Friday 21 July 2017

Despite doomsayers, Ireland can benefit from Brexit - by hook or by crook . . .

Sheep and cattle farmer Colin Gibson in the Sperrin Mountains near Dungiven, Co Derry, has painted the word IN on his cattle and sheep as a reminder for people to vote to stay in the EU. The word IN is the slogan for Northern Ireland Stronger In Europe. Photo: Mark Winter/Getty Images
Sheep and cattle farmer Colin Gibson in the Sperrin Mountains near Dungiven, Co Derry, has painted the word IN on his cattle and sheep as a reminder for people to vote to stay in the EU. The word IN is the slogan for Northern Ireland Stronger In Europe. Photo: Mark Winter/Getty Images
David McWilliams

David McWilliams

'By hook or by crook' is a wonderful, outdated expression. It's the sort of thing my grandfather used to say. We all know what it means, but where does it come from? I heard it the other day while at the wonderful O'Sullivan's pub in Crookhaven watching a dogged Leicester City grind out another result against Manchester United. With pints and toasties in front of us, we watched as Leicester had a man sent off in a belt and braces final five minutes, when the old fella beside me declared: "This Leicester outfit are determined to win the league by hook or by crook."

The expression dates from the days of the first Norman invasions of Ireland, when rudimentary sailing boats left from Bristol or Pembroke bound for Ireland. The first Norman king of Ireland was Richard III, whose remains, incidentally, were dug up a few years ago under a car park in the centre of Leicester.

Back in his day, depending on the weather, the voyage to Ireland could be extremely hazardous and many ships didn't make it.

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