Rediscovering national identity after colonialism

The Rocky Road to Dublin

Somewhat off topic, this documentary by Peter Lennon  from the 60’s about Ireland, covers the struggle of Ireland to regain it’s national identity after 800 years of British colonialism. Covering it here due to the analogy with a number of African countries who have since the 60’s also struggled to recapture and invent their own forms of governance and identity. Often through the re-discovery of  traditional cultures or inventions of new writers and dramatists.

In this documentary you see clips and discussions of young Irish people discussing strategies including reviving ancient Irish sports, reviving the Irish language (Gaelic) the development of Irish newspapers and the freedom of the press.

You see the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) who support games such as irish hurling, gaelic football ( still a strong organsiation in Ireland today) who banned the playing of english games such as football, rugby, cricket or hockey.

The role of the clergy (Catholic Church)  as a force of repression and censorship is very clear, they led all the schools and decided what books could be published and distributed,  to my surprise they banned some of the most famous Irish writers of the time such as Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Patrick Kavanagh and George Bernhard Shaw.

The director Peter Lennon was so critical of the role of the church in holding back the development of the country that the film caused a huge uproar and was banned for three decades. – Now on Youtube.

Everyone smokes! priests, girls, everyone and there’s music and drinking of course.
See also the wikipedia synopsis And a brilliant performance from Arie Altena of Oorbeek (part 2, 8mins) on the spoons.

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