Thursday, 26 November 2009

Andrews and Drennan

Every day the Irish News has an interesting column by Eamon Phoenix entitled 'On This Day'.  In it Eamon looks back to some event or report in the newspaper, on that day some years ago.  Today he was looking at 26 November 1940, with the appointment of John Miller Andrews as the second prime minister of Northern Ireland, following the death of Lord Craigavon.  The column noted that:
One of Mr Andrews' maternal ancestors was Dr William Drennan, the 1798 poet and physician who was one of the founders of the United Irishmen and the author of the celebrated Test.'

This reminds us of the fact that after the Act of Union, which abolished a corrupt Anglo-Irish parliament in Dublin, most of the United Irishmen in Ulster became unionists.  Drennan himself was reconciled to the union and his son John Swanwick Drennan was a poet of Ulster unionism, just as his father had been a poet of the United Irishmen.

William Drennan, a Belfast Presbyterian, was one of the great figures of the United Irishmen and is widely recognised as the real founder of the movement.  It was therefore disappointing to see that there was no mention of Drennan in the refurbished Ulster Museum in the section dealing with the United Irishmen.

1 comment:

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.