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domingo, 5 de noviembre de 2017

The origin of the Irish Nationalism and its evolution after the Irish War of Independence

In this essay, I am going to discuss about the origin of Ireland as a nation and how the nationalism evolved after the Irish War of Independence against Britain, dividing the essay in two main parts. With this in mind, in this essay we will always take into account three main aspects: socio-economic, religious, political and historical, so that we can have the context and the reasons why it happened. This essay will also be seen from two different perspectives: the British because Britain was the nation which dominated Ireland until the Irish nationalism emerged, and the other is the Irish, seeing how their thinking was changing until they decided to become a nation.
When did it begin?
There are many events in history that could have determined the origin of the Irish nationalism, that is to say, the beginning of Irish history as a nation. But when can one talk about Irish nationalism? In 1904, a man called Eoin MacNeill, an Irish scholar and also politician, asked himself that question giving a lecture. He said it could be considered that its beginning was in the Gaelic or pre-Normand period, in other words, a traditional period of Ireland. Or even it could have started in the 16th century, in a revolutionary period. (Boyce, 2003:15)
Other aspects that he also took into account were the religious ones: on the one hand, during the 1640s when there was a big Catholic movement and, on the other hand, with the Protestants of the eighteenth century. And last but not least important, the author refers to the modern aspect, as for instance, the socio-political change of the 19thcentury of Ireland. It is for this reason that he says that a historian must decide between searching in the more ancient past writing in a theological way or beginning in a more modern period forgetting other historical events.(Boyce, 2003:15).
Therefore now Boyce, bearing in mind all these aspects, first defines the term nationalism to come later to the Irish case. Nationalism, according to him, is the feeling or belief of a community of people that share the same origin (with the same history and literature), that usually have a common language that differs from other nations (not always) and who might have the same religion. Consequently, he argues that this feeling would take on more importance in Ireland in the last quarter of the eighteenth century with the Acts of Union of 1801 with Britain. (Boyce, 2003:16)        
The Act of Union (1st January 1801)
According to the author Larking in A History of Ireland, and as a result of the French Revolution in 1789, Britain would take advantage of this fact and would have the reason to unify the Kingdom of Ireland to its territory. The most revolutionary Irish leaders of the 19th century would see this union as a given and would work all this century (within the strict possibilities that Britain allowed them) against this union. The Union banned any possible representation of Irish people in their parliament, which had achieved more autonomy since 1782, forcing the representatives of the Irish parliament to go to the British one, in Westminster.(Larkin H., 2014:9)
From the British point of view, this was an historic and nonviolent act, and it would give Ireland a period of stability, but the most important thing for them was that it was the last step of a process that began with the annexation of Wales in 1535, Scotland in 1707 and finished with Ireland in 1801. (Larkin H., 2014:10)
Nevertheless, for Ireland it wasn’t a “real pacific period” and in time it divided both cultures and communities. England would try to convince Ireland in all the possible aspects showing the benefits of the Union, in the economic aspect they would explain the benefits of a more solid economy that would promote Ireland’s economic growth. However, having such unequal economies was very difficult to have parity in both of them, so it wasn’t as good as they expected (and furthermore if we include that there was a period of corruption).(Larkin H., 2014:15)
From the religious point of view, Larkin says that Ireland was composed of a majority of Catholics (for each Protestant there were three Catholics, proportion which would be just the opposite in the case of the Union between Britain and Ireland, that is, three against twelve, having British more options to control them. It is for this reason that Britain didn’t like the idea of having a Catholic parliament in Ireland. (Larkin H., 2014:15) Despite the fact that there was a Protestant ascendancy with the two major Protestant parties growing more and more (the Crown and the Tory party), the author McCaffrey in The Irish Question : Two Centuries of Conflict says that the Catholic majority refused to accept this pact because they believed that they would be in a huge inferiority. (McCaffrey, 2015:3)
However, it was more than an ideology which was counting for this union according to Larkin’s opinion. On the one hand, there were the Protestants that, even being a small group, monopolised land, politics and society. On the other hand, the Catholics were landless, “politically underprivileged”, poor etc. and controlled by the Protestant elite. This meant that if Protestants were for the Union, the whole Ireland would be part of Britain, and in fact that is what happened. Bearing in mind all these aspects, Catholic masses would have a serious problem of identity, partly because of the dependence on Britain and partly also because they couldn’t be taken into account as a nation. (Larkin H., 2014:4)
In conclusion, this period will create an Irish national sentiment, based mostly in a strong hatred against the British predominance in their territory. This feeling wouldn’t end until after the Irish War of Independence when Ireland was recognised as a country. This would, as well, affect in a devastating way its poor economic situation, which would trigger the Great Famine of Ireland, also known as The Irish potato famine (1845-1852) and one of the biggest migrations of its history. And, last but not least, from the religious point of view, the Catholics would have serious problems (especially in the 19th century), because of the Anti-Catholic laws of Britain that abolished their human rights like: voting, having a good education or job etc. being even persecuted.
After the Irish War of Independence: The Anglo-Irish Treaty
After the war, in December 1921 England and Ireland would sign The Anglo-Irish Treaty, despite the fact that they did not have much interest in having peace in both territories. This could be explained because in the last stages of the war many violent acts took place, according to what the author Michael Hopkinson says in The Irish War of Independence. The terms discussed in this treaty were: the safeguard of the defence of Ireland, the future of Ulster (an Irish Protestant region formed by six counties that was in favour of the union with Britain), the granting of fiscal autonomy and the self-domain in their twenty-six counties. (Hopkinson, 2002: 177) This treaty, signed by the provisional Irish government and by the British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his asembly of negotiators, had an acceptable degree of independence for his supporters. Nonetheless, for others there would be something missing and that was the partition of Ireland (despite the fact that there was little to discuss because they had already done it that same year). As well, this treaty was not accepted by those who voted against (the anti-Treaties or republicans) as it was inconceivable for them and, therefore, they refused to recognize the Irish Free State. Nevertheless, for the big majority it represented one more step for the Irish freedom, even if with this agreement they would continue to be subordinated to Britain in some economical aspects (Curtis, 2010: 106-107)
Northern and Southern Ireland
Meanwhile in Ireland, as I have mentioned before, the division of the territory affected the region of Ulster (situated in Northern Ireland) and the rest of Ireland. The conflict of Northern Ireland or The Troubles is believed to have a religious origin between Catholics and Protestants, but according to the author Joanne McEvoy the origin lays somewhere else: the national identity. Whilst Nationalists regard the Republic of Ireland as their ‘motherland’, the Unionists consider Britain their country, as they have very different objectives: Unionists want to be part of the United Kingdom and Nationalists want a united Ireland.Of course, in Ireland the religion divisions have always been explicit. It is known that during this period there were many cases of sectarianism because of this issue, but these discrepancies also coincide with other economical differences, historical facts and national political identity.(McEvoy, 2008: 8)
According to Andrew Sanders, the IRA or Irish Republic Army was considered heir of the Irish Volunteers, a small group of Irish volunteers that took part in the First World War. The Irish Volunteers split from the National Volunteers in 1914 and, encouraged by the Irish Parliamentary Party leader (John Redmond), would give their support to the Allies at the beginning of the war. The remainder was supposed to be a home guard in the Irish territory, but Britain refused to train a disorganised movement which couldn’t provide front-line soldiers, apart from the concern that they could provoke as they could have been used against them in nationalistic terms. As the war progressed worse, news about its divisions in their army arrived in Ireland and the threat of having to go to war increased, whilst support given to the National Volunteers was dicreasing. At the same time, the Irish Volunteers were becoming more and more numerous. That was specially influenced by Britain that created a Republican division in which the most important thing was the pragmatic significance of the war, in other words, what they will achieve at the end of the war. (Sanders, 2011: 1-2)
This movement would continue after the war until the decade of 1970s, when Nothern Ireland would suffer one of the most violent periods in its history. As a result of The ‘Troubles’, over two thousand people would be murdered and half of them in the hands of the Provisional IRA. In August 1969, the Official IRA would be created and it would split with the Provisional one. This movement was established because of the impotence experienced during that decade and with the purpose of being able to change it into a deadly insurgency fast. Nevertheless, they also began to have political activity, as for instance, claiming the recognitions of the parliaments of Stormont or Westminster, but having an extreme socialism orientation. (Sanders, 2011: 45)
The tendency towards politics of the IRA would start as a peace process, according to Sanders, that will be established during the following decades and continued until the 1990s when the IRA would make its final movement with two ceasefires. All this, added with the internal factionism of the movement and the transition of the Irish-American military support to political intervention, would finally end with the most abrupt period in the history of Nothern Ireland. (Sanders, 2011: 191) The beginning of the 21st century was in an uneasy calm, even if the final year of the previous century had only eight deaths, there was a straight relation between violence and politics that wouldn’t end till the last paramilitary group in Nothern Ireland, the LVF (Loyalist Volunteer Force) was disolved, arresting in October 2005 its leader. (Sanders, 2011: 226-227)
To sum up with this second part of the essay, it could be said that the period between the Irish War of Independence until our days was even more violent in some decades that the war itself. Having two main territorial and political isues, the complete independence of Ireland from Britain and the internal territorial division in the Irish territory, dividing it into two parts: Northern and Southern Ireland. Likewise, I have also discussed about the biggest paramilitary movement emerged in Ireland in the last century, the IRA, which I have considered very important for the understanding of the Irish Nationalism, because it would be crucial in the conflict of Nothern Ireland.


Works cited
Boyce, D. G. (2003). Nationalism in Ireland (3). London: Routledge.
Curtis, K. (2010). Anthem Irish Studies : P. S. O'Hegarty (1879-1955) : Sinn Féin Fenian (1). London: Anthem Press.
Hopkinson, M. (2002). The Irish War of Independence. Montreal: MQUP.
Larkin, H. (2014). Anthem Perspectives in History : A History of Ireland 1800–1922 Theatres of Disorder? (1). London: Anthem Press.
McCaffrey, L. J. (2015). The Irish Question : Two Centuries of Conflict (2). Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.
McEvoy, J. (2008). Politics Study Guides EUP : Politics of Northern Ireland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Sanders, A. (2011). Inside the IRA : Dissident Republicans and the War for Legitimacy (1). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

lunes, 28 de agosto de 2017


The reason why I’m applying to study in the University of Edinburgh for doing my Erasmus year is because it will be the best opportunity to study abroad that I will ever have again.I chose particularly Edinburgh because the city brings me a lot of good memories and its magnificent university.

Six years ago and also this year I was there, and I can only say that nothing had changed during those years, it was as beautiful as I remembered it (except for the tram obviously). Both times I went with my father’s school for a week to Mackenzie School in Leith in order to improve my English. In the mornings we used to have classes and in the afternoon we took advantage to visit the city, or other cities, such as Stirling.

I also want to study in the University of Edinburgh because it’s considered to be one of the best universities in the UK, which I find really positive for my degree (English Philology). As I’m also studying French and German, I knew that Edinburgh University offers me more possibilities to continue learning them. However, the most important matter why I applied for this city is because I want to improve my English during my Erasmus year in order to be able to pass the exams for the Cambridge Certiicate of Proficiency in English (if it’s possible), which is most relevant for our degree.

IIn this university a high level of marks is required, which I find important in order to be competitive. However, doing the application we found a problem with a subject made specially for visiting students that was perfect for our degree, but that is now unavailable because it’s split up in two parts, I don’t know if it can be possible to change it, as it would be key in our degreeApart from this, I think there is a wide range of subjects to choose among, but I find really interesting those related to the Scottish culture. That's why I would like to attend them.

Finally, I feel that by doing this Erasmus I will improve my career options and give myself an even greater opportunity to work. Moreover, the fact of going to a city that I already know will give me more confidence to adapt myself as soon as possible.

lunes, 19 de junio de 2017

Three events in my life

There are many events that have had a big effect on me. Most of them are related to languages, because I love learning them so much and I also consider them as the key that opens the door to a new world, culture and customs. It’s for this reason that I’m going to mention three of these events in which languages will be present.

The first event that influenced me was the moment when I decided to study French for the first time in my life. I was about ten years old when my father said one day “Would you like to study French with me? It will be funny!”. At that moment, I was really excited about the idea of studying a new language, besides English obviously, so I accepted. My father taught me the language for two years until the big day arrived. He told me that he wanted us, my brother and I, to go to a French secondary school in Málaga. However, in spite of passing the entry exam, the school told us that we couldn’t be in the class we should be regarding our age, because we hadn’t studied there before and it would be difficult for us to adapt to their level. Anyway, it was a positive experience and I consider that now I know why my father wanted us to have this experience, which had a big impact on me.

Secondly, I’ll write about the moment when I passed my English and French B2 exams at the Official Language School in Motril at the same time. I was in the last year of the secondary school with all the exams of “Selectividad” (the exams to enter the university) and I also had to study for my language school exams. I was really busy at that time and I had to do fourteen exams in eleven days. The exams at the language school consisted of four parts (Listening, writing, oral expression and reading comprehension) and you would have to resit other exams in September if you failed any of the parts. As I expected I passed some parts in June and fortunately the rest, in September. These two weeks were two of the hardest weeks in my life and it’s for this reason that I included them in this list.

Last but not least I’ll write about my first day at university. For this event, I don’t know why, but I was really nervous. Like many students in my class, I don’t live in Granada, but the difference is that I live a bit farther from Granada. In my case I live in Motril with my family. Therefore, the fact that I had to take a coach every day to go to university was one of the reasons why I was so nervous: I didn’t know if I would arrive in time or if I would stop at the correct bus stop. Moreover, the university is not a secondary school and there is a big change between them.

I hope you liked my three stories. See you soon!

jueves, 15 de junio de 2017


You have recently started working as a tourist guide in your area. You must now write a report for your boss, describing the area, discussing what it has to offer tourists and emphasizing both its good and bad points.

In this report I would like to offer Motril as an interesting tourist point. It is a city located in the south coast of Granada province between Torrenueva and Salobreña. Motril is not characterized by its trial sector. Instead, it has a valuable fishing fleet and a productive agriculture. This city is also special because of its humid tropical climate with warm winters and hot summers. All these things make Motril the perfect city to go sightseeing throughout the year.

First of all, I want to point out what Motril’s history can provide tourists. Motril’s first historical remains are Muslim. Their presence is reflected in the structure of the city i.e. in its narrowed streets. We can also see some remains of a wall built at that time. In addition, it is important to mention that Motril has two main churches. The oldest one, situated on top of a hill, was built in the 17th century and the newest, the most important one, which is situated in the city centre.

Another reason to come to Motril is its gastronomy. Considered a tropical city, it offers tourists a great variety of fruits. Some of them are avocado, custard apple or mango. Moreover, as Motril is next to the coast, it brings the opportunity to tourists to eat good-quality fresh fish. Restaurants and bars are the best places to taste all these typical Mediterranean dishes. Another option to try them would be buying all these fresh aliments in the market place.

Nevertheless, there also some bad points to take into account when visiting Motril. One of its main problems is pollution. People usually throw garbage on the streets, despite the fact that there are many waste containers and waste bins. Furthermore, due to its humidity in summer, people usually sweat a lot needing more water than normal. Another alternative to go to the beach or the municipal pool to refresh themselves. The last bad point about Motril is that people from there often speak very loudly.

To sum up, I consider Motril would be really interesting for tourists to know. Despite the fact that there is a lot of pollution in the streets, I think that its history, gastronomy, and climate make the city worth visiting. People who already got to know Motril were impressed to see it and think of coming back again.

sábado, 20 de mayo de 2017

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being an only child?

Being an only child is an issue that can provoke many opinions regarding the point of view you see it from. It is obvious that it can have many downsides, but these days there are many advantages that can come to our mind.

Thinking first about the advantages of being an only child, there may be many reasons for parents nowadays to have just one child. The very first advantage is the cost of the things: clothing, food etc. Another important advantage is that parents can dedicate more time to their children education, because they only have one. Moreover, there are more possibilities of doing activities together as there is more time to spend.

However, there are also many disadvantages for these children if they don’t have any siblings. I consider the most important issue is that they can’t socialize as much as children with brothers or sisters do. In addition to this, they cannot have fun when they’re at home, if their parents work. And the last but not least important is that they usually think more about themselves, being sometimes a bit selfish, as they aren’t used to sharing things with anybody.

Bearing in mind all these bad and good points I’m going to write about my own experience. In my case, I have a brother and I reckon that it’s really good to have him. We have similar ages and we have the opportunity of doing many things together. Both, my brother and I, play tennis every Saturday, go swimming three times a week and play computer games together. I also help him in his homework if it’s necessary because he’s younger than me and he wants to study the same degree as me. And what’s most important we get on well!

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2016

An earthquake, a "habitable" planet and the longest glass-bottomed bridge... What's more?!

On 24th August 2016, Italy suffered one of the biggest natural disasters of its history. Since L’Aquila earthquake in 2009 when 308 people were killed, Italy hadn’t suffered a calamity like this one: Nearly three hundred people got killed and more than four hundred people wounded. However, could this disaster have been less damaging? 

After Aquila’s disaster, in Italy new rules concerning building construction were established in order to gave money so as to build these new buildings in order to resist natural disasters, like this earthquake. So Europe gave money in order to build this new buildings. Nevertheless, this money never arrived, and in 2015 a study revealed that only a 14% of the buildings of the most vulnerable part of the country were conditioned by the Standards of Seismic Safety. Moreover, the villages and cities that were completely destroyed with the last earthquake, continue in the same way: absolutely destroyed. It’s for these reasons that the 6.2-magnitude quake that suffered the centre of Italy, ruining Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto; has been so damaging.

But nevertheless in a paradoxical way, science has made a lot of efforts trying to find a “habitable” planet, similar to the Earth where we would be able to live in some million years, and China making the longest glass-bottomed bridge, without thinking in their own planet problems. With all that I’m not saying that is bad to invest in astronomy or in making bridges of glass. However I reckon that there are more important problems like preventing an earthquake, helping the Syrian refugees, solving world famine problem…

domingo, 4 de septiembre de 2016

English is evolving: New words

English, the second most spoken language in the world, is for sure one of the languages that is evolving more and more in the recent years. Neither all the words evolve in the same way, nor at the same time, but they are constantly changing. Therefore, how and why do they change?

Languages usually change due to their speakers, but especially because of young people, who introduce a new range of vocabulary when they are speaking among them. It’s a fact that they are a very important tool in the development of the language, however not all the words that they “invent” are later accepted in the dictionaries. For instance, acronyms like WTF, LOL I don’t sincerely think that they’re going to be in the dictionaries in a few years’ time.

Another fact to take into account is the period of time that we’re living, for example now with all the social networks that we have, we usually try to make words shorter (not everybody), inciting to create short words. In addition to this, these words and also expressions are usually related with new technology and online games like for instance: good game (gg), to feed the lane or well played (wp).

In Spanish those new words have been adapted by teenagers. One interesting thing that has happened is that in the case of verbs in Spanish is that we’ve added the suffix –ar to all of them like for instance “wasapear” or “tuitear”, making verbs really easy to conjugate. In addition to this, we've also created new words that, depending on the different regions that we live, we use or we don't.

In conclusion, English is a language that changes and will change really fast (like Spanish) due to the amount of speakers that use it. In my view, I see that it is a language that will be spoken by everybody soon. It’s for this reason that I consider that dictionaries will have to admit more new words comparing to the last twenty or fifty years’ time.