In Themes in literature class there is currently a focus on Irish myths and legends. Part of todays lesson included a brief history of Ireland in which we learned about British control of Ireland among other things.
Over time Ireland has seen many changes and while it is not a country of its own it is fairly free as I understand it. The majority of Ireland is now considered “The Republic of Ireland” Except for a portion to the North in the Ulster region which is still British controlled.
During the discussion the teacher brought up a matter of some interest, and that is that she told us in regards to some people speaking of North and South Ireland that we should, and I quote from memory here, “Never call the South Southern Ireland. It is the Republic of Ireland.” An interesting matter in my opinion, that reveals a bit about how the Irish may view themselves.
To go along with this we discussed the Irish flag. It is green on the left, white in the middle and orange on the right. Green is Irelands color, or the republic of Irelands color. The orange is for the Northern British owned area, and the white symbolizes peace between the two.
Previous to this setup there was an area referred to as the pale, on the Eastern shore in the region of Meath as I recall. Meath in the past had been the colonized portion before Britain sought to control all of Ireland, and the areas beyond the colonized portion were separated by a wooden fence on the border of the pale. Beyond the fence lived the Irish natives, and they were considered strange, and dangerous to those within the pale. This led to the saying of something being beyond the Pale to mean that something was crazy or strange.