Thursday, 2 October 2008

United Irishmen paintings on display in Belfast

Four paintings to commemorate the Society of the United Irishmen have gone on display in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter. The society was set up in the 1790s to overthrow English rule in Ireland, temporarily uniting both the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic communities of the island, and was paralleled in Scotland through the United Scotsmen movement, founded in Perth. The Irish movement culminated in the disastrous rebellion of 1798, the failure of which directly saw the assimilation of Ireland into the United Kingdom in 1801.

For artist Michael O' Neill, the paintings "reflect the breadth of thinking of the United Irishmen and their full legacy in the fields of knowledge, culture, radical liberalism and sheer human courage".

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(By the way, an interesting historical fact that ties in - the Orange Order in Scotland was not set up by Ulstermen settling in Scotland as is commonly thought, but by returning Scottish fencible soldiers, who had been to Ireland to put down the 1798 rebellion. So now you know!)

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