This is the first in a series of planned post I will be posting discussing the neccessities and complexities of restoring a Native Irish monarchy, the various forms this could take and the neccessary permutations of government that will result.
In this first post I will be exploring the nature of a possibly Irish Monarch, his position and duties and the meaning and impact of an Irish monarchy in today's modern age. Firstly I will be arguing whether or not 'King' alone is the right title for such a monarch.
Since antiquiety the position of the High King of all Ireland is a long recognised, highly fought over, but ultimately very weak institution within the Nation of Ireland. It is analogous to that of the position of the King of Gaul in both function and Nature. The tribes of Gaul, much like the Clans of Ireland, were fiercely independent of one another, each with their unique cultural traits to distinguish themselves from other Gauls but with enough in common to distinguish themselves as recogniseably 'Gaulish' from other Celtic nations to neccessitate the idea of a king. The throne of the king was traditionally left empty due to natural gaulish suspicion of eachother, and was intended only to be filled in times of crisis, (such as invasion by foreigners), where a suitable man would be crowned king of gaul and would act as supreme commander of all military actions of the Gauls. This was seen very famously in Vercingeterix's legendary yet tragic resistance of Roman Conquest, (who themselves had the position of Dictator for the exact same reasons as their tribal neighbours and which was usually left empty for almost the exact same reasons).
So to is the case with the Irish High King, while much of ancient Irish history is an insufferable mess of legends intermixed with real political developments, the position of the high king in Ireland is at least traceable to before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, and the Irish to their credit, always had someone ready to take up the position. Of course this usually meant the various Tuathes and their subordinate clans fought eachother in order to obtain a throne that would ironically end with none of the clans listening to their rule. Whoever gained the throne of Tara ended up only ruling the province of meath in addition to their own province, with the other kings being largely independent. This is most visible after Ireland became a largely Christian Nation, irish clans began adopting more formalised family surnames, geneaologies began to be traced and the beginnings of proper family dynasties were forming.
Now before I move on, I must say that this is exactly why the ancient Irish nation never truely united, we were proud celts, and we bloody well loved to fight eachother. It made the job of the Normans conquering us that much easier, as the old axium divide and conquer was already half achieved by the time they got here.
Now this is were I focus heavily on Brian Boru as he is commonly known, if you do not know of his tale I suggest you go research it, as I am not here to recite it to you but merely use the good king as an example. By all rights I should have something against the man, afterall it was one of my Royal Ancesters he bumped off in his quest, but I am not. Because I see what he was trying to do, what reasons he was doing it for and most importantly the sublime potential his ruthless quest held for a more glorious future for the nation as a whole extending beyond his own ambitions. And it is this that I have to speak about the nature of being a High King of Ireland, and just as importantly, Emperor of the Irish.
Long story Short, High King Brian Boru, because few would argue he was not the master of Ireland after such a long struggle, created the title of Emperor of the Irish as a style, (he did not crown himself such, for as brutal as he was he was an honest Christian man, and crowning oneself Emperor is inherent blasphemy, example, Napoleon) He did this for very practical reasons, his conquest of Ireland was in many ways special and quite different from previous High Kings, he didnt conquer purely for egotistical gain, he genuinely wanted to strengthenthe country, and he needed to make this impression on the kings of Ireland, so he styled himself as Emperor, not of the land but of the people, the Irish. The meaning was lost on no man. More to the point he was making the High Kingship hereditary, a practice not unheard of but deeply unpopular in certain sections of the islands, the dominant tradition being that royal clans had a gathering of enobled cousins to vote among themselves as to who would be the next king, primogeniture was rare. Now here is where the tragedy begins, after some elements of the clans saw the ageing Boru as weakning they struck out seeking to claim the High Kingship from him and to do so they allied with the descendents of viking settlers, enraged at such a shocking disregard for his hardwon authority, the Emperor took to the field, while he himself was too old to do battle, his first son carried his banner into the fray, (Irish Kings were very much of the older understanding of kings being by neccessity warlords as well as rulers, their participation in battle was neccessary, which speaks volumes for Brian). His son fell in battle but Brian won the day and the war, the dissenters were scattered and many expected a reckoning to come to the leaders of the traitor clans, Brian did what one would expect an old man to do in the situation immediately after the battle, he went and prayed, giving thanks to the Almighty for the deliver and for the repose of his noble son's soul. He had dismissed his bodygaurds to give chase to the enemy as he prayed in his tent and, well.. the rest is as they say, history.
The story of Brian Boru, what he did and what he represented presents a great deal of food for thought for any monarchist interested in restoring an Irish monarchy. For starters it neccesitates this: A ressurrection of clan loyalties. Their cannot be a true restoration of Ireland unless clans, and the love of expanded families, tradition, prid of name and history are fully restored so that even the poorest Irish Dockworker can hold his head high for knowing exactly who he is and bearing the family coat of arms above his door, for this is worthy and expected in any irish kingdom, as all Irish are fundamentally descended from Kings. Damn near every last one of them because of the old clan system, to ignore this is nigh treasonous if we were to establish a monarchy but I will expand on this in a later post having to do with Irish Culture.
The large point that this raises is that any Irish Kingdom,any Irish Kingdom will never be Just a Kingdom. It will always be a collection of clans and tuathes, leasri, ri, princes, knights (in the irish understanding of them), and will never be either, a federation, any kingdom of Ireland needs a High King, and thus becomes a High Kingdom. The only one in the world, (if its established that is), anything less does the nation and its fierce independence an injustice, or would truculent republicans really like to argue to me a Connaught man is the same as an Ulsterman in temperment and mannerisms?
This does neccessitate that the high King would also, by Tradition considering its establishment by Brian, would need to be an Emperor, although the title of Emperor would be a style compared to the Actual title of High King, in which the High King acts with the power and duties he is due.
Which brings me tot he functions of the High King. As High King, His Majesty would act as Head of Government with executive power. Powers which in the Republic are normally entrusted tot he Head of the Government would be lessened and some of these executive powers would be entrusted to the Throne (another advice I would give to my fellow monarchists in Ireland is that we should always refer to an Irish Monarch' s office and ministers as 'The Throne', it has a grounding, earthy effect of authority that resonates with the people and to sufficiently distinguish us in Political Culture to the British, as referring to 'The Crown' in Ireland conjurs very British imagery) The empowering of the Monarch would create a 'strong' constitutional monarchy. In this I am compromising for at heart I am and wiull always remain an Absolutist. And witht he tradition established that the monarchy has grown to weaken the parliament we will have a reversal of the effect the english civil war had on the British Monarchy. His Majesty will then have power and authority to questin the actions of the Diall Eireann, (should it remain called such in a Monarchy), making the diall Eireann Accountable constitutionally to the People WHILE making the elected representitives of the people Accountable to 'The Throne'
This will of course be a drastically radical concept some of our more constitutional brethern will find reprehensible and make outright democratists appalled. Good. Because that means Ireland has placed itself on the map politically in modern geo politics and made every sit up, take notice and more importantly take us seriously because we dare questin the paradigm in such a very real manner. And in that the Restoration has already achieved one of its aims, bringing prestige to the nation.
Specifically the Sovereign will have the usual ceremonial duties (the coronation of said Sovereign would be complex, I will outline why and how we should approach coronating an Irish Monarch in a later post dedicated tot he topic) but these will not be mentioned because they'll be covered later and I have little mind to dictate to His Majesty what he should and shouldn't be doing to display the splendour of an Irish Monarch and the symbolism he will embody. The Monarch would be default be the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces and said forces will need to take an Oath to defend their Sovereign, his successors and subjects for the glory and safety of Ireland in service to God, this oath will help prevent the Military from being legislatively hijacked by an ambitious politician while preventing the monarch from abusing his power in this regard, (an Irish warrior declaring his services to God, the Monarch and the people in that order, if a politican is trying to become a dictator it is the warrior's duty to defend the sovereign and in reverse the soldier is not obligated to obey the sovereign should he order unreasonable slaughter of Irish Subjects, for this would be abhorrant to God. This is in keeping with ancient medieval principles of chivalry where knights were not obligated to obey their lieges in similar circumstances because it would be 'unChristian'), as well as this, His Majesty has the power to propose and veto legislation, ESPECIALLY when the Council of Chiefs find themselves in agreement with His Majesty, (I will cover this further in a later post), the power to grant titles and knighthoods, (this obviously means titles will be recognised constitutionally), the power to declare a state of war or peace, the power to appoint or dismiss Taoiseachs and the power to dissolve Dialls. These will be neccessary to stipulate in a modern Irish Monarchy.
Now His Majesty's duties with regards to being 'Emperor of the Irish', Imperator Scottorum, obstensibly means His Majesty claims the loyalty of all Irishmen and Women, so that means he declares himself the Emperor over the entire Irish Diaspora, (Sovereignty over Irish Descendants in foreign lands is something the Republic does anyway, so anyone who wishes to argue this point as unjust can pretty much get tossed). This will largely be a ceremonial sovereignty as it is unlikely His Majesty can actually command their loyalty, although it gives him leave to grant any irish descendent citizenship should he or she have sufficient proof and ceremonial duties. I am of the opinion that there is in fact a great deal of Irishmen out there who'd be more then happy to claim they have an honest-to-God Emperor in any context.
Now this is all theorizing and you all are welcome to argue my points, make suggestions or ask questions with regards to this, especially as this is still ongoing, input will be invaluable.
Other posts in the Restoration Series
II) Clans and the role of Culture in an Irish Monarchy
III) The Church and the Role of Religion in an Irish Monarchy
- Supplementary post: Divine Supremecy and Tolerance: The Neccessity of State Religion and toleration of Heretics
IV) The Legislative Process in an Irish Monarchy
- Supplementary Post: Monarchist Economics and Dynamic Politics
- The Role of Chieftans and other Lords
V) The High Coronation, the true All Ireland Final
- The Role of the Council of Chieftans, Dynastic succession issues and legitimacy
- The Role of the Church
- The Role of the Monarch and the Royal Family
- Lords, Statesman and Farmers
- Final comments on the Coronation
VI) And all the world is a stage... Foreign Relations and the Role of a Monarchical Ireland in Europe and Elsewhere.