Most Danes know Ireland for several things, among others whiskey, Guinness, European song contests, the Catholic church, and the conflict in the North. However, there is more to Ireland...
Many tend to consider Ireland as an appendix to England, just another part of English or British civilization. There are, however, some essential distinctions to make regarding culture and identity, history and background, which may make it easier to understand the Irish, both as to their everyday life in the EC, and as to their attitudes to 'the Brits'.
Facts about the Republic of Ireland:
The Republic of Ireland (Eire) has only existed since 1920. It is presided by a president, James Ahearn.
"Celtic tribes invaded the islands about the 4th century BC; their Gaelic culture
and literature flourished and spread to Scotland and elsewhere in the 5th century AD, the
same century in which St. Patrick converted the Irish to Christianity. Invasions by
Norsemen began in the 8th century, ended with defeat of the Danes by the Irish King Brian
Boru in 1014. English invasions started in the 12th century; for over 700 years the
Anglo-Irish struggle continued with bitter rebellions and savage repressions."
(quoted from: Microsoft Bookshelf 1994)
Even long before the arrival of the Celts, there must have been an impressive prehistorical culture. From the bronze age, The Hill of Tara was the seat of the High Kings of Ireland, and Newgrange is a great burial mound.
The Norsemen were vikings coming from Denmark and Norway. They were cruel and barbarious, but they were also co-founders of the town of Dublin, and some of them stayed and mingled with the population.
To speak about the over 700 year long "Anglo-Irish struggle" is to conceal the fact that Ireland was invaded, and the Irish were not only oppressed and exploited by the British landlords who owned everything, but they were treated badly and cruelly, like second-rate human beings, or like animals.
Irish history contains much repression and suffering, starvation and exploitation.
Updated 19-11-01 by JL