The political battle in Britain was fought at a mythic level, and the image of the golden age, with its appeal to the restoration of national identity, triumphed. But only just. The Remainers foolishly failed to paint their vision in mythic oils, preferring the pointillism of practical details.
Thomas McCarthy, as poet and thinker, is a defender of the past against the more crass aspects of modernity. He speaks from a wise understanding of the Ireland that has evolved from de Valera’s country of long summers to one where we try to read the runes from Berlin or Brussels.
In the newly independent Ireland of the 1920s, the Jesuit social theorist Edward Cahill argued strongly for the adoption of specifically Catholic principles in government, as well as resistance to what he saw as the corrosive effects of an unwanted legacy of British liberalism.