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July 16, 2007


Wow, Alice, thank you for this informative post. I have never thought of the phrase "black-and-tan" in that way, though my own ancestors come from that same area of Ireland. On behalf of my family I thank you for bringing this matter to light.

And as always my friend, blessings to you and your beautiful family. :)


I second the wow. I thought nothing of it when I saw the name of the ice cream. You are always such a font of knowledge!

I only heard that expression (Black&Tan) recently watching "The Scarlet and the Black" Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty's boyhood friends had been killed by them. Despite his very strong feelings against the English, he went on to help as many of the British POW's during WWII along with the many Jews - a real saint of his times!

I'll tell you, Alice, I would love to sit down with you over a pint of something hearty (or maybe a half pint, to be a lady) and have you regale me with more stories.

Which is not to say that this is a story to drink beer about. Rather, my point is that you have a tremendous gift for sharing them.

Slainte, my friend! I don't have a drop of Irish in my blood but I do have great love in my heart for these great people .

PS. Don't get my husband started on the folks over at B & J. He has a fairly strong opinion of them and some of their beneficiaries...

My grandparents always used to shudder at the mention of the "Black and Tans" as well...

Wow, I had no idea. I learn something new everytime I come here! Thank you so much, dear Alice.

Thanks for sharing, Alice. My grandfather was born in Glenbeigh, Kerry and enlisted in the National Army the very day Michael Collins was assassinated. I do not think this was a coincidence by any means. I remember his disdain for the Black and Tans.

Hi Alice, I was saddened by your hate filled comments. Aren't we supposed to forgive? I was a Catholic until 4 years ago and part of my reason for leaving the church was so many Cahtolics of Irish extraction hated the English - and I am English. The things you mention happened 80 years ago. Forgive and forget as Christ told us to. Jean

Hi Alice, I don't think your comments were hate filled. The only hate in the entire post was in the orders of the Black and Tan commander. As for this happening 80 years ago, perhaps the previous commenter does not realise that within living memory, Catholics in Northern Ireland were not allowed to vote, own property or own a business.
Reminiscent of South Africa isn't it? Apartheid of creed, not colour. Do we expect the black people of Africa to forgive and forget so easily?

As for the Black and Tans, they were convicts freed from English jails in order to carry out their murderous duties against Catholics in Ireland. Perhaps if Irish convicts had run amok in England, the previous commenter would hold a different view.

'perhaps the previous commenter does not realise that within living memory, Catholics in Northern Ireland were not allowed to vote, own property or own a business'.

Really? I live in Ireland and this is news to me. Can you tell me more?

Whilst I do not think that this blog (and certainly not a post that started out about ice-cream) is the place for political argument, perhaps you could find more information here:


Two categories of voters were formed to ensure Protestant dominance at the polls: (1) the 'ratepayers', primary occupiers of a household as either tenants or owners, and (2) persons who owned commercial property valued at £10 or more per year. As only two people per house were allowed to vote, the ratepayer category effectively excluded lodgers or adult children living at home. Both lodgers and adult children living at home tended to be Catholics due to their lower overall economic status and larger families; thus, Catholic franchise was restricted. People in the second category, that is, owners of commercial property, were allowed to nominate special voters for each £10 of value of their property, up to a maximum of six voters (Darby 1976, 50). Since over 90 per cent of the commercial property in Northern Ireland was Protestant owned, this provision expanded their voting franchise and, along with the ratepayer category, extended Unionist control over the ballot box and the government.


BELFAST, Northern Ireland - Job discrimination based on religious affiliation has been official policy in Northern Ireland since the British parliament created the state in 1920. This, government ministers repeatedly promised their Unionist/Protestant followers, would prevent employment of Catholics, curtail their economic influence, and ensure high emigration of prolific Catholics.
The policy was developed by the Masonic and Orange Orders and managed by the civil service and private employers. Catholic professionals were limited to serving their own community in areas of religion, education, medicine and law. Catholic business was ghettoed into betting shops, taverns, small farming and construction.
Thus, keeping Catholics poor guaranteed they would increase their proportion of the total population, thereby threatening the very existence of the "Protestant" state. To keep Catholics poor, Catholics had to be and were systematically excluded from all but the lowest paying jobs in both private and public sectors. They were thus forced to emigrate in sufficient numbers to offset their higher reproduction rates.

or here:

Unfair voting regulations kept the Protestant majority in power, and it discriminated against Irish Catholics in housing and jobs. For example, voting districts were arranged so that none would have a Catholic majority and some wealthy Protestants could vote more than once.
In the late 1960s, the continual economic and social discrimination of Catholics in Northern Ireland caused a series of riots and demonstrations patterned after the U.S. civil rights movement. In 1967, the Civil Rights Association was formed.

Hope this helps!

Am I not right in saying that the property qualification for a vote only applied to councils and not to the actual parliament in Northern Ireland and that that rule was dropped 35 years ago?

And I don't think it's true that no constituencies had a catholic majority because we had a catholic MP, Gerry Fitt in West Belfast and nationalist coucnillors in the council.

I merely mean to suggest that if you overstate the problem then you are in danger of being too easily contradicated.

90 % of commercial property was Protestant owned; then who owned all those bars on the Falls Road?

I don't think I was overstating the problem. I was merely pointing out that Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland did not end with the demise of the Black and Tans, but was within living memory.

Universal suffrage did not become law in Northern Ireland until 1969. The Fair Employment Act, which was supposed to eliminate unlawful discrimination came into effect in 1976, but was proved to be not strong enough and further legislation was introduced, resulting in the Fair Employment Act of 1989.

All this is within my living memory. Perhaps you are a lot younger than me!

Your comments on the black and tans is innacurate. All you do is restate the myths that have surrounded them. That there were atrocities is true. That they were brutal is true. Atrocities were committed by both sides. That they were hired guns is untrue, That they were a rag tag army is untrue. That they were created to wreak havoc and terrorise is untrue. How do I know these things? My grandfather was a black and tan who married a Kerry catholic. I grew up hearing both sides. As usual, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. He was sent to Ireland as a seventeen year old boy having just joined the army because of poverty.

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