JOHN DERBYSHIRE: On St Patrick’s Day—Are The Irish Rebelling Again?
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Earlier: St. Patrick’s Day Is NOT Immigration Day—Irish-Americans Are White, And Being Replaced Like The Rest Of Us

Tomorrow, Sunday March 17th, we mark St. Patrick’s Day. I’m sure you all know the story of St. Patrick, but I’ll offer a very brief reminder.

Patrick was a BRITISH! lad who, when just a teenager, was kidnapped by raiders from IRELAND!! and carried off to be a SLAVE!!! in their country.


This was actually a common occurrence sixteen hundred years ago. Some of us Brits have been petitioning the U.K. government to bring a case for reparations against the Irish in the International Court of Justice, but so far without result.

Eventually, young Patrick escaped back to Britain, where he then studied to become a priest. After ordination he returned to Ireland to convert his former slavemasters. Snakes feature in the story somehow, but I forget the details.

Patrick duly became the principal Patron Saint of Ireland.  And there is news from Ireland on the cultural front that’s worth noting.

The people of Ireland—the Republic of Ireland—had a referendum on March 8th.

The referendum concerned their country’s Constitution, which has been the basis of Ireland’s law and identity since its adoption in 1937.

In particular, the referendum was about whether or not to amend two particular parts of the Constitution. To amend them or not to amend them? Yay or nay?

Both concerned Article 41, which concerns the family. Currently, it opens with a firm declaration of the importance of that institution.

The state recognizes the family as the natural primary and fundamental unit group of society, and as a moral institution possessing inalienable and imprescriptible rights, antecedent and superior to all positive law.

The state pledges itself to guard with special care the institution of marriage, on which the family is founded, and to protect it against attack.

Constitution of Ireland Online PDF

That’s Section 41.1. Immediately following is Section 41.2:

In particular, the State recognises that by her life within the home, woman gives to the State a support without which the common good cannot be achieved.

The State shall, therefore, endeavour to ensure that mothers shall not be obliged by economic necessity to engage in labour to the neglect of their duties in the home.

I’m sure you see the problems there. ”The institution of marriage, on which the family is founded”? ”By her life within the home, woman gives to the state a support without which the common good cannot be achieved”?

You can hear the Progressives howling. WHAT IS THIS, THE MIDDLE AGES? AFGHANISTAN?

So the proposals before the voters were to amend the Constitution by changing the wording there.

The proposal for that first section there was to change it with an addition and a subtraction. The addition would have enlarged the section by adding a qualifying clause after the word ”family.” Here’s the proposed clause: ”Whether founded on marriage or on other durable relationships.”

That addition of words in the first section was to be swiftly balanced by a subtraction. In the existing Constitution the word ”marriage” is followed by the clause ”on which the family is founded.” The proposal would have struck out that clause.

For the second section, about a woman’s life within the home as a key support of the State, the proposal was for total replacement. The section would be replaced by new wording that identifies as the key support ”the provision of care, by members of a family to one another by reason of the bonds that exist among them.”

The word ”woman” would then not be present at all.

So Yay votes on these two questions would amend Ireland’s Constitution to bring it more into line with the sensibilities of our Ruling Classes in the modern Western world.

A key axiom of those sensibilities is of course that there is no such thing as sex. So what need to mention women or traditional marriage in one’s national Constitution?

So on March 8—which happened to be International Women’s Day—Ireland’s voters went to the polls to vote on these Constitutional amendments.

The result, not to keep you in suspense: Overwhelming majorities voted Nay on both proposals.

  • On the first, the one with an addition and a subtraction both designed to suck all meaning from the word ”marriage,” the Nays were 68 percent.
  • On the second, the one annihilating talk of ”a woman’s life within the home,” the Nays were 74 percent.

Ireland Rejects Constitution Changes, Keeping ‘Women in the Home’ Language, by Megan Specia, NY Times, March 9, 2024

The single district that voted Yay: Dún Laoghaire, an upscale suburb of Ireland’s capital Dublin, no doubt contaminated, I’m ashamed to say, by its historic role as the terminus of the ferry from England.

The large context here is the West’s Cultural Revolution, in which Ireland has played the part of a key indicator.

I’ve been writing about this for more than twenty years. Here I was for example in March 2002 at National Review Online, a column I titled ”All Eyes to Ireland.”

“All changed, changed utterly: a terrible beauty is born,” remarked Yeats at the time of the Easter Rising. What has actually been born in Ireland during this past 20 years has been a modern, secular, hedonistic welfare state with a globalized economy, a Marxified Academy, a crime problem, a drug problem, an immigration problem and a terrorist problem. Is that terrible? Or beautiful? Your answer is probably a good indicator as to whether or not you are going to enjoy the first half of the 21st century.

Ireland’s swing towards Leftism is all the more striking because the country was, until it joined the European Union in 1973, one of the most rigidly conservative nations in Europe, the Roman Catholic church dominant in its cultural life. I can testify to that: I first visited Ireland in the mid-1960s.

That has all been swept away, as Mary Kenny wrote in Goodbye to Catholic Ireland. Another couple of decades, in my May 2020 Diary here at, I passed on a report I’d had from a Croatian friend living and working in Ireland.

This is the most pozzed country in the world. If Ireland ever was a Catholic country with a rebellious attitude, that part of it is dead. Installation of the new religion has been completed here—diversity, multiculturalism, equality, feminism, those are the new gods …

The largest event in Dublin is the Gay Pride Parade … Abortion is practically celebrated as a new sacrament …

The term ”wife” is slowly being replaced by ”partner.” Women are far less charming and far more bossy around here. I ran my mouth after a couple of beers at a company Christmas party and found that men here are completely neutered: they find my Balkan jokes demeaning to women …

That last remark of my Croatian friend’s stirred something I keep noticing in the deep background of news stories about Ireland: the feminization of the place.

It goes way back: I remember noticing that bossiness and lack of charm in the 1960s.

I hasten to add of course that it is not universal. In subsequent decades I have encountered many demure and charming Irish females—for example, Lydia Brimelow—and have even dated a couple.

The female sex in all generality does, however, contain a ferocious subset; and I do suspect, with my Croatian friend, that the subset of ferocious females is larger in Ireland than the world average.

I further suspect that this female ferocity was a major driving force in Ireland’s transformation from a deeply conservative cultural backwater to its recent status as what I have called the Heart of Wokeness.

And now, this referendum result. That 44 percent turnout is rather low, so perhaps we shouldn’t read too much into it. It does, though, suggest the possibility that the Irish have taken as much Wokeness as they can stomach.

I doubt there will be a return to the poor, proud, pre-1973 Ireland—the Ireland in which, to quote an old quip, citizens were expected to occupy their spare time sitting around a peat fire discussing the Council of Trent in Gaelic.

The Irish may, though, be waking up to the loss of their national identity.

If they are, a key factor in the awakening has surely been mass immigration. The past few years have seen numerous demonstrations by native Irish people against their replacement. Radio Derb has passed comment on this; so has’s Irish correspondent Pádraic O’Bannon.

Of all the destruction brought upon Western society by radical progressivism—the mutilation of children, the downgrading of merit, the enstupidation of our schools, the canceling and witch-hunting—of all these horrors, uncontrolled mass immigration may at last have made its way to the front of citizens’ attention.

For many years it crept forward quietly, insidiously—the proverbial boiling of a frog. Now it is in plain sight, visible to all, and resented by most.

In Ireland it likely helped to deliver those No votes in the March 8 referendum.

In the USA, it may decide this year’s presidential election.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.


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