‘A terrible ignorance’ – By Brian John Spencer

Easter, 1916 – a terrible beauty was born. It had a dark and little seen twin; a terrible ignorance of the people of the North. South of the border, the Easter Rising is almost universally acclaimed. A singular understanding of history imposed, and a singular way of being Irish understood. Professor Michael Laffan wrote: “When I…

‘Boho Surrender’ – By Brian John Spencer

There’s a backward Belfast, and there’s a bourgeois Belfast. Two Belfasts. Two Northern Irelands. Rory McIlroy versus Bryson Belfast; unbridled optimism versus plangent wallow, nostomania and self-pity. The two young men are roughly coeval with 1998 Northern Ireland, but each is radically polarised on the modern Irish Question. Each is a strong indicator of Belfast’s…

‘My Planter’s Burden’ – by Brian Spencer

The Irish government recently published the ‘Global Irish – Ireland’s Diaspora Policy‘ . This is an important and innovative document. It poses a question and perplexes. The question is this: what can we learn and apply from Ireland’s diaspora to Northern Ireland? Here’s what perplexes. The people of this our shared archipelago are so much…

Jamie Bryson, more narcissist, less unionist

Jamie Bryson adores the Union but advocates everything against which the modern Union stands. The man from Donaghadee can call for Union Flags on every lampost, call for a return to “biblical based Protestantism” for loyalism, and call on other retrogrades, then without the slightest sense of contradiction or inconsistency, call for liberal and distant…

‘Being a middle-class suburban Protestant is a lonely vigil’ argues Brian Spencer

We read to know we’re not alone. The moment when words mirror life and lived experience is stirring and emotive, even numinous. Being a middle-class suburban Protestant is a lonely thing. You’re unionist without being “Unionist Forum”-style unionist. When pro-Union sentiment is universally bellicose, belligerent and flag-flappy you can feel like Franz Kafka’s character who…

The necessity of remembering

    “Remembering is a noble and necessary act” says Nobel Laureate Elie Weisel: those are words we have taken to heart in this community; words that we practice every day. Brian Rowan’s piece on Eamonnmallie.com commends to us the quiet acts of remembrance and contemplation and I agree that remembering quietly and privately doesn’t…