Have you ever heard that the Irish were slaves? If so, you may have been targeted with political propaganda. Naomi speaks to actress and writer Azie Dungey about how Irish history is being abused for a political agenda in the United States, while Tim asks two experts in the topic about the truth behind the internet myth. We hear from US journalist Traci White who set out to investigate why the meme was appearing on her Facebook page, while Irish Senator Aodháin Ó Ríordáin tells us what the Trump administration needs to know about Irish-American history.
Below: engravings from the Illustrated London News (1849) reporting on the Great Hunger in Ireland, and the Famine memorial which stands today on Dublin’s North Quays. Listen to our Episode on the Great Hunger here
Ireland’s great famine was the worst peacetime disaster in 19th century Europe. It shaped both Ireland and the world. And it remains such a political bombshell that people still can’t agree on what to call it. We explore the hidden history of the mass starvation, from its little-known role in the origins of modern journalism to its surprising link to a Native American tribe. Tim discovers a piece of 1840s Ireland in the middle of Manhattan, while Naomi asks what lessons should be applied to current events today.
Applications for Irish passports surged in the last year, largely from people in Britain and Northern Ireland. Who are the new ‘Brexit Irish’? We meet them in this new episode and hear their motivations for claiming their Irish identity. We also speak to the Irish ambassador who found himself in the eye of the storm as applications soared. Tim hits the streets of Galway to investigate what ordinary Irish citizens think of the newcomers — and is taken aback by what he hears. Discover why Ireland has such a large diaspora in the first place, and the key role they played in the foundation of the state.
Ireland and Europe: what is Ireland’s future in the EU now that its neighbour the United Kingdom is leaving? Is the so-called Irexit at all realistic? We explore Ireland’s relationship with the continent now and in the future and unpick why Ireland differs so much from Britain in its history as part of Europe. We speak to Ireland’s most, and perhaps only, well-known eurosceptic Ray Bassett, as well as Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs and the ordinary people of Dublin to understand Ireland and Europe at this crucial moment in history.
Did you hear our recent episode, ‘Elites’? If you were wondering what Howth Castle looks like, here’s a video of Naomi’s visit to meet Julian Gaisford-St Lawrence, heir to the Dublin estate his family has owned for 800 years. It’s a peek into the fading world of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy.
Who are Ireland’s elites? That question was once easily answered, but not since independence upended the entire social order! In this episode Naomi visits a castle in Dublin that has been the home of one family for 35 generations — and finds the current heir still feels he’s not accepted as one of Ireland’s own. Tim investigates how his own ancestors went from being aristocrats’ servants to rebels in one generation. Or perhaps they were rebels all along? We speak to an expert who says Ireland today is in denial about having elites, when they are hiding in plain sight. Find out who they are and more in our chat with elitism expert Dr. Ciaran O’Neill.
For decades, Ireland was synonymous with Catholic control – but the last 30 years have seen a new cultural climate take hold in the country, and a furious backlash has broken out against the legacies of the Church’s institutional stranglehold. We’ll be looking at how the Church became so powerful in the Irish Republic in the first place, and the reasons behind its dramatic fall from grace in recent times. We’ll be talking to the formidable local historian Catherine Corless, who exposed institutional abuse and cover-ups on a massive scale in 2014, and we’ll also interview journalists and doctors at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, which inspired public outrage when the state almost gave it over to an order of nuns with a questionable past.
Recent politics have revealed a common lack of knowledge about Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Britain at a time when it is of vital strategic importance. What is behind the blind spot? We investigate the phenomenon by comparing the history courses taught in Ireland and the UK, with some striking results. We also hear from experts on Northern Ireland who found themselves in the eye of the storm following the recent election which brought the Democratic Unionist Party unexpectedly close to power in Westminster and unleashed huge demand for crash courses on Northern Ireland. This episode reveals that uncertainty about where the UK begins and ends is widespread — including among those whose job is to know.