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It took a while, but William Butler Yeats you’re going to have to eat your penned words now (or whatever you’ll do with them from beyond your grave).
Romantic Ireland isn’t dead, as you infamously wrote in your poem September 1913. It has just been in a, some way self-induced, other ways imposed, coma. But it might be just about to rise from the flames.
It’s not a rebirth, just a reawakening. One, though, that might see the people of the old island of saints and scholars — a land that enlightened a darkened Europe back in the day — rediscover their greatness as movers and shakers; find their daring again.
In fairness, we never really lost it. It’s just that due to our self-depreciating nature, we’ve talked ourselves out of it over the years, even when the facts have shown differently. We’ve let others make us the butt of jokes with relative tranquillity; perhaps a natural reaction when you’re surrounded by arrogance (well to the east, west and south at least).
You see, as Irish people have done before, they’ve shown themselves to be leaders rather than followers, this time becoming the first country in the world where the electorate, by way of a referendum, have endorsed gay marriage.
Basically, they’re allowing official recognition of, and offering parity of esteem to, a practice that has practically been around since time immemorial. For some reason it just rested uncomfortably on a male-dominated church whose word had been sacrosanct for many Irish (and others) for years. Um, why so?
Of course, this isn’t really going to change the world and, contrary to what some may think, it isn’t going to end it either. There are far greater things that we should be trying to solve and resolve that will put an end to us sooner rather than later if we don’t. But what this does show, is that as a human race, we get our knickers (or Y-fronts if you will) in a twist over rather trivial issues.
‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ as they say. But we tend to create problems where none need exist. For that, we’re all a long, long way from having ‘a gay old time’.
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