Monday 11 December 2017

Battle for the positions of privilege lay at the heart of the Rising

Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald’s parents participated in the 1916 Rising. Photo: Chris Doyle
Former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald’s parents participated in the 1916 Rising. Photo: Chris Doyle
David McWilliams

David McWilliams

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly beautifully captures the essence of a certain type of south Dubliner. His type can be seen at the annual ritual that is the schools rugby match between the likes of Blackrock and Clongowes, bellowing from the side lines in Donnybrook, all sheepskin, hip flask and privilege. I know this type well because not only did I go to Blackrock but I even played in that very fixture many moons ago and found these sideline bores to be about the most obnoxious 'know-alls' inflicted on a poor schoolboy - who is terrified playing in front of thousands of his peers let alone their insufferable uncles. But in defence of the South Dubliners, we are a broad and eclectic spectrum of types; Ross is only one extreme version.

I was thinking about Leinster schools rugby as I wandered amongst the throng down to the GPO on Monday afternoon. Granted, this was not the most nationalist emotion to be running through a true patriot's veins as I approached the tabernacle of republicanism - but bear with me.

Over the weekend, I have been doing my own little bit of research about 1916. I've always been struck by the enduring professional aristocracy that the revolution spawned. Listening to the radio the other day, which was wall to wall relatives of the Rising, it was significant just how many are still in control of the commanding heights of this economy and society. So many of the grandchildren of the revolution have gone on to dominate politics, the public service, academia, the law and a variety of bourgeois professions; it's hard not to conclude that one aristocracy was replaced by another form of nobility.

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