Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"The Scotch-Irish shibboleth analyzed and rejected", Washington DC, 1898

 There has long been opposition to the notion of Ulster-Scots and Scotch-Irish/Scots-Irish identity. This publication by the American-Irish Historical Society is just 30 pages long but has much content that’s worth reading, especially the two poems at the back. To be fair, some of the pro-Scotch-Irish publications of the late 1800s and early 1900s are a bit, as we would say today, “O.T.T.” in places but they also contain much of interest and value. This counter-perspective is also worth reading.

The author, Joseph Smith (1853-1929), was born in Dublin, and emigrated as a young man. He saw military service in the US Cavalry in Mexico from 1873–1878 and spent some years travelling in South America. He later became a journalist. At the time of writing the Scotch-Irish book he was secretary of the police commission in Lowell, Massachussetts.

I am just back from a 3 week break in Washington DC, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky. Scotch-Irish heritage is often better understood and appreciated on the other side of the Atlantic than it is here at home. For all of the talk that there’s been over the years, formal links are still to be made to both countries’ mutual benefit.