Ireland's new-found wealth is helping to banish centuries of Anglophobia. Next February, you will even hear "God Save the Queen" sung at Croke Parkby Fintan O'Toole / January 14, 2007 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2007 issue of Prospect Magazine
Among the wonders of the internet is a site offering cures for all kinds of phobias. I asked it for advice on Anglophobia, and was told, “Your fear of England, English culture, etc, can result in the following symptoms: dizziness, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full-blown anxiety attack.” Since these symptoms are all too recognisable to those of us who grew up in Ireland in the 1960s, I was happy to learn that “There is a Way Out! Imagine what your life will be like when you know that you are not ‘defective.’ When you can be confident and at ease in situations where you used to feel Anglophobia.”
The way out offered involves some sessions of something called Energy Psychology, but in the case of Anglophobia, at least, there is a more effective cure: money. The application of large doses of cash to the Irish psyche during the boom of the last decade has led to a palpable easing of symptoms. The inability to think and speak clearly and detachment from reality that used to overcome a significant section of the population in the presence of perfidious Albion have become notably less frequent. Since the turn of the century, when Irish GDP per capita began to outstrip that of Britain, the possibility of being at ease in situations which would previously have triggered a full-blown anxiety attack has become more realistic.
Like a recovering alcoholic anticipating a first return to a favourite pub, however, Ireland is steeling itself for the ultimate test. On 24th February, England’s rugby union team will play Ireland in a Six Nations match, and “God Save the Queen” will sound out over Croke Park, the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). To get a sense of the significance of the occasion, you need only know that many of the fans will be sitting either on the Hogan stand or on Hill 16. The Hogan stand is named after the captain of the Tipperary…