Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The English on the Irish

Dr Johnson: "The Irish are not in a conspiracy to cheat the world by false representations of the merits of their countrymen. No, Sir; the Irish are a fair people; -- they never speak well of one another."

Dr Johnson again: "The Irish are in a most unnatural state; for we see there the minority prevailing over the majority. There is no instance, even in the ten persecutions, of such severity as that which the protestants of Ireland have exercised against the Catholicks. Did we tell them we have conquered them, it would be above board: to punish them by confiscation and other penalties, as rebels, was monstrous injustice."

Carlyle, who did not have much conventional religious belief: "Ireland had brought all her misfortunes on herself. She had committed a great sin in refusing and resisting the Reformation. ... It was a great sin for nations to darken their eyes against light like this, and Ireland, which had persistently done so, was punished accordingly. . . . Ireland refused to believe and must take the consequences."

Carlyle in 1849: "The time has come when the Irish population must either be improved a little, or else exterminated."

Hugh Trevor-Roper, Lord Dacre, was that most objectionable thing, a Protestant atheist. I heard him in a lecture say that Carlyle pointed towards fascism. He also made this brilliant remark.
'Through all our history she clings to us, a poor, half-witted, gypsy relative, defying our improvement, spoiling our appearances, exposing our pretences, an irredeemable, irrepressible slut, dirty when we are most clean, superstitious when we are most rational, protesting when we are most complacent, and when we are most prosaic, inspired'.

Evelyn Waugh in a letter to Nancy Mitford in 1952: "Among the countless blessings I thank God for, my failure to find a house in Ireland comes first. Unless one is mad on fox-hunting, there is nothing to draw one. The houses, except for half a dozen famous ones, are very shoddy in building and they none of them have servants' bedrooms because at the time they were built Irish servants slept on the kitchen floor. The peasants are malevolent. All their smiles are false as hell. Their priests are very suitable for them but not for foreigners. No coal at all. Awful incompetence everywhere. No native capable of doing the simplest job properly."

George Orwell: "The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad."


  1. The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
    For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.
    ― G.K. Chesterton, The Ballad of the White Horse

  2. When an Englishmen goes to Ireland he firstly has to appologise for Oliver cromwell . The trabbelz . Brexit . And then tell them he is not really that English as he has some Irish blood in his veins .In contrast when an Irishmen goes to England he can tell them how much he loathes them and How they should be grateful for getting bombed in the 70s and 80s and they accept it Incl getting a stint on Mock the weak !