My mother came from Ireland. SJ Dodgson. MJoTA 2014 v8n2 p0316
I am tremendously proud of my Irish mother, who managed to be born in August 1915 in Belfast, when all of Ireland was part of Great Britain, when Germans and Britons were slaughtering each other (and Africans, Australians, Indians, Canadians....).
By the early 1900s, Irish in Ireland, and in the United States of America, were incensed at centuries of Great Britain treating Ireland the way King Leopold treated the Congo. They looked at North America, and at Australia, and realized they did not have to put up with indentured servitude.
Many quiet rule-of-law Irish patriots wanted a loosening of the iron fist of Great Britain in a non-violent manner, these included some of my Doherty and Belfast Quaker relatives.
Others wanted a complete break, and to blow up things in a dramatic way, and so the Republic of Ireland was born in the blood of Irish warriors and even more civilians. Like the friend of my grandfather. My grandfather, named William John Uprichard, was a law graduate of Trinity College Dublin, oh my gosh. Such a lovely man. Somewhere along the way he stopped being a Quaker, but his mother Christine and his father Robert were Quakers.
Perhaps the shooting of grandfather's friend in Dublin in 1916 when he opened his door to a stranger made him leave behind his Quaker pacifist beliefs and propelled him into the militant Unionist party. I do not know. I do know his son, my uncle, Robert Basil Uprichard was an ardent member of the Unionist party and was solicitor general for Belfast in the 1970s.
The Republic of Ireland was proclaimed in April 1916, 8 months after my mother's birth, but it did not become an independent nation until 1922. My mother stayed in County Antrim, one of the 6 counties of Ireland that remained part of Great Britain, and known as Ulster, at 125 Marlborough Park South, just down the road from a Quaker meeting house, both survive to this day.
Because of my birth in England to an English father, I qualified for British citizenship. By default, I became a British citizen in 1973 in Australia, because the British passport was less expensive and lasted longer than an Australian passport. I became an American citizen in 2008 for much the same reason. Because of when and where Dr Patience was born, I am also qualified for citizenship in the Republic of Ireland.
And so has generations of Irish who traveled west by boat and by plane to wave at the Statue of Liberty and happily live, die and be buried in New York, Philadelphia, Boston and just about everywhere in the United States of America.
On my birthday in 2009, in Manhattan, I was told I was qualified for Irish citizenship by a detective in the New York Police Department. I was reporting an assault with my Canon camera. In the campaign offices of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. By a Nigerian lawyer-pastor-nurse who claims her father rose from the dead after 3 days, and that I libeled her and owe her $20 million, click here. I love New York!
Dr Patience did not move to North America, she mostly traveled east and south after finishing medical school at Queen's University, Belfast: 17 years in England, 3 years in New Zealand, 35 years in Australia where she died.
Dr Helen Patience Uprichard, aka Mrs Dodgson, was suspicious of everything American. She thought America sucks the soul out of people, the education system was bad and healthcare worse. She may have been decades ahead of her time.
However, my family is not strong on hating countries, religions, or ethnic groups. As soon as my first born Angus Zoltan Dodgson Pekala was born in March 1981, Dr Patience made plans to come to Philadelphia to visit him.
Her first grand-child. Her last plane trip. Severely crippled by 2 decades of rheumatoid arthritis, every joint in her body disfigured and in pain, she spent 6 weeks cooing over Angus and giving him Irish blessings. And giving me medical advice that got me through the births and childhoods of all 4 of my children.
She had the Irish spirit. Enormous effort and kindness in the face of adversity. I wish my mother's life had been longer and healthier, but I am so proud of her being Irish and of my Irish Quaker ancestry.
Maps and flags from Wikipedia.
Videos were chosen to give an idea of the history of Ireland, and what is going on today. Dr Helen Patience Uprichard was a medical student at Queen's University Belfast, from where she graduated in Jan 1940, 4 months after the start of World War II, and immediately went to England to work in a hospital. The young male doctors were all being sent abroad to patch up the troops; the only doctors left were old, foreign (and hence suspicious), and female.
Pictures below: St Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, Mar 15, 2015 in Philadelphia.
Bottom picture: the Irish Memorial in Philadelphia on March 17, 2014. In this region, lettuce and peas are planted on St Patty's Day. But not in 2014. We had another snowfall a week later.
First Minister of Northern Ireland. SJ Dodgson MJoTA 2016 v10n1 p0114.
News from Ireland is never static, and 3 huge events that have caught my attention in the past 12 months.
The first is that same-sex marriage was legalized. Which means that loving relationships that have been in existence since time began can now be protected by property laws. A woman taking care of a woman now can inherit her worldly possessions, as can a man taking care of a man. This legalization is the final link in making men and women equal under the law. Only in the last 100 years have women been able to vote or even own property in her own right. Well done Ireland!
The second was that the Republic of Ireland is celebrating for a whole year the Easter Uprising of 1916, and the United Kingdom, which includes the 6 counties of Northern Ireland, is not. That says it all.
The third is that the 6 counties of Northern Ireland, also known as Ulster, which remains part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has its first female "First Minister", Mrs Arlene Foster (born Arlene Kelly). Well done Ulster!
In my mother's lifetime, Ireland was one country. The flag of the Republic of Northern Ireland includes green and orange, including all peoples, all faiths. I am hoping that in my lifetime, Ireland becomes one again. Non violently. Violence and guns should never have had a place in Ireland.