Irish history is not on the curriculum in England

Irish history appears only where ‘The Irish Question’ becomes important in British history, as I have commented before. I said then that Black History Month might discourage the teaching of the stories of other minorities in Britain, including that of the Celtic nations.

Does Irish history matter?

Jennifer Horgan thinks it does and laments the lack of knowledge of it in even educated British people. As an Irish person teaching in England, she has heard people say offensive things as a result of such ignorance. She seems quite understanding, but many other Irish people living in England might not. This cannot help community relations or international relations. Do they teach about Ireland in Scotland and Wales? I regret that I do not know.  What I do know, however, is that many Welsh and Scottish people feel that the English look down on them. I hope this enables them to empathise with the Irish.

The Scottish Saltire. Do the Scots learn Irish history?

The Scottish Saltire. Do the Scots learn Irish history?

The Red Dragon of Wales. Do the Welsh learn Irish history?

The Red Dragon of Wales. Do the Welsh learn Irish history?

Would Irish history improve relations or damage them?

Some people might think we would all hate each other more than we do if we were aware of past wrongs all round. Arguably, the teaching of history in Ireland keeps the resentment alive. However, I hope they encourage students to consider all aspects and all points of view, such as the benefits the English brought to Ireland as well as the negative side. I don’t fear the truth, only its distortion. We need to face it and move on. We need adult conversations. David Steel, a Scot, when leader of the then Liberal Party, said, “The trouble with the English is that they never remember, and the trouble with the Irish is that they never forget.” He was so right.