From: D McGrath, UK [Email him]
Not only are there two peoples in Northern Ireland, the British presence there is also a legacy of combat between the Goliath of the Hapsburg's Holy Roman Empire and the decidedly smaller England, which was operating as an underdog through much of its history up until the defeat of Napoleon and Imperial France.
What was it, 7 Million English vs. 20 million French during the 100 years war? 8 million English vs. 30 million subjects of the Spanish Empire?
Calling the fight between the English and the Irish a Goliath and David struggle is a very selective point of view that ignores the raw power of Irish allies on the continent.
James Fulford writes: Mr. McGrath’s point is that the native Irish were linked by religious ties with the continental powers, like Philip the Second of Spain and the Emperor Napoleon, and therefore if a foreign navy showed up in Ireland, it could count on massive support.
At least two navies tried this—the Spanish Armada, which when if finally got to the Irish coast, was washed up in bits and pieces, and the French Navy under Napoleon—see the The Year of the French, by Thomas Flanagan, about the 1798 French-backed uprising.
However, the point of printing Mr. McGrath’s letter is to remind people like Malcolm Gladwell that there are two kinds of Irishmen, and people named McGrath are the other kind.