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Revolution and Evolution


Edited By John Strachan and Alison O'Malley-Younger

The essays in this collection all revolve around the notion of change in Ireland, whether by revolution or by evolution. Developments in the shared histories of Ireland and Great Britain are an important theme throughout the book. The volume begins by examining two remarkable Irishmen on the make in Georgian London: the boxing historian Pierce Egan and the extraordinary Charles Macklin, eighteenth-century actor, playwright and manslaughterer. The focus then moves to aspects of Hibernian influence and the presence of the Irish Diaspora in Great Britain from the medieval period up to the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century celebrations of St Patrick’s Day in Manchester. The book also considers the very different attitudes to the British Empire evident in the career of the 1916 rebel Sir Roger Casement and the Victorian philologist and colonial servant Whitley Stokes. Further essays look at writings by Scottish Marxists on the state of Ireland in the 1920s and the pronouncements on the Troubles by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The book also examines change in the culture of the island of Ireland, from the development of the Irish historical novel in the nineteenth century, to ecology in contemporary Irish women’s poetry, to the present state of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. Contemporary Irish authors examined include Roddy Doyle, Joseph O’Connor and Martin McDonagh.


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‘Their Song Is Over’ (and Other Familiar Refrains): Irish Revolutions, Gyrations and Ululations from Lenin to Lennon WILLY MALEY 119


‘Their Song Is Over’ (and Other Familiar Refrains): Irish Revolutions, Gyrations and Ululations from Lenin to Lennon Willy Maley The melancholy that prevails in most of these melodies is even today the expression of the national mood. How could it be otherwise among a people whose rulers are always inventing new, more up-to-date meth- ods of oppression? The latest method, introduced forty years ago and carried to extremes for the past twenty years, is the mass eviction of the Irish from house and home, and that – in Ireland – is tantamount to deportation. Since 1841 the population of the country has decreased by two and a half million, and more than three million Irishmen have emigrated. All in the interests and at the behest of the large landown- ers of English origin. If this goes on for another thirty years, the only Irishmen left will be those in America. — Friedrich Engels, ‘Notes for the Preface to a Collection of Irish Songs’, 1870 You say you want a revolution Well, you know We all want to change the world You tell me that it’s evolution Well, you know We all want to change the world But when you talk about destruction Don’t you know that you can count me out/in? — John Lennon, ‘Revolution’, 1968 120 Willy Maley Well it was Sunday Bloody Sunday When they shot the people there The cries of thirteen martyrs Filled the Free Derry air Is there any one amongst you Dare to blame it on the kids...

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