I’ve been reading Rutherfurd’s description of Ireland’s “troubles” in the second part of his Dublin Saga, The Rebels of Ireland. I read the first part, The Princes of Ireland, last year and since he tends to write these long 800-or-so page books I didn’t particularly feel like going from one to the other but gave myself a little break. My first Rutherfurd book was London which I blogged about here.
Reading both of these books has introduced me to a much suffering Irish people, despised by the Protestant English. In one part of the story one of the characters, a very staunch Irish Catholic, compares his people with the Greeks:
“…but it’s Greek drama that should be performed in a circular space like this….They say the ancient Irish were a Mediterranean people….and I believe it to be so. Look out at the waters of Dublin Bay…look south down the coast past those volcanic hills, and whom do you see arising from the soft waters? Manannan mac Lir, our Irish sea god. And who is he, if not Poseidon himself, sea god of the Greeks, under another name? We are Greeks, Garret, Greeks,” he cried….”taken over by Jesuits.”
As Rutherfurd’s method of storytelling involves history telling, he tends to throw in little historical facts and trivia, as was the case of a character who, upon visiting Ireland makes mention of the wonderful beverage they had discovered there:
“Ah now….my late mother Barbara Doyle, a remarkable woman, was a friend of Guinness when he first began his business. And it was she who gave him the name for his brew.”
“Well, so she claimed. And it would have been a brave man who contradicted her, I can tell you. Guinness came to her one day … and he says to her, ‘I’ve a fine dark beer I want to sell, but the devil if I can think of a name for it.’ And she says to him, ‘Well, if you want to sell to the city fathers, you’d better make sure the name will please them. So I’ll tell you what to call it.’ And he did.”
“Guinness Black Protestant Porter,” said Georgiana with a laugh.
“Guinness Black Protestant Porter, the very same….Though there’s plenty that drink it without being Protestant, I may say.”