Monday 30 July 2018

Albion and Ireland?

Albion is usually regarded as geographically equivalent to Britain - that is, England, Scotland, Wales and the nearby islands. But what about Ireland? Are the British Isles a spiritual group of distinct but inextricably-related nations; or is Ireland a separate place altogether, with a separate destiny from the mainland?

I can see reason on both sides; but - in a world perspective - I suspect that the British Isles are supposed to be a distinct spiritual entity, with especially strong inter-relations. Certainly, antagonism between Ireland and Britain is a deeply damaging state of affairs on both sides.

Ireland is more distinct than any of the other three. For example, Wales hasn't ever quite been a nation - and Cornwall and Cumbria (in England) have distinct Welsh aspects while Monmouthshire (in Wales) is quite English; and the English-Scottish border counties are probably more similar to each other, than they are to the other parts of Scotland and England. 

(e.g. In the Middle Ages, at the time of Robert the Bruce, my Charlton ancestors in the North Tyne valley of Northumberland were ruled by Scotland.)

But the Western Islands and Highland North of Scotland seem to be racially Irish, having apparently been settled by the Irish (displacing the Picts, and others). And of course the English colonised Ireland in various phases from the Elizabethan era; and then were mostly purged from the southern parts during the twentieth century.

I regard myself as definitely English, but I am nonetheless a quarter Irish; and have been very aware of the bad socio-political relationships between the nations; which far too many people (at high and low levels) delight in sustaining and exacerbating.

So much for politics. So much for the sins of resentment and spite...

But at the deepest spiritual level; there does seem to be a solid complementarity between Ireland and mainland Britain - as partly represented by the role of Irish monks and nuns in the Christianisation of the mainland in the centuries after the Roman armies left Britain in the 400s. In the other direction, St Patrick was likely born in 'England' and there was the astonishing literary genius of the Anglo-Irish (proportionately much greater than either the Anglos or the Irish separately).

Ultimately, I'm pretty sure that the ideal Albion would include Ireland.


William Wildblood said...

Curious, I was thinking of doing a post on exactly the same subject and have one in the pipeline about Scotland! I agree with your conclusion though there is a personal element involved in that I am, by blood, a mixture of England, Scotland and Ireland and have felt drawn to all these countries in their mythic aspects.

I say I'm a mixture as my father was from Yorkshire and my mother was half Irish (north and south) and half Scottish. I had a DNA analysis done recently which confirmed all this but added the intriguing additions of 4% Finnish and 4% Scandinavian, presumably from immigration way back whenever since there's no record of this in the family history.

Chiu ChunLing said...

In terms of geography, Albion wouldn't be the refuge that it ought to be if it didn't include Ireland as a final bastion rather than exclude it as a foothold for encirclement by hostile powers. That is to say, if Albion were a nation, then the loss or forfeiture of Ireland would be militarily unacceptable.

If one were to believe that Ireland were not part of Albion, then the only rational course would be to conquer it, whether by overt force, subversion, or moral suasion. Whatever the spiritual significance of Albion, the term is originally a reference to the defensibility of the British Isles against the threat of hostile invasion, without which the unique spiritual character cannot be long maintained.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Next question: Albion and America?

Chiu ChunLing said...

America's true spirit does not have the more defensive and conservative aspects implicit in Albion. Americans, of whatever race, are a restless and venturesome people. And they are less likely to feel called back 'home', other than for a short visit. It's not just a matter of physical relocations.

It can be a critical flaw as much as a vast strength. It can be called the difference between sheep and goats, for good or ill.

collegereactionary said...

In historical terms, the British isles have been divided between albion and hibernia. The two form a spiritual diad, albion having the brightness of king Arthur, hibernia having the darkness and foreboding of the tuatha de danann and the morrigan, the raven triple-goddess of death and battle.

Hibernia is the yin to albion's yang. The two are inseparable, and yet always in conflict. They are a diad that is most in harmony when they are United against the rest of the world.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JJ - My feeling is that the conflict is contrived and sustained by the upper classes - in recent years especially by the Irish elites, who teach and use anti-British resentment to manipulate the population. e.g. It was not Ireland's finest hour to side with the Nazis in WWII, simply because they were at war with Britain. A *truly*, spiritually independent Ireland would not define themselves against Britain.

collegereactionary said...

Well, that's my point. Ireland is the dark side of the British isles. The Irish can't be independent of the British anymore than the British can be independent of them.

The mistake England made was trying to control Ireland so they could be free of Irish influence. That failed, and now there's an Irish reaction.

Neither country can be spiritually whole until they're reunited. Just like a husband and a wife, they couldn't be more different, and yet they're incomplete without each other.

Is Ireland part of the whole? Yes. But to be United with albion, it needs to be distinguished from it.