Irish Story

Urban and rural scenes of Ireland

 Altamont House


Colm's Potted History

The Irish are known for their wit and facility with the English language, so here is a sample. Colm is an Irishman who manages one of the old Anglo-Irish estates which was willed to the National Estate when its owner died. The house is somewhat dilapidated, but the gardens of Altamont are beautiful and ranked amongst the top ten in Ireland.


The story begins ...

The first thing to bear in mind is that I'm Irish. Therefore, the following will, naturally, be viewed from that perspective. I was taught what might be deemed by some, to be a very biased version of Irish history in school. But it is the only history I know. All countries, all cultures, interpret history to suit themselves, and who can blame them? But there is a vast difference between interpretation and revisionism. I hope I have avoided the latter.

To understand the Irish psyche it is important to realise that, for a hell of a long time, our small green island has been invaded and occupied by a succession of thugs, vandals, hooligans and general ne'er-do-wells. Amongst these were the Vikings, known for their sailing prowess and the horns they wore on their heads, a case of inventing the hat rack along with the hat. The Vikings might also be credited with the invention of Duty Free - they deemed it their duty to row to other lands and take everything for nothing. Even today, the Norwegians feel a great affinity with Ireland, it being the only country they ever managed to invade. In the normal run of things, they couldn't win a game of darts.

Whilst the Vikings were somewhat of an inconvenience, given a few hundred years, the Irish drank them under the table and assimilated them into their culture. It wasn't like we needed another culture to keep ourselves amused anyway. We were quite capable of filling in the cold winter evenings before TV by building some of the most impressive Megalithic monuments in Europe, many of which pre-date the Pyramids by thousands of years, while at the same time building up a reputation as mad, fighting Celts.

It was this reputation, and the lack of exotic animals suitable for the coliseum, that made the Romans decide not to bother invading us, a mistake they were to regret when Ireland beat Italy in a World Cup soccer match some years later.

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Colm at Altamont




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