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Thread: What is left to distinguish Irish culture from provincial British culture?

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Default What is left to distinguish Irish culture from provincial British culture?

    I raised this question before, and again today on another thread (and already received a hostile reply for raising it), but I think it is worthy of a thread discussion. There is, obviously, a process of de-Catholicization going on in Irish public life (actually a process of de-Christianization generally). This, in large part, has been the fault of the failings of institutional Christianity itself in recent decades - the cover-ups adnd abuses of the far too much power and influence acquired by the Catholic Church in Irish life since the mid-19th Century (Maynooth Catholicism) were always going to eventually lead to a deserved kicking and a reaction against that abuse.

    But now, having recognized that very valid point about the self-inflicted nature of much of this process, I ask a question that might arouse hostility from a number of posters (particularly given that I am both English-born and a Catholic).

    Now that the Christian heritage that has been intrinsically intertwined with Irish history and culture for over one and a half thousand years, from the monasticism of the 5th century and the 'island of saints and scholars' through to the penal laws and beyond, is being jettisoned, what precisely distinguishes Irish culture from English provincial culture? I can think of maybe the GAA, and the small remaining pockets where the Irish language is regularly spoken, but then what?

    The older Irish people I knew grewing up in England, my own grandarents' generation too, they all seemed like a different species to the young-to-middle-aged people I encountered in my time living in Ireland. The older people were an identifiably different people to the host community I grew up among in England. But I look at Irish culture now and wonder what precisely distinguishes Irish people now, particularly after the process of de-Christianization, secularisation, and the advance of consumerist materialism. The old (particularly rural) decent Irish I knew as a young kid were a breed of people unlike any I knew anywhere else. Those people are dying out now. What is replacing them is not, to me, the same.

    What precisely distinguishes the culture of Ireland from that of the Geordies or Scousers? Is the last vestige of significant and identifiable difference between being a different culture and little more than a pale imitation of a provincial British culture now being thrown out? You might think that an excellent thing, and that's fine. But, I ask, what makes Irish culture different now?
    Last edited by toxic avenger; 8th February 2013 at 02:24 PM.

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    Politics.ie Member Dadaist's Avatar
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    The level of cursing in everyday language.

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dadaist View Post
    The level of cursing in everyday language.
    Not from my daily experience here in London...

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    Most Irish people unfortunately share a common culture of tabloids, televised soccer (I am not being anti soccer btw!!), celebrity TV, soap opera, dumbed down music etc, with most British people.

    Most popular manifestations of our own cultural autonomy are GAA and to lesser extent traditonal music and the Irish language. Cultural islands also exist on a smaller scale (not necesscarily gaelicised) in theatre, writing, less popular forms of music and so.

    It is not uniquely Irish problem as higher forms of culture are under assault everywhere.

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    A misconception from lack of travelling Ireland, and Discovering Ireland, away from the Dublin 4 Forums.

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MauriceColgan View Post
    A misconception from lack of travelling Ireland, and Discovering Ireland, away from the Dublin 4 Forums.
    I lived in Cork, I worked in Cork and Dublin, my family are in Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, I have travelled the entire country from top to bottom many, many times, and I probably know Ireland (as a whole) better than most people on this forum.

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    Politics.ie Member USER1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanie Lemass View Post
    as higher forms of culture are under assault everywhere.
    Can you explain what you mean by this a bit more please!!!

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    What is left to distinguish Leinster culture from Irish culture?

    What is left to distinguish European culture from Western culture?

    The question is redundant in my mind. You don't get to decide what it means for other people to be Irish. Society is made up of individuals with a wide variety of tastes and interests, a fuzzy notion of national identity does not have a monopoly on who or what I am. I see things in common with different people the world over for different things, rather than arbitrarily imposing false common identity on the basis of geography alone. That is part of who I am as an individual but it does not have a monopoly on it, it not limited to national level only and it is not automatic with someone I might otherwise have nothing in common with.

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seanie Lemass View Post
    Most Irish people unfortunately share a common culture of tabloids, televised soccer (I am not being anti soccer btw!!), celebrity TV, soap opera, dumbed down music etc, with most British people.

    Most popular manifestations of our own cultural autonomy are GAA and to lesser extent traditonal music and the Irish language. Cultural islands also exist on a smaller scale (not necesscarily gaelicised) in theatre, writing, less popular forms of music and so.

    It is not uniquely Irish problem as higher forms of culture are under assault everywhere.
    In relation to trad music - I knew more people by far who hated it than (like me) loved it. Theatres, writing, etc. - definitely small minority pursuits insofar as they are specifically Irish.

    My point is that the ordinary working Irish people of old that I once knew were different (and that their religion played a large part, like it or not, in that). They weren't particularly associated with 'high culture' either, yet they were identifiably different culturally to the provincial English. That is just not the case now.

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    Why should we care?
    Repeal the 27th.

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