Letter: Irish become British when it suits the English

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The Independent Online
Sir: The events of Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2, are largely historically accurate, according to the old English chronicles. Yet, at one point in Part 1, the King wishes that Hal, the Prince of Wales, had been swapped with Hotspur in the cradle. In historical fact, Prince Hal was some 35 years younger than his arch rival, Hotspur. So the King's wish could never have been realised.

This is just one of the many riveting but historically inaccurate features of Shakespeare's history plays.

For dramatic effect, Jim Sheridan changed historical details in his film, In the Name of the Father. Yet many, mainly English, critics are crying foul. Is this not yet another example of British squeamishness when it comes to facing up to the immediate past? (There is also at work here the curious British double-standard system, where Irish bombers are definitely 'Irish' whereas Irish Oscar/boxing/football/Nobel prize winners magically become 'British' in media reports from London.)

Yours faithfully,

ALEX LYONS

Donnybrook, Dublin

14 March

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