Orange Irish seek hero to rebrand their identity for the modern world
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There's no shortage of heroes in Irish history and mythology, some real and indeed some re-imagined through green spectacles, or on July 12th, through orange ones.
Saint Patrick's Day is shared by both the Green and Orange traditions, but July 12th is where green and orange part ways a bit.
The Orange Irish hold big parades all over Ireland on that day to commemorate the victory of William over James in the Glorious Revolution, and the creation of a Protestant Ascendancy apartheid state in Ireland. South Africa used to have holidays like this.
To make the holiday relevant to young people, the Orange Order has sought to rebrand it, give it a new mascot, including a cartoon super hero to make the day more normal and iconic like other holidays.
That's when Diamond Dan the Orangeman was born. The Orange Order created the cartoon super hero to promote good loyalist values in 2008 by ripping off the work of illustrator Dan Bailey. It seems Diamond Dan is really Bailey's "Super Guy" character taken without permission--an apt metaphor for plantation.
Incidentally, the Orange Order was founded in response to the United Irishmen, both were Orange Irish groups founded with very different aims around the time of the US Declaration of Indepedence. The United Irishmen hoped to do in Ireland what the Orange Irish in America were doing, fighting for a Republic. Orange Irish heroes abound in the histories of the Revolutionary War in America and in the Irish Revolution of 1798 which sought freedom from the taxing kingdom--a proud Orange heroic tradition.
Keep in touch with Brendan's work at GaelicGotham.com.