Men That God Made Mad: A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland


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Men That God Made Mad by Derek Lundy. In this remarkable God Made Mad. A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Derek Lundy is the bestselling author of The Way of a Ship Men That God Made Mad: A Journey through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland eBook: Derek Lundy: Kindle Store.

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Antrim, and subsequently graduated as a Doctor of Divinity from Glasgow University, thereafter becoming both a Moderator of the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster and a staunch advocate of Catholic emancipation. For the young and young at heart. In the United Kingdom, Amazon. English Choose a language for shopping. Predictably, the centenary commemorations of the founding of the Ulster Volunteer Force UVF , which took place in September , generated somewhat fewer, and certainly less sensationalist, headlines. A Journey Through Truth, Myth and Terror in Northern Ireland a work of non-fiction published in , is an invaluable and timely contribution to our understanding of the selectivity of national memory and the indelible link that exists between familial remembrance and its communal counterpart.

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Their identity frequently appears to take the form, not of a clearly defined sense of what they are, but a highly developed perception of what they are not. This is a cultural predilection that writers from within the Northern Irish Protestant community have frequently commented upon. Graham Dawson contextualizes this growing interest as simply one manifestation of a more general trend that began with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in ; a pivotal political event in the Province which led, he argues, to a re-examination of the Loyalist, Orange and Unionist identities which had formed such an important element in the cultural and political life of the Northern Irish state since its inception Where do they belong?

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Surely everyone belongs somewhere? Subject to summary dismissal and marginalization throughout the centuries, the growing awareness of Northern Irish Protestant culture as something distinctive and worthy of serious consideration is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Views often perceived as embodying both vestiges of an outmoded colonial heritage, allied to a reactionary suspicion of modern political pluralism, are unlikely to appeal to those predisposed towards progressive liberal or left wing ideologies.

This is frequently linked to a defensiveness about their culture which renders them vulnerable to being vilified, both nationally and internationally.

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The well documented status of the Ulster Protestant historical vision, which tends to evoke real or imagined perceptions of betrayal, encirclement and the threat of extinction, suggest the imprint of a deep, seemingly permanent, counter-enlightenment skepticism. The myths, history, symbols and ideology which lie at the crux of their perception of themselves can appear starkly simple in outline and depressingly lacking in emotional range and complexity.

Their heritage privileges the celebration of events which have been given great symbolic importance or interpreted as signs inscribed with meaning, and they appear to embrace the notion of cultural, political and physical resistance not only against a hostile and encroaching world, but towards the very concept of change itself.

Whereas northern nationalists often appear confident in their cultural and political traditions, Ulster Protestants seem intent upon ensuring that they do not surrender the past to the present, or indeed, to the future.

Who betrayed the Lundys?

On this side no one has changed the water for years. Born in Belfast, into a Protestant working class family, Lundy was baptized in the Protestant Church of Ireland before emigrating with his parents, first to England and then subsequently to Canada. Lundy admits that he chose these three distant relatives with a particular purpose in mind:. Robert and William played roles that can be described as pivotal. As historical memory in Northern Ireland is invariably used as a mainstay of political rhetoric, the accounts of the past implicitly and explicitly generate descriptive model for the present.

In proposing a dynamic alternative to the traditionally narrow evocation of military battles and sieges which have dominated the Ulster Protestant historical vision, Lundy seeks to reconfigure their historical experience as a more complex phenomenon than reductive summaries would have us believe.

Men That God Made Mad promotes a more fluid dialogue between past and present, thereby invoking an Ulster Protestantism which is multifaceted as opposed to reified, pluralistic rather than monolithic. Such antagonism emanates from the central position which Lt. Colonel Robert Lundy occupies within Ulster Protestant popular culture.

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Pivotal to the narrative of the time — and subsequently — was the presumed treachery of Governor Robert Lundy, who, upon deciding that the city was impossible to defend militarily, advocated that conciliatory terms should be sought with the Jacobite forces encamped beyond the city walls. In the face of opposition to this view, Lundy was removed from office by other prominent members of the Corporation and smuggled out of the city.

Thirteen apprentices shut the city gates and a prolonged siege ensued, with Derry subsequently becoming ravaged by fever, dysentery and starvation. Lasting for days, the blockade ended on 28 th July , when a supply ship, The Mountjoy, managed to relieve the beleaguered city. His name is often invoked as a warning, a personification of the need for constant vigilance against treachery, emanating not only from external enemies but from within the Ulster Protestant community itself. Colonel Robert Lundy, which has subsequently been transmitted from one generation to the next, while modified in certain particulars depending on the circumstances of the time, has served to condition the perceptions of the Protestant community which inherits it.

The reliable factual evidence reveals that William was born the son of a poor tenant farmer in Ballycraigy, Co. Antrim, and subsequently graduated as a Doctor of Divinity from Glasgow University, thereafter becoming both a Moderator of the Presbyterian Synod of Ulster and a staunch advocate of Catholic emancipation.

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Down branch of the United Irishmen, replacing the ex-soldier, librarian and revolutionary leader Thomas Russell, who was captured by the government in and held without trial for five years. Interned without trial for more than four years, he was eventually released in and became minister of a new congregation in the small market town of Keady, in Co.

Once again, as in the historical paradigms surrounding the Siege of Derry, the denial of complexity and the resort to a simplicity which augments the sectarian design is starkly evident. Billy was also a member of the ill-fated 36 th Ulster Division, whose ranks were decimated at the Battle of the Somme, although somewhat fortuitously, he had been invalidated out of the regiment prior to it shipping for France.

In his attentiveness to the interaction between the private and collective spheres and his sensitivity to the manner in which his own personal story reflects aspects of the Ulster Protestant experience, Lundy seeks to achieve a renegotiation of selfhood and a more definitive sense of individual identity. Through engaging with the processes and experiences that have shaped him as a member of an Ulster Protestant family, he positions himself in a metaphorical space where personal memory, cultural allegiances and concepts of the self merge.

This admission lays bare the conditional nature of his personal affinity with both Ulster Protestants and indeed, the Northern Ireland state. He reveals how, when he is seven years of age and living in Cheltham in the English West County, his father informs him that his grandfather Lundy has died in Belfast: Billy was an old man, remote in Belfast.

He contrasts the harsh, belligerent tension in the Memorial Hall, where the atmosphere of imminent violence is barely contained, to the sensation of freedom and relief he feels when walking through a Catholic enclave in the same city. When examining a portrait of his ancestor William Steel Dickson which hangs in a small Presbyterian Church in the village of Keady, Co. Lundy also recounts being involved in a revealing episode which took place in a Protestant pub situated in the area where his family had previously been domiciled during the Troubles era.

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Perhaps the most revealing example of how Lundy experiences the tug of ethnic self-reference occurs when he visits his old family home close to the Holy Land district in South Belfast, in a street lying in immediate proximity to the pub where he had been received in a manner closely approximating a scene from a Wild West film. He is shown around the — substantially renovated — house by Leona, a Catholic University student originally from Belleek in County Fermanagh.

While admitting that partition was an inevitable result of the dramatic distinctiveness of Ulster from the rest of the island, he is unsparing in his criticism of the six-county statelet, arguing: Finally, in a passage which would doubtless induce palpitations in the heart of an unreconstructed Loyalist, and identify Lundy as a true descendant of the traitor Robert Lundy, he writes:.

Deep inside their fearful hearts, the Protestants of Northern Ireland know, although they will not, or cannot yet, acknowledge it, that the Lundys have been right all along. They will surrender, with caution and with unavoidable fear, to the idea that Ireland has contained them for four hundred years and that they belong there and nowhere else.

They must compromise and agree to terms. He then adds, for good measure: