Ahhh.......The Cause! But, what exactly is "The Cause?"
If we are to believe the foremost thinkers in the Northern Irish Republican community then the "cause" for all woes (both material and spiritual) is that old oppressor of the noble Irish soul....The British. Let's take a look at history for a moment.
The first documented historical reference to the Emerald Isle is to be found in the writings of the Romans. After colonising the mainland of Britain in the 1st century they cast their eyes westwards and spied the land of Hibernia.
The Romans had just spent a shed load of money, hardware and soldiers in conquering Britain; an island rife with druidism, incest and human sacrifice and weren't in too much of a hurry to dash across the Irish Sea and invest the same amount of effort on a probing mission.
The Romans, apart from political reasons, had come to Britain for the rich tin and lead deposits that they needed to run their empire. As a byproduct they brought literacy ( a skill that the druids had violently oppressed ) stone buildings, central heating, roads, wine etc...etc.
Meanwhile across the water druidism, incest and and human sacrifice continued. The Romans had better things to do than mount a speculative raid on Ireland.
After the Romans buggered off back to Rome in the 5th Century a largely literate Christian Britain ( who spoke Latin and what we would call Welsh ) was left to it's own devices. The pagan Saxons, Jutes and Angles muscled in and for a few years things went back to square one. The Germanic warrior caste ran the whole shooting match until St Augustine landed in Kent and persuaded the English that there were more things to life than strangling your neighbour because his dog had pissed on your turnip patch.
Meanwhile in Ireland the populace were still nomping their relatives.
Just when England had got sorted by the missionaries the illiterate pagan Vikings decided to come to tea. They trashed most of the British Isles till Alfred The Great pushed them back North. Meanwhile across the water druidism, incest and and human sacrifice continued.
After a few years the Vikings came to their senses and realised that reading a good book was better than rampaging through the countryside abusing the livestock and burning monasteries.
What is not well known is that the same Vikings totally kicked the arse out of Ireland at that time. They actually founded Dublin but their way of life was so similar to the indigenous population that their acts are not lamented in the sort of maudlin Irish ballads that tend to get sung by anyone with an Irish Granny after drinking 15 pints of stout.
Many years later the Normans ( French-speaking Vikings with Cavalry ) did a number on Britain and Ireland yet there were still pockets of druidism, incest and human sacrifice across the water. And, by and large, it's still there. Cromwell tried his best to remedy the situation but there is still a stubborn remnant of the old pagan ways.
Despite such civilising influences as U2, Westlife, Riverdance, Roy Keane(??) Terry Wogan etc. there remains the suspicion that given a chance the populace of Hibernia might revert to type.....and it's all the fault of the British.....whoever they are....
Ohhh...by the way...the Vikings eventually learned to read...and also learned to make Volvos, Saabs, Ikea, Sven Goran Erickson and Abba. All thanks to the Romans. I love a happy ending.