|Illustration by Caty Bartholomew|
The Brits stole a march on the rest of the world long ago when they adopted the title Great Britain for the little land mass composed of England, Scotland and Wales.
I am reluctant to praise our neighbors for historic reasons but you have to give them considerable credit for that. T'was a master stroke.
The sun never set upon their empire when the title was adopted, even America was still under their colonial thumbs, their language was the tongue of business and trading power across the globe, they seemed to control everything and, probably, the title of "Great" was then apt and justified.
I accept that and probably so do you in your more reasoned moments. However, that era is long gone, the Empire has disappeared, the Commonwealth has become a Commonpoverty in real economic terms, and it is supremely ironic today that Germany, vanquished and disgraced in two world wars, is the paymaster of Europe and cracks all the whips of control and power.
Against that background it struck me like a bolt of lightning today that our tiny island off the European mainland is truly the one which should be properly known as Great Ireland!
We should adopt the name change immediately by way of the necessary legislation and international promotion. It would sound so much better than Eire or the Republic of Ireland.
It has a strut and swagger about it which is extremely positive. It also has the historic advantage of being totally true.
We are great in every sense of the word. Despite our current financial dip (in common with GB and yourselves and the rest of the world), we remain fully entitled to call our motherland Great Ireland.
Consider the facts. We were the nearest neighbors to the most powerful empire in the world at the height of its pomp and influence. It subdued and controlled strong nations and even continents all over the world. It imposed its culture and language and customs even upon North America.
Yet Great Ireland was never, ever subdued totally, was always in rebellion from the beginning, strongly maintained its own identity, language and culture and, incredibly, against all the odds, was one of the first countries to throw the Brits out.
It was not a total clearance because the problem of the Six Counties persisted and persists to this day, but the achievement of an Irish Republic against all the odds is indeed mind-boggling. We managed it because we are Great Ireland indeed and deserve to be so known.
An almost totally agricultural island without mineral resources and a Catholic population without contraceptive permissions was certain to need the safety valve of emigration to more prosperous lands even if the Famine had not intervened to accelerate the process. That is our history.
But, unlike many other lands, the impact of our diaspora upon the globe has been immense in about every field. It may have been especially dramatic in the United States, the land of opportunity, but it is globally true that the children of Great Ireland are famed and fabled across all the continents for what they brought with them from home.
They brought the virtues of intelligence, an inherent decency and a hardworking and progressive work ethic. They brought their culture and their wild music and song and joy of life everywhere they went. They made their homeland one of the best-known tiny islands on the face of the Earth.
In politics, in business, in the sciences, across all the arts, they enhanced the societies in which they settled to the extent they indeed long ago created a Great Ireland. I do not think that is any exaggeration at all.
Their impact on America alone has been massive. How many of your presidents have not boasted of Irish blood and bloodlines?
If we have had a few faults as a nation down recent times, most of them are derived from the fact we have not been proud enough of ourselves as a race, and sometimes too ready to accept the underdog role. That is due to the harsh colonial inheritance and, thankfully, is disappearing fast.
Despite the temporary economic difficulties in the wake of the Celtic Tiger there is nowadays a great pride and resilience in the Irish both at home and abroad. We have survived a lot in the past and are not fearful of the difficulties ahead.
That is the hallmark of Great Ireland, and the sooner the name becomes official the better. What do you think?