It has already been put forward on this blog many times that in order to successfully propagate monarchism as an ideology to my fellow Irishmen several things need to made clear. (This is only terms of propagation of Monarchy as an idea, not touching upon the other myriad cultural factors that need to change in order for a successful restoration)
1) The distinction between Irish Nationalism as a sociopolitical force and the Republican Ideology. Defining what Irish Nationalism actually pertains to since its inception, its modern permutations and driving a wedge between this understanding and the Republican ideology.
2) The disassociation of the idea of Monarchy and Monarchism from Britain. This will be done by emphasising the long tradition of Irish Kingsmen both at home and abroad and Ireland's relations with other monarchies, particularly those of France and Spain, throughout the centuries.
We shall deal with the first factor for now.
What was Irish Nationalism and what is it now?:
Nationalism in Ireland did not actually exist until the late 19th century. Prior to this, the Irish people had always possessed a fierce sense of identity, culture and a sort of National pride. However the War of the three kingdoms, Cromwell's effective destruction of Gaelic Civilization, the flight of the earls and the penal laws had essentially dismantled Irish culture to the point almost nothing remained and the Irish themselves, almost wholly, existed as a race made up entirely of peasants, prisoners in their own land. Oh surely we Irish made fine peasantry, in fact we were once described as the finest peasantry in the world for a time. But for too long that had defined the Irish character, and the English notion that the Irish were 'unfit' to govern ourselves.
However stirrings began in the 19th century when largely protestant intellectuals began flirting with the ideas of 'Irishness' and appeals for greater legislative autonomy for Ireland in the form of a parliament in Dublin. During this period three forms of Irish 'Nationalism' emerged which were distinct both from eachother and, on a whole, largely distinct from other forms of nationalism found in Europe. These three strands of Nationalism were Cultural, Political and Intellectual. The movement grew to become something of a force in Imperial politics when the Home Rule question and the growing Catholic Middle class in Ireland putting their own weight behind the push for legislative independence (as well as further associating Nationalism with Catholicism which alienated many protestants) led to increasingly strengthened Home Rule bills which had almost resulted in a separate Parliament for Dublin had it not been for the outbreak of World War One.
What is casually looked over quite often when studying this period of History, (late 19th-early 20th century Ireland), is the lack of violent revolution in Ireland despite the tremendous popular support the home rule movement enjoyed. More specifically why there was a lack of violent Revolution. This is because Irish Nationalism, from its inception right up to the Easter Rising, had been a prominently monarchist affair, and the vast majority of Irish 'Nationalists' were in fact Irish 'Monarchists'.
This is particularly evident when looking both at the nature of the Home Rule bills themselves, what they sough to achieve and looking at the revolutionary elements of Irish Nationalism that did exist and why they failed to achieve dominance in the Nationalist movement.
The Home Rules bills were and always have been, about the formation of a Parliament in Dublin to deal with Irish Affairs separately from Imperial affairs. Nowhere in these bills did the Irish Nationalists seek outright independence from the Empire in fact, despite the horrible treatment and misgoverning of Ireland by England, the vast majority of Irish where loyalists to the King and the Empire. The Home Rule bills at most sought an effective end to the lie of the United Kingdom. That being, it cannot be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland when the territories are only treated as one kingdom with one parliament when there is obvious difference in culture, identity and needs between the two kingdoms. Home Rulers sought, at times, the creation of a Personal Union, a Parliament in Dublin and London with the King being the Head of state for both, the sovereign being the 'King of Ireland' in an official context. In fact even one of the leaders of Sinn Fein, the then 'dual-monarchist' party, envisioned a union along Austro-Hungarian lines.
The British of course, would never have it, and it was more blind pride and prejudice then practicality that fueled Tory resistance to the Home Rule movement. That a nation of 'peasents', Catholic ones at that, being the equal to the English was unthinkable for many in britain. In fact, the prejudice was so strong that a comment by an Irish priest stating that, truthfully, the incompetence and cruelty of English governance was such that the English were unfit to rule Ireland, had caused a furious uproar and shock amongst the upper classes there.
Furthermore, under the New Departure initiatives, the attempts to find common ground between Irish Nationalists and Irish Republicans is proof that in the beginnings, there really was little common ground between Nationalists and Republicans in Ireland.
In fact, such was the profound monarchism of the Irish Nationalist movement in the early 20th century that DeVelera himself had to promise the electorate that he would allow a referendum for the formation of an Irish Kingdom should such a thing come to pass.
How quickly we forget history.
In the modern Context, Irish Nationalism, especially here in the North has been so intertwined with Irish Republicanism that it seems to be an impossible knot to untangle. I will attempt to explain the ways in which Irish Nationalists, through the education of history, can untangle the snarl of republicanism, and return to the true implications of their own social identity in my next part.