Here at The Church Bar & Restaurant we will be holding a two-day event to celebrate Bastille Day! In order to provide an authentic French feel to the occasion we are working with the French Embassy, Alliance Francaise, Le Petit Journal, French Friday, and French activity providers Park Petanque Club.
Bastille Day, or La Fête nationale in France, is on July 14th and is the French national day. It marks the beginning of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille.
In order to mark our upcoming celebration of all things French The Church has picked five of it’s favourite French-Irish connections.
Thomas Francis Meagher was a leader of the 1848 Young Ireland Rebellion. He travelled to Paris to study the revolutions of 1848 and was inspired upon seeing the new French republic’s flag. So it came to be that the first ever Irish tricolour was made in France, by French women sympathetic to Meagher’s cause, from French silk, following a French pattern. In 1937 the tricolour was officially recognised as the national flag in the Constitution of Ireland.
Many Irish rebels through the ages took inspiration from the French. This is thought to be partially due to the presence and influence of French orders in Irish schools and the shared Catholicism.
Of course, Ireland surely would not be a republic without la République. Not only have we gained our system of governance thanks to France, we also regularly use certain French words to describe our politicians. As Michael Freeman wrote in The Journal, how could the Irish talk about politics without using the French words ‘gaffe’, ‘publicity’, ‘sabotage’, ‘resign’ and, of course, ‘bribe’.
Many ‘Irish’ surnames around today exist due to the arrival of the Anglo-Normans in Ireland during the twelfth century. The likes of D’Arcy, Guerin, Millet, Deverall and surnames beginning with Fitz- are derived from the Anglo-Normans.
The Irish Language
The Irish language has been directly influenced by French. The Anglo-Normans spoke a mix of French and English. When they came to Ireland some French words were appropriated by the native Irish and incorporated into our language. For example, chaumbre became seomra (the Irish for room) and college became coláiste.
Irish rugby and football fans are well known for singing along to the French national anthem at away games in France. Even Thierry Henry hasn’t scuppered this. La Marseillaise is the best national anthem in the world. This is not up for debate.