s - New policy of settling poor Scotsmen in Ireland to increase the Protestant population. Many of them eventually move to America and become the ancestors of today's rednecks.

1640s - English Civil War. Irish decide this would be a good time to revolt. Oliver Cromwell suppresses them.

1688 - Glorious Revolution. Last Catholic king leaves UK. Ireland becomes hotbed of Jacobites.

1700s - Ireland begins exporting authors, politicians, and comic relief to England. Notables include Jonathan Swift, Edmund Burke, and Sir Boyle Roche (Roche on 18th century Dublin: "Little children who could neither walk nor talk were running about in the streets cursing their Maker.") Potato arrives.

1750s - Guinness Brewery founded, takes out multi-century lease on land in Dublin.

1790s - Inspired by the American and French Revolutions and armed by Napoleon, the Society of United Irishmen start a major uprising. When French support dries up, the Irishmen die out. Cruachan did a song about it.

1801 - The Act of Union passes. Ireland now officially part of the UK.

1830s - Surfeit of rebellions convince Parliament to give Catholics the vote, inspire the names of several counties in Iowa.

1840s - Potato blight. Irishmen mostly either die or leave.

1850s - First skeleton of Neanderthal Man discovered in Germany. Prominent German scientists believe it's the skeleton of an Irishman who fought with Napoleon.

1914 - Ireland almost gets its own parliament and Home Rule, but the War puts everything on hold.

1916 or 1917, I can't remember which - Easter Rising. IRA, with German guns, takes over Dublin Post Office, declares itself rightful rulers of Ireland. First order of the new government: go buy some paste to put up posters. Rebellion quickly suppressed, and all leaders (except for an American guy) executed.

1919-1922 - Irish Civil War. British government rounds up gangsters and puts them in uniform as the Black and Tans, who terrorize the country and get a drink named after them. Eventually Irish Free State founded, with that American guy, Eamon De Valera, as the head.

1930s - Irish Free State ditches the King, becomes Republic of Ireland.

1939-1945 - World War II. Irish read about it in the papers.

1970s - Sectarian turmoil. Lots of people do songs about it.

1990s - EU membership + low corporate tax rate = explosive economic growth. Estonians take copious notes, do the same thing ten years later. Colm Meaney tells producers of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" to shove it when they suggest he tell stories about leprechauns. Wiccans discover pre-Christian Ireland and ruin it. Good Friday agreement, which makes sectarian turmoil a little less prominent and results in hilarious Scots dialect census.

Today - Everything's swell, except when Celtic play Rangers.

No comments: