Oliver Cromwell is notoriously one of Ireland’s most despised historical figures – but what about the good things he did?
Oliver Cromwell was acting on behalf of the English Crown when he led an English army to Ireland in 1649 and occupied the country. Cromwell has often been vilified by historians and by the public at large.
But in this feature article, we tasked our regular columnist Gerald Leinster to delve that little bit deeper and list five amazing things that Cromwell did for Ireland. He writes.
Oliver Cromwell his name strikes fear into the hearts of most Irish people and invokes a sense of hatred. But should this be the case? I think not.
5. To hell or Connaught
The famous Cromwellian quote of “to Hell or Connaught” came about when Cromwell and his army confiscated all the fairly decent land east of the Shannon and turned it over to some English lads that had travelled over with him.
Basically, this farsighted act resulted in the formation of some of Dublin’s finer Southside communities and forced many natives to flee to Connaught, thus removing most of the riff-raff from the capital.
That can’t have been such a bad thing. Cromwell’s plan was well copied years later by the Fianna Fail government of the day when their far-reaching housing policies saw the demolition of Dublin’s slum areas.
This led the relocation of thousands of the remaining riff-raff to the north side of the city and thereby freeing much-needed building lands for Brown Thomas, Bewley’s and providing plenty of multi-storey car parking; as I said not a bad thing keeping the leafier suburbs on the south side of the city.
4. Cromwell gave us the Gentry
Many of my friends are titled, and of because this, I am proud to be able to drop the odd “I was out with Lord this or lady that the other day.”
It gives one a certain air of importance to casually drop the name of nobility into conversations and of course very handy to ensure getting a good table in a restaurant if you casually mention while booking that you are dining with Lady this or that.
3. Coronation Street and Britain’s Got Talent
Cromwell’s occupation of Ireland and the Cromwellian Plantation of most of the country did much to rid the country of that nasty Gaelic language that the natives were speaking and bring the Queen’s English to our shores.
Imagine had it not and had we not learned what is proudly now our mother tongue we’d never have been able to sit back, relax and enjoy the BBC or, if pressed, even ITV.
2. Responsible for us colonising many countries
When Oliver Cromwell won the wars with the Irish rebels in and around 1651 and he had taken about fifty thousand prisoners of war, he decided to sell them off as indentured labourers under the British Commonwealth scheme.
Many of these were sent to British Colonies in North America, Australia and beyond. This was handy as it gave us Irish a sort of a leg-up in the formation of these countries and a certain degree of popularity, which was great when our lads had nowhere to go during the recession of 2008 but Sydney and Boston.
1. Gave us a bit of class
You have to hand it to Oliver. He came over here of his own bat and civilised the native Irish. Ok, some might say he went a bit over-board with the auld looting and pillaging and that sort of stuff. But think about it.
If it wasn’t for him we’d probably still be muck-savages going around eating spuds and speaking Gaeilge. Like, in all fairness, there’s enough of that Gaeilge language stuff down in Connemara and in RTE.
No, Oliver Cromwell did his best for Ireland and shaped us into what we are today. At least in South Dublin, the better parts of it anyway. Really we shouldn’t be off our knees thanking God for him.
This article is satire. We do satire articles because it is great craic and Irish people love it! Articles in this section are spoof articles which should not be taken as the truth, nor are they are intended to offend.