Page 108. " The Harp and Shamrock will trample down the Lion and the bleedin' Unicorn "
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeRoyal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom - Credit: Sodacan

The harp and the shamrock are both symbols of Ireland. Often confused with four-leaf clover, the shamrock has three leaves which, legend has it, St Patrick used to illustrate the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Celtic harp or Cláirseach has a distinctive shape familiar to drinkers of Guinness beer. In Celtic Ireland and Scotland, harp players were important members of society, respected for their musical and storytelling abilities.

 Similarly, the lion and unicorn are symbols of England and Scotland respectively. The origin of the three lions, now seen on England football shirts, lies in the Norman Conquest, when England adopted the arms of the House of Normandy: two lions rampant on a red field. During Richard The Lionheart's reign the arms changed to three lions passant, though the reason for this is unclear; the third lion might represent Richard himself.

When England and Scotland were united under the Scottish King James VI & I he added a Scottish unicorn to the royal coat of arms. According to myth a free unicorn is extremely dangerous, so in the coat of arms it is chained up.

 

A pint of Guinness, with harp logo
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeA pint of Guinness, with harp logo - Credit: Sami Keinänen
Shamrock
Public DomainShamrock
Three Lions on an England football shirt
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThree Lions on an England football shirt - Credit: The Laird of Oldham
Page 111. " an organiser for the local Orangemen "

The Orangemen, or the Orange Institution, are a Protestant organisation based in Northern Ireland. The name comes from the Protestant king William of Orange, who came to the throne in England after his Catholic uncle James II was deposed. William's victory over James at the Battle of the Boyne is marked by the Orangemen every year.

The Orangemen appeared in the 1790s as organised opposition to the Society of United Irishmen, which was in turn set up to oppose sectarianism in Ireland. In the nineteenth century, conflict broke out between the Orangemen and the Ribbonmen, an Irish Catholic secret society. The order was banned between 1823 and 1845 due to the violence it and other organisations were perpetrating.

The order declined towards the latter half of the nineteenth century, only to revive when the question of Home Rule for Ireland emerged as a serious debate. The Orangemen opposed any form of Irish self-government, arguing that it would lead to Ireland being ruled from Rome. Their opposition continued through the period of Partition and the Troubles that followed.

Every year in July, the Orangemen march through the area of Dumcree in Portadown, now a predominantly Catholic area of Northern Ireland. From around 1873 to 1998 the marching provoked violent conflicts with the local Catholic population, sometimes with fatalities; it is still a source of tension.

Page 125. " The panelled coffee room of the Reform Club "

 The Reform Club is a gentlemen's club in Pall Mall in central London. Founded in 1832, it has admitted female members since 1981. The club building, which dates from 1841, was designed by Charles Barry in the style of an Italian palazzo.

 

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The club was originally formed as a meeting place for members of the Liberal Party, though it has since lost its party political associations. Famous members of the club include Winston Churchill, E. M. Forster, Henry James, Lord Palmerston, William Makepeace Thackeray, and H. G. Wells. The club appears in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days as the place in which the bet that sets off the voyage takes place.