Guest Post by Charles
It was a soft Irish day that morning in Dublin. The day held promise as we made our way to Connolly Station where the Missus and I would board the train north to Belfast by way of Drogheda. I expected a meetup with new friends, a few pints, a bit o’craic, and a tour of the city. I got all that, but also got an entirely new way of thinking about the situation in Northern Ireland. I entered Belfast an American Republican and left the next day an ”Irish” Republican.
What does Irish Republicanism mean to me? First and foremost, it means a United Ireland. The form that this takes is up to the Irish people. (However, after speaking to people all over Dublin, I have my doubts as to interest in the south over unification. Dubliners seem to be quite ignorant about the North.) Secondly, my republicanism requires that ALL Irishmen are allowed to live in freedom, dignity, and equality. Thirdly, my republicanism does not automatically enroll me in any proscribed organization, but recognizes the right of self defense. Let me be clear. I am non-sectarian.
Let me stop here and ask my Irish Republican friends if I’m on the right track, or am I talking through my arse?
I think my road to Damascus was the Falls Road. Our own Seimi is quite the tour guide! Sitting in the car looking at the Bobby Sands Mural, thinking that this man starved himself to death for his cause and country. Or listening to Seimi’s own family’s story, which I will leave between us two, which inspired me so deeply. After two days in Belfast, my political transformation was complete. I am so proud that my great grand father Patrick Murray was a Catholic from Northern Ireland and that I was there to represent to the family.
Go raibh maith agat!