I’m often asked if I’m related to the Irish writer, Oscar Wilde, I’m not. But I do have Irish ancestors, this picture here is of my great great great…aunt, Lady Kelly.
She was very wealthy, she owned most of County Clare (see map below). One of the workers on her lands threw a pitch fork through her heart, she fell from her horse and died. I don’t know if it was at the time of the Irish revolution of 1798 or not. I don’t think the rebellion got as far as County Clare as it was defeated at the Battle of Vinegar Hill, near Wexford on 21 June 1798. Sadly between 20,000 and 50,000 Irish died in the uprising.
The Irish blame the English for the Great Potato Famine of 1845-1852, but I have never understood that as the famine was caused by a blight, that propagates in wet weather. And there are accounts of landowners opening their barns of other grains to help the Irish people through the disaster.
Southern Ireland gained independence in 1922, it’s known as Eire. Six northern counties are still British they are known as Ulster. Some people want to join the two Irelands as one, I agree with that because I know many Irish want it, but the south is Catholic, and the people are very creative, lyrical and bright, while the Protestants in the north are more dour, dark and sometimes violent. I’m not sure what effect joining the two Irelands would have on the people of the south.
The people in the north (Ulster) live almost entirely on welfare they get from the British system. I’m not sure if they lost that cash flow that Eire would be able to afford them. Ireland (Eire) owes three times more than Greece when its debt is express as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). I don’t think it can take on any extra financial weight. So while a united Ireland would please many people, it’s a financial disaster in the making.
I was not on the side of the family that inherited Lady’s Kelly’s wealth, sad to say. My grand mother was a Howard she was related to the Duke of Norfolk, a Catholic aristocrat in England. So I have knobs to the left of me and knobs to the right, and me, the grand scallywag in the middle, of no particular social elevation ha, ha.
© Stuart Wilde 2013 – www.stuartwilde.com