Irish-Scottish Relations past, present and future - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland were once four separate nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (though most of Ireland is. It is always a pleasure to be back in Scotland again and I am delighted to 'a parallel crisis of the three kingdoms' of England, Ireland and Scotland. for Scottish and Welsh membership of the British-Irish Council (BIC) and. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (to give its full .. of the erstwhile colonial relationship between Great Britain and Ireland, British Isles = England & Wales & Scotland & Ireland & Northern Ireland.
Recent scholarship also argues that the Scots in general did not migrate from Ireland around ADas the traditional story would have it. Rather, they were essentially the native peoples of the western seaboard, who nevertheless had stronger links with Ireland than they originally did with those living beyond the mountains of the mainland.
However, leadership of this Scottish kingdom of Dal Riata may have passed to an Irish family thanks to the usual process of dynastic ping-pong caused by intermarriage. These ecclesiastical civil servants were at the forefront of the articulation of Scotland's sovereign status, up to and including seeking the protection of the Pope in Rome - effectively the UN of the middle ages - against English claims.
The rights and wrongs of these claims are largely irrelevant. The fact of the matter remained that Scotland had developed its own identity and political and administrative institutions, and thought of itself as entirely separate. These ecclesiastical civil servants were at the forefront of the articulation of Scotland's sovereign status.
But there is also no doubt that these institutions have tended to suffer in comparison with those of England. This is for the simple reason that, because so much administration continued to be dealt with at a local level in Scotland, national politics and government did not develop as much as it did in England.
Scotland had also given up on developing its military capacity by the later 13th century which showed extremely bad timing, to say the least. Military activity explains much of the development of government and administration in England. The comparative lack of military activity at the heart of Scottish government meant that national institutions, such as parliament, also remained undeveloped. On the other hand, they worked perfectly well for their own requirements.
Even those of Anglo-Norman extraction, who began to dominate southern Scotland and often the Scottish royal court, in the centuries after the Norman conquest of England, quickly became 'Scottish', not least because intermarriage, yet again, blurred racial distinctions.
English attempts to conquer Scotland, from the reign of Edward I onwards, certainly helped to underline the separateness of Scottish identity. Historians argue long and hard about when it is reasonable to claim that nationalism has become a force in a nation's politics, or at what point it becomes clear that supporting the state in war and peace is a civic duty. However, it is difficult to suggest that a document such as the Declaration of Arbroath, written by Scottish clerics on behalf of King Robert Bruce indoes not reflect a form of nationalism.
It is such a clear articulation of the right of a nation to self-determination. The fact that it is also an extraordinary piece of propaganda on behalf of Bruce, does not really detract from its rhetorical appeal, even in the 21st century. For so long as of us remain alive, We will never in any degree be subject to the rule of the English.
For it is not for glory, riches or honour that we fight. But for liberty alone, which no good man loses, but with his life.
Ireland–United Kingdom relations
Those wars were violent, bitter and long drawn out, and the last English campaign into Scotland was as late as the s. However, Scottishness was not entirely defined by anti-Englishness - the medieval kingdom of Scotland was striking in its self-confidence certainly in comparison with Scottish self-image todayperhaps even its over-confidence. Due to England's position as a great European power, which was often at odds with other great powers such as France, the Scottish king wielded more diplomatic clout than the political importance of his kingdom actually merited.
Scottish nationalism usually only raised its head in times of crisis, which was a fairly common phenomenon.The Difference Between The United Kingdom, England, and Great Britain
For so long as Scotland remained an independent kingdom, Scottish nationalism usually only raised its head in times of crisis, which was a fairly common phenomenon. With the union ofwhich dissolved both the English and the Scottish parliaments and created a new joint one in Westminster, many Scots worried about the undue influence that the Auld Enemy would now have on Scottish affairs.
Many others, however, foresaw the opportunities that underpinned this new relationship with England - they saw the chance, finally, to reap the benefits of Empire, an empire that the Scots did much to build all over the world.
But then towards the end of the 19th century, Britain began to lose its pre-eminence in world affairs. This was a turn of events that hit the Scottish economy hard, strongly based as it was upon heavy manufacturing industries. The immediate reaction was a crisis of confidence, followed by a reassertion of Scottish distinctiveness in culture and politics.
Scottish nationalism, in the modern political sense, was born. It is important to approach a new assignment with an open mind and with a sense of curiosity. That was certainly the spirit with which I approached my assignment in Scotland. This effort of getting to know a new country invariably instils a lifelong interest in the affairs of that country and that has definitely been the case for me with Scotland.
I have been back here many, many times since my posting to Edinburgh ended in They are doing a superb job in carrying on the work I started here nearly 20 years ago. When I arrived here in OctoberScotland was on the verge of achieving devolution and I was present when the Scottish Parliament was formally opened on the 6th of May I readily appreciated how important that political milestone was for Scotland. At that time, Ireland was in the thick of our long economic boom which stretched from the mids to when things started to come unstuck for us and we entered into a period of economic difficulty from which we have now emerged with renewed economic growth, which measured 5.
I remember those heady days when we arrived in Scotland to open our Consulate. Setting up a new diplomatic mission is a rare experience and I remember the buzz that surrounded our arrival as Ireland was the first country to respond to the Scottish devolution by establishing a diplomatic presence here.
There was a lot of interest in Ireland at that time. Our economic success was a particular source of fascination in post-devolution Scotland.
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Our economic dynamism at that time was a reversal of past patterns when Scotland had been an industrial success story and Ireland a relative under-performer. I do recall, however, that some Scots I met retained a degree of scepticism about Ireland's emergence as a dynamic economy, doubting that the garden could be as rosy as our GDP figures suggested. The strength of our recent economic recovery will no doubt spur further Scottish interest in the roots of Ireland's renewed success.
I found it interesting that Ireland hardly featured as an exemplar for Scotland during the referendum campaign. Indeed, there were occasional warnings pointing to the economic struggles Ireland had confronted in the decades after independence, albeit in very different circumstances after in the wake of a war of independence and a biter civil war.
Incidentally, the fact that Ireland did not become a bone of contention between Scottish nationalists and unionists during your referendum campaign was a source of relief to us. It would not have been pleasant had Ireland become a political football during that passionate period in Scottish politics. Our Government rightly took a vow of silence on Scottish issues in the run-up to the referendum on the very good grounds that this was a domestic Scottish issue in which it would be impertinent of us to intervene.
We took a different view during last year's EU referendum, because the EU is a Union to which Ireland belongs and we wanted our nearest neighbours to remain part of that unique community of European nations.
Sadly, that was not to be and our task now is to manage the consequences of the UK's exit from the EU. But back to When I arrived in Scotland, it occurred to me that although I had studied Irish history for most of my life, Scotland had never been a particular interest of mine.
Irish-Scottish Relations, past, present and future, Edinburgh's Festival of Ireland, 23 March 2017
At that time, I had spent decades reading, writing and thinking about Anglo-Irish relations but rarely giving any thought to Scotland. I have learnt my lesson. I now refer to British-Irish relations and of course am very conscious also of an important Scottish-Irish dimension. This neglect of Scotland was perhaps inevitable. After all, 19th century Irish history in which I had specialised was dominated by efforts to undo the Act of Union in which the scene of the action was in Ireland or at the Westminster Parliament where Daniel O'Connell campaigned for the repeal of the Act of Union during the s and Parnell and his allies pressed for Home Rule during the s.
There was not much scope for Scotland to make its appearance in the Irish story with its broadly nationalist narrative. Until recent decades, Scottish history was in a very different groove. In order to see how Scotland has fared in Irish historiography, I had a look at two major works on Ireland's history, looking at their references to Scotland. Thomas Bartlett's single volume history of Ireland published in contains a number of references to Scotland, which is perhaps to be expected because when the book was published Bartlett was a Professor at the University of Aberdeen.
Bartlett covers the monastic connection epitomised by St. This resulted in a Scottish army of 10, men under the command of Major-General Robert Munro being deployed in Ireland during the s. This era of upheaval, which included Cromwell's campaigns in Ireland and Scotland, did not come to an end until the s, by which time the Scottish presence in Ulster was well established.
In Bartlett's account, Scotland disappears from Irish history from the 18th century onwards although he does pick up an unusual vignette from the years of the Second World War when Ireland's Department of Agriculture astonishingly 'undertook to interview Irish girls in Dublin to ascertain their suitability for agricultural work in Scotland'. There must be many in today's Scotland who can trace their roots to those who passed through that particular interview process.
FSL Lyons's classic modern history, Ireland since the Famine, published in also contains some references to Scotland. These include the impact of two Scottish brothers, William and John Ritchie who were instrumental in establishing the shipbuilding industry in Belfast.
He refers to the phenomenon of post-Famine emigration and the establishment of Irish communities in Scotland where, he maintains, a virulent anti-British sentiment developed. Those Irish emigrants were not always made welcome in the very different Scotland that existed in those days. One of its leading lights, James Henderson, looked to stir up religious feeling in Scotland so as to aid Ulster unionists in their struggle against Home Rule.
Irish, English, British, Welsh and Scottish - some cultural and political differences outlined
These are all essentially passing references and my conclusion would be that, at least in the period covered by Lyons's book, Scotland was a marginal factor in Irish history There is another way of gauging our historical links - through the Dictionary of Irish Biography.
Of the 10, or so names that feature in the Dictionary, were born in Scotland. They are a diverse crew - soldiers, academics, writers, clergymen, engineers businessmen and sports figures. Some are famous like leader, James Connolly, but others are largely forgotten today. Here are some examples. John Arnott was born in Auchtermuchty in and moved to Ireland in the s.
By the time he died in he had become one of Ireland's leading businessmen and philanthropists, owner of a chain of Department stores one of which is still trading today, Arnotts of Henry Street, Dublin. George Clarke who came from Paisley became a leading Ulster unionist and shipbuilder whose business career illustrated the importance of the Liverpool-Glasgow-Belfast triangle 'in the industrial growth of late Victorian Belfast' which had 'political as well as economic implications' as the economic development of the northeastern counties created an urban business and working class community with a vested interest in the Union.
A final example is John Jameson who moved from Clackmannanshire to Ireland in and in the process learned how to spell whiskey correctly! His name is being immortalised to this day on countless millions of Irish whiskey bottles sold all over the world.
There are also some interesting entries on those Irish who ended their lives in Scotland, a number of early medieval monks, Kenneth McAlpin, the first King of the Picts and Scots, the Glasgow Celtic footballer, Patsy Gallagher, who began his life in a workhouse in County Donegal, and someone I got to know when I was posted in Scotland, the rugby international Des O'Brien who won the Grand Slam with Ireland in and went on to manage the Lions on their four-month tour of Australia and New Zealand in !
Des was a fine man who spent 45 years of his life in Scotland and was an active sportsman into his 80s.
There were, I would say, two connected reasons behind this decision. First, the Good Friday Agreement altered the relationship between Britain and Ireland as co-guarantors of the agreement. Even without the incentive of the Good Friday Agreement, I believe we would have wanted to respond to the changed status of Scotland as a devolved entity with a sharper more distinctive political profile.
- Scotland and the Four Nations of Britain
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- United Kingdom
The BIC has taken on an enhanced relevance in light of last year's referendum result as a framework within which the various political entities on these islands can discuss matters of mutual interest. The 20 years since have seen Irish-Scottish relations enter into a whole new and entirely positive era.
The success of the NI peace process has removed a complicating factor from our relations.