Provos, Loyalists and Brits

Provos, Loyalists and Brits

Ratings: 6.61/10 from 92 users.

Provos, Loyalists and BritsA trilogy of Documentary Series on Northern Ireland Conflict - Provos, Loyalists and Brits. BBC documentary series looking at the history of the IRA and Sinn Fein over the past 30 years, an intimate account of the lives of loyalist paramilitaries and the role of the British armed forces in Northern Ireland, made by journalist Peter Taylor.

Provos: Born Again. Documentary looking at the changes and rise in the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland from 1969 on. Considers the events of civil unrest in the late 1960s, the ideology and actions of the leaders of the IRA then, which underwent a significant change after the attacks by loyalists and B Specials on Catholics and Nationalists and their homes. Looks at the background of the deployment of British troops, and how they were first welcomed, but later viewed as the enemy. Includes interviews with many older IRA members who talk about their motivations and aims, and the escalation into shooting and bombings, especially after the events of Bloody Sunday.

Provos: Second Front. Looks into what was discussed at secret meetings between the British authorities and Provisional IRA during the 1970s, and how Britian may have countenanced withdrawal from Northern Ireland. Examines the emergence of Sinn Fein as a political force and the bombing campaigns both in the Province and the British mainland. Also examines the prison protests in the Maze prison, and the hunger strikes, and the effects of the deaths of Bobby Sands and other hunger strikers.

Provos: Secret War. Concentrates on the 1980s and the relaunch of a campaign by the IRA after the death of the hunger strikers. Looks at the increase in heavy weaponry purchased and the funding and supply lines and the IRA's keeness to get hold of surface-to-air missiles to shoot down army helicopters. It also goes into the emergence of IRA informants and "supergrasses" and the effect they had on operations.

Provos: Endgame. The final episode focuses on how the military stalemate of the late 80s created a context whereby the Sinn Fein leadership could persuade the IRA Army Council that the final phase of the struggle had to be political. It also shows how the stalemate paved the way for a remarkable series of secret negotiations between the Government and the IRA which made possible the cessation of 1994. The programme also describes how, despite the end of the ceasefire and the subsequent Canary Wharf and Manchester bombings, backstage efforts for peace continued, resulting in a renewed IRA ceasefire and the current all-party talks.

Loyalists: No Surrender. Documentary series presented by Peter Taylor, about the origins and evolution of the loyalist paramilitary movement in Northern Ireland.

Loyalists: Returning the Serve. In the late 1970s the conflict in Northern Ireland reached new levels of brutality. Among those caught up in the violence was UVF member Billy Giles, who retaliated against IRA acts by murdering a Catholic workmate.

Loyalists: War and Peace. Former Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) prisoners Gerry Spence and Bobby Philpott claim that Loyalist violence in the early nineties made the IRA realise they could not win. Peter Taylor reveals the true face of the Loyalist paramilitaries and assesses the prospects for peace in the face of continuing sectarian tensions.

Brits: The Secret War. This programme focuses on the period 1969-1975. As the IRA launched its terror campaign in the early 1970s, Britain realised that intelligence gathering would be the key to countering their threat. Included in this part are revelations about the covert operations carried out by the army, including the story of how the security services discovered that the IRA had bugged the army's Northern Ireland headquarters and how they captured key IRA figures involved with the bugging.

Brits: Shoot to Kill. Examination of a series of incidents from the mid-seventies where security forces reacted with speed and aggression. Members of Special Branch, MI6 and the army talk about the dangers of life in the war against the IRA. In their attempts to fight fire with fire did the agents of the crown sometimes go beyond the limits acceptable in a democratic state?

Brits: Holding the Line. Third and final part of the series investigating British undercover operations in Northern Ireland. Reveals how pressure from British intelligence services helped to bring the IRA to the negotiating table. Also looks at the prospect for a lasting peace.

More great documentaries

148 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Having just read Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, the entire Britian/Ireland conflict is put in an entirely new perspective. The principle of legitimacy couldn't be more apparent than it was with this entire ordeal.

    (The “principle of legitimacy,” and legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice – that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can’t treat one group differently from another.”)

  2. The BBC always promoted propaganda about Ulster. The British Army worked alongside the Unionists (originated from "protestant" settlers brought from England to wipe out Catholicism in Ireland). The urgent issues for ulster in the 1970s were that Roman Catholics did not have equal access to housing, education, jobs. The "British Army" made sure that Irish Catholics (Nationalsist - also known as Fenians) always challenged the rule of law (British occupation) that denied them access to essential resources and denied them human rights. Before the English arrived in Ireland it was a small peaceful country. The "occupiers" caused so much suffering, slaughter, famine, genocide it is surprising there are any Irish people left to tell their story. But, hey, what goes around comes around. Look at England now, a bankrupt, banana republic (oops with a Queen) who continues extracting £millions by stealth from their own English taxpayers today.

    1. If anyone is spouting propaganda it’s you old chum

  3. Best comments I have had the pleasure of reading.

  4. Fascinating documentary which made clearer to me with detail the conflict in Northern Ireland..ONLY why is this from the POV from the Protestants Loyalist side and not from those in the IRA?

  5. Why have the "Provos" portion of these documentaries disappeared from youtube and other places? Is this censorship? Is it possible to reinstate these very important historical documentaries?

    1. Very good question. Also, where may one, from the U.S, purchase the series on DVD?

  6. 32 = 1

  7. I grew up with the threat of the IRA looming of course its nothing to what the people of Northern Ireland went through on a day to day basis. I remember being really young and asking my mum why we had taken it if it wasnt ours and never getting a clear answer which was confusing and even back then i thought it should of been handed back to the republic of Ireland. If roles were reversed im sure we the English would of been doing something very similar to try and repel and regain our lost land.

    1. Something worse is happening to the English - an invasion of Islamic/Third World savages who are utterly destroying your country, enabled by a traitor elite class. (Same thing happening in Ireland, albeit on not as large a scale, yet.) Better report to your local ERA cell!

  8. Dia Duit
    I believe Counter makes a valid point, the Rioting and retaliatory attacks by paramilitary organizations must desist. However I support RAAD and other such organizations, that work to uphold the security and decency of our Area.

  9. like in any battle for freedom I watch the video and than I go on to disrespect the cause as I see the sh*t heads who comment after. It may be time to call an end to a bloody war but who is calling the shots? There is a love for conflict that no peace can ever replace. I Just hope that you enjoy bloodshed.

  10. Its time to call a halt to all this !! there's enough blood been shed in recent memory and also the last 800 years , lets think of the kids of the next generation ,We mourn who are lost and respect what they fought for , The world is getting smaller , as such we are neighbors more than ever .I as a non religious Irishman have more concerns about our childrens futures than than the past , not belittling it , but surely when we look at the global situation at the moment we should unite as , not politically different , but more kindred in what we want for the future of our next generation !! You Americans can't seem to grasp this concept .. rape everywhere !!!

  11. Oh,by the way, Jamie (who also clearly isnt Irish), Ireland isnt part of the British Isles. I think that was the whole point of the troubles. Chances are your American cos in fairness you guys no f*** all about anything outside of that poxy country. Its like me saying your Candian but in fairness thats an insult to Canadians. At least their intellegent

  12. Allister MCCLEAN, you dont sound too Irish if you dont mind me saying, and even if you are, you still havent a f****** breeze. 'Nice one Bin Laden' says it all. I am Irish, live in ireland, and always have. Im sure Padraig Pearse and the rest of the lads would agree with flying planes in to buildings and cutting peoples head off on TV.I dont agree with what the IRA done but different circumstances result in different outcomes. Blowing up civilians like they did has no excuse and if you ask the old proper republicans, im sure they would agree to at least some extent. Only soldiers should have been legit. Either way we are passed that now ya muppet so grow up, shed off those teenage knacker clothes your wearing and have a proper interest like golf or something, cos in fairness you know f*** all. Learn the history properly before you start mouthing off. If anything the one thing the RA had was percision and effectiveness and realised the difference between attention and too much attention

  13. Irish population = Catholics who mainly identify themselves as Irish v Protestants who predominantly identify themselves as British. One dates back to the days of pre English rule, the other dates back to English and Scottish settlers sent to Ireland.

    Very similar to Texas where the Hispanic population is mainly Catholic and the Anglo population mainly Protestant, one population dates back to the time Texas was part of Mexico, the other to the time when America was expanding its frontiers.

    Now I wonder how Americans would feel if the Hispanics in Texas, New Mexico, etc suddenly rose up started blowing up US soldiers and police and planting bombs everywhere? Sure there would be a lot of people saying their actions were legitimate and the US has no right to govern those states that once belonged to Mexico. But others would ague time moves on and the reality is it does! Democracy exists to keep people happy. If democracy still exists and people turn to the bomb, it's because they wish to exert their rights over everyone else.

    Irish Americans have a very one dimensional view of the Irish Troubles. Ireland is part of the British Isles, we are essentially the same people Anglo-Celts, with a long shared history of inter-migrations, marriage and settlement. This is not so much the case with America's Hispanic population, who have far less in common with the Anglo-American ruling elites.

    In a word take your nose and shove it someone else's problems. Everywhere America looks it fails to see in anything other than in a one dimensional Walt Disney type of way. The world isn't Walt Disney. Leave us Irish/British alone, to sort our family out. We don't need 8th generation Irish Americans to help us!

    1. Well said and sensible comment

  14. I notice alot of talke here about protestants and catholics blah blah blah.,,it all seems to me that politics have played you all against eachother.
    Think about it

  15. Just wish we thought of hijacking a jumbo jet, that wud've been a winning idea. If the Brits in the North don't like it, we'll keep going until you accept it. All freedom fighters together. Nice one Bin Laden, RIP

  16. i think its about time you americans had a fight in your own country, instead of starting, provoking or overseeing war all over the ret of the world, at the benefit of the federal reserve.

    1. I think two wars is enough.

  17. james elliot let tell u something, How dare u call me a terrorist or a criminal (ask maggie thatcher) who reinstated POW status after 10 brave men died on hungerstrike meaning the british government regonised the PIRA as an army and not criminals. Onto ur point of cowards ill say, can u remember the loyalist pot noddle hunger strike? wat an embrassment, enough said. The criminals are the occupying british army who shoot dead unarmed civilians then try to put explosives on their bodies, eg bloody sunday. The british government has run death squads, also gave wrong information on innocent people within the nationlist community to these death squads to murder to keep the informers they had within the republican community safe. Still they could not break us. Onto ur point about the americans, I seem to remember a former soldier called Brian Nelson, running around south africa being supplied with weapons from aparthied regime, do you remember him?. Now onto ur point of the PIRA calling them freedom fighters i think not my friend ,we are the rightful army on this island of ireland and any occupying force will be fought and defeated by this army not in the name of freedom but in the name of ireland. Now about people in america celebrating any deaths i couldn't say that was the truth because i was not there but i was at windsor stadium (home of linfield) on the night after the uda shot dead 2 binmen up in kennedy way and can rightly remember the linfield supporters singing the song "my old mans a dustman". Then again the only people who where freedom fighters where the UFF (ulster freedom fighters, another death squad) who out of all the murders they commited killed about 10 actual PIRA men. And what freedom where they actually fighting for? please tell me. I think you james has a touch of selective knowledge like myself when it comes to trying explain our war to an outsiders. I admit this you try to conceal this fact. Feel free to respond

  18. I'm from Northern Ireland and have lived the majority of my life under the shadow of state-sponsored terrorism. Which state? Well, the US seems to have provided a lion's share of the funding for the IRA and other such criminal organisations. The will of the people? As stated above, the majority of Irish people in Northern Ireland do not want a united Ireland. These people are called Unionists, are generally protestant, and are as Irish as the Catholics with whom we share our state, Northern Ireland. I have seen friends and family killed by cowards calling themselves freedom fighters, though they fight against the democratically expressed will of the people of Northern Ireland, and indiscriminately kill women and children. To all 'Irish' Americans toasting these atrocities in bars in Boston I would say, simply and clearly, "Give Northern Ireland back to the Northern Irish". We do not welcome your participation in a debate you know nothing about. I took no pleasure whatever in the events of 9/11 in your country. I would thank you to extend the same courtesy to me and mine.

  19. I have not yet read all the comments here, but thank you DC, Ciaran and Norbertine. I wish I had a pound for every American who has claimed to be Irish and supports terrorism in this country.

    During the height of the troubles they contributed between fifteen to twenty million dollars annually in support of terrorism in a country they claim to love. Irony must be lost on these people.

    I have witnessed those atrocities first hand and will never forget seeing a young catholic neigbour girl, stripped naked, tarred and feathered and tied to the lampost. That was the way the IR a treated members of their own community.

    I would also like to ad the IR a never did a thing to protect our most vulnerable women and children from the Roman Catholic run schools and laundries. They did nothing to protect the most innocent of citizens in this country against those who abused them. Gerry Adams brother is a known peadophile and so was his father, Gerry s da was given a full honour IR a funeral for his abuse of his own and others children. For you Americans out there. WHERE is the "romance" in that?

  20. I find the mentality of catholics like DC rather exasperating. The idea of an independent Irish state evokes no passion from them at all. I have no doubt had they been around during the Easter Uprising they would have reviled the rebels as murderous Anglophobes. They’re cold fish upon whom a nation could never be founded. They dull

    The modern IRA has been a seriously flawed organization, but that doesn’t make the armed struggle for Irish independence wrong. Too many moderate Irish people concede this point too readily.

    The IRA was a pretty woeful organization for the past fifty years but maybe if all of us moderate, thoughtful, and “ethical” Irish nationalists had actually had the balls to join it and make it meet a higher standard of conduct people would actually have a militant nationalist movement they could be proud of. Sitting on the sidelines and castigating the participants is the lame and hypocritical way most of us live.

  21. Incredibly good documentary and love the commentary. The violence is over, isn't it?

  22. If ya love ireland dont blow it up

  23. Dont get me wrong, anthing made by the bbc is going to be very biased... aparrently mountbatten had an awful dandruff problem... sure didn't they find his head and shoulders on the beach?

  24. By the way 'Irish Kev' has hit the nail on the head... It's always been about domination over the colonies natural resources... be it the spaniards raping mount potosi, or be it bertie making dirty deals with Bush over in camp David in yellow pants... Its all the same....

  25. As much as we might curse the ideals of Thatcher.. or for that matter the boys who broke out of long kesh in '83'... it's always going to be a stalemate.. If ye want a true republican point of view, find 'Ruairi O Bradaigh' sorry now, but its tue...

  26. was going to watch this, as im currently living in Ireland but being born of South Africa my knowledge of Irish and British history is limited, as always i read a few of the comments first, and have decided. ignorance at least in this case is bliss

  27. The bottom line is... as it saddens me so much... the majority of Irish youngfellas are still going to watch Manchester United play every Saturday, and their birds are still going to watch Eastenders... and each of them will never know what Robert Emmett spoke from those docks... It's just the world we live in today..
    'DC' is the only man who knows what hes talking about on this forom.. why don't the rest of ye jokers just let it lie.....

  28. For christ's sake.. why all the aggro? as a Kerryman, and as a man who was born and bred with all the connotations that come with being from one side, or another side of the civil war, the war of independance, or the war against british influence on te Irish 'press'.... What really matters is this... As james Connolly turns in his grave, what has the free state turned out to be eventually? only another arm of the 'american/british' forces of imperialism... listen to what 'dc' has to say... and please shut up the rest of ye.. and look up James Connolly..... A 32 County Socialist Republic..... Someday soon....

  29. Why does every documentary on here consist of a argument, isn't there an actual board for bickering? I just wanted to know if the documentary was any good.

  30. The guy at 7:22 looksuncannily like Gordon Ramsay

  31. Yeah well , its not only the Irish government that sales their people out , rather it is all government. The bigger it is , the more it will take. And when they deplete their population and resources , they look for others elsewhere. Sometimes your country is the one taking it up the a**.

  32. @ doris.days.was.a.poser
    Have to agree with you there doris. The island of Ireland signed away most of its fishing quotas to the E.E.C. resigning many fishermen to the dole and allowing other countries to take more fish from Irish waters than the Irish. Our great "leaders" also signed away trillions of euro in natural gas and oil deposits in unspoiled waters off the west coast to the same geniuses who caused the present disaster in the Mexican Gulf without realising a single cent now or in the future for the Irish taxpayer. Just two examples but I could go on. Anyone interested check out Shell To

  33. eirecannach666 Brittania would be sucking the Irish dryer than an eighty year old hooker.lmao,the irish voted to let the euro leaders do that now,the irish/what a clever bunch

  34. @Randy

    Thats hilarious,man.Serves them right. Tit for Tat.

  35. Well, as I said, I WAS hacked.

    But, let me just say... I don't think the guy that hacked me will ever do it again...


  36. @Randy
    Glad to see you back.

    Most definitely! Very easy if you need to. Lets just hope the time will never come when you get hacked.

    “Violence isn't always evil. What's evil is the infatuation with violence.”-Jim Morrison

  37. Hello, my gaelic brother!

    Well, let me just put this out there:

    Hypothetically, and in no way that could be proven in court, let's just say, that I MAY have a couple of employees "off the books" for "special projects". That is complete fantasy, of course.

    In this fantasy of mine, I recently was cyber-attacked by a guy in Florida and then I sent my guys to address the situation, (when you mess with my income, you must suffer).

    Now, in my fantasy, that can in no way be used against me in a court of law, I have all of this man's computers and he may need to buy a new car... maybe!

    (you kids need to understand how easy it is to find you on the internet! All you need is a P.I. license and the right software...)

    As I said, this is all untrue. Something I made up!

    But, yes, violence is the last resort... but sometimes important, unfortunately...

  38. IrishKev,

    I dont condone violence or war but sometimes all people will listen to is a fist. Peaceful ends are best but you cant always have it that way. It would be nice though.

  39. @ eireannach666
    God I hate the glorification of war and the military. I thought the purpose of docs like these was to educate people and not to provide an excuse for banner waving. The people of Ireland (and the U.S.and U.K.)have more reason to worry about their own govts. than about old conflicts. Increase the Peace, Tiocfaidh Ar La and watch out for the N.W.O. (Sorry for the gicknaa crack btw).

  40. @IrishKev
    Id appreciate it if you would refrain from name calling like I dont know what a gicknaa means.

    I respect all forms of military especially the special forces.Me saying that the SAS are elite and deserves respect as well as the US special forces and those around the world,has nothing to do with what I have said here, or this doc. Iam aware of the SAS role during this time and they were just doing what they were told.No matter if they tortured or killed. That doesnt change my mind of them being elite. Nor does it change my mind about special forces having made a huge contribution around the world.

  41. Thanks Vlatko. Now I can sleep tonight. Just sent you an email by the way. Peace.

  42. what a great documentary. That's a conflict I've wanted to understand more thoroughly and this was thorough. A lot of you noted an imbalance or favoritism for the Brits but if you watch the entire thing the picture is better. In each section he does a pretty decent job of taking each of the three groups to task. There is probably a slight imbalance toward the British but not nearly so much as it might seem if you ONLY watch the first segment. He is just as hard on the Loyalists and least asks some hard questions of the Brits.

    However...the last two clips are missing! After watching all that material its killing me to have two final segments left unwatched.

  43. they should have killed the lot of them....

  44. IrishKev."Did I not see a comment by yourself biggin’up the S.A.S. and special forces"

    Yes , indeed . However there in lies another story.

  45. I'm very torn with the IRA. My grandmother was a huge supporter, but that was back in the day when the IRA actually meant something to people (1900s-1920s). I've got a lot of Irish nationalism in my blood. My father grew up and spent most of his life on the Falls and came down south during the 90s. As far as he is concerned, though not all of the actions of the IRA were just, they did go a long way to helping and protecting the nationalist community when no one else would. They stopped a lot of people from being burned out of their homes and being victims of violence from loyalist paramilitaries. They also kept a lot of undesirables, e.g drug dealers, out of the community.

    On the other side of that, there are the bombings in both Britain and Ireland, causing the deaths of many innocent people. That is inexcusable. I did notice further up, however, DC mentioning that the torture methods of the British army were not as bad as those employed by the IRA. Although the IRA may have been more brutal (knee-capping, etc.), I believe it was not as bad as what the British Army did, simply because the army were sent in to protect people and to keep the peace. They did not do this. They interned people and used brutal methods of interrogation. Battering people is not something that should be done by a force that is being employed to improve the situation. The IRA are paramilitaries - they work outside the law, violence is what they do. The British Army are supposed to be above that and, for the most part, they weren't. However, I do not think that the IRA should have turned on their own people or bombed the various different areas in Ireland and Britain. I think freedom is important, and it's good to have ideals. I would never turn my back on a united Ireland, I would love it. However, I do think that murdering innocent people is not the way to go, and the IRA did this. I would support them more if they had not punished the innocent.

    Let's also not forget the Loyalists in all of this. They were much the same. They were bigots and violent thugs. That Ian Paisley has an awful lot to answer for too.

    1. I've changed the title into "Provos, Loyalists and Brits". Now the giant playlist contains all the material from these series.

  46. @ eireannach666
    Did I not see a comment by yourself biggin'up the S.A.S. and special forces ? A little consistency please, ya Gicknaa!!!

  47. For anybody thats interested in the more modern era of the Troubles might I suggest checking out an article called Orwellian Ireland on It will blow your mind!! Thanks Vlatko,great site.

  48. FYI This is part of a series done by the BBC. The other parts being "The Loyalists" and "The Brits". Although this is a one-sided view of the conflict, the series, as a whole, is not.

    1. “The Loyalists” and “The Brits” are coming up soon @Sean.

  49. @Richard!

    What a beauty she is going to be/(is)!

    Wow. Congratulations!

  50. Both my grandmothers came to america from ireland. One married a german immigrant, the other married into my father's family who'd come to the colonies around 1650. So what's it mean? Means both my grandmothers were Irish and once in a while I like to read up (or watch doc's) on Ireland and Irish history to know more about them. I usually encounter the same kind of, uh, lively debate I see here whenever I try and talk irish history with other yanks who share irish ancestry, and all I can say is that I agree with the notion put forward earlier that the truth usually seems to lie somewhere between the poles. Or not. It's always interesting though.
    I live in thailand now where I have a daughter by a thai woman with khmer ancestry. which means my little girl is irish/german/american/thai/khmer.
    God help us all when she grows up!

  51. @brightonhippy wrote:

    "The troubles was a funny sort of war 30 odd years 3500 dead..."

    Um... as a World History PHD, I would correct you...

    Try, 800 years of struggle in Ireland against the Anglish! And uncountable generations of dead. That would be a closer figure to the truth.

    I'm just sayin'

  52. trouble was the talks could have happened in the 70s. PIRA went to the first talks thinking the british were going to surrender! They had'nt read there mao.
    The south until recently was an economic basket case its getting better but still some way to.
    The troubles was a funny sort of war 30 odd years 3500 dead that would be a quiet year in Israel or south america or south africa.
    unfortunatly a small band of idiots are kicking off again.
    The south and the north are both democracys killing people cause you can't get your way in the ballot box is facist.
    but then americans are quite keen on tyrannys abroad

  53. @face

    Thanks for you un -bias opinion . It Is valid and just. Im just an aggressor . I alwaybutt heads with the hippies from all nations.

  54. im half english half irish and have lived in London through the canary wolf bombing. this is an issue that started over a1000 years ago a great work on the subject is 'the green flag' by robert lee check it out for the historicle background! i think we all pretty much agree that irelznd should rule itself the oranges are clinging on for dear life but a unified ireland is inevitable, alas the cause is ajust one what remains are their means, some say terrorism some say talking, i say there would never have been talks if it hadnt been for terrorism. to really appreciate the subject look further back to over 700 years of repression by a very small minority with english backng and feel their pain. though certainly not as glorious as thecollins eta the provos had the right idea. up the RA!

  55. Up the Ra!

  56. @Everyone

    Randy said it best "We are great writers, philosophers, thinkers, poets, musicians, and yes… fighters… unfortunately, when there is no one else to fight, we fight ourselves…" We have alot to be proud of. We should embrace these accompaniments as a worldwide community and not beat eachother down just because we disagree on politics .

  57. @Norbertine
    If someone belives they fight for their freedom then that is what they are in the eyes of themselves . Not everyone is exspected to necessarily agree with them, but I do when it comes to standing up for what you belive in. Even if others disagree. I have family who lived through this and Ive come to find that half agree with the IRA and half dont. I try to see it from both sides. Your side means nothing since your views are that of anger towards the outside Irish community and ,like you said, you weren't there. You should embrace the outside community because we are all proud of our roots.
    You state that "If my kids happened to be born outside Ireland," etc. Well you sir are a hypocrite. You want to condemn the American Irish but yet you say that if the shoe were on your foot then it would be different. If those of us with Irish roots living elsewhere in the world are to be condemned then your kids would be in the same boat.
    "‘trying to find your roots’ and buying tourist junk thinking it’s real Irish culture." Dude I know where my roots are. Not all Americans go around buying "tourist junk" as you said. Your views are prejudice and harmful to the worldwide Irish community , if you speak for all people in Ireland .
    Which I doubt you are the ordained ambassador to the rest of the world. Thankfully.
    "Oh, and you might want to take a quick look at what your own government gets up to around the world before you cry crocodile tears over Ireland…"
    We all know what the US government is doing , the whole world knows, and everybody is digusted by it. But that statement alone and the previous ones as well , tell me that you just have anti-US beliefs and are just picking. Besides , I was just talking about this doc and stating what I know on the issue while asking for outside input. And since as you said,(not me by the way, the Northern Irish people above), then why not let them speak for themselves as they already have , as they obviously do not share your prejudice beliefs. You are putting the N.Irish people in a bad light of prejudice and ignorance and Im sure the more educated of them do not appreciate you speaking on their behalf.

    You too should read more than you talk. (above posts) I never spoke on the N. Irish views. Nor on the views of others. Just read the rest of the posts and not just one or two before you jump in on someone elses conversation.

  58. @eireannach666

    If my kids happened to be born outside Ireland, had never lived here and yet went online talking about how the Provos are freedom fighters to people who have lived through the violence (not me by the way, the Northern Irish people above), I'd sit them down and tell them a few home truths.

    You do realise that over here we refer to you lot as 'plastic paddies' and laugh at you all wandering round 'trying to find your roots' and buying tourist junk thinking it's real Irish culture.

    Oh, and you might want to take a quick look at what your own government gets up to around the world before you cry crocodile tears over Ireland...

  59. For everyone who wants to agree with tweedle dee and tweedle dum here , just remember that Americans wouldn't say you werent American just because you weren't born here or because you were born here and left.

  60. @Norbertine
    Nobody implied that you,” sit round dressed like leprechauns, listening to folk music, obsessed by ancient history and dreaming about misty green hills” as you said . This doc was about history and the IRA . For you to say that someone cant be proud of or claim their heritage just because the were born elsewhere prejudice .
    Im American first and Irish second . My blood makes me Irish. Excuse me if I was raised to love the traditions and history of my forefathers. I was raised to be proud of my roots.Your comment was very rude , disrespectful and like I said prejudice , which puts you in a bad light. You come on here and say such things , but do you realize that when you do so you are not only making yourself look bad but it might reflect bad on your own friends and family?
    So what you two are saying is that if " your " children were born in America and lived here , then they are not Irish and cannot be proud of their own? Or keep the traditions of their family ? Rediculous.

  61. @Norbertine
    " Your study of the history of country can’t have been very in-depth, considering that Ireland had been christianised long before the arrival of Strongbow."

    By the way , I may have been a little off about when christianity came but that is beside the point. Point is that my family has over 850 yrs history in Ireland .

    Christianity came 300's A.D . My bad , Im only human .

  62. @eireannach666

    And all that makes you Irish does it? Because your family are originally from here and you speak Gaelic? Great. When will you Yanks learn that we don't all sit round dressed like leprechauns, listening to folk music, obsessed by ancient history and dreaming about misty green hills? You're not bloody Irish!

    PS Your study of the history of country can't have been very in-depth, considering that Ireland had been christianised long before the arrival of Strongbow.

  63. @ Pygny

    Well...what do you know?

    @ McGarvey

    That is what I was just thinking but was going to save for him, when ever/ if he ever decides to show everyone how he can educate us with some new information that was previously unknown to the rest of us.

    I am always open to new information if it is factual.

  64. @ Pygny

    Americans have always held on to the traditions and culture from where they once came from - Italians, Peurto Ricans, Irish, et al. America has always been the salad bowl in that respect and not the melting pot. Just because several generations have passed does not bar you from being interested/proud of your heritage. For example I am Scottish of Irish descent and because my grandmother was Irish I have an Irish passport(in addition to my UK one). Do I have no right to my Irish heritage because 2 generations have passed? What about my children(theoretical-don't have any)? And their children? Where is the line after which you must abandon your heritage because too much time has passed?

  65. @The Pygny
    It is obvious you are wrong. You have a very pitiful idea about us American Irish. I was the first born of my fathers side in America . We came from Wexford Co , Wexford -just east of Summerhill. From what the elders in my family say , the Normans were our decendents who landed in 1169 predating Christianity. So I probably have deeper roots in the land of Eire than you do. I speak Gaelic ok , which was passed down from family and I also have studied history my entire life.

    It is also obvious that you havent even read the post exchanges between myself and others. If you had you would see that I dont agree or disagree but rather view things from both sides and am trying to elaborate on history , in which I am probably more knowledgeable on than yourself. Also , if you are actually from Ireland , then you should be embarrassed that an Irish American knows more on the topic than you.Dont try and trash talk because it just makes you look foolish.

    Why dont you tell us all what you know about the conflict that hasnt been said and maybe your opinion on it , if you can include the facts.Maybe we might all learn from you vast histoical and political knowledge on Irish and Irish American history.

    None of my knowledge came from the press and I have been to Ireland. You need to read more than you talk. ( The posts above )

  66. @The Pygny

    I am a yank Irish, but I love my Irish heritage. It informs my life. As I never had a strong father figure, Ireland and its people, (my family), become very important in defining who I am.

    If a real Irishman, (from the Emerald Isle), would reject me... I would be... bereft.

    So please, sir, do not reject me, just because I am a yank!

    Please... I have nothing but respect for you! I think of you as a BIG brother!

  67. It is very obvious that `eireannach666` has never set foot in Ireland, either side. It is just as obvious that he is just a very miss-informed yank who believed what was said by the IRA and (very) pro IRA yank press.There are many yanks who claim Irish descent, but that is after several generations. Can any one explain their obsession with this.

  68. Thanks for sharing your position on the subject. Much appreciation .

    "can only really lay claim to the title of ‘freedom fighters’ if they enjoy the support of a large proportion of those in who’s names they claim to be fighting"

    I will only say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. To fight for your individual freedom is still a freedom fight.

    However I do agree with your point about "That is not a view shared by the vast majority of Irish citizens."
    but realize alot of us , such as myself , like to sympathise the views on both sides . Truth usually lies in the middle of two sides.

    Remember this , Ithe rish immigrants that came to America early on and throughout most of history excluding the more recent, were treated like second class citizens by the mostly European/Ex-British population in the late 1700's and up until the early 1900's ,when most old school Americans still didnt respect us as equal, and didnt we didnt start catching a break until the mid- 1900's .
    We as a people have a very complex and rough history , this is why it is such a hard topic to debate.

    Once again thanks for your well spoken input.

  69. eireannach666: I am a catholic and a nationalist and a lecturer in Irish history at the University of Galway. For a start i wouldn't describe the situation in Northern Ireland as an 'occupation'. That term in itself implies a lack of consent from the population, which is not the case in the six counties. Northern Ireland returns 18 members to the UK Parliament, 10 of whom are unionists of one kind or another and 8 of whom are nationalists or republicans. The unionists also hold a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly which is responsible for most aspects of domestic policy. There are numerous cross-border initiatives put in place through agreement between the governments of the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom, who have long shared a common policy towards the status of Northern Ireland, to the effect that she should be part of whichever country the majority of her population wishes to be part of. That is a position that is very much in line with international law and United Nations policy and it is therefore hard to see how violent opposition to the British presence can be jutified.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that support for reublican paramilitary groups is confinded to specific areas of Northern Ireland and is virtually non-existent in the Republic of Ireland (where most such groups are illegal). It stands to reason that an organisation can only really lay claim to the title of 'freedom fighters' if they enjoy the support of a large proportion of those in who's names they claim to be fighting. As others have pointed out, the in-depth studies carried out by researchers at the University of Ulster show minimal levels of support for the Provisional IRA outside of West Belfast, parts of Derry and sections of the border country, as well as indicating their involvement in the killing of more catholics than any of the Protestant terrorist groups or the British or Irish security forces.

    In many ways, the influence of certain Irish-American groups has been somewhat malignant in their - some might say wilfull - ignorance of the facts of the troubles. Most armed republican groups considered the government of the Republic of Ireland to be illegitimate, for reasons going back to the civil war. That is not a view shared by the vast majority of Irish citizens.

    Finally, the original pre-1922 British rule in Ireland is far more complex than a lot of people realise and developed over time rather than coming about as a result of a consistent, long-term policy. It is also true that before 1916, none of the various rebellions - including that of 1798 - received wide-spread popular support. The irony is that it was eventually enlightenment-era political ideas developed in Britain and translated to Ireland that brought about a shift in public opinion in favoir of independence. Hence the prominence of Anglo-Irish figures in the leadership of the independence movement.

  70. @abfallmensch

    Ahh ,yes cant forget Thomas Mcdonagh.Great patriot and one heck of a writer. Tipperary lad.

    "‘I wish I were today on the hill behind the wood-My eyes on the brown bog there and the Shannon river-Behind the wood at home,’- Thomas Mcdonagh

    Probobly one of the best Irish playrights of the time. Was an awesome man.

    @What is your take on the British occupation ? I see yor view on the Provisionals.

  71. "The only context i’d refer to them as nuts, is ballsy courageous!"

    ChristPuncher, were they ballsy courageous when they killed members of the Irish Army and Irish Police (i.e the security forces of the Republic of Ireland)? Were they ballsy courageous when the killed over 600 Irish civilians (to put that in context for you, the British killed 188). Were they ballsy couageous when they deliberately set of car bombs in crowded town centres, knowing that they would kill numerous oridinary Irish people? Were they ballsy courageous when they took over the drug trade in Belfast and Derry or robbed Irish banks? Were they ballsy courageous when they trained FARC guerillas in Colombia and Libyan terrorists, directly contributing to the murder of US citizens? Were they ballsy courageous when they killed two little boys in Warrington who's only crime was to be English? Were they ballsy courageous when they murdered numerous Irish builders and labourers who happened to have taken jobs repairing police stations or government buildings? Were they ballsy courageous when they bombed a rememberance service honouring the Irish dead in the world wars? Were they ballsy courageous when they tortured young women who were seen kissing Protestants or soldiers? Were they ballsy courageous when they bombed a bus full of soldier's wives and children? Were they ballsy courageous when they trained the Red Army Faction in Germany and encouraged them to attack NATO targets? Were they ballsy courageous when they shot my Uncle in the back of the head and dumped his body near the border for taking a job with a Protestant taxi company?

    There are plenty of Irish organisations who support and work for Irish re-unification, from the Worker's Party to the SDLP. The Provisional IRA and INLA have never enjoyed the support of most Irish people either North or South of the border so please don't imagine that we all think they are fighting for our freedom.

  72. as a german living in ireland i wont comment on the history of the states, because i dont know very much about the "troubles"
    i live near the village (cloughjordan) where one of 1916 leaders was born and raised, thomas mcdonagh. he was a great poet and a strong patriot, the villagers are very proud here of their heritage and certainly know alot about the easter rising.
    a very good book about the conflict in the north is "the troubles" from tim pat coogan.
    the history of ireland is one of the saddest in europe, and will probably never be really understood.

  73. That is a rule of war , Deception. Its clever.

    All war is deception- Sun Tzu

  74. The only context i'd refer to them as nuts, is ballsy courageous! I remember hearing a story of a bunch of members dressed in brit army uniforms drive right into the british armoury, filled the trucks with guns, and just drive right out, without a single shot fired!

    That is NUTS! :p

  75. @Rich

    Tell me what makes the IRA nuts and not just freadom fighters with alot on their plate? Just for the sake of debate.

    All opinions are valid as long as their statements are backed up by fact.

  76. Lets not forget ireland was occupied and its people treated like shit, biggest mess being the famine and a government who didnt give a damn exporting food to england during this time. In those terms I wish people would put the situation into context but yes the ira were terrorist nuts. Its hardly an isolated case especially with britain and when one country decides to occupy this is what happens. take the middle east which is another disaster till today, who were the architects? I didnt support the iras' methods but there is nothing wrong with a united ireland if it ever came to pass.

  77. @ChristPuncher I do agree with you that Collins was a good guy. Never should of went to try and talk politics with the"Welsh Wizard. When he signed that paper he told another " I tell you, I have signed my death warrant." and when he was to go and visit troops later that year he was advised by several of his men not to leave. He told them"They would never shoot me in my own county ."(Cork) Needless to say he went , and on his way back from Bandon at Beal na mBlath , ( which means "the mouth of flowers") he was ambushed. Nobdy else was killed that day except for him. Some say the Irregulars got him ,some say it was his troops. ( I smell conspiracy theorists. Stay away from our heritage , swine. )Either way it was a shame.

  78. @DC and McKaXXXXX
    Hey , Hey ,Hey guys , give christpuncher a break. He is as proud to be Irish as anyone is , it seems. I think you guys got off to a bad start. Now shake hands and call a truce . Bunch of Micks , I swear. Not everybody can know every minor detail on such a long , touchy topic. I sure dont and we are wexford blood , Besides when it comes to the struggle , it is 60 % politics . Politics , nobody will agree on.

    @ChristPuncher "i dont have a furry red beard, and brownish red hair, pale skin, small nipples, being 5?10."
    I know you were being sarcastic but lets leave that out of it , because that is a stereotype , like saying the jews all have big noses because air is free.

    For those that are reading this but dont know wtf is going on, here are some key facts to help:

    1.The Stickies came from the split in the IRA in the early 70's over politics ( which seems to happen alot throughout history . There ended up being PIRA, ( provisionals ) and those against the change , the OIRA(official ) or (Stickies) .
    2.The Infant of Prague is unfortunately just some religious superstition , its a statue of baby jesux sometimes used for luck or for bring certain weather, its nonsense really , but what funny is that it wont bring you luck unless its head falls off by accident ,lol. Mostly in places like Cork, Dublin, Sligo and Leitrim etc. Elders of mine used to put a ha'penny under it to bring money, doesnt work btw.
    If Im wrong please correct me , as I am not an expert. I thought you guys would have at least explained to the people .

    Our national epic has yet to be written.We are becoming important, it seems.

    The mocker is never taken seriously when he is most serious. -James Joyce

  79. *sigh*

    Anyways, we Irish have much to be proud of.

    We are great writers, philosophers, thinkers, poets, musicians, and yes... fighters... unfortunately, when there is no one else to fight, we fight ourselves...

    However, when the chips are down... we will defend our brothers to the death!

    It's the old saying, "I can beat my brother, but woe to any other man that seeks to beat him! He will be beaten by us both!"

    But I say, can we not beat on anybody? That would be good...

  80. Ph, one more thing - try to get your facts rights before advocating murder (on any side) in someone else's country. It sorta helps. Perhaps you should go to the Death of Yugoslavia doc and gob off at Serbs? They take a lot less sh1te than we do. :)

    Now do one you silly little internet hero...

  81. @ChristPuncher

    "A stickie is a pansy version of an irish volunteer". The exact opposite of ehat you said earlier then? A 'split from the official IRA'. You bluffing fecker :)

  82. A stickie is a pansy version of an irish volunteer

  83. Stop fighting amongst yourselves! That is exactly what I was talking about earlier!

    We are all Irish brothers! I know it is in our nature, but, surely, we can rise above it!?!?

  84. Stixky, sticky, sticky, liar, liar, liar :D :D

  85. So answer him, Irishman. Why do you not know what a stickie is?

  86. Come one who knows ANYTHING about the troubles know what a stickie is!!

  87. Like wow...what do you expect me to say when you ask word for word "what is your opinion of the press" are you asking me what my opinion is of the closet? why would i assume thats what your talking about, not to mention it, the last time i may have even heard it (even though i think your crazy cause ive still dont remember hearing it) would have been 23 years try another lame tactic to see if i can confuse my own heritage

  88. And your excuse for the small of the stickies? We're all ears, expert on all things republican?

    PS Anyone who is really from Kildare would know straight away that the press tradition refers to keeping a cast of the Infant of Prague in the closet. Come on - it's a big Leinster thing!

    Why should anyone reading this thread take the opinion as authoritative of someone who can't distinguish between the two wings of the IRA and who has no idea about Leinster traditon, despite claiming to come from there?

  89. Oh please...wanna re-read the year i immigrated? haha, 1986! you thought you had me there, eh? here in Canada, we refer to the press as the media. Dig my hole? The only thing that you have proven is that Assimilation works.

  90. @ChristPuncher

    "And finally, i dont know whats so important about these presses with you? is it that they were basically controlled like fox news with a bias? other than that, im not sure what you are referring to?"

    A press is a closet in Ireland, not the media. Thanks for demonstarting in one swift move that you have no idea about Ireland :)

    So you don't know what stickies are and don't know what presses are - akin to someone pretending to be American not knowing what twinkies are. So are you going to stop or will you keep digging a hole for yourself? :)

  91. @ChristPuncher

    "!) the split of 69 when the stickies split from the official IRA."

    Haha!! The stickies ARE the Offical IRA. That is their nickname. Are you going to stop pretending now or have a go at the other two? :)

  92. yes obviously, the IRA violence itself was non existant in kildare, but you'd still have teenage gangs aspiring to fight for either side.

    And finally, i dont know whats so important about these presses with you? is it that they were basically controlled like fox news with a bias? other than that, im not sure what you are referring to?

  93. ChristPuncher: ignore the bloke above. I was born in the old kildare bout the same time as you! Wasn't that a great goal to win the final in 1985? :D :D

  94. !) the split of 69 when the stickies split from the official IRA. Thy wanted less military movement and more political, so now we have 2 factions, one wanting a 32 county work Rep.

  95. Nope. As a Kildare man, what is your opinion of the press tradition?

    PS I didn't call Collins a traitor - I was pointing out that the Provos consider him one. And yet you support them. What was that about following an arguement?

    Simple questions: 1) What was the 'spilt of 1969'? 2) What was the limited violence you experienced in Kildare? 3) What about those presses?

  96. And how can you compare letters from the 1920's into the conflicts of the 70's and 80's? What kind of answer were you hoping for out of me? As i recall i never even mentioned your era at all had anything to do with those letters? so why would you associate them? poorly thought out argument, and an attempt to attack my credibility by saying im not even irish! who the hell claims to be a nationality they are not? ok busted me...i was really born in honduras, my name is Garaputo...happy?

  97. @ChristPuncher

    The split in 1969? Very mcuh of the troubles? LOL!

    Before you claim to have direct experience of the violence in Ireland (to whatever degree) it might be an idea to run Irish history through google before you make a fool of yourself. That, as the Americans say, is pwnage :).

    Still, what is your opinon of the press?

  98. OK, I'm a traitor for not buying into the racist belief that every Englishman or Irish Protestant is beneath contempt.

    Now can you please clarify for the uniformed which part of the troubles you experienced in Kildare? Examples would be nice. And answer my question about the press tradition in that part of Ireland?

  99. And no, i never experienced very much of the main violence after the split in 69, there was still gang violence EVERYWHERE in the country. I admit to knowing less and less as the years went by, and the most detailed information i have is from an entirely different era of conflict. My support for the IRA stems from when they were the most pure, and had the most pure intentions...they were watered down by the time you got to see them in action.

  100. Why is it you keep challenging my blood? And essentially calling my grandfather a supporter of a "traitor" as you so shabbily worded it. If i were to make assumptions, i'd call you the traitor...moving to london, and then back to british controlled ireland. If anything its you who arent irish.

  101. Oh, and how much of the troubles did you experience south of the border when you were growing up? (Hint for those who don't know: the answer is none).

  102. For those who don't know, County Kildare is in the Republic of Ireland and was entirely unaffected by the troubles that began in 1969. Derry was at the heart of the troubles in Northern Ireland. Therein lies the difference.

    If you re-read my post, I wasn't disputing your right to have an opinion per se. I was pointing out that the vast majority of political organisations who actually operate within Ireland - north and south of the border - opposed the IRA. That includes the descendats of Michael Collins (Fine Gael) and the children of Dev (Fianna Fail). Quite apart from that, I have direct experience of people dying on the streets of Ireland, you do not. Your grandfather's letters in no way entitle you conclude that the mainstream republican movement of the 70s and 80s wre wrong and that the provos were right, in the face of the opinion of people who actually lived through it.

    Which part of Kildare are you from by the way? Do you know about the presses there?

  103. And you are intrigued why i still support the IRA after what they did to collins? Its simple. A FREE IRELAND

    Although i may not agree with some of their methods, i agree that what they fought for was worth fighting for, but so far the ends have certainly not justified the means. At least weapons have been laid down, and theres time to listen again. A good step in the right direction

  104. Hilarious, try to base my entire credibility as an irishman on a typo! Maybe if i added in some P's and F's it may sound bogus, but you are just arguing semantics because you want to seem the be all, and end all in "i was there" knowledge. You were just another civilian bystander in the streets in a screwed up time like the rest of us. No one is disputing what happened, its about whether it should have taken place or not. And to top it off, you claim i shouldnt have any opinion about how it affected me because i moved away from it across the atlantic with my parents when i was 9? why cant i remember clearly at 9, when you can clearly remember what happened to that soldier when you were 10?

    You seem very full of yourself, and honestly, i cant understand why. You were just another civilian like the rest of us, dont forget it.

  105. @ChristPuncher

    I was born on the Shantallow Estate in Derry in 1967 and lived there until 1987, when I moved to London. I now live in back in Northern Ireland, in the coastal town of Larne. So far from relating to the troubles via old family letters or 'watching the news in the 70s', I spent my entire childhood and youth in an area virtually run by the Provisional IRA. Blokes from my street where in the IRA, others were killed by them. A British soldier was shot about 15 metres from my front door one weekend when I was 10. Some people celebrated the fact, most did not - not least because the same soldiers escorted us to school through a Protestant enclave on a daily basis. I was living in the city when the IRA made the decision to bomb the hell out of the town centre to make it look more like a war-zone, all part of the propaganda war. Far from getting anything second-hand, I spent the first twenty years of my life living in a community that was intimately tied up with the IRA.

    People reading this thread can make up their own minds about whether your perspective from across the Atlantic, informed by letters from an entirely different era trumps mine, actually lived on some of the most violent streets in Northern Ireland. Having grown up in Catholic Derry, lived in metropolitan England and now resident in a small Irish Protestant town, I've reached the conclusion that there are wonderful people and utter ****ers on all sides. Thankfully, most people now just want peace. Collins et al are an integral part of our history but they are the past. The future lies in reconciliation and unity.

    And by the way, for someone who claims to have been born there, it is strange that you can't spell 'kildare'...

  106. @DC
    My opinions arent valid why? Dont you remember me saying that my family was actually involved in the events that took place after easter 1916? My great grandfather was one of the few personal bodyguards of micheal collins. I have his journal in my lockbox, as well as hand written notes from micheals collins himself....So are my opinions still no longer valid? I've seen more truths on handwritten paper, than you have probably read from your history books, or remember from watching the news in the 70s, please!

    I was born in ireland in 1977, in county Killdare, Leinster and moved to canada in 1986, and intend on going back within a decade or two.

    Would you like to share your family's involvement in the era's they accounted for? I love hearing old stories.

  107. @DC
    Right on brotha.

    I agree. I have no problem with the British.
    Every country at one point in time has been and/or had slaves, cival, war etc, but besides that common fact we all are also human beings , occupying the same rock in the universe. I always look at the " achievements " of man and wonder how much further we could progress if only we could get along with eachother.

    Americans Irish in general , dont really hate the brits .The ones that due are usually brought up that way. Some ex- provisionalist make their point that the brits screwed us twice , American revolutionary war and the Irish rebelion. Its a stupid thought to entertain.Especially while already being proud to be Irish but Also American.We love the limey rascals .They are our strongest alley , Irish or American.

    " Accursed who brings to light of day the writings I have cast away. All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions." William Butler Yeats

  108. @DC

    Exactly. We are all friends now. I joke and kid the Anglish and my Anglish friends joke and kid me, (I'm a thick, drunken, Irishman, and they are effeminate, land-stealing, arses... etc...)

    But, I as I said earlier, this doc represents a dark time that is important to know and learn from, but should in no way impede our realizing we all have a rich, shared heritage.

    We both love Fish n' Chips and Guiness! (Good lord, my stomach just rumbled...)

  109. Nice to see a constructive debate on here :). As romantic as some people find 'the struggle' I think it is important to break the cycle and move on. As in any conflict, this involves soul-searching on both sides. The Brits have to come to terms with the fact that their colonisation of Ireland was wrong and is a dark stain on their history. By and large, that is what's happening. We Irish, on the other hand, have to move beyond our victim complex, accept that our case is not unique and that there were many other imperialist states other than Britain - most of them far more brutal. Indeed, imperialism was the default setting of the world for millenia. Some people have to stop pretending that the British are somehow the cruelest people in the world just because that position provides a comforting sticking-plaster for all Ireland's woes.

    Most Irish people - the vast majority of those in the South in particular - have moved beyond knee-jerk Brit bashing and the two countries have moved closer together. It helps that millions of Brits are of Irish descent and hundreds of thousands of Irish people have Anglo- blood (including Robert Emmet and W.B Yeats!). Given that that is the case, I find it hard to understand why a lot of Irish-Americans seem to harbour such hate for the British - especially as they have been a closer ally of yours than we have!

    Having seen it first hand, war is a despicable thing. Where there is a chance for reconciliation we should grab it with both hands. If the South Africans and the ex-Yugoslavians can do it, so can we.

  110. @christpuncher
    " When you strap on a gun and walk around in another persons country, telling them what to do…dont be suprised when some cars start blowing up in your face."

    This was funny to me because it has proven so true all around the world forever. Kind of a harsh reality check.

  111. @Randy
    That is one I have seen. Great doc might I add. May I also suggest , ROCKY ROAD TO DUBLIN by The Irish Film Institute
    Its about life in the 60's when there wasnt so much conflict. When our music,politics, educational system and literature etc, had a big boom of advancement.

  112. We do have a great history and much to be proud of. Not the least of which is our history in America!

    I summerized many of the points in the documentary I am about to suggest to Vlatko, in another post, but I think you all will enjoy it:

    "The History of Irish in America" (pretty simple title)

    It runs two hours, and they run it on The History Channel every year around St. Patty's Day. It is narrated by Aiden Quinn. Important for Irish-Americans, as well as Americans in general, as it covers many key points in American history.

    Perhaps you will look into it, Vlatko?

  113. Great comments guys on a difficult topic to debate. it inspired we to watch part one of this and to open my mind up to the tough situations described. It seems that the situation in Ireland is improving and has improved since the heady days of the earlier history. i hope that this is the case. and to quote Eireannach666.


  114. @Randy

    Good theory , as always .I ve always wondered why we never could establish an empire as well. I think that had alot to do with it , for sure.

    Love the quote. Painfully true.

    The Irish are more than the IRA . We have deep cultural roots and had some brilliant individuals come out with great sucess on the political stage as well in the arts . We have had numerous nobel prizes along with a huge impact on music. We need some docs done on those topics as well.(hint , hint , Vlatko)
    Great history we have , indeed. Be proud.

  115. @DC 1 "I think that a mistake that a lot of people from outside Ireland make is to consider the Provisional campaign as a continuation of the whole narrative of republicanism from previous eras." and 2 "Britain has said repeatedly that when the majority of people in NI wish it, Northern Ireland will have independence. As there is still about a 60/40 spilt in the unionist/nationalist vote, they are still there. But given the birth rate of the catholic population as opposed to the protestant population, independence will eventually come without the need for violence. ."

    Excellent point!
    1. Most people dont know early IRA history. They only assume its the same plight.

    The Gaelic League was brought on for the purpose of re-establishing the Irish language and culture.Which was later to become Sinn Fein movement, (We  Ourselves). Arthur Griffith’s (founder) plan was to boycott England , militarily ,econmicly and political , and to set up an Irish parliament.
    The Irish Republican Brotherhood was revived by James Connolly after Larkin came back from the US with some "new ideas" to gain independence from England . Before Connolly they had no real leader with any real leadership qualities.

    On Good Friday evening 1916 ,a German ship was bringing us arms and ammunition .There was a plan for a general rebellion.However their leader was captured by the British and taken to London,and was hanged. Martial law was declared in Dublin county.The Irish Nationalists in America were supposed to have known of the intentions of the Easter rising before it happened.The Gaelic American president warned the British government..
    Basicly at this time in history WWI was jumping off and the Germans wanted the English to be so occupied with us that they wouldn't be able to fight in mainland Europe.
    The IRB had already decided to rebel during the war anyways. But due to the circumstances the arms from Germany had fallen through.  But being the fighters we are , a few Irish decided to go ahead with the rising.Then all the stuff with the GPO happened.
    Seven leaders of the rebellion announced an Irish Republic.  All seven of the leaders were executed along with eight others.  DeValera, the only one not killed, was saved because his mom was a US citezen but he got life.This plight was theirs and the IRA as most know them, their own.
    This is how it all started, though.

    2. I cant say much on that , since I dont live there and have no idea how the public generally feels. I will say that it sounds nice . Peacefully would be prefered by everyone Im sure. I would like to see it go that way.

  116. @ChristPuncher

    Good points about Collins, well made and I agree with almost everything. Which makes it all the more intriguing why you state "There are very few orginazations i respect as much as the IRA", considering that the Provisional IRA are the direct descendants of the most extreme of the anti-treaty forces who opposed Collins and eventually murdered him. Even Fianna Fail, very much Dev's party and the government of the Republic of Ireland throughout the troubles condemned the Provos (and jailed many of them operating from the South). Even the Official IRA (known as 'the stickies') realised that violence was counter-productive and have been on ceasfire since the early 1970s. I would suggest that when even part of the IRA itself and a Southern government decended from the original IRA think that a violent campaign is unjustified, that speaks volumes.

    I think that a mistake that a lot of people from outside Ireland make is to consider the Provisional campaign as a continuation of the whole narrative of republicanism from previous eras. Britain in Northern Ireland is not trying to cling to power as part of some kind of on-going imperialist policy. Indeed, my homeland is a significant drain on her resources as she pays out more in subsidies than NI contributes to the UK economy. Britain has said repeatedly that when the majority of people in NI wish it, Northern Ireland will have independence. As there is still about a 60/40 spilt in the unionist/nationalist vote, they are still there. But given the birth rate of the catholic population as opposed to the protestant population, independence will eventually come without the need for violence. The British government accepts that, the Irish government accepts that, most Irish political parties (including republican ones) accept that and the vast majority of Irish people (catholic and protestant) accept that. Why is that not good enough for you and why do you feel - as someone who isn't even Irish - that your opinion from halfway across the world trumps theirs?

  117. @DC

    Point taken but without the IRA Brittania would be sucking the Irish dryer than an eighty year old hooker.I think it takes both sides to decide an outcome really. You got to “have your cake and eat it to “. In that I mean you have to have your protesrers against the IRA and the you have to have them against the Brits as well , so that way you seem patriotic and non violent at the same time. But you also have to have the leadership on the political side saying they want peace while the violent fall guys do all the dirty work and get made to look like terrorists . While the political side looks like peace makers to everyone.If the political side doesnt appear that way then they wil never have the backing of the people , before or after. Typical politics , which to me is worse than any army or religion.

    Thats what messed up this county.(Religion and Politics inbreading a seven web-toed freak of a government.)In any case, this has happened a thousand times in history and wont be the last. Hopefully it wont happen again to you or to our Irish people.

  118. This was another dark time in our history, and I will let eireannach666 speak on it, as it saddens me.

    As much as I am proud of our struggle against the Anglish, and felt it just, there seems to be an Irish character flaw that pagues us through-out history. My theory is, that it prevented us from forging an empire of our own at any time in history, when so many other great European people had one... at least once!

    It's characterized by an old saying that my Irish uncles taught me, after they had spent all night beating each other up in a bar, (LOL)!

    "Myself against my brothers!

    My brothers and me against the town!

    My brothers, the town and me against the County!

    My brothers, the town, the County and me against Ireland!

    Ireland, all my brothers, against the WORLD!"

  119. @DC "a far more complicated than glorious Irish revolutionaries"

    That sort of has a nice poetic ring to it dont ya tink?

  120. @ChristPuncher
    Micheal Collins should never have been there to negotiate to begin with, that responsibility belonged to Eamonn de Valera,

    I have to say, that is the best argument for your case.Great point.

    I got moderated so you will have to wait a second for my rebutle , which shouldnt get deleted. (You have to realize , this happens to me quite frequently , less so now than before.)

  121. There were many in the south who believed that Collins had betrayed the republican movement. These people, including de Valera, wanted an independent and united Ireland. Some believed that Collins had sold out to the British government. Few seemed to realise that Collins was not a politician and that he had been put into a situation in which he had no experience of what to do. He was up against British politicians who were experienced in delicate negotiations. Some have argued that de Valera deliberately put Collins in this situation knowing that if he came back with an unacceptable treaty, it would seriously damage the reputation of Collins and weaken whatever political kudos he had in Ireland - therefore removing any potential threat he may have been to de Valera at a political level. It is known that Collins did not feel that he had the necessary knowledge and experience to get what was wanted and he asked de Valera to send others instead of him

  122. An excerpt from actual journals of the time

    "Eamonn de Valera, considered to be the leading republican politician in Ireland, sent Collins to London in October 1921 to negotiate a treaty. It was generally recognised by both sides that the situation as it stood in Ireland could not be allowed to continue. The difficult negotiations took three months before the treaty was signed by Collins and Arthur Griffiths. In December 1921, it was agreed that Ireland should have dominion status within the British Empire; i.e. that Ireland could govern itself but remain within the British Empire. The six northern counties were allowed to contract out of the treaty and remain part of the United Kingdom. To Collins, the treaty was simply the start of a process that, in his eyes, would lead to full independence for what was now the Irish Free State"

    Micheal Collins should never have been there to negotiate to begin with, that responsibility belonged to Eamonn de Valera, as he was the leading republican politician. He chose to send collins there instead, because it was known, that they werent going to recieve a better deal, and that it wasnt going to satisfy the people ...he was a freedom fighter, NOT a politician. He even knew by signing this, it was his death warrant, but for the sake of ireland, he had to try something. The fighting couldnt continue at that pace.

    Anyone who considers that man as a traitor, needs to rethink the meaning of the word.

  123. Remember Croke park, where the british army sent in light armoured vehicles, and just opened fire on the entire crowd watching the football match, all in reprisal for the IRA killing 14 british secret police members. That was no collateral damage. that was an attack on the irish people. that would be enough for me to strap TNT to my chest and hug the nearest brit i see.

  124. @DC
    They were pissed off at micheal because he only brought them dominion status, and they wanted much more. To give them more at that meeting was not possible. Micheal was sent to that meeting against his recommendations, to save face for the actual political head. Micheal Collins was backstabbed, hung out to dry, and then assasinated. He lit the fire for the revolution to be brough to a whole new level. the man was a genious, and he was used, and it eventually killed him. But it was for his cause, so he happily gave up his life. MY family was with him till the very end, and apparantly he was a very honorable man.

  125. @eireannach666

    Again, thanks for your considered response. The fact remains that the Provisional IRA were never the lawful authority and never had a right to hold a gun to the heads of the Catholic population (sometimes quite literally) in order to secure their 'support'. The government of the Irish Republic did not support them, the mainstream reublican movement did not support them and the bulk of nationalist sentiment did not support them - none of whom had any reason to love the Brits. The Provo's support, such as it was, was confined to specific geographical locations. One of those was the estate in Derry where I grew up, where the consequences you mention could and did mean being shot for being a common teenage criminal. Unsuprisingly, most authorities draw the line at killing and seriously disabling non-violent criminals.

  126. @DC

    The brits did alot more than just beat people up while in custody. Ive heard many of horror stories from many of testemonies of it. A few first hand from family that were involved in the conflict over N. Ireland. I guess thats where I get my sympathetic stance on the issue. Also , alot of irish on irish crime involving the IRA was due to snitches/informants. Some because the IRA controlled areas were under strict rules handed out by the IRA athorities , that if not followed could be considered hostile or damaging , and consequences did apply . But people new in these cases that their action could get you or your family killed.

    "relations between English and Irish people on a personal level are nowhere near as bad as some foreign people think"
    Iagree . There are people everywhere who have extremist ideas , on evry side. Like here in the states , not all muslims are hated and not all muslims hate. Heck there is a mosque four streets down from me.

  127. ChristPuncher05/14/2010 at 08:23 A proud tidbit from my irish family heritage:
    My great grandfather was one of the personal bodyguards, and close friends, of the great revolutionary, Micheal Collins.

    You do realise that most of the republican movement considers Michael Collins to be a traitor for signing the peace treaty with Britain? The pro-treaty forces eventually became the Fine Gael party in Southern Ireland, who are about as far from Sinn Fein and the IRA as it is possible to get.

  128. @ChrisrPuncher

    Like the name by the way.
    " if it would never have taken place without the forced occupation of their country."

    This is not so, the Caths and Prots were at eachothers throats before the new military campaign against the Brits was to be . Kind of like the different muslim factions are, ya know. Thats why religion is such an incubater for hate.

  129. @ChristPuncher

    Hundreds upon hundreds of ordinary Irish Catholics didn't die gloriously for their freedom, they were murdered by the IRA. I know this to be true because I grew up with some of them. There was massive emigration from Derry to both the Republic of Ireland and to England because most people wanted to escape the violence on both sides and live normal lives, in common with most people around the world. The 'war' was not glorious - it was dirty and seedy and far more complicated than glorious Irish revolutionaries on one side and bastard Brits on the other.

  130. @eireannach666

    Thank you for your polite and considered reply. I agree that freedom is worth fighting for, it is just that employing violence to do so is not always the most productive way forward. When you have seats in the British parliament and a commitment to British withdrawal should the majority of the population vote nationalist, there is no need to kill. Daniel O'Connell and Michael Collins would agree. The Official IRA realised that a guerilla campaign was counter-productive in the early 1970s. Unfortunately the Provisional IRA didn't. Again, this isn't 1798.

    You are right that the Brits did use torture tactics. I do take issue with the suggestion, however, that they were as brutal as those of the IRA. It is one thing to beat up an enemy in custody (as the Brits and Protestants frequently did), quite another to blow out the kneecaps of members of your own community. Things are never as simple as they first appear and here in Ireland, relations between English and Irish people on a personal level are nowhere near as bad as some foreign people think. This can be demonstrated by the fact that the operational strength of the IRA was never more than 800 or so. At times, there were far more Irish Catholics serving in the British Army than that. Why anyone would join either is beyond me.

  131. A proud tidbit from my irish family heritage:
    My great grandfather was one of the personal bodyguards, and close friends, of the great revolutionary, Micheal Collins.

  132. Of course the irish casualties were much higher, most of the fighting took place in ireland! people with different views join different factions and civil war breaks out, you cant solely blame that on freedom fighting, especially if it would never have taken place without the forced occupation of their country. When have you ever heard an Irish man ever complain about dying for his country? All those casulties you listed, probably accepted their deaths alot easier than you are accepting them. They didnt die for money, or for fame. they died for what they believed in, they died for their indipendance and they killed ruthlessly because you can expect no less from your enemy!

    There are very few orginazations i respect, as much as the IRA. If theres any thing i can do for the cause boyos, just mail me a plane ticket!

  133. @DC

    You make a valid point but I still say the cause is just. I am first generation American. One side of my family is pro-IRA and the other anti-IRA , unfortunately , so I will not say your point is without validity.

    However, In war situations , especially when fighting a much larger force , you must resort to any means necessary. Im am in no way condoning torture or murder but in war time there are no rules. If you have a group of people who are making things difficult for your movement , you crush them.With cival war , which every group of people have had to go through,it is never pretty for anybody.Civilian casualties are usually high.Which is a shame , really. Nobody ever wins in any war/cival or foreign , even if you defeat your enemy , hands down. But it is war still the same.

    In my opinion the cause justifies means when the cause is for your own independence and freedom. Maybe its just the American in me talking, I dont know , but mine or my families independence and freedom are always worth fighting for. Sometimes to defeat your enemy you must be more ruthless than they are.Even if you wouldn't necessarily be that way at anyother time. War will do that evertime. Thats why it is best to avoid war if possible , but it may be the only way in some situations.

    And trust me . the Brits used just as many torture tactis as did the IRA.Tit for tat.
    And in war , if you sympathise with the enemy than you to are hostile.

    Please dont assume that I dont know what it is like to have a bomb go off near me or to be shot or shot at. You would be making a huge miscalculation.

    Thanks for your opposing view , it makes for a better outlook on things for those that dont know . You feel the same as my mothers side of the family. If I even mention the IRA around them I start a fight. Especially if there is punch involved . Of course its the opposite on the otherside. It ends up to be more of a party.Ha!
    Erin go brah.

  134. @ ChristPuncher

    Did you actually read what I wrote in the comment above yours? I am a Catholic from Northern Ireland and we aren't talking about 1798 here or 1916. What most people don't realise is that most of the violence in Northern Ireland was confined to specific areas, such as West Belfast, parts of the border area and, unfortunately, my own home town. At the height of the campaign the majority of the Catholic population did not support the IRA - hence the vote for the SDLP in preferance to Sinn Fein up until recently. And the Brits weren't directly running the country when the violence started. The responsibility for failing to originally contol the violence lies firmly with Stormont. London has long had a policy that when the majority of people in Northern Ireland wish it, they will leave. Demography alone will eventually free Ireland.

    As for the comment about 'car bombs blowing up in your face'. This is precisely the attitude of a minority of people in Ireland to the attacks of 9/11 and the terrorist violence in Afghanistan and Iraq. After NORAID sent money from 'Irish' areas of the USA that helped perpetuate the violence in Northern Ireland for so long, some people took the attitude that Americans were finally getting a taste of terrorism for themselves. This is wrong-headed of course but the same lazy thinking lies behind the usual ill-informed opinion from overseas that the IRA violence can be justified.

    As I said, the IRA killed more - many more - Irish people than the British Army or the Northern Irish police during the recent troubles. In common with the 'insurgents' in Iraq, they may attract attention abroad for their attacks on the occupying forces but their violence towards the people they are allegedly 'defending' is almost totally ignored.

  135. Wow, where do you draw the line? Theres an uproar over what the europeans did to the native americans, but not over what is happening in northern ireland? Those "poor" native americans had every right to fight back for their land, but when the IRA defend their country, the british call it terrorism.

    The natives tried taking on the british head on in battle, and history shows that the only tactics that worked against such a formidable army was unconventional guerilla tactics, hence why the IRA chose them. When the brits take away your guns, you build bombs!

    When you strap on a gun and walk around in another persons country, telling them what to do...dont be suprised when some cars start blowing up in your face.

  136. @eireannach666

    Unlike most people who gob off about this subject (especially 'Irish' Americans who tend to romanticise the troubles), I have first-hand experience of the IRA, having grown up as a Catholic in Derry during the 1970s and 80s.

    The IRA were terrorists. Far more Catholic civilians were killed by the IRA than by the British Army (read the impartial statistics from the University of Ulster if you don't believe me). In addition, hundreds of other people suffered knee-capping, tar-and-feathering and other such 'punishments', often for 'crimes' as petty as going on a date with a British soldier or shop-lifting. The population of my home city actually welcomed the British Army when they first appeared on the streets as they were originally sent to protect us from the Protestant mobs that had been running riot (usually whilst the police looked the other way).

    No one defeated anyone. By dialogue and careful negotiation, eventually a situation was reached where the violence could stop on both sides. I realise that lillies and slogans and hunger-strikers provide a strong emotional attraction but all that they do is perpetuate the cycle of violence and hatred. Disliking people just because they are British - or blaming them all for a past they were not personally responsible for - is a surefire way of ensuring that things will never move on.

    And by the way, the Brits only started running things directly in Northern Ireland because the Protestant-dominated Stormont could not be trusted to treat the Catholic population fairly. But why let facts get in the way.

    To anyone who romanticises terrorist violence - of any sort - just hope that car bombs don't go off in your street...

  137. I will say that the only thing lacking , is the failure to mention much about the The Easter Rising planned by the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
    This was the opening act of the Irish War for Independence.Pearse, Connolly . Clarke , MacDermott and Plunkett. and the Irish Citizen Army were a huge factor in the Easter day GPO assult and started up one of , if not the first provisional government of the conflict to come.

    1,600 rebels were facing 18-20,000 soldiers.the GPO was entirely cut off from other rebel garrisons. Next day it came under a ferocious artillery attack which also devastated much of central Dublin.In total, the Rising cost 450 persons killed, 2,614 injured, and 9 missing, almost all in Dublin.Ashbourne,116 dead, 368 wounded and 9 missing, and the Irish and Dublin police forces had 16 killed and 29 wounded. A total of 254 civilians died. Also losses in Co. Meath, Galway and Wexford.

    British Commander-in-Chief caused sixteen of the Irish to be court-martialed and shot.Patrick Pearse was the first to be executed , he was not allowed to see his mother or brother before he was executed on May 3, 1916.One of Pearse's most famous speeches was his eulogy at the funeral of O'Donnovan Rossa who died in 1915. 

    "They think they have forseen everything, but the fools! the fools! the fools! they have left us our Fenian dead; and while Ireland holds these graves "Ireland unfree shall never be at peace."
    - Patrick Pearse.

  138. If you notice , the Brit media kept refering to the IRA as terrorists . When in reality the Brits themselves were the real terrorists . The IRA were no more than freedom fighters using not only guerrilla warfare , but political as well, to defeat a far superior force of invaders , in orde to acheive self- government without interference from the outside . The Brits had no buisness trying to run the lives of the people from a country not their own. Neither does anyother nation have the right to impose their will on another.This should stand as a lesson and a reminder to other nations as to what can be when the oppressed stand together and become unified to acheive a common goal. Never underestimate ones enemy and never overestimate your own ability .

    " Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory." -SunTzu

    “Generations will continue to meet the same fate unless the perennial oppressor-Britain-is removed, for she will unashamedly and mercilessly continue to maintain her occupation and economic exploitation of Ireland to judgment day, if she is not halted and ejected. “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children." - Bobby Sands.

  139. docu looked intriging, until I heard a reference saying that the walls of derry simpalised prodestants supremecy, that they believed catholics were of a lesser class.

    Why do we have to keep hiding the truth time and time again. It was the orange order, pure and simple. Albeit they are all prodestant but not all prodestants are orange. It is the orange scum that kept catholics as slaves because that is what those medieval nazis believe.

    We shouldn't be instulting any group of people by associating them with dirt like that. According to the orange order I'm lesser than them because I was born into a religion I don't even follow! This isn't a theory of theirs, its what they believe.

    John Hume said the only way to get rid of them is give them nothing to fight about. Maybe he was right, but I can never do that. Don't see where I'm coming from? Read the orange orders charter.

  140. Awesome Vlatko !! Great job , once again.

  141. why did it only show british victims.