Annie Tock Morriette, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Maine
In Ireland, and often in the diaspora as well, St. Patrick’s Day has long been associated with the Irish nationalist cause. Combining fractious politics with religious animosity, contentious history, and drinking unsurprisingly led (and still occasionally leads) to violence. The late 1840s were characterized by sectarian violence in both Ireland and Canada, partially as a result of the intensification of the Irish Repeal Movement, the hardship brought on by the Famine, and a decline in local economies in North America that saw increasing competition for jobs and the growth of a nativist movement. Although more attention has been paid to July 12th, the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne, as a particularly contentious date in Ireland and the diaspora, some historians have argued that St. Patrick’s Day ought to be given its due as the counterpoint to the Protestant Twelfth. March 17th certainly saw its share of violence in 1848 and 1849 in County Down in the north of Ireland. Read More.