Austin Stack (pictured) was born on the 7th December, 1879 – 143 years ago on this date – in Ballymullen, Tralee, County Kerry and, at 29 years young, joined the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ (IRB).

At the time of the 1916 Rising, he was 37 years of age and was the commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers and was arrested, by the British, with Con Collins, on the 21st April that year while planning an attack on Tralee RIC Barracks in an attempt to rescue Roger Casement.

He was court-martialed on the 14th June and sentenced to death, but this was commuted to twenty years penal servitude and he was released in the general amnesty of June 1917, and became active in the Irish Volunteers again.

He opposed the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 (stating, during the debate on same – “Has any man here the hardihood to stand up and say that it was for this our fathers suffered, that it was for this our comrades have died in the field and in the barrack yard..”) and took part, with other Irish republicans, in the subsequent ‘Civil War’, when Free Staters (armed by the British) usurped the Republic.

He was captured in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924. When Eamon de Valera founded Fianna Fail in 1926, Stack remained with Sinn Féin and was elected Secretary of that organisation, a position he held until his death. His health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook.

In the 1918 general election, while a prisoner in Crumlin Road Jail in Belfast, he was elected to represent West Kerry in the First (all-Ireland) Dáil as an abstentionist Sinn Féin Member of Parliament. The British incarcerated him in Strangeways Prison in Manchester, from where he escaped in October 1919 and, during the ‘Black and Tan War’, as Minister for Home Affairs, he organised the republican courts which replaced the British ‘legal’ system in this country.

In the general round-up of Irish republican leaders in April 1923 (during which Liam Lynch was shot dead by Free State troops) Stack, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the rebel forces, was arrested in a farmyard in the Knockmealdown Mountains in County Tipperary – this was four days after Lynch’s death. Imprisoned in Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, he took part in the mass hunger-strike by republican prisoners in October 1923, which was his 5th hunger-strike in 6 years.

Shortly after the end of that forty-one day hunger-strike, in November 1923, he was released with hundreds of other political prisoners, and he married his girlfriend, Una Gordon, in 1925. In April 1929, at forty-nine years of age, he entered the Mater Hospital in Dublin for a stomach operation. He never recovered and died two days later, on 27th April 1929. He is buried in the Republican Plot, Glasnevin Cemetery, in Dublin.

A commemorative pamphlet, entitled ‘What Exactly is a Republican?’ was issued in memory of the man – ‘The name republican in Ireland, as used amongst republicans, bears no political meaning. It stands for the devout lover of his country, trying with might and main for his country’s freedom. Such a man cannot be a slave. And if not a slave in heart or in act, he cannot be guilty of the slave vices. No coercion can breed these in the freeman.

Fittingly, the question – ‘What is a republican?’ fails to be answered in our memorial number for Austin Stack, a man who bore and dared and suffered, remaining through it all and at the worst, the captain of his own soul. What then was Austin Stack, republican? A great lover of his country. A man without a crooked twist in him. One who thought straight, acted straight, walked the straight road unflinchingly and expected of others that they should walk it with him, as simply as he did himself. No man could say or write of him “He had to do it”. That plea of the slave was not his. His duty, as conscience and love dictated, he did.

The force of England, of the English Slave State, might try coercion, as they tried it many times : it made no difference. He went his way, suffered their will, and stood his ground doggedly, smiling now and again. His determination outstood theirs, because it had a deeper foundation and a higher aim. Compromise, submission, the slave marks, did not and could not exist for him as touching himself, or the Cause for which he worked and fough, lived and died.’

Ireland had lost one of her best soldiers.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

It is with deep regret we announce the death of Patrick Henry, Harmony Hill, Sligo, which took place on the 8th March last.

The late Pat Henry was a member of the IRA from 1917 and took a very prominent part both in the IRA and Sinn Féin during the Black and Tan war.

When the ‘Treaty’ was signed, although with a young family, he again rejoined his unit and up to his death was uncompromising in his republican outlook, and his home was always open to those engaged in the Republican Movement.

His funeral on the 10th March was a striking tribute to the esteem in which he was held. An oration was delivered by Mr T. McEvilly and the ‘Last Post’ sounded. To his family we wish to tender our deepest sympathy.

May he rest in peace.

(END of ‘The Late Patrick Henry, Sligo’ ; NEXT – ‘The Child Is Father To The Man’, from the same source.)


St. Columcille (aka ‘St. Columba’) is an Irish saint, monk and soldier who was born on the 7th December, 527 AD in Gartan, County Donegal – 1,495 years ago on this date – and is perhaps best known for his ‘Book Battle’ and for being responsible for a mass hunger strike in Ireland.

Embarking on such a protest is part of a very ancient Irish tradition (although it might appear to be the case that James Connolly was the first to use it in 1913 as tool of political protest in 20th century Ireland) – fasting as a means of asserting one’s rights when faced with no other means of obtaining redress is something that has been embedded in Irish culture from ancient times.

Even when the ancient Irish law system, the Laws of the Fénechus, which we popularly called the ‘Brehon Laws’ from the word breitheamh (a ‘judge’), were first codified in AD 438, the law relating to the troscad (‘hunger strike’), was ancient.

The hunger striker gave notice of their intent and, according to the law tract Di Chetharslicht Athgabhála, if the person who is being fasted against does not come to arbitration and actually allows the protester to die, then the moral judgement went against them and they endured shame and contempt until they made recompense to the family of the dead person. If they failed to make such amends, they were not only damned by society but damned in the next world. They were held to be without honour and without morality.

The ancient Irish texts are full of examples of people fasting to assert their rights and shame powerful enemies into accepting their moral obligations. St Patrick is recorded to have done so according to the ‘Tripartite Life of St Patrick’ and, in the ‘Life of St Ailbe’, we found St Lugid and St Salchin carrying out ritual fasts to protest.

King Conall Dearg of Connacht fasted when he found his rights infringed, and the entire population of Leinster is said to have fasted against St Colmcille when he rode roughshod over their rights. The poet Mairgen mac Amalgado mac Mael Ruain of the Deisi fasted against another poet Finguine over an act of perceived injustice.

The troscad continued in Irish law throughout the centuries until the English conquests proscribed the native law system and foisted English law on Ireland through a series of Acts between 1587 and 1613. Nevertheless, individual fasts against the cruelties of the English colonial administration are recorded several times over the subsequent years.

Saint Columcille (‘Columba’), ‘credited’ (!) with spreading Christianity in what is today Scotland, died aged 76, in Iona, Scotland and, much like the ‘Holy Men’ of today, was not shy in claiming that (his) God was on his side –

‘O God, wilt thou not drive off the fog,

which envelopes our number,

the host which has deprived us of our livelihood,

the host which proceeds around the carns!

He is a son of storm who betrays us.

My Druid, he will not refuse me,

is the Son of God, and may he side with me;

How grandly he bears his course,

the steed of Baedan before the host;

Power by Baedan of the yellow hair

will be borne from Ireland on him the steed.’

And, with that – may your God, whoever He or She is, go with you…!


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

Terry Eagleton, now as confidently and knowledgeably ensconced in his Irish phase as in his previous four or five, is able to read the Irish scene far more closely than those we have been looking at.

Reviewing him in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper, Eagleton situates Roy Foster “in the great tradition of Anglo-Irish liberalism”, but suggests too that Foster shares some of the prejudices of his class and is naively unaware, as he denounces others’ ideologies, of his own ideological baggage.

“Foster’s constant nationalist-knocking, far from representing some daring dissidence, is now the purest platitude in these islands,” he writes. Like Foster himself and all the writers mentioned above, however, Terry Eagleton remains focused on the story of Ireland only as it unfolds within the borders of the island…



Seán Hales (pictured), a brigadier in the Free State Army and a Cumann na nGaedhal member of the Leinster House administration, was shot in Dublin on December 7th, 1922 – 100 years ago on this date – as he left a Dublin hotel, having had lunch.

The IRA had listed as targets all the elected reps who had voted for ’emergency legislation’ authorising the executions of republicans. His companion, Pádraic Ó Máille, deputy speaker of the Free State parliament, was seriously injured, but still managed to get Hales into the car and drive to the nearest hospital, where he died.

Anti-republican elements in the immediate area attempted to engage the two IRA shooters but they made good their escape.

Ó Máille was an elected representative for Sinn Féin from 1918 to 1921 and was active in the IRA in the Galway region, but supported the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ in 1921 (he later left Cumann na nGaedhal, attempted to form his own party but then joined Fianna Fáil). Both were, at the time of the shooting, members of the Cumann na nGaedhal party which, in 1933, merged with smaller groups to form the ‘Fine Gael’ party (pictured here, in that same year).

‘The actual killer, the playwright Ulick O’Connor was told in 1985, by Sean Caffrey, an ex-IRA Intelligence officer, was Owen Donnelly, from Glasnevin, “a rather girlish-looking, fair-haired fellow who had been a very good scholar in O’Connell Schools.” “Who ordered him to do it?” I asked. “No one gave him an order,” he said. “At that time the general orders issued by Liam Lynch were for anybody to shoot TDs or Senators if they could.”

He was in the main room of the Intelligence Centre when Donnelly came in shortly after the killing, on the afternoon of December 7, 1922. I asked Caffrey what was his reaction when he heard Sean Hales had been killed – “I was delighted,” he said, and then gave a little chuckle, as if reminiscing over something which he particularly enjoyed. “Donnelly was carrying on the fight,” he said. “There are no rules in war. The winner dictates the rules…” ‘ (from here.)

The reaction of the Free State administration was swift and ruthless : they announced their intention to execute four of the republican prisoners being held without charge or trial in Mountjoy jail and, the following morning (December 8th, 1922, at dawn) Dick Barrett, Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows and Joe McKelvey (‘The Four Martyrs’, pictured) were summarily executed by firing squad in the yard of Mountjoy jail.

The executioneers declared that the four men were executed “…as a reprisal for the assassination of Brigadier Seán Hales and as a solemn warning to those who are associated with them who are engaged in a conspiracy of assassination against the representatives of the Irish people.. (sic)

The four men were the first of the Free State administration’s executions of it’s former comrades and drew condemnation from, among others, Thomas Johnson, the then leader of the State Labour Party : “Murder most foul as in the best it is – but this (is) most foul, bloody and unnatural. The four men in Mountjoy have been in your charge for five months..the Government of this country (sic) — the Government of Saorstát Eireann, announces apparently with pride that they have taken out four men, who were in their charge as prisoners, and as a reprisal for that assassination, murdered them. I wonder whether any member of the Government who has any regard for the honour of Ireland, or has any regard for the good name of the State, or has any regard for the safety of the State, will stand over an act of this kind…”

One of those who had ‘regard for the honour of Ireland’, at that time, anyway, was Tom Hales, one of Seán’s brothers – Tom was in command of the IRA ‘Flying Column’ which attacked a Free State Army convoy at Béal na Bláth in West Cork on the 22nd August 1922, in which Michael Collins was killed, but he later dishonoured himself by becoming an active and vocal (elected) member of the Fianna Fáil party.

If you have a half hour to spare, you could use it wisely by watching this ‘YouTube’ video concerning the Hales brothers and that particular period in our history.

And, in relation to the above-mentioned ‘Four Martyrs’, a seminar will be held in Dublin on Sunday, 11th December 2022 –

– if you can’t make that, you might get to the wreath-laying ceremony on Friday, 9th December 2022, at 10am, at the Liam Mellows Memorial in Eyre Square, in Galway City and/or to the wreath-laying ceremony at 12 Noon that same day at the Monument in Athenry, County Galway.

‘You have murdered our brave Liam and Rory,

you have butchered young Richard and Joe,

and your hands with our blood are still gory,

fulfilling the work of the foe.

So take it down from the mast, Irish traitor!

It’s the flag we republicans claim,

it can never belong to free staters,

for you’ve brought on it nothing but shame..’

(From here.)


Michael Lowry has so far been the focus of media attention about Fine Gael fundraising.

But the party’s current leader, Enda Kenny (pictured), hosted a £1,000-a-plate dinner two days before the second mobile phone licence was awarded. And other guests say that one of the bidders for that licence was in attendance.

By Mairead Carey.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, January 2003.

Former Fine Gael junior minister Michael Keating, who earlier this year paid the ‘Criminal Assets Bureau’ €250,000 in a tax settlement, was also present.

A spokesperson for Enda Kenny declined to comment in detail on the fundraiser, saying he had insufficient information to do so. A brief statement was, however, issued on Kenny’s behalf, which acknowledged that the purpose of the event was to raise funds for his re-election campaign. The statement went on –

‘The main organiser was Ivan Doherty. Mr Doherty is currently in the United States and Enda Kenny has asked that he be contacted to establish the details to the extent that they can be, at this remove.’

Further questions raised by ‘Magill’ magazine about the appropriateness of seeking donations from businesses who were themselves seeking major government contracts went unanswered, as did queries about the state of the party’s finances and Enda Kenny’s attitude to corporate donations…



An unusual ‘On This Date’ piece for us to post, but worthy of a mention, nonetheless – two months after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, which occurred on 7th December 1941 – 81 years ago on this date – a dentist named Lytle S. Adams from the town of Irwin, Pennsylvania, wrote to the President of the United States stating that he should be made aware that the Japanese were simply terrified of bats.

On the 9th February 1942, Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed the letter on to William Donovan with a cover note saying “This man is NOT a nut..”

No one checked out the ‘bat theory’ but, as it transpired, it was untrue.

William Donovan, who made a name for himself as ‘Mr. U S Intelligence’, headed the ‘Office of Strategic Services’ (OSS), forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency and, for the next several years, he organised the dropping of bats on Japan – sometimes the bats were just slung out of bombers, other times they were dropped by parachute!

When you throw bats out of a plane at high altitude they freeze to death. We can find no record of what the Japanese thought of this carry-on, but wonder if they considered it to be ‘manna from heaven…’!

‘Developed by the United States during World War II, four biological factors gave promise to this plan. First, bats occur in large numbers (four caves in Texas are each occupied by several million bats). Second, bats can carry more than their own weight in flight (females carry their young—sometimes twins).

Third, bats hibernate, and while dormant they do not require food or maintenance. Fourth, bats fly in darkness, then find secluded places (often in buildings) to hide during daylight. The plan was to release bat bombs over Japanese cities…’
(from here.)

So this ‘Adam’ was not actually the first ‘Batman’, then..

…I’ll get me coat!

We won’t be here on Wednesday, 14th December 2022, as we’re taking at least two gangs of little ‘uns to see Santa over a three-day period (that’s the trouble with big families!) and sure we’ll probably fit-in an outing somewhere else, in between both visits, for us bigger Elves!

But we’ll be back ‘on air’ on Wednesday, 21st December 2022 with, among other bits and pieces, a few paragraphs on what happened in a County Council office in one of the six occupied counties in the immediate aftermath of the partition of this country…

Thanks for the visit, and for reading!

Sharon and the team.

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This republican operative was captured by the Staters in 1923 and went on hunger strike for forty-one days before being released in July 1924 ; de Valera attempted to recruit him in 1926 but he stayed with the Republican Movement and continued working for the Cause, even though his health was shattered due to the number of prison protests and hunger strikes for political status that he undertook.

Between the late 16th century and the early 17th century, the English foisted a series of ‘law acts’ on the Irish and proscribed the native law system, which was driven underground.

In the 1920’s, these two Irish republicans left the Movement and joined the Staters ; they were active in their pursuit of former comrades and, when they met one such man, they paid the price.

This Fine Gael ‘Organiser’ made it big, politically, in the United States but a ‘Junior Minister’ friend of his only made ‘big’ headlines here, when the ‘Criminal Assets Bureau’ paid him a visit and charged him €250,000 for the pleasure.

A ‘bats in the belfry’-idea in the 1940’s made its way to the US White House where it was studied and put into action, but it didn’t have the desired results, proving only that, like dentures (and mad dentists!), bats come out in the night ; to be continued…!

Thanks for droppin’ in, and for reading – see ye on Wednesday, 7th December 2022, when all the above – AND MORE!! – will be Comin’ At Ya…!

Sharon and the team.

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On the 16th October, 1854, a boy was born to a middle-class family who lived at Westland Row, Dublin : the child’s father, ‘Sir’ William Wilde, was a doctor, and his wife, who was known to be ‘unconventional’ for the times that were in it – Jane Francesca Agnes (née Elgee aka ‘Lady’ Wilde) – was a poet who mixed in artistic and intellectual circles, and was left-leaning in her political beliefs.

The child was christened ‘Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde’ : Oscar Wilde (pictured).

Oscar was educated in Trinity College in Dublin and then in Magdalen College in Oxford, England, and won a ‘double-first’ in ‘Mods’ (one of the hardest examinations ever devised!) and the Newdigate Prize for Poetry but, nonetheless, had to revert to lecturing and freelancing for periodicals to make a living.

However, he persevered and, in his mid-30’s, made a name for himself with ‘The Happy Prince’, followed three years later with ‘Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime’ and, in that same year, ‘A House of Pomegranates’.

He then took the world by storm and ensured for himself a place at the top table of literary giants with his works Lady Windermere’s Fan, A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband and The Importance of being Earnest.

But ‘life’ intervened – being, as Oscar Wilde was, a gay man in the Victorian era brought with it even more dangers than for a heterosexual who ‘played the field’ : his affair (and letters) to his boyfriend lead to him serving two years in prison, after which he wrote ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’

“Dear Christ! the very prison walls

Suddenly seemed to reel,

And the sky above my head became

Like a casque of scorching steel;

And, though I was a soul in pain,

My pain I could not feel.”

(‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’, by Oscar Wilde, written after his release from Reading prison on 19 May 1897.)

When he was released (at 43 years of age, in 1897) he went into exile and died, three years later, in Paris, on the 30th November 1900 – 122 years ago on this date.

Oscar was born on October 16th, 1854, in Westland Row, Dublin, and he died (at 2pm) on November 30th, 1900, in Paris, France. He was broke, financially – the last roof he lived under was a rented room in a ’10th category hotel’ (the Hôtel d’Alsace in Paris’s Rue des BeauxArts).

He was permanently in debt and his boyfriend, ‘Lord’ Alfred Bruce Douglas (‘Bosie’), when asked to help him out with a few bob, refused, and stated that Oscar was “wheedling at me like an old whore”.

A few weeks before he died he had confided in a friend that he was “ill and without a penny”, and was in debt to the amount of £400 at the time of his death.

“And now, I am dying beyond my means.”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“There is work there for us all. One of the clearest things in Irish history is that history repeats itself and runs in cycles. There have been periods of resurgence, periods of quietness. Maybe Tomás MacCurtain was lucky in his time, he was born into a resurgent Ireland, but he was ready and waiting to harness the tide and direct it into the right channel.

There is a tide in the affairs of men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune ; maybe the signs are showing again. Let us watch and be ready when the cycle has made complete revolution, when the heart of the nation throbs with new life, let us be ready.

Let the Republican Movement be there as the spearhead of a nation marching to freedom. When the great upsurge of public opinion will sweep into oblivion the unnatural barrier that divides our country, it will come only by honest endeavour on our part.”

Let us be true to the heritage left us by Tomás MacCurtain, let us follow in his noble footsteps and help to realise what he lived for and what he died for.

(END of ‘Tomás MacCurtain Commemoration’ ; NEXT – ‘The Late Patrick Henry, Sligo’, from the same source.)


‘On November 30th, 1835 (187 years ago on this date) the small town of Florida in Missouri witnessed the birth of its most famous son.

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (pictured) was welcomed into the world as the sixth child of John Marshall and Jane Lampton Clemens…approximately four years after his birth, in 1839, the Clemens family moved 35 miles east to the town of Hannibal. A growing port city that lay along the banks of the Mississippi, Hannibal was a frequent stop for steam boats arriving by both day and night from St. Louis and New Orleans.

Samuel’s father was a judge, and he built a two-story frame house at 206 Hill Street in 1844. As a youngster, Samuel was kept indoors because of poor health. However, by age nine, he seemed to recover from his ailments and joined the rest of the town’s children outside.

He then attended a private school in Hannibal. When Samuel was 12, his father died of pneumonia and, at 13, Samuel left school to become a printer’s apprentice. After two short years, he joined his brother Orion’s newspaper as a printer and editorial assistant. It was here that young Samuel found he enjoyed writing…’

(From here.)

And, since then, millions of people have enjoyed his writings – “Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

And an Irish connection – ‘Croker (NOT this one!) earned the undying wrath of (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) who in a mock eulogy to the Irish emmigrant got his facts wrong, but maybe not the tone, when he said –

“Yes, farewell to Croker forever, the Baron of Wantage, the last, and I dare say the least desirable, addition to English nobility…an all-round blatherskite and chief pillager of the municipal till…” ‘

This is the wordsmith in question…!

Born : November 30th, 1835, in Florida, Missouri, United States.

Died : April 21st, 1910, in Stormfield, Redding, Connecticut, United States (…and don’t ya just love the descriptive power of the term ‘all-round blatherskite and chief pillager of the municipal till’ ; I’ll be robbin’ that!)

“I think we never become really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead, and not then until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead, and they would be honest so much earlier.”


‘…he had drunk an estimated 42,000 bottles of Pol Roger champagne through his life ; he thought nothing of starting the morning with cold game and a glass of hock and ending it at 3am with the best part of a bottle of cognac..’ (from here) .

‘Sir’ Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, DL, FRS, RA, was born in Oxfordshire, England, on this date, 30th November 1874 – 148 years ago on this date – and evolved from a little pup into a pugnace britannicii, becoming top dog in British politics twice (1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955).

During the 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’ discussions it was the then British ‘Colonial Secretary to Ireland’, Winston Churchill, who maneuvered a friend of his, South African Judge Richard Feetham into the position of ‘Chairman’ of said meetings, even though Churchill himself described that particular ‘talking shop’ as a “toothless body”. Still – no harm to have its ‘Chairman’ in your pocket, an old British custom, practiced to this day.

But, drunk or sober, when he was on ’empire business’, he himself was anything but ‘toothless’ ‘..a man who swilled on champagne while 4 million men, women and children in Bengal starved due to his racist colonial policies…a white supremacist whose hatred for Indians led to four million starving to death – “all who resist will be killed without quarter” because the Pashtuns need “recognise the superiority of race” – the man who loathed Irish people so much he conceived different ways to terrorise them, the racist thug who waged war on black people across Africa and in Britain…he found his love for war during the time he spent in Afghanistan (“we proceeded systematically, village by village, and we destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the great shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation…”(from here).

Yes, indeed – men like Churchill made Britain ‘Great’, as in that that country has done (and continues to do) some ‘great’ harm on the world stage.

“We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.” – Winston Churchill. And we Irish have always found the English ruling political class and its ‘royalty’ to be a bit odd. They refuse to be civilised.


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

But no, the Professor is probably not referring to Conor Cruise O’Brien’s book ‘Ancestral Voices’. After all, reviewing the book for ‘The Sunday Tribune’, he found it as “stylish, mordant and discomfiting” as anything O’Brien had ever written, and he read “the historical sections of the book (including those dealing with very recent history) with unstinting admiration.”

We must await clarification of the professor’s change of mind, or an explanation of how self-indulgence is to be deplored only in certain writers. Reviewers of Roy Foster’s book do not fall so totally under his charm ; Anne McHardy in ‘The Observer’ newspaper devotes most attention to the Adams/McCourt piece – her many substantial quotations from the essays leave little space for her own reactions.

She shows some awareness, however, of where Roy Foster is writing from – “But he opens himself to the charges he levels against others – of weaving his style of sea-hopping intellectual into the mainstream of Irish identity, and also lack of focus because, however much he obfuscates it with references to ‘here’ of Ireland, he must often have written in Oxford.”

‘The Spectator’ characteristically offers a mixture of stereotyped thinking and candour ; thus Nicholas Harman’s second sentence reads – “His Oxford professorship affirms his credentials as a serious historian, and his biography of the poer WB Yeats confirms that he can employ the accurate if unreadable details…”



Pat O’Donnell (pictured) was a member of the ‘The Invincibles’ (‘Irish National Invincibles’), a 19th-century organisation which opposed, in arms, British interference in Ireland. He is best known for having assassinated the informer James Carey (aka ‘James Power’).

When Carey told on ‘Skin the Goat’,

O’Donnell caught him on the boat —

He wished he’d never been afloat,

The dirty skite!

It wasn’t very sensible

To tell on the Invincibles —

They stood up for their principles

Day and night.

And you’ll find them all in Monto, Monto, Monto

Standing up in Monto,

To you!

In November 1881, a group was formed in Dublin with the objective of “removing all the principal tyrants from the country” ; they called themselves ‘The Irish National Invincibles’ and, within a few months, they were to make world headlines.

The group, consisting mainly of former Fenians, decided to announce their presence in a dramatic fashion – on May 6th, 1882, they assassinated two of Britains top officials in Ireland : Chief Secretary Lord Frederick Cavendish and Under Secretary Thomas F. Burke in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, just yards from the Viceroy Lodge.

The British offered a reward of £1000 for information leading to the arrest of those responsible and put their top man in Dublin, Superintendent John Mallon of the ‘G Division’ of the Dublin Metropolitan Police (pictured), on the case. He arrested dozens of ‘suspects’ and repeatedly questioned those who were known to be in the Phoenix Park area that night, but to no avail.

Then, in November 1882, six months after the British lost their men, Superintendent John Mallon arrested a member of the Invincibles, Robert Farrell, and Mallon told him that they knew the identity of those that had carried-out the assassinations and advised Farrell to save himself – this was the same line that those previously arrested had been told but, unfortunately, Robert Farrell fell for it.

Within weeks, twenty-six men were arrested. The ‘G’ man, John Mallon, needed additional witnesses and evidence to build a substantial case against the men and reverted to form – three of the twenty-six men (Michael Kavanagh, James Carey and his brother, Peter) turned informers.

In April 1883, in Green Street Courthouse in Dublin, Judge O’Brien began to hear ‘evidence’ against thirteen of the men. Five of them – Joe Brady, Dan Curley, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey and Tim Kelly – received the death sentence and the other eight men were sentenced to long periods of imprisonment (nineteen year-old Tim Kelly faced three ‘trials’ before eventually being convicted, the jury at the previous ‘trials’ having failed to agree on a verdict).

Joe Brady, Michael Fagan, Thomas Caffrey, Dan Curley and young Tim Kelly were hanged in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin between May 14th and June 4th, 1883.

One of the informers, James Carey, was shot dead on board ‘The ‘Melrose’ off Cape Town, South Africa, on his way to Natal to ‘begin a new life’ with his wife and children, on July 29th, 1883, by Donegal-man Patrick O Donnell, who was caught and escorted back to Ireland.

His ‘trial’ (all two hours of it) was held at the ‘Old Bailey’ in London on the 30th November 1883 – 139 years ago on this date – in front of Judge George Denman, a Liberal politician known to be in favour of public executions.

Pat O’Donnell was found guilty of ‘wilful murder’, despite having the best defence team that money could buy – his supporters had raised and spent about fifty-five thousand dollars on legal representation for him, but then, as now, the British wanted their ‘pound of flesh’.

And they got it on the 17th December 1883 when they executed Patrick O’Donnell.

My name is Pat O’Donnell I was born in Donegal

I am you know a deadly foe to traitors one and all

For the shooting of James Carey I was tried and guilty found

And now upon the scaffold high my life I must lay down.

I sailed on board the ship Melrose in August 1883

James Carey was on board the ship but still unknown to me

When I found out he was Carey we had angry words and blows

The villain swore my life to take on board the ship Melrose.

I stood a while in self defence to fight before I’d die

My loaded pistol I pulled out at Carey I let fly

I gave to him a second one which pierced him through the heart

I let him have a third volley before he did depart.

Then Mrs Carey came running up to the cabin where he lay

O’Donnell you shot my husband Mrs Carey she did say

O’Donnell you shot my husband Mrs Carey loud did cry

“I only stood in self defence kind madame”, answered I.

The captain had me handcuffed and in strong irons bound

He gave me up as prisoner when we landed in Capetown

They turned me back to London my trial for to stand

And the prosecutors for the crown were Carey’s wife and son.

To all the evidence they swore I said it was a lie

The jury found me guilty and the judge he did reply

“You’ll never more see Erin’s shore, O’Donnell, you must die”

On the 17th of December upon the scaffold high.

If I had been a free man could live another year

All traitors and informers I would make them shake with fear

Saint Patrick drove the serpents from the our holy sainted land

I’d make them run before me like the hare before the hound.

Farewell to dark old Donegal the place where I was born

And likewise to the United States which ne’er was known for scorn

And twice farewell to old
Gráinne Mhaol with her fields and valleys green

For never more around Erin’s shore Pat O’Donnell will be seen.

That British show trial against Patrick O’Donnell began on the 30th November 1883 – 139 years ago on this date.


Michael Lowry has so far been the focus of media attention about Fine Gael fundraising.

But the party’s current leader, Enda Kenny (pictured), hosted a £1,000-a-plate dinner two days before the second mobile phone licence was awarded. And other guests say that one of the bidders for that licence was in attendance.

By Mairead Carey.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, January 2003.

Enda Kenny only last month demanded a signed pledge from past and present TD’s (sic) that they did not receive any money from ESAT or Denis O’Brien.

However, he has so far not stated whether or not he knew the identity of the man who attended the fundraiser held on the 23rd October 1995. The mobile phone licence decision was announced two days later.

Stewart Kenny of Paddy Power Bookmakers, who was also present at the fundraiser, has confirmed to ‘Magill’ magazine that he took a bet on the outcome of the mobile licence competition from a Scandinavian businessman who said he was among those vying for the licence.

Members of a consortium which was bidding for the ‘National Conference Centre’ contract – the competition for which was being run by the State Department of Tourism, where Enda Kenny was minister – were also at the fundraiser…



“Burn everything English but their coal” – the ‘Hibernian Patriot’ [from the ‘Drapier’s Letters’ collection], Jonathan Swift (pictured), an Irish author and satirist (perhaps best known for ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and for his position as dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin) was born in Dublin on the 30th November 1667 – 355 years ago on this date.

His father (from whom the ‘Patriot’ got his first name) was an attorney, but he died before the birth of his son. As if that wasn’t misfortune enough, young Jonathan suffered from Meniere’s Disease and, between the bill’s mounting up and her sickly son, his mother, Abigail, found that she was unable to cope and the young boy was put in the charge of her late husband’s brother, Godwin, a wealthy member of the ‘Gray’s Inn’ legal society.

His position in St. Patrick’s Cathedral ensured that he had a ‘pulpit’ and a ready-made audience to listen to him, an opportunity he readily availed of to question English misrule in Ireland – he spoke against ‘Wood’s Halfpence’ and in favour of ‘burning everything English except their coal’ and, satirically, wrote a ‘modest proposal’ in which he suggested that poor children should be fed to the rich (‘a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..’)!

In 1742, at 75 years of age, Jonathan Swift suffered a stroke, severely affecting his ability to speak, and he died three years later, on the 19th October, 1745. He was buried next to the love of his life, Esther Johnson, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

“It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind” – Jonathan Swift.

Thanks for the visit, and for reading ; we mightn’t thank ya often enough, but we do appreciate it!

Sharon and the team.

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8 4 U SOON…!

8 4 U ON THE 30TH!

We’ve gone back as far as the 17th century in one of our eight pieces for Wednesday, 30th November 2022, which is the period linked to a well-known author who suggested a new diet for the rich class of his day (…a different type of ‘8th/ate’, if you like..!)

His tongue-in-cheek (!) suggestion didn’t go down too well at the time and, if attempted, it really wouldn’t have ‘gone down’ too well at all.

In the early 19th century, this young man helped a family member out on a local newspaper and, by doing so, opened up a whole new world for himself and for millions of other people, and he continues to ‘grab headlines’ to this day.

These few paragraphs are about an alcohol-laden wayward ‘bulldog’ who, even when not on the booze, caused havoc and mayhem as he exposed himself for the racist thug that he was. His own people and his fan base have a full-time job trying to rehabilitate the man and his reputation, but it’s a losing battle for them – he left too much evidence to the contrary.

This rat of a mouth-piece thought he had got away with his political sins and was looking forward to spending his thirty pieces of silver but he then discovered that thinking like that wasn’t very sensible…

…we’ll be back here on Wednesday, 30th November 2022, with the above-mentioned pieces and a few other bits as well ; see ya then!

Thanks for the visit,

Sharon and the team.

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‘Sir’ Richard Dawson Bates (pictured) was born in Strandtown, Belfast, on the 23rd November 1876 – 146 years ago on this date – and was a solicitor (in Belfast) by profession.

He was Secretary to the ‘Ulster Unionist Council’ at 28 years young, and held that position until he was aged 44 (ie from 1905 to 1921). In 1921, he was elected to Stormont and was appointed as the ‘Minister of Home Affairs’, a position he held for 22 years (from 1921 to 1943).

In 1943, at 66 years of age, he retired to the ‘back benches’, where he stayed until 1945.

As the British ‘Minister of Home Affairs’ in the Six County ‘parliament’, he gave himself unprecedented powers to, for instance, “..outlaw organisations…to detain or intern people indefinitely without charge or trial…(and)…to destroy houses and buildings..”, amongst other ‘rights’.

He was to become the envy of others with a similar mind-set : some 40 years later (ie in [April] 1963) a Mr. Vorster , then South African ‘Minister for Justice’, was introducing a new Coercion Bill in the South African Parliament when, no doubt thinking of ‘Sir’ Bates and his colleagues in Stormont and Westminster, he stated that he “..would be willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland (sic) Special Powers Act.” Birds of a feather indeed.

‘Sir’ Richard Dawson Bates was a known bigot, and apparently took it as a compliment when it was said of him in Stormont (by a Senior Civil Servant) “He has such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk or typist, if a Papist (Catholic), assigned for duty to his ministry.”

In 1935, however, he seemed to believe that he could treat everyone like dirt, regardless of their religion – on 18th June that year (1935), ‘Sir’ Bates issued an ‘official order’ banning all parades, not just those with a republican/nationalist ‘flavour’ : the Orange Order objected and told Bates and his people that it was their intention to hold a parade on the 23rd June (1935) and that said parade would be going ahead.

Bates was not pleased – it was one thing to trample over the rights of the ‘Papists’, but the Orange Order were his own people and he expected that they would support him. Bates put his troops on notice, and repeated his ‘banning order’. On the 23rd June (1935), the Orange Order took to the streets, as they said they would – and the RUC, and ‘Sir’ Bates, stood and watched!

At that parade, the then Orange Grand Master, a ‘Sir’ Joseph Davison, ‘put it up’ to his friend, ‘Sir’ Bates – “You may be perfectly certain that on the 12 July the Orangemen will be marching throughout Northern Ireland (sic). I do not acknowledge the right of any government, Northern or Imperial, to impose conditions as to the celebration.”

On the 22nd December 1938, ‘Sir’ (or ‘Master’?) Bates introduced internment for republicans, saying – “The (Stormont) Government decided there was no alternative other than to arrest and intern well-known leaders and prominent members of this illegal organisation (IRA).” No ‘backing-down’ on that one.

Bates was a ‘product’ of the times and ‘class’ he was born into ; he could not help but be arrogant, a trait which was to his advantage when it came to his chosen ‘career’. He died in Somerset, England, on the 10th June 1949 at 72 years of age, having been a ‘proud Orangeman’ for all his adult life.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“The names and the fame of deeds of Irishmen (sic) are recorded indelibly in the hearts of their descendents but their slanderers are lost in the mists of oblivion. The present bearers of the light of freedom will be vindicated by posterity and their critics will be relegated to the place of their predecessors.

‘Greater love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends’ ; Tomás Mac Curtain laid down his life that we might be free – in the flower of his youth, in the tree of his manhood, he was soldier and patriot.

The Treaty of Surrender dissipated all that had been achieved through his efforts and those of his comrades ; the unity of the Irish people was signed away with their freedom and today, 34 years after, there is only one way of re-uniting the Irish people. There is real unity only in the Republican Movement…”



“These Irish are really shocking, abominable people. Not like any other civilised nation…” – the words of Britain’s ‘Queen’ Victoria, on hearing about the ‘Manchester Outrage’, as she called it.

Her comments were replied to by one of the ‘uncivilised Irish’ people she was speaking about : “I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people…” – the words of 18-years-young William Allen, from Bandon, County Cork. The “outrage”, as far as the British are concerned, anyway , began on the 11th September that year (1867) (….although, in reality, it began for us Irish in 1169) when, in the early hours of the morning of Wednesday, 11th September 1867, two men were arrested by police in Shudehill, Manchester, on suspicion that they were about to commit a robbery.

The two men were charged under the ‘Vagrancy Act’ and were detained in police custody, and it was then they were recognised (by fellow Irishmen in British police uniforms) as Colonel Thomas J.Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy, two known Fenians. Their comrades in Manchester, which was the ‘Bandit Country’ of its day, vowed to free the two men and, on the 18th of September, 1867, as a prison van carrying the two men (and a 12-years-young boy, plus three female prisoners) was travelling on the Manchester to Salford road, on its way to ‘deposit the cargo’ in Belle Vue Gaol on the Hyde Road in Gorton, Manchester, accompanied by a team of 12 horse-mounted policemen, it was attacked by about 50 Fenians.

Kelly and Deasy were handcuffed and locked in two separate compartments inside the van, guarded by a police sergeant, a Charles Brett, and, as such, were unable to assist their comrades outside.

The mounted police escort fled the scene on seeing the number of attackers but Brett was obviously unable to do so : the Fenian rescuers were unable to force open the van and advised Brett that it would be for his own good to open the doors and let the prisoners go. Brett refused the offer, and was looking through the keyhole to further assess his situation when one of the rescuers decided to shoot the lock apart – the bullet went through the keyhole and hit Brett in the head, killing him instantly.

One of the female prisoners had the good sense to take the keys from his pocket and hand them out through an air vent to those outside, and Kelly and Deasy were taken to safety.

Twenty-six men were later arrested and tried for playing a part in the rescue, and five of them were detained to stand trial, on 1st November 1867, for their alleged part in what the British called the “Manchester Outrage” : all five were actually sentenced to be hanged, but one was granted clemency and another was ‘pardoned’ as the evidence against him was found to be perjured.

The other three – William Allen, Michael O’Brien and Michael Larkin – the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, were hanged in front of thousands of baying spectators on Saturday, 23rd November 1867 – 155 years ago on this date – in Salford, Manchester, outside the New Bailey Jail.

In an address to the court, William Philip Allen, 18, stated – “No man in this court regrets the death of Sergeant Brett more than I do, and I positively say, in the presence of the Almighty and ever-living God, that I am innocent ; aye, as innocent as any man in this court. I don’t say this for the sake of mercy : I want no mercy — I’ll have no mercy. I’ll die, as many thousands have died, for the sake of their beloved land, and in defence of it.

I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people. Is it possible we are asked why sentence should not be passed upon us, on the evidence of prostitutes off the streets of Manchester, fellows out of work, convicted felons — aye, an Irishman sentenced to be hanged when an English dog would have got off.

I say positively and defiantly, justice has not been done me since I was arrested. If justice had been done me, I would not have been handcuffed at the preliminary investigation in Bridge Street ; and in this court, justice has not been done me in any shape or form. I was brought up here and all the prisoners by my side were allowed to wear overcoats, and I was told to take mine off. What is the principle of that? There was something in that principle, and I say positively that justice has not been done me.

As for the other prisoners, they can speak for themselves with regard to that matter. And now, with regard to the way I have been identified. I have to say that my clothes were kept for four hours by the policemen in Fairfield station and shown to parties to identify me as being one of the perpetrators of this outrage on Hyde Road. Also in Albert station there was a handkerchief kept on my head the whole night, so that I could be identified the next morning in the corridor by the witnesses.

I was ordered to leave on the handkerchief for the purpose that the witnesses could more plainly see I was one of the parties who committed the outrage. As for myself, I feel the righteousness of my every act with regard to what I have done in defence of my country. I fear not. I am fearless — fearless of the punishment that can be inflicted on me ; and with that, my lords, I have done.”

However, he then added the following – “I beg to be excused. One remark more. I return Mr. Seymour and Mr. Jones my sincere and heartfelt thanks for their able eloquence and advocacy on my part in this affray. I wish also to return to Mr. Roberts the very same. My name, sir, might be wished to be known. It is not William O’Meara Allen. My name is William Philip Allen. I was born and reared in Bandon, in the County of Cork, and from that place I take my name ; and I am proud of my country, and proud of my parentage. My lords, I have done.”

Michael Larkin, 32, lived in the Banagher region of County Offaly and was a tailor by trade. He was not of good health and himself and his two comrades were captured as they carried him away from the scene of the rescue. He, too, addressed the court :

“I have only got a word or two to say concerning Sergeant Brett. As my friend here said, no one could regret the man’s death as much as I do. With regard to the charge of pistols and revolvers, and my using them, I call my God as witness that I neither used pistols, revolvers, nor any instrument on that day that would deprive the life of a child, let alone a man.

Nor did I go there on purpose to take life away. Certainly, my lords, I do not want to deny that I did go to give aid and assistance to those two noble heroes that were confined in that van, Kelly and Deasy. I did go to do as much as lay in my power to extricate them out of their bondage ; but I did not go to take life, nor, my lord, did anyone else. It is a misfortune there was life taken ; but if it was taken it was not done intentionally, and the man who has taken life we have not got him.

I was at the scene of action, when there were over, I dare say, 150 people standing by there when I was. I am very sorry I have to say, my lord, but I thought I had some respectable people to come up as witnesses against me ; but I am sorry to say as my friend said — I will make no more remarks concerning that. All I have to say, my lords and gentlemen, is that so far as my trial went, and the way it was conducted, I believe I have got a fair trial.

What is decreed a man in the page of life he has to fulfil, either on the gallows, drowning, a fair death in bed, or on the battle-field. So I look to the mercy of God. May God forgive all who have sworn my life away. As I am a dying man, I forgive them from the bottom of my heart. God forgive them.”

Michael O’Brien, 31, from Ballymacoda in Cork, was a lieutenant in the US Army and was better known in England by the name ‘William Gould’. He delivered the following speech to the court :

“I shall commence by saying that every witness who has sworn anything against me has sworn falsely. I have not had a stone in my possession since I was a boy. I had no pistol in my possession on the day when it is alleged this outrage was committed. You call it an outrage, I don’t. I say further my name is Michael O’Brien. I was born in the county of Cork and have the honour to be a fellow-parishioner of Peter O’Neal Crowley, who was fighting against the British troops at Mitchelstown last March, and who fell fighting against British tyranny in Ireland.

I am a citizen of the United States of America, and if Charles Francis Adams had done his duty towards me, as he ought to do in this country, I should not be in this dock answering your questions now. Mr. Adams did not come, though I wrote to him. He did not come to see if I could not find evidence to disprove the charge, which I positively could, if he had taken the trouble of sending or coming to see what I could do.

I hope the American people will notice this part of the business.”

He then read a passage from a paper he was holding – “The right of man is freedom. The great God has endowed him with affections that he may use, not smother them, and a world that may be enjoyed.

Once a man is satisfied he is doing right, and attempts to do anything with that conviction, he must be willing to face all the consequences. Ireland, with its beautiful scenery, its delightful climate, its rich and productive lands, is capable of supporting more than treble its population in ease and comfort.

Yet no man, except a paid official of the British Government, can say there is a shadow of liberty, that there is a spark of glad life amongst its plundered and persecuted inhabitants. It is to be hoped that its imbecile and tyrannical rulers will be for ever driven from her soil amidst the execrations of the world.

How beautifully the aristocrats of England moralise on the despotism of the rulers of Italy and Dahomey — in the case of Naples with what indignation did they speak of the ruin of families by the detention of its head or some loved member in a prison. Who has not heard their condemnations of the tyranny that would compel honourable and good men to spend their useful lives in hopeless banishment?

They cannot find words to express their horror of the cruelties of the King of Dahomey because he sacrificed 2,000 human beings yearly, but why don’t those persons who pretend such virtuous indignation at the misgovernment of other countries look at home, and see that greater crimes than those they charge against other governments are not committed by themselves or by their sanction?

Let them look at London, and see the thousands that want bread there, while those aristocrats are rioting in luxuries and crimes. Look to Ireland ; see the hundreds of thousands of its people in misery and want. See the virtuous, beautiful and industrious women who only a few years ago — aye, and yet — are obliged to look at their children dying for want of food.

Look at what is called the majesty of the law on one side, and the long deep misery of a noble people on the other. Which are the young men of Ireland to respect — the law that murders or banishes their people or the means to resist relentless tyranny, and ending their miseries for ever under a home government? I need not answer that question here. I trust the Irish people will answer it to their satisfaction soon.

I am not astonished at my conviction. The Government of this country have the power of convicting any person. They appoint the judge ; they choose the jury ; and by means of what they call patronage (which is the means of corruption) they have the power of making the laws to suit their purposes. I am confident that my blood will rise a hundredfold against the tyrants who think proper to commit such an outrage.

In the first place, I say I was identified improperly by having chains on my hands and feet at the time of identification, and thus the witnesses who have sworn to my throwing stones and firing a pistol have sworn to what is false, for I was, as those ladies said, at the jail gates. I thank my counsel for their able defence, and also Mr. Roberts, for his attention to my case.”

All three men shouted the words “God Save Ireland!” at different times during the ‘trial’, perhaps realising that, then, as now, the British were going to get their ‘pound of flesh’ one way or the other.

The three men were, as stated, hanged by the British on this date – 23rd November – 155 years ago, and are still remembered and commemorated today by Irish republicans.


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

It can hardly be denied that the years immediately before and after the anniversary produced a rich crop of sober work on the Famine (sic) ; overviews, specialised collections of essays, studies in local history, folklore and so on. Fifteen minutes in a library should be enough to reassure Jonathan Freedland and Tim Teeman that Irish history-writing has not descended into a welter of sentiment and self-indulgence, as suggested by Roy Foster’s comment.

In the Teeman interview, we are also told – “You get these appalling, winsome, self-indulgent little snippets of autobiography in the middle of what should be history books. There are a number of Irish historians who used to write beautifully but now collapse genres into each other.”

To whom can the good professor be referring? The year 1994 saw the publication by a prominent writer – formerly renowned for his style, wit and perceptiveness – of a historical study that presented no coherent framework of understandng, that frequently reduced the complexities of history to caricature and mumbo-jumbo about the Irish psyche, that was interrupted by irrelevant personal and family reminiscences, that grotesquely misrepresented Bloody Sunday, and that sometimes clashed on fundamental points with Roy Foster’s book, ‘Modern Ireland’…



Ireland 1915 ; The ‘Irish Volunteer’ movement had split ; approximately 170,000 men stayed with John Redmond and fought with England in the belief that to do so would guarantee a form of ‘Home Rule’ for Ireland – but about 10,000 men broke away as they had no faith in Redmond’s plan.

Months earlier, British ‘Sir’ George Richardson had taken command of the Ulster Volunteer Force (a pro-British militia) and had landed about 25,000 rifles and two-and-a-half million rounds of ammunition at Larne in County Antrim – when the British Government in Westminster attempted to move against the UVF (as they had no control over them then), British Army officers mutinied in objection.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Ireland, other forces were recruiting : Irish republicans were re-organising ; the ‘Irish Citizen Army’ was recruiting for volunteers, as was Sinn Féin, the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’ and John Redmond’s ‘United Irish League’. There was turmoil in the country.

On the 11th of November 1913 in Dublin, in the then 68-year-old Wynn’s Hotel on Lower Abbey Street, a group of Irishmen and women held a meeting to discuss the formation of an ‘Irish National Volunteer Force’.

Those present at that meeting and/or at five other such meetings which were held immediately afterwards in the space of a two-week period, included Sean Fitzgibbon, John Gore, Michael J Judge, James Lenehan, Michael Lonergan, Peadar Macken, Seamus O’Connor, Colm O’Loughlin, Peter O’Reilly, Robert Page, George Walsh, Peadar White and Padraig O’Riain, amongst others (all of whom were well known in Irish nationalist circles ie Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann, the Gaelic League, the IRB, the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Parliamentary Party and the United Irish League).

Then, on the 25th November 1913, the inaugural enrolment meeting for the ‘Irish Volunteers’ was held at the Rotunda Rink in Dublin, to “secure the rights and liberties common to all the people of Ireland”. That meeting was overseen by a provisional committee consisting of thirty members, all of whom had been elected at the above-mentioned meetings.

Previous to the formation of the ‘Irish Volunteers’, James Connolly and others had formed the ‘Irish Citizen Army’, and both groups were in competition for members, the former on a 32-county basis whereas the latter was confined to the Leinster area, although attempts were made, through trade union structures, to recruit in Cork, Belfast, Derry, Sligo, Limerick, Kilkenny, Waterford, Dundalk, Galway and Wexford, but with little success.

Also, those joining the ‘Volunteers’ were supplied with a uniform and other equipment while those joining the ‘ICA’ had to purchase their gear themselves. Relations between the two organisations were not the best, as the ‘Volunteers’ allowed, for instance, employers to join and this at a time when employees and other trade unionists would most likely be ‘ICA’ members or supporters and, actually, when the ‘Volunteers’ were in conference for the first time (25th November 1913) Irish Citizen Army members and supporters loudly made their presence felt and they also objected in print – their first leaflet stated that the ‘Volunteers’ were controlled by those who were opposed not only to trade unionism but also to workers rights regarding working conditions etc.

Within a few months, however, the animosity had lessened to the extent that there was some official co-operation between both groups at the Wolfe Tone commemoration in June 1914 and again in October that year during the events held to commemorate Charles Stewart Parnell, and both groups joined forces at Easter 1916 and took part side-by-side in the 1916 Rising, during which almost 100 women, members of Cumann na mBan and the Irish Citizen Army, played a full part in the fighting : Cumann na mBan , formed in April 1914, and the Irish Citizen Army, were in training months before the 1916 Rising.

Both groups received instruction in first aid, signalling and weapons preparation. Connolly’s daughters, Nora and Agnes, who were both members of Cumann na mBan, joined other members of that organisation in travelling around the country to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses in a particular area.

‘The Irish Citizen Army :

Founded as workers’ Defence corps during the Dublin Lock-Out by James Larkin and James Connolly on 23 November 1913. Their Headquarters was at Liberty Hall. The movement was eventually taken over by Connolly in the spring of 1914. He re-organised them into an armed and uniformed force whose aims were the ownership of the land of Ireland by the people of Ireland and the establishment of a Workers Republic.

The General Secretary of the Army was Sean O’ Casey. About 200 members took part in the 1916 Rising in Dublin. The Irish Citizen Army supported the Irregulars/anti Treaty forces during the Civil War. A prominent influencing role in refusing to accept The Treaty was played by Constance Markievicz…’ (from here.)

The ‘Irish Citizen Army’ was formed by James Connolly and Jack White on the 23rd November 1913 – 109 years ago on this date – and other prominent members included Seán O’Casey, Constance Markievicz, Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, P. T. Daly and Christopher Poole.

The organisation proper became inactive in the late 1930’s although its ethos lives on to this day.


Michael Lowry has so far been the focus of media attention about Fine Gael fundraising.

But the party’s current leader, Enda Kenny (pictured), hosted a £1,000-a-plate dinner two days before the second mobile phone licence was awarded. And other guests say that one of the bidders for that licence was in attendance.

By Mairead Carey.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, January 2003.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny (pictured) hosted a fundraising event days before the contract for the second mobile phone licence was awarded. Guests say that a man claiming to be a bidder for the licence was also in attendance.

The then Taoiseach John Bruton and (State) Communications Minister Michael Lowry were the guests of honour at the £1000-a-plate dinner at the Conrad Hotel in Dublin, even though Lowry had been advised by his department officials not to meet bidders.

It is not known whether any of the senior Fine Gael politicians at the dinner knew of this businessman’s apparent involvement with the bidding consortium…


Thanks for the visit, and for reading,

Sharon and the team.

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…why is he looking so worried?

Would it have something to do with a political buddy of his from Tipperary, and/or an expensive dinner and/or a mobile phone licence?

Or maybe it’s something to do with a fundraising issue for his political party?

Or could it be that he’s stressed-out about one of his pensions…?

‘How to be a Politician ;

Transparent, they say they’ll be,

then hide so much from you and me,

make a promise that can’t be met,

blame someone else and hope you forget.

Give and take as they see fit,

no need to worry of elections yet,

take your money and tell a lie,

hope your memory fades with time..’

(From here.)

Thanks for the visit, and for reading ; check back with us on Wednesday, 23rd November 2022, when all will be revealed…!

Sharon and the team.

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Ireland 1920 ; Black and Tans on the rampage, the Irish republican Lord Mayor of Cork, Thomas MacCurtain shot dead by RIC members who were out of uniform at the time (for that purpose) ; notices, thousands of them, were stapled-up throughout the country, warning that ‘…for every member of the Crown Forces shot, two Sinn Féiners would also be shot.. ‘.

The then President of the Irish Republic (all 32 Counties), Eamon de Valera, was in America ; he had been there since June 1919, campaigning for support to get the British out of Ireland, politically and militarily and, at a meeting in Washington on the 16th November 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – he announced the formation of the ‘American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic’ (AARIR), nicknamed ‘the Growl’ due to how the acronym ‘aarir’ sounded when it was spoken.

This new Irish republican organisation was headquartered in Chicago and, within a year, was said to consist of about 150 branches/councils throughout America and a claimed membership of about 800,000 activists.

This was not new political territory for Irish republicanism, as there were other support groups in existence, in Ireland, America and elsewhere. For instance, there were two main Irish support groups in America – ‘Clan na Gael’ (founded in June 1867 by Jerome J. Collins) and the ‘Friends of Irish Freedom’ (FOIF) organisation, founded in March 1916 by different Irish groups collectively known as the ‘Irish Race Convention’.

Members of the ‘Clan’ were militant, and openly supported the physical force element in the struggle for Irish freedom – they supported the Irish Republican Brotherhood and recognised the Brotherhood “as the Government of the Irish Republic virtually established.” They had no second-thoughts about the use of force in removing the British presence from Ireland, whereas the ‘Friends of Irish Freedom’ group (although guided by the ‘Clan’) stated that its aim was “to encourage and assist any movement that will tend to bring about the National Independence of Ireland”. Both groups, while perhaps not seeing eye-to-eye on every issue, played their parts well.

The Irish-American support group, the ‘Friends Of Irish Freedom’, was ‘gently-prodding’ the candidates in the November 1920 US presidential election not to forget the Irish situation ; the candidates were gently, but firmly, reminded that the Irish vote could be of assistance to them in their bid to be elected.

But others in the Irish camp did not agree that ‘gentle-prodding’ was the way to go ; de Valera had support in the Clan na Gael organisation (and some support in the ‘Friends Of Irish Freedom’ organisation as well) for his opinion that, using the huge Irish vote as leverage, both US presidential candidates could and should be convinced to take a stronger line re the ‘Irish (ie British) Problem’ – if they wanted the Irish vote then both candidates would have to have it included in their manifesto’s that the Irish situation would be a priority for them (ie a ‘Brits Out’ policy). However, some members of the Clan na Gael were more, and/or also, supportive of the FOIF ‘gentle-prodding’ route. Confusion reigned, and circumstances, grudges and in-fighting were by now joining the fray.

And that wasn’t the first time that grudges and personality issues took from the objective – a few years previously (ie around 1916) the Clan na Gael group (as powerful then as it was in 1920) had brought pressure to bear on US President Wilson to demand from the British that they get out of Ireland. Wilson was not overtly concerned about the Irish situation, but was damned if he was going to support any proposals/requests /demands from a man he disliked ; US Democrat (and Irish Fenian) Judge Daniel Cohalan!

It was Cohalan (pictured) and the Clan organisation that financed the opposition to US President Wilson’s ‘League of Nations’ proposal – indeed, of the estimated $900,000 dollar ‘war fund’ that the Clan had, only $115,000 dollars was spent in Ireland ; the other $785,000 dollars was spent in attacking the ‘League of Nations’, or ‘Britains League’, as Judge Daniel Cohalan and John Devoy called it. The ‘Big Guns’ of the day – Henry Cabot Lodge and William Borah, for instance – addressed huge rallies against Wilson’s /’Britains League’, and those rallies were organised and financed by Clan na Geal.

At the National Convention of the US Republican Party, the delegates were being canvassed by Judge Daniel Cohalan and his people when Eamon de Valera arrived with his team to canvass the same crowd – Judge Cohalan had previously requested that de Valera and his team stay away, and a verbal row between both camps ensued, in full view of those they were trying to canvass!

By June 1920, however, both the US Republican and Democratic candidates had accepted the ‘gentle prodding’ approach towards the situation in Ireland, as recommended by John Devoy, Judge Cohalan and others in the ‘Friends Of Irish Freedom’. The other resolution (ie ‘put-it-in-writing-or loose-the-Irish-vote’), which was supported by Eamon de Valera, Harry Boland and Clan na Gael, was rejected by both US camps.

However, the dispute between the Clan and the FOIF had been closely monitored by the Irish Republican Brotherhood leadership in Ireland and they were not at all pleased with either group.

The Clan recognised the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood as the Government of the (all-Ireland) Irish Republic so, when – within weeks of the Clan/FOIF dispute – an order came from the leadership of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland directing the Clan “to stand down”, it obeyed – but under protest. Without the support of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland, both the Clan and the FOIF were severely weakened and could not now claim to be linked to the Republican Movement in Ireland.

And so it was that, on the 16th November in 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – Eamon de Valera (and other leadership figures in Ireland) set-up a new organisation – the ‘American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic’ (the ‘GROWL’) – and, with the backing and promotion of the IRB leadership and the support in America of figures such as Joseph McGarrity, the ‘AARIR’ was successful, and raised thousands of dollars for the then Republican Movement in Ireland.

Eamon de Valera was back in Ireland by December that year (ie 1920), but had left his mark in America ; the publicity generated by the fall-out between the Clan na Gael and the Friends Of Irish Freedom organisations, and the establishment of the new ‘AARIR’ group had put the Irish situation back on ‘Page One’ – it was a hot topic again.

The British were, of course, watching every move – they realised that the millions of Irish people in America, with their sympathy, support and money for an armed campaign in Ireland, plus steady support amongst the Irish population in England itself for an armed campaign, was perhaps more than they could successfully counter in the short-term ; they were losing the propaganda war. A willingness to hold truce talks with the Irish rebels was signalled, which led to the ‘Treaty Of Surrender’ in December 1921.

But, thirteen months after it was formed (ie November 1920 – December 1921), the ‘American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic’ was thrown into disarray because of that ‘Treaty’ – splits and divisions loomed -‘divide and conquer’ was brought into play by those who were opposed to the republican objective.

The ‘Treaty of Surrender’ was, at first, supported by one of the main Irish-American leaders in the US, Joseph McGarrity, who claimed that it confirmed that “Irelands sovereign independence is acknowledged by the British Cabinet and their action is approved by Britain’s King. This much is certain …”, and he verbally attacked those in America who doubted that it was a legitmate conclusion to the centuries of occupation because of, among other reasons, the clause demanding an ‘Oath of Allegiance’ to the British Crown which was contained in it.

Those who raised the issue of the oath were, said McGarrity – “doubters (who) were guilty of a despicable attempt to make it appear that the citizens of the Republic (sic) of Ireland are to give allegiance to (Britains) King George..” and he dismissed the oath ( “the supposed oath”, as he called it) as “a very clever juggling with words” on the part of the British – he suggested that it was simply a face-saving exercise by Westminster “to give as little hurt to the British Ministers and to the King’s pride as possible.”

McGarrity was, at this stage, ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ ; some of his comrades in America were doubtful about the ‘benefits’ of that Treaty, while others had already rejected it and still others were in support of it ; amongst the questions raised about it was one concerning the name of the new (‘officially’ British-free) State, but Joseph McGarrity was going ‘hell for leather’ to ‘sell’ it to his fellow Irish-American comrades, as he apparently believed himself that it was the answer to the question of the British presence in Ireland.

But when it was brought to his attention that, among others, Cathal Brugha, Austin Stack and Eamon de Valera had stated that it (the Treaty) was “…in violent conflict with the wishes of the Irish people..”, he re-evaluated his position to it thus ‘repairing’ his standing with the Anti-Treaty forces and again threw his political weight behind de Valera.

McGarrity continued to support de Valera even when dev left the Republican Movement and formed Fianna Fail in 1926, and he also supported the Fianna Fail organisation when they entered Leinster House in 1927 (a move which even the remnants of the ‘Clan na Gael’ organisation in America could not stomach, thus prompting THEM to disown the Fianna Fail group!) .

But even Joseph McGarrity had his limits ; Fianna Fail had by now strayed so far from the republican path that he began to ‘go cool’ in his relationship with them – this happened in the early 1930’s, when IRA people were being not only jailed by Fianna Fail but executed by them, too. Also in the mid-1930’s, McGarrity became the ‘main man’ behind the new ‘Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes’ organisation, a fantastic money-spinner in its day. But that’s another story…!

The 1921 ‘Treaty of Surrender’ caused a split in the Republican Movement in Ireland and, of course, the ‘American Association for the Recognition of the Irish Republic’, which was by then, as stated, just 13 months on the go, followed suit – and split ; it found itself in a weakened position and unable to provide proper assistance to the Irish republican cause during the 1922-1923 Free State/British counter revolution against the Republic and, by the time de Valera left the Republican Movement in 1926, the ‘AARIR’ existed, to all intent and purpose, in name only.

The ‘AARIR’ (the ‘GROWL’) was an organisation established by Eamon de Valera and others to assist the Irish republican cause but it was to be allowed to drift and die by dev and his crew because that was the fate they hoped would befall Irish republicanism – that it would drift and die.

Yet, 102 years after the establishment of the ‘AARIR’ and 96 years after it faded, Irish republicanism still exists. And its objective is the same – a full British military and political withdrawal from Ireland, and the establishment of a true 32-County federal democratic socialist republic.

And regardless of how this State, and others, growl (!) and/or object to it – SFP/RSF is here for the long haul!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“Wolfe Tone has told us that there is but one cure for all our evils – break the connection with England – and 800 years of history has proved that there is but one means of achieving that object.

Then there are others who say beware of oath-bound societies and calmly, unemotionally, I can tell you that there is no oath attached to any branch of the Republican Movement. Men (sic) of unswerving loyalty, capable of the greatest sacrifices, whose only reward is the threat of punishment, imprisonment or even death ; such men (sic) don’t need an oath.

The pages of Irish history are full of noble deeds and heroic sacrifices, but they are also puncuated by slander. There were always those who hastened to throw cold water on anything that looked likely to revive the spirit of freedom but, nevertheless, the struggle has gone on and will be carried on until the last British soldier is driven out of Ireland…”



In 1920, in Ireland, the IRA were both attacking British and pro-British forces and defending themselves from attacks by those armed forces.

In November that year the British combatants in the RIC Barracks in Scariff, in County Clare, were attacked by the IRA in their base and, despite searching the area, the RIC and their colleagues in the Auxiliaries were unable to find them.

So they put a plan together to hunt down the ‘dissidents’ and, on Tuesday, the 16th November (1920) – 102 years ago on this date – they put their plan into action ; those British forces (the Auxies) took command of a ‘Board of Works’ steamship called ‘The Shannon’, in Killaloe and, with dozens of its armed members on board, hidden below deck, they sailed the vessel into Williamstown Harbour, East Clare, and docked it there.

Locals were more or less expecting this, as the harbour was due to be dredged and the arrival of such a ship was perceived to be the start of that job, but what they weren’t expecting was for dozens of armed British agents to move quickly from the ship and take up offensive positions around the nearby Williamstown House , on the shores of Lough Derg, near Whitegate, paying particular attention to the caretakers lodge.

Some of the Auxies entered the lodge and ‘arrested’ the caretaker, Michael Egan, and found three other men on the premises – Michael ‘Brud’ MacMahon, Alfie Rogers and Martin Gildea. Those three men were officers of the Fourth Battalion of the East Clare Brigade, IRA, and had been on the run since the last attack on Scariff RIC Barracks, but Michael Egan was not an IRA man.

The four prisoners were treated roughly, put on board the steamship and taken to the town of Killaloe, were they were tortured by the Auxies, before being marched, at about midnight, in the direction of Killaloe Bridge, which had to be crossed to gain access to the local RIC Barracks.

The Auxies claimed that they fired ten shots on the bridge and the four men (with their hands tied behind their backs) were shot dead ; the Auxies claimed that Martin Gildea died from one bullet in the head, as did the caretaker, Michael Egan. Alfie Rogers was killed by two bullets to his abdomen and one bullet to his head, and Brud MacMahon died from one bullet to the abdomen. Four bullets had apparently ‘missed their targets’ because, according to the Auxies, the four men had made a break for it on the bridge and were ‘shot dead while trying to escape from custody’, but only after they had failed to halt when called upon to do so.

An ‘inquest’ was held into the shooting but no medical report was produced, but a report from a local newspaper was – ‘It is remarked as a peculiar circumstance that the prisoners should have been brought there at that hour, as it is stated they had been brought to the Lakeside Hotel, occupied by the police, early that evening.

At the bridge, which is about 200 yards long, the road is straight and narrow, and underneath flows the Shannon at a depth which would mean instantaneous death to a man plunging off the bridge. The spot would not, therefore, be considered a favourable place to attempt an escape.

The natives heard 15 or 20 rifle shots that night, followed by moans and a pathetic cry for the priest. No priest was, however, summoned, although the Presbytery is only about 100 yards from the scene of the tragedy…’

The British repeated their claim that the four men were shot while trying to escape, but the coroner’s inquest returned a verdict of wilful murder against the British forces stationed at Killaloe, and the local clergy spoke up about having been denied admission to the barracks where the bodies were laid out.

On the 18th November (1920), the families of the four men were sent telegrams informing them that their man was shot dead while trying to escape, and that lie was repeated in Westminster and, indeed, the British ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’ told the ‘House of Commons’ that the crown forces were entitled to fire on people who were trying to escape and who refused to halt when challenged.

When, eventually, the families were ‘permitted’ to claim the bodies, they were transported to Scariff Church in four hearses.

Despite the enforced 7pm to 7am curfew, the locals were determined to hold their own inquiry and the coroner for East Clare, Patrick Culloo, at great risk to himself, made his way to the church and convened an inquest there. A doctor agreed to examine the bodies and he found that each had at least 17 bullet wounds, all fired from close range. An inquest jury returned a verdict of wilful murder by members of the crown forces.

Although treated with contempt by the British forces, over 50 priests gathered in Scariff Church, in East Clare, and held a requiem mass for the four men, following which the men were buried together in the church grounds, despite the best efforts of four lorry-loads of Black and Tans and Auxiliaries who had surrounded the church, the graveyard and the mourners, forcing people to pass through a cordon when leaving the church which, incidentally, was noisily searched by the crown forces while funeral proceedings were underway.

‘The dreadful news through Ireland has spread from shore to shore,

for such a deed no living man has ever heard before.

The deeds of Cromwell in his time I’m sure no worse could do,

than those Black and Tans who murdered those four youths at Killaloe.

Three of the four were on the run and searched for all around,

until with this brave Egan lad from Williamstown was found,

they asked him were the boys inside ; in honour he proved true,

because he would not tell the pass he was shot in Killaloe.

On the fourth day of November that day of sad renown,

they were sold and traced through Galway to that house in Williamstown.

They never got a fighting chance but were captured while asleep,

and the way that they ill-treated them would cause your blood to creep.

They bound them tight both hands and feet with twine they could not break,

and they brought them down to Killaloe by steamer on the lake.

Without clergy, judge or jury upon the bridge they shot them down,

and their blood flowed with the Shannon, convenient to the town.

With three days of perseverance, their bodies they let go,

at ten o’clock at night their funeral passed through Ogonnelloe.

They were kept in Scarriff chapel for two nights and a day,

now in that place of rest they lie, kind people for them pray.

If you were at their funeral it was an awful sight,

to see the local clergy and they all dressed up in white,

such a sight as these four martyrs in one grave was never seen,

for they died to save the flag they loved, the orange white and green.

Now that they are dead and gone I hope in peace they’ll rest,

like all their Irish brave comrades, forever among the blessed.

The day will come when all will know who sold the lives away,

of young McMahon, Rogers, and valiant Egan and Gildea.’


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

It was symbolically appropriate that when Professor Foster was writing his own ‘Modern Ireland 1600-1972’ his famine chapter should be titled ‘The Famine : Before and After’ – before, after, but not during.

If instead of brushing a cataclysm under the historical carpet, perhaps out of fear of inflaming popular prejudice, professional historians had gathered and made known in an accessible fashion the results of their research into the famine, there might not have been the same sudden – and temporary – surge in emotionalism as people contemplated and imagined the event for the first time.

Jonathan Freedland paraphrases Foster as suggesting that the 150th anniversary “prompted not a series of sober, factual analyses, but a 200-acre famine theme park on Knockfierna Hill in West Limerick, promising tourists the chance to ‘experience first hand’ the privations of mass hunger.”

Foster seems happier to denounce this little-known park than to address the far more serious and successful ‘Famine Museum’ at Strokestown House…



Jer O’Leary (pictured) has become bannermaker to the radical and labour movement. Brian Trench reports on the growing recognition of his art.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.

Jer O’Leary has never felt obliged to turn any commission down on the basis that it was politically unacceptable ; “I don’t get asked by the wrong people. They know my stand.”

With last year’s exhibition of his work in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin and this year’s participation in international events, Jer’s street art has come inside. The Arts Council and the Cultural Relations Committee have helped him get to Huddersfield and New York.

At the last time of asking, the inner core of Aosdána, the artists’ assembly, did not want to take him into their membership as an artist. There are some grounds for believing that, on the next occasion, they may view the matter differently.

(END of ‘Forth His Banners Go’ ; NEXT – ‘Funds and Fine Gael’s Leader’, from 2003.)

Thanks for the visit, and for reading,

Sharon and the team.

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‘The story of how Gerry Adams tried to turn an eighty year old revolutionary movement into a British constitutional party. How he broke the Sinn Féin constitution, created fake cumainn to give him fake votes and barred life long republicans from voting.

How he managed to expel himself and his supporters from Sinn Féin membership. And how a small band of republicans managed to keep the Sinn Féin constitution and traditional policy in tact…in 1986, Section 1b. of the Sinn Féin constitution read as follows :

“No person who is a member of any political party, organisation, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the Westminster or partitionist 26-County or 6-County parliaments or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any kind of written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seats in these institutions, shall be admitted to membership or allowed to retain membership…

The Adams leadership put forward a motion, titled ‘Resolution 162’, at the 1986 Ard Fheis, thus expelling themselves from membership – more here.

“Sitting in Leinster House is not a revolutionary activity. Once you go in there, once you sign the roll of the House and accept the institutions of the state, once you accept their rulings, you will not be able to do it according to your rules.

You will have to go according to their rules and they can stand up and gang up on you and put you out on the street and keep you out on the street. And those in Leinster House, who have done everything – the firing-squads, the prison cells, the internment camps, the hunger strikes – the lot, and weren’t able to break this movement, that they can come and say ‘At last, we have them towing the line, it took us 65 years, but they have come in from the cold, they have come in from the wilderness and we have them now.’

Never! That is what I say to you. Never!” Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, 2nd November 1986.

In an interview with ‘The Irish News’ newspaper on Thursday, July 17th, 1997, Gerry Adams stated that the aim of Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF) was to achieve “maximum constitutional change and a renegotiation of the union.”

And therein lies the difference between Adams and his people and Irish republicans – the former will settle for ‘a kind of peace’ and financial security for themselves in a ‘new’ Westminster/Stormont-ordered Six-County ‘state’ while the latter continue to strive for real change outside of the present constitutional arrangements and an end – not a “renegotiation” – of “the union”.

On that Sunday, the 2nd November 1986 – 36 years ago on this date – Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithi Ó Conaill and other Sinn Féin (Republican) delegates reconvened the Ard Fheis in a hotel in Chapelizod, Dublin, and that Irish republican organisation will hold its 117th Ard Fheis on Saturday, 12th November 2022, in a Dublin venue. And long may they last!


Thomas ‘Buck’ (or ‘Jerusalem’) Whaley (pictured) was born in Dublin in December 1766, son of a notorious ‘landlord’, law judge and British politician, and eventually grew-up (with an inherited fortune to his name), age-wise, at least, to become a man that others of his ilk, including his father, Richard ‘Burn-Chapel’ Whaley, would be proud of.

His father earned that nick-name due to what was said to be a hobby of his – harassing local catholics.

His son, ‘Buck’, had his own problems – he was feckless and reckless, a spoiled child who ‘matured’ into a spoiled adult, believing that he had a sense of entitlement to the good life, and not of the opinion that he should have to earn it.

He wrote in his memoirs about how the quiet life (!) “…did not suit my volatile disposition : in order, therefore, to vary the scene, I sent over to London for a female companion, with whom I had been intimate, and who immediately accepted the invitation. I had no motive whatever in giving her the preference but that she was an exotic.

My inamorata was neither distinguished for wit or beauty ; but I will do her the justice to say that she had none of that rapacity and extravagance so common of her profession. What I expended on her account was from my own free will and suggestion. I hired her a magnificent house, suitably furnished, and settled an allowance of five hundred a year on her ; this was merely pro forma, for she cost me upwards of five thousand.

At her house I kept my midnight orgies, and saw my friends, according to the fashionable acceptation of the word. But soon growing tired of this manner of living, I conceived the strange idea of performing, like Cook, a voyage around the world..”

Well, to his credit, he seems to have finally realised that the world didn’t actually ‘voyage’ around him.

He was elected as a member of the ‘Irish House of Commons’ for the Newcastle area of Dublin in 1785 (when he was only 19 years of age) but used his political position almost exclusively to promote himself within ‘high society’ and cared little for those he was supposed to be representing (carrying on in that same manner when, at 31 years of age, he bought his way in to politics again, this time as a ‘representative’ for Enniscorthy, Wexford) so much so that he was a ‘guest’ in a debtors’ prison in London (from which he unsuccessfully attempted to escape!), claiming later that he had wasted a financial fortune of about £400,000 on ‘the good life’, stating that he never had “one hour’s true happiness” during his spending spree!

During his second term as a political representative (!) he at first supported the then (1799) proposed ‘Act of Union’ and let it be known that he was amenable to vote against same if the price was right – and it was, apparently, as he voted against it in 1800!

And someone, somewhere, ‘voted’ against him that same year (1800) – he died, on the 2nd of November, 222 years ago on this date, from rheumatic fever, t’was said, or then again, maybe, the rumour mill of the day got it right ; ‘…that he was stabbed in a fit of jealousy by two sisters to whom he was paying marked attentions at a time when each of them was in ignorance of his concealed attachment to the other. Sarah, or Sally Jenkinson, is stated to be the lady from whom he received his death wound..’

That particular lady was said to have been ‘won’ by ‘The Buck’ from the Prince of Wales in a wager!

Buck Whalley lacking much of cash

And being used to cut a dash

he wagered full ten thousand pound

He’d visit soon the Holy Ground

In Loftus’s fine ship

He said he’d take a trip

And Costello so famed

The Captain then was named.’

He was buried in the Isle of Man and, having made a bet that he would be buried in Irish soil, he was determined to ‘win’ – he had imported enough Irish soil, and was buried in it, to ensure ‘victory’!

It would be nice to say that ‘they don’t make them like that anymore’, but that’s not the case – Leinster House is full of such unscrupulous political chancers, for sale to the highest bidder.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“When Tomás MacCurtain was done to death in the presence of his family by the liveried servants of the British Government, the detractors and the caluminiators began their work.

MacCurtain, the peer of any Irishman (sic) in the 100 years before his time or the 600 years before that, the slanderers said and tried to make it stick that he had been murdered by his own comrades. Foul lies that were hurled back in the teeth of the liar. History repeats itself. Recently calumny and detraction has reared their ugly heads.

The apologists fell over one another to say their hearts are in the right place but only “the elected representatives” have the right to lead, or some such platitude.

We say to the apologists that the Republican Movement of today has as much in common with the elected representatives as Pearse and MacCurtain had with Redmond, as Mitchell had with O’Connell, as Tone had with Grattan…”



‘On November 2nd, 1920 (102 years ago on this date) James Daly was killed by a British Army firing squad in India. He had been one of the leaders of the so-called ‘India Mutiny’, but had not been among its instigators. The mutiny began on May 28th, 1920, led by Joseph Hawes at Wellington barracks in Jullundar, India, when 350 Irish members of the famous Connaught Rangers regiment of the British Army laid down their arms and refused to keep soldiering as long as British troops remained in Ireland.

As word of more and more British violence against the Irish people spread among the troops, they had begun to question the morality of wearing the uniforms of the same army that was terrorising families back home. The mutiny soon spread to Ranger detachments in Solon and Jutogh. Daly was stationed at Solon and helped lead the action of the mutineers there. Two would die in Solon during a brief confrontation. Eventually, 61 Rangers were convicted by courts martial and 14 sentenced to death.

All but one of those condemned men had their sentences reduced. James Daly of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath, was the only one shot. The Connaught Rangers would not survive much longer than Daly ; in 1922 the regiment was disbanded after the signing of the Anglo-Irish treaty that created the Irish Free State. In 1970, James Daly’s body was brought home and buried at Tyrellspass. Among those in the guard of honor at the reinterment ceremony were five of his fellow mutineers: Joseph Hawes, James Gorman, Eugene Egan, Patrick Hynes, and William Coote…’ (From here.)

“The moral courage and sacrifice shown by James Daly and his comrades shines like a beacon light years after those momentous events in Jullander and Solon in India in June and July of 1920. The leadership shown by James Daly and Joe Hawes galvanised their comrades into striking a blow for the freedom of their own land. We also remember with pride the sacrifices of Peter Sears and Patrick Smythe who died at the hands of the British army during the mutiny and who are interred in Glasnevin cemetery…” -(the then) RSF President, Des Dalton, in 2010 : more here.

At that time, in Ireland, the Black and Tan War was at its height. Irishmen serving with the British Army in India mutinied in protest at the atrocities being committed in Ireland by the British. On June 27th, 1920, 350 Irishmen gave in their arms and refused to soldier for England. The mutiny was confined chiefly to members of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies, 1st Battalion, Connaught Ranger Regiment, stationed at Wellington Barracks, Jullunder, Punjab, India. The men at Jullunder were led by Private Joseph Hawes and their protest was joined two days later by a detachment of ‘C’ Company at the hill-station in Solon, under Private James Daly, a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.

On June 30th, 1920, following the deaths of Privates Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears in an attempt to capture the magazine at Solon, the mutiny ended. Seventy-five of the mutineers were arrested and taken to Lucknow where they were held until September when they were moved to Dayshai Prison to stand trial.

While awaiting trial, the prisoners were subjected to such harsh treatment by the British that it resulted in the death of one of the men, Private John Miranda, a native of Liverpool. At the subsequent general court-martial , fourteen of the prisoners were sentenced to death and the remainder to terms of imprisonment varying from ten to twenty years. In mid-October 1920, 13 of the fourteen death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment – the exception was Jim Daly, a native of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath.

After six months, the mutineers were transferred to Portland Convict Prison in England, where they suffered long periods of solitary confinement and ill-treatment during their fight for political status. They were later moved to Maidstone Prison and, on January 3rd, 1923, the remaining sixty mutineers were released and returned to Ireland.

In October 1970, the remains of Daly, Smythe and Sears were brought back to Ireland : Smythe, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth and Sears, from Neale, Co. Mayo, were buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. James Daly, who was executed in Jullunder in India on November 2nd, 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – was re-interred in his native Tyrellspass.

These men and those like them are remembered and cherished by Irish republicans, as they should be.


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

An innocent reader of these interviews would be forgiven for imagining that Ireland is awash with sentimentalised and regressively nationalist history-writing and that nothing constructive or properly critical emerged from either the Great Famine (sic) or 1798 anniversaries.

Let us take the Famine (sic) as a case in point ; any outsider looking at Irish history-writing of all shades – republican, left-wing, middle-of-the-road, revisionist, reactionary or unionist – up to the 1980’s, would be struck by just how little research there had been into the ‘Famine’.

The removal through starvation, disease and emigration of a quarter of the population of the country in less than ten years and its effects on family life, rural class structure, popular culture, language and religious observance – all this was of little interest either to those who wanted to present an uplifting narrative of popular resistance or to those early Cambridge-trained professionals paralysed by the need to prove to their British peers how unsentimental and scientific they were…



“Power does not corrupt men ; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power” – George Bernard Shaw, dramatist, critic and social reformer (pictured).

An enigma, I think, is the best way to describe ‘GBS’, who was born in Dublin on the 26th of July 1856, and was known to be a ‘problem child’ – he grew into what many of his contemporaries and, indeed, society at large, considered to be a ‘problem adult’!

In relation to Irish politics, he supported ‘Home Rule’ within the British ’empire’ (“…socialism can be brought about in a perfectly constitutional manner by democratic institutions..” [which might indeed be possible elsewhere, but the Leinster House institution is not a “democratic institution”, as far as Irish republicans are concerned]) and constantly voiced opinion against Irish separatism (yet, at 90 years of age [in 1946] he refused an award from Westminster of an ‘Order of Merit Honour’).

In 1916, at 60 years of age, he condemned “militant Irish nationalism” and accused those attempting to overthrow British misrule in Ireland as having ‘learned nothing and forgot nothing’ and again voiced his opinion that independence from England ‘was impractical’, although he did object to the British executions of the rebels that followed.

He supported Mussolini (“…the right kind of tyrant..”),spoke of his admiration for Stalin and Karl Marx, condemned all sides in the ‘First World War’, flirted with ‘Fabianism’ and ‘Eugenics’ and flirted occasionally with ‘Flat Earthism/Zeteticism’!

‘GBS’ departed this Earth (flat or not!) on the 2nd November 1950 – 72 years ago on this date – at the grand age of 94.

“Dying is a troublesome business,” the man himself opined, “there is pain to be suffered, and it wrings one’s heart ; but death is a splendid thing – a warfare accomplished, a beginning all over again, a triumph. You can always see that in their faces.”

And, in the opinion of this blog, this world needs more ‘faces’ (and free-thinking attitudes) like that of ‘GBS’ today, even if we wouldn’t agree with all of his political positions. But he sounds like an interesting man to have had the pleasure of discussing life (and things!) with!


Jer O’Leary (pictured) has become bannermaker to the radical and labour movement. Brian Trench reports on the growing recognition of his art.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.

Artist and lecturer Charlie Cullen had done many of the recent banners for Dublin trade union branches so, at first, Jer O’Leary concentrated on work for union organisations outside Dublin.

Charlie Cullen was one of those who helped him, as did artist Robert Ballagh and the head of the ‘National College of Art and Design’, Noel Sheridan. At first, Jer and his wife, Eithne, would cut and stitch the complete banner but, more recently, as the commissions have piled up, they have been handing over the designs to a Dublin firm which makes flags and banners.

The general unions, Jer notes, generally give him a free hand but craft unions tend to be more concerned to know the precise detail of his designs…



…1752 :

The Bishop of Raphoe, Philip Twisden (who was the son-in-law of Thomas Carter) died on the 2nd November, 1752.

The poor bishop was said to be just that – poor, financially – so, on the 2nd November, 1752, he (allegedly/apparently) dressed-up as a highwayman and headed-off to either Hounslow Heath in London or Wrotham Heath in Kent to await the arrival of a stagecoach.

And, sure enough, along came such a vehicle, and Bishop Twisden attempted to rob the passengers of their earthly coinage and a gunfight ensued and the poor bishop was shot dead.

Or maybe not?

There is a record of a ‘Bishop Twysden’ having died on the 2nd November, 1752, in his home in Jermyn Street, Saint James’s, in London but, according to religious author Henry Cotton, the bishop died (on the 2nd November 1752) at Roydon Hall in East Peckham, in Kent, his father’s country house, and was buried in the south chancel of Saint Michael’s Church, East Peckham, under a plain stone with no inscription.

But sure maybe his ghost is still out on the heath, looking for a stagecoach…


…1918 :

On the 2nd November, 1918, ‘The Larne Times’ newspaper carried a report that an RIC member, a ‘Constable’ Thomas Kyle, had died from gas poisoning which he suffered at Greencastle RIC barracks in Donegal on the 22nd October 1918.

But please don’t make a connection with the above ‘Short Story’ and this…


…1920 :

On Tuesday, the 2nd November, 1920, the Black and Tans were on the rampage in Tralee, in County Kerry, as they couldn’t locate two of their number and suspected that the local IRA were holding them for interrogation.

Shops had been closed and schools in the town were shut ‘by order’ of the Tans, who stalked the empty streets firing shots into the air and/or shooting through house windows.

An IRA Volunteer, Thomas Wall, was standing at a corner on the Main Street in Tralee, watching proceedings, thinking he’d be safe enough, as he had fought in France for the British in ‘World War 1’. But not so ; a few of the Tans approached him and one of them smashed his rifle butt into Thomas’s face and shouted at him to get off the street. As Thomas was stumbling away from the scene he was shot dead by the Tans, who later claimed that Thomas Wall was their prisoner and he was shot trying to escape from their custody.


…1920 :

On Monday, 1st November 1920, an RIC man was shot in the village of Ballinalee in County Longford.

The next day, eleven lorries of British troops and Black and Tans entered the village seeking revenge but they were met by an IRA column (under the command of Seán MacEoin, pictured – an IRA-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher, unfortunately.).
A two-and-a-half-hour battle commenced, at the end of which the British forces retreated, leaving behind some munitions and equipment of use to the rebels, who remained in the village for a week, to ensure the safety of the villagers.


…1920 :

On the 2nd November, 1920, Éamonn O’Modhráin (pictured), the Vice-Chairperson of Kildare County Council, was ‘arrested’ at his home by British forces for “being in possession of seditious literature” ie republican leaflets etc.

He was ‘tried’ by court-martial and sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, 6 months of which was remitted.


…1920 :

On the 2nd November, 1920, as RIC members were driving through Auburn, Glasson, near Athlone in County Westmeath, in two lorries, they came under attack from the IRA at about 9.30am, an action in which IRA Volunteer James (Seamus) Finn (21), from Kileenbrack, Ballymore, in County Westmeath, lost his life.

A London-born ‘Constable’, Sydney George James Larkin(/Larking) (22), was shot dead and two other RIC members – a ‘Sergeant’ Meany and a ‘Constable’ Costello – were wounded.

RIC member Larkin(/Larking) was serving his ‘queen’ in Ireland as a member of the 3rd Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry and had also ‘kept the peace’ in this country as a member of the Devonshire Regiment.

RIP Volunteer James Finn.


…1922 :

On the 2nd November, 1922, an IRA Column, under the command of Charlie Daly (28), was captured by Free Staters at Munacool, Dunlewey, in County Donegal.

Among the republican prisoners were Timothy O’Sullivan (24), Daniel Enright (23) and Sean Larkin (26) and, on the 18th January, 1923, the Staters announced that they intended to execute those four men.

On the morning of Wednesday, the 14th March 1923 (about six weeks before the end of the ‘Civil War’) the four IRA prisoners were marched from their cell at Drumboe Castle, Donegal, to an improvised firing range about 300 yards up a gently sloping field in the woods at Drumboe.

It was at this spot that the four men were executed by a Free State firing squad and their bodies were thrown into a ready-made grave.

‘These four Irish soldiers were dragged from their cell,

for months they had suffered the torments of hell,

no mercy they asked from their merciless foe,

and no mercy was shown by the thugs at Drumboe…’


…1922 :

A unit of Free State troops, under the command of republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher Michael ‘Tiny’ Lyons who was, by then, viciously anti-republican, came across two known IRA Volunteers, Michael O’Sullivan and Denny Connor, at Knockanes, near Headford Junction, in County Kerry, on the 2nd November, 1922.

Volunteer O’Sullivan was shot dead by the Staters “while attempting to escape” and Volunteer Connor did escape.

Lyons is purported to have died alone in a bedsit in Manchester. In dire straits, hopefully.


…1922 :

The home of Free State Army General Richard Mulcahy (a republican-gamekeeper-turned-Free State-poacher), Lissonfield House, Rathmines, in Dublin (near Portobello Free State Army Barracks), came under gun attack on the 2nd November, 1922. Mr Mulcahy escaped injury.

Shortly after that attack, IRA Volunteer Frank Power (a Volunteer with the IRA’s ‘Number 4 Section’)was shot dead outside Rathmines Church by the Staters.


…1922 :

A Private in the Free State Army, John Caddigan, was killed in County Kerry on the 2nd November 1922. We can’t find any more information on this killing.



On the 2nd November 1968 (a Saturday) – 54 years ago on this date – the fifteen committee members of the ‘Derry Citizen’s Action Committee’ (DCAC) (formed only a few months earlier), which included Ivan Cooper (chairperson), John Hume (deputy chairperson), James Doherty, Claude Wilton and Paddy Doherty, set-out on a ‘civil rights’ protest march on the same route that a previous protest march was to be held on (on the 5th October), but which had been banned by the British ‘authorities’ in Stormont.

Thousands of people joined in on the 2nd November protest march even though it, too, had been ‘banned by the authorities’.

Those that organised the ‘civil rights’ protests were no doubt well-meaning individuals but their actions were interpreted by the British as a sign of weakness, in that those that Westminster had ‘conquered’ had come to accept themselves as a conquered people that desired only to be treated better ‘by those in charge’, and even that was asking too much.

That mistake (ie asking ‘the boss’ to treat you better!) has been repeated and amplified since those days but ‘the boss’ has since learned to ‘box clever’ – if you fight against ‘the boss’ him/herself you are seen as a threat but if you’re only looking to be treated better by that ‘boss’ you will be accommodated to a certain extent and will sometimes be accepted in the bosses circle as a ‘house negro’ rather than a ‘field negro’.

The former will be allowed to contest for a position in ‘the big house’ whereas the latter will be considered as trouble-making outcasts – ‘dissidents’ – to be condemned by those in ‘the big house’ and by those who aspire to be accepted into the master’s parlour.

But we ‘dissies’ sleep easier for it!


And (once again!) – we won’t be here next Wednesday, 9th November, 2022, as we’ll be doing a few bits and pieces for the 117th Ard Fheis of Republican Sinn Féin Poblachtach, which is being held in a Dublin venue on Saturday, 12th November – it’s a busy few days for us, before and after the event, but it’s for, and in, a good cause, and we’re looking forward to it.

We’ll be back on Wednesday, 16th November 2022, and ya can catch us on ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ between this and then, if yer gonna miss us that much!

Thanks for the visit, and for reading,

Sharon and the team.

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The stalwarts, having said their piece and again having stated and explained their political position, brought proceedings temporarily to an end and moved to a different location where they carried on with their business…this elected rep, a pure chancer, had been elected to Westminster when the so-called ‘Act of Union’ was being discussed and voted on ; he let it be known that his vote was for sale to the highest bidder and he then accepted an offer…

These Irishmen had joined the British Army but, in the middle of a ‘campaign’ abroad, heard about disturbing happenings at home and hundreds of them came together and took action…a critic, a social reformer, a dramatist – an enigma, who left this flat earth (!) in 1950…

A few words about an Irish bishop in the 18th century who was said to do a few ‘nixers’, one of which literally ‘backfired’ on him…a two-and-a-half-hour gunbattle on the streets of Longford in 1920, between the IRA and British forces which militarily (and spiritually/morally!) enriched the republicans…and a few more bits and pieces ; see ya back here, on the 2nd November, 2022.

Thanks for the visit, and for reading,

Sharon and the team.

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“Burn everything English but their coal” – the ‘Hibernian Patriot’ [from the ‘Drapier’s Letters’ collection], Jonathan Swift (pictured), an Irish author and satirist (perhaps best known for ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and for his position as dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin) was born in Dublin on the 30th November 1667 ; his father (from whom the ‘Patriot’ got his first name) was an attorney, but he died before the birth of his son.

As if that wasn’t misfortune enough, young Jonathan suffered from Meniere’s Disease and, between the bill’s mounting up and her sickly son, his mother, Abigail, found that she was unable to cope and the young boy was put in the charge of her late husband’s brother, Godwin, a wealthy member of the ‘Gray’s Inn’ legal society.

His position in St. Patrick’s Cathedral ensured that he had a ‘pulpit’ and a ready-made audience to listen to him, an opportunity he readily availed of to question English misrule in Ireland – he spoke against ‘Wood’s Halfpence’ and in favour of ‘burning everything English except their coal’ and, satirically, wrote a ‘modest proposal’ in which he suggested that poor children should be fed to the rich (‘a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..’)!

In 1742, at 75 years of age, Jonathan Swift suffered a stroke, severely affecting his ability to speak, and he died three years later, on the 19th October, 1745 – 277 years ago on this date. He was buried next to the love of his life, Esther Johnson, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

“It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death, should ever have been designed by providence as an evil to mankind” – Jonathan Swift.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.

In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –

“In his validictary address to the insurgent Volunteers on the Friday before the surrender, Pádraig Pearse wrote – ‘Justice can never be done to their heroism, to their discipline, to their gay and unconquerable spirit in the midst of peril and death..’.

As in all his writings, Pearse spoke not only for his own time and for the past but also for the future.

How full, how complete a description of the 16 men who went over the barrack wall in Omagh, how beautiful, how fitting an appreciation of the eight men in the court of ‘imperialist justice’. And to follow in the same strain with Pearse, if they did not win they had deserved to win, and like the Volunteers they had won a great thing.

The 1916 Volunteers had redeemed Dublin from many shames. The Armagh and Omagh Volunteers had pulled aside the veil, unloosened the drapery of words, had shown us all the light ; they had floodlit the path of freedom, had shown that there was but one way. They had shown that the staccato of the Thompson Gun was the most effective way of making the Orange junta sit up and take notice.

They did for Ireland what Ireland needed to have done for her. They did for Ireland what Ireland deserved to have done for her…”



British ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Sir’ Hamar Greenwood (pictured, and short video here showing ‘the Hamar’ rewarding his troops in this country for the destruction they wrought while maintaining ‘law and order’) promised to put an end to republican “outrages” but that was just another outrageous false promise by the British!

In May 1920 the British Foreign Secretary, ‘Lord’ George Nathaniel Curzon, proposed vigorous ‘Indian measures’ to suppress the rebellion in Ireland and he and other British imperialist ‘gentlemen’ formulated a policy with that objective in mind. On the 9th August 1920, the British ‘Lords Commissioners’ announced that ‘Royal Assent’ had been granted for the following 14 items –

1. Overseas Trade (Credit and Insurance) Act, 1920.

2. Unemployment Insurance Act, 1920.

3. Restoration of Order in Ireland Act, 1920.*

4. Aberdeen Corporation Order Confirmation Act, 1920.

  1. Pilotage Orders Confirmation (No. 3) Act, 1920.

    6. Local Government Board (Ireland) Provisional Orders Confirmation (No. 3) Act, 1920.

    7. Ministry of Health Provisional Order Confirmation (Chesterfield Extension) Act, 1920.

    8. Mid-Glamorgan Water Act, 1920.

    9. Wallasey Corporation Act, 1920.

    10. Life Association of Scotland Act, 1920.

    11. Uxbridge and Wycombe District Gas Act, 1920.

    12. Exmouth Urban District Council Act, 1920.

    13. North British and Mercantile Insurance Company’s Act, 1920.

    14. Lever Brothers, Limited (Wharves and Railway) Act, 1920.

On the 19th October 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – the British ‘Chief Secretary for Ireland’, Lieutenant-Colonel ‘Sir’ Hamar Greenwood (who later threatened to resign his position if Westminster agreed to a ceasefire with Irish republicans before they had surrendered their weapons!) stated, re the British ‘law and order’ campaign in Ireland –

“The outrages against the police and military forces since the 1st January last, which I regret to say include the loss of no less than 118 lives, are as follows: police killed -100, military killed -18, police wounded -160, military wounded -66. There have been 667 attacks on police barracks, resulting in most cases in their complete destruction.

There has been an organised attempt to boycott and intimidate the police, their wives and relations. The hon. Member will realise that I cannot publish the steps that are being taken to cope with the campaign of murder, outrage and intimidation, but I can assure him that the means available to the Government for protecting all servants of the Crown in the discharge of their duties, and for bringing to justice those who commit or connive at outrages, are steadily improving.

The Royal Irish Constabulary is rapidly increasing in numbers owing mainly to the flow of recruits from ex-officers and ex-service men who served in the Army or Navy during the War. The effective strength of the Force is now higher than it has been for the last 15 years. In the last three weeks alone there have been 194 trials by Court Martial under the ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920’, and 159 convictions. The Forces of the Crown are now effectively grappling with the organised, paid and brutal campaign of murder in Ireland..” (*The ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act’ was a ‘legal’ item through which the British could authorise, in Ireland, ‘the issue of Regulations under the Defence of the Realm Consolidation Act, 1914, for effecting the restoration and maintenance of order in Ireland where it appears to His Majesty in Council that, owing to the existence of a state of disorder, the ordinary law is inadequate for the prevention and punishment of crime, or the maintenance of order..’)

The British claimed that the ‘legal’ changes had been rendered necessary by the abnormal conditions which at that time prevailed in certain parts of Ireland, where ‘an organised campaign of violence and intimidation has resulted in the partial breakdown of the machinery of the ordinary law and in the non-performance by public bodies and officials of their statuary obligations…in particular it has been found that criminals (sic) are protected from arrest, that trial by jury cannot be obtained because of the intimidation of witnesses and jurors, and the local authorities and their officers stand in fear of injury to their persons or property if they carry out their statuary duties…’

The ‘Order in Council’ provided, among other things, for the putting into operation of many of the existing ‘Defence of the Realm Regulations’ for the purpose of ‘the restoration or maintenance of order, for the trial of crimes by Courts Martial or by specially constituted Civil Courts, and for the investment of those Courts with the necessary powers’.

Also, it was now to be allowed for ‘financial punishments’ to be implemented – the withholding from local authorities who refuse to discharge the obligations imposed upon them by Statute, financial grants which otherwise would be payable to them from public funds and for the application of the grants so withheld to the discharge of the obligations which the local authority has failed to fulfill, for the holding of sittings of courts elsewhere than in ordinary courthouses, where these courthouses have been destroyed or otherwise made unavailable and ‘..although the Regulations are not, in terms, restricted to any particular part or parts of Ireland, it is the Government’s intention that they shall not be applied in substitution for the provisions of the ordinary law in places where the judicial and administrative machinery of the ordinary law are available, and are not obstructed in their operations by the methods of violence and intimidation above mentioned…for instance, under the Regulations an ordinary crime can only be tried by a Courts Martial or by a specially constituted Civil Court, if the case is referred to the Competent Naval or Military Authority.

Instructions will be issued by the Irish Executive to ensure that such cases will not be referred to the Competent Naval or Military Authority except where the prevalence of actual threatened violence or intimidation has produced conditions rendering it impracticable for them to be dealt with by due process of ordinary law…’

Greenwood stated the above, as mentioned, on Tuesday, 19th October 1920 – 102 years ago on this date – and, the following day, a young (19 years old) IRA Volunteer, from Fleet Street in Dublin, Kevin Barry (pictured), became the first person to be tried by court martial under the new ‘Restoration of Order in Ireland Act 1920’ which,among its other trappings, allowed for the suspension of the courts system in Ireland (bad and all as that system was) and the establishment of military courts with powers to enforce the death penalty and internment without trial.

On the 10th December 1920 martial law was proclaimed in counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Tipperary and, in January 1921, this order was extended to include Clare and Waterford. The ‘ROIA’ was widely used by the British against Irish republicans and, indeed, was used as a ‘tool’ to impose censorship on the media of the day, an imposition which was challenged, sometimes succesfully so – in 1921, a ROIA court-martial convicted the proprietors and editor of a Dublin newspaper for violating ROIA press regulations. At the end of the trial, a military detachment acting without a written order from the military court arrested the defendants and conveyed them to a civil prison.

The prisoners petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that a transfer from military to civil custody based merely on oral statements of anonymous soldiers was unlawful.

The Crown argued that since the defendants were subject to military law, they could be moved from military to civil confinement without a written order. Finding this contention to be “quite untenable,” the King’s Bench put on record its desire “in the clearest way possible to repudiate” the doctrine that a civil prison could detain a king’s subject without proper written authority : “To sanction such a course would be to strike a deadly blow at the doctrine of personal liberty, which is part of the first rudiments of the constitution.” Moreover, the court-martial’s failure to issue an order left the civil jailer “without the protection of any written mandate” and therefore exposed to the risk of a lawsuit.

Declaring that there was “no vinculum or bond of union between the military and the civil custody,” the King’s Bench issued the writ of habeas corpus. Ostensibly protecting the liberty of civilians against overreaching by the British Army, the court equally protected a civil institution from subordination to military command.

Today, the British and their political colleagues in Stormont and Leinster House are still attempting to use ‘laws’ of that nature, and media censorship, to destroy Irish republicanism. But it didn’t work then and won’t work for them today, either – we are in this for the long haul!


“Fight on, struggle on, for the honour, glory and freedom of dear old Ireland. Our hearts go out to all our dear old friends. Our souls go to God at 7 o’clock in the morning and our bodies, when Ireland is free, shall go to Galbally.

Our blood shall not be shed in vain for Ireland, and we have a strong presentiment, going to our God, that Ireland will soon be free and we gladly give our lives that a smile may brighten the face of ‘Dear Dark Rosaleen’.

Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!”

– the last words of Limerick (Ballylanders) IRA man Patrick Maher, 32 years of age (pictured), to his comrades.

He was hanged by the British administration in Ireland on the 7th June 1921 for his alleged involvement in the rescue of Tipperary IRA man Seán Hogan, even though he was not involved in that operation.

Thousands of people (including his mother and sister) had gathered outside Mountjoy Jail in Dublin in protest against his execution, but to no avail (it should be noted that at the time, Munster and a small part of Leinster were under British ‘martial law’ and those executed there were shot as soldiers, but Dublin was under civilian law and that is why those executed in Mountjoy were hanged).

Patrick Maher and his comrade Edmond Foley were executed in Mountjoy jail, Dublin, on the 7th of June 1921, after being charged with the ‘murder’ of two RIC men (Peter Wallace and Michael Enright) – he strongly protested his innocence but, even though two juries failed to reach a verdict, he was convicted (by a military court martial) and sentenced to death.

He was one of ‘The Forgotten Ten’ IRA Volunteers (Kevin Barry, Patrick Moran, Frank Flood, Thomas Whelan, Thomas Traynor, Patrick Doyle, Thomas Bryan, Bernard Ryan, Edmond Foley, and Patrick Maher) – Kevin Barry was executed in 1920 by the British and the other nine men were put to death in 1921. All ten were buried in the grounds of Mountjoy Jail in Dublin, where six of them were placed in the same grave.

On Sunday, 14th October 2001, nine of those men were reinterred in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin by representatives of a 26-county state in an ‘official’ ceremony and, on Friday, 19th October 2001 – 21 years ago on this date – this state made the final arrangements to do the same for the tenth man, Patrick Maher, who was reburied in his home parish of Glenbrohane in Limerick (at the request of his family) on Saturday, 20th October 2001.

Both reinterments were carried out by a state which none of the ten men were fighting for – a 26-county free state – as the objective of the republican campaign – then (1920/1921) and now (2022)- was and is for a free Ireland, not a partially-free Ireland.

And, to add insult to injury, the then Free State ‘minister for justice’, John O’Donoghue, was the ‘official figurehead’ present, on both occasions, during which he delivered the graveside orations.

Irish republicans are looking forward to the day when those moral and political misappropriations can be corrected, in much the same manner that an English ‘queens’ presence and aura in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin was corrected by Irish republicans in 2011.


Roy Foster (pictured) in the British media.

By Barra Ó Séaghdha.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

Jonathan Freedland on Roy Foster – “To make his point, he merely has to walk to the pub at the end of the street. It’s Auntie Annie’s Porter House, Irish-themed from the Celtic typeface sign above the door to the Guinness served behind the bar, and the perfect illustration of Professor Roy Foster’s latest bugbear ; the reduction of Irish history to theme-park kitsch.”

Freedland explains that ‘The Irish Story’ is not another history of Ireland but a history of Irish history, before formally introducing his interviewee ;

“Roy Foster, the Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford and constantly cited as the greatest Irish historian of his generation, is ittitated at a trend he’s noticed in the last decade, a lapse back into an old Irish habit – reducing the complexity of history to a cosy fairytale.”

Foster’s irritation at pseudo-Irish pubs, tacky theme-parks and sentimentalised autobiography (Frank McCourt and Gerry Adams are prime targets in his new book) will be shared by readers right across the spectrum of cultural politics. Because such irritation is shared by many of us, however, we will not – unlike his interviewers in ‘The Times’ and ‘The Guardian’ – be reeling in admiration at Foster’s apparently lonely stance on these matters…



Emily Lawless, pictured (aka ‘Emily Lytton’), the writer and poet, was born on the 17th of June, 1845, in Ardclough, County Kildare and was educated privately.

War battered dogs are we

Fighters in every clime;

Fillers of trench and of grave,

Mockers bemocked by time.

War dogs hungry and grey,

Gnawing a naked bone,

Fighters in every clime –

Every cause but our own.
(Emily Lawless, 1902 ; “With the Wild Geese”.)

She was born into a politically mixed background, the eldest daughter and one of eight children (‘Sir’ Horace Plunkett was her cousin).

Her father was ‘Titled’ by Westminster (he was a ‘Baron’) even though his father (Emily’s grandfather) was a member of the ‘United Irishmen’.

Her brother, Edward, seems to have taken his direction from his father rather than his grandfather – he held and voiced strong unionist opinions, wouldn’t have a catholic about the place and was in a leadership position within the anti-Irish so-called ‘Property Defence Association’.

Perhaps this ‘in-house’ political confusion, mixed between staunch unionism and unionism with sympathies for Irish nationalism/republicanism, coupled with the ‘whisperings of shame’ that Emily was a lesbian and was having an affair with one of the ‘titled’ Spencer women, was the reason why her father and two of his daughters committed suicide.

She wrote a full range of books, from fiction to history to poetry, and is best remembered for her ‘Wild Geese’ works, although some of her writings were criticised by journalists for its ‘grossly exaggerated violence, its embarrassing dialect and staid characters..’ – ‘The Nation’ newspaper stated that ‘she looked down on peasantry from the pinnacle of her three-generation nobility..’ and none other than William Butler Yeats declared that she had “an imperfect sympathy with the Celtic nature..” and that she favoured “theory invented by political journalists and forensic historians.”

But she had a great talent :

After Aughrim :

She said, “They gave me of their best,

They lived, they gave their lives for me ;

I tossed them to the howling waste

And flung them to the foaming sea.”

She said, “I never gave them aught,

Not mine the power, if mine the will ;

I let them starve, I let them bleed,

they bled and starved, and loved me still.”

She said, “Ten times they fought for me,

Ten times they strove with might and main,

Ten times I saw them beaten down,

Ten times they rose, and fought again.”

She said, “I stayed alone at home,

A dreary woman, grey and cold ;

I never asked them how they fared,

Yet still they loved me as of old.”

She said, “I never called them sons,

I almost ceased to breathe their name,

then caught it echoing down the wind

blown backwards, from the lips of fame.”

She said, “Not mine, not mine that fame ;

Far over sea, far over land,

cast forth like rubbish from my shores

they won it yonder, sword in hand.”

She said, “God knows they owe me nought,

I tossed them to the foaming sea,

I tossed them to the howling waste,

Yet still their love comes home to me.”

She considered herself to be a Unionist although, unlike her brother, she appreciated and acknowledged Irish culture (or, in her own words – “I am not anti-Gaelic at all, as long as it is only Gaelic enthuse and does not include politics..”) and, despite being ‘entitled’ to call herself ‘The Honourable Emily Lawless’, it was a ‘title’ she only used occasionally.

She spent a lot of her younger days in Galway, with her mother’s family, but it is thought that family tragedies drove her to live in England, where she died, on the 19th of October 1913 – 109 years ago on this date – at the age of 68, having become addicted to heroin. She is buried in Surrey.

Emily Lawless, 1845-1913.


Jer O’Leary (pictured) has become bannermaker to the radical and labour movement. Brian Trench reports on the growing recognition of his art.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, May 1987.

It was in John Arden’s and Margaretta D’Arcy’s ‘Non-Stop Connolly Show’ in Liberty Hall in 1974 that Jer O’Leary first took up his imposing Jim Larkin stance. Since 1977, he has done it in half-a-dozen productions of James Plunkett’s ‘The Risen People’.

Jer O’Leary had also been painting as well as acting, winning two art competitions organised by the ITGWU. Encouraged by the union’s late general secretary, Michael Mullen, O’Leary applied his skills to posters and then to banners. Union banners which usually spend very long periods in storage had been much in evidence in the tax marches of the late 1970’s.

Jer O’Leary approached his banners with the demands of the street in mind – “I always felt that the old union banners were too intricate for the street ; I purposely used stark black and white images on a colour background to make more impact…”



On the 19th October 1989 – 33 years ago on this date (after serving 15 years in prison)– the ‘Guildford Four’ – Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong, Carole Richardson and Paul Hill – are released from prison in what is considered to be one of the biggest-ever miscarriages of justice in Britain.

Their convictions in 1974 for the Guildford pub bombings of that year were quashed at the Old Bailey in London on the 19th October 1989. All four had been falsely accused of the attacks on two pubs in which five people died and more than sixty people were injured. ‘Confessions’ were obtained by the use of torture and attempts to appeal the convictions were unsuccessful – the British establishment and its police force wanted ‘those responsible’ (and/or those whom it could somewhat plausibly present as being responsible) caught and for ‘justice’ to be done.

‘After the incredulity and then the euphoria of release from jail, the four people who had served 15 years for the Guildford pub bombings in 1974 had to find a life. Three are now married with families but the years of adjustment have been painful…the only thing that mattered was when Lord Lane, the lord chief justice, pronounced those magic words: the convictions of Gerry Conlon, Carole Richardson, Paul Hill and Paddy Armstrong were unsafe and unsatisfactory…”

Gerry Conlon punched the air in defiance and ran the wrong way down the street. Just like a confused animal, his lawyer thought. Conlon was then 35…Richardson, 17 at the time of her arrest, was shocked and weak at the knees. She and her former boyfriend, Armstrong, disappeared separately out the back. She just wanted to hide. Hill was taken to Crumlin Road prison in Belfast and bailed two days later…theirs was the first of the momentous Irish miscarriage of justice cases which convulsed the criminal justice system and led to a rare royal commission.

The crisis of confidence was encapsulated in one of Lord Lane’s concluding remarks: “The officers must have lied…” (from here.)

“Officers” of that same calibre (albeit in a different uniform), answerable to a similar political establishment as mentioned above, are still in a powerful position in the north-east of this country (and, indeed, are not confined to that area) and are still willing and able to frame innocent people for their objective of securing the British military and political presence in Ireland.

As we stated on this blog on the 5th October last – ‘Westminster didn’t care who was found ‘guilty’ once they satisfied the gutter press and it’s readership that ‘justice had been served’, and they continue with that policy to this day – ‘The Craigavon Two’, Brendan McConville and John-Paul Wootton, are the ‘Guildford/Birmingham’ etc examples of ‘British justice’ in Ireland today.’ The only long term solution is to end that presence and flush out the contaminants left behind.


…1610 :

One of our English ‘rulers’ who was somewhat less cruel to us than others in his social circle was born on the 19th October 1610, in Clerkenwell, in London.

James Fitzthomas Butler was 51 years of age when he was announced as the ‘1st Duke of Ormond, KG, PC’ and ‘Lord High Steward’ of England ; he was by then already a Lieutenant-General in the English Army and was a ‘land owner’ in Ireland.

He had spent a small fortune over the previous decades ‘in royal service’ and, now as a ‘Duke’ and ‘High Steward’, he was awarded large grants and a one-off payment of £30,000, all of which, apparently, kept him and ‘his’ estates in Ireland ticking-over but, overall, his losses still exceeded his gains!

During his political ‘career’ in Ireland he was in Office as ‘Lord Lieutenant of Ireland’ three times and, by the (anti-Irish) standards of the day, he was said to be somewhat less cruel than other ‘Irish masters’.

He died in the Kingston Lacy mansion in Dorset, England, on the 21st July, 1688, and was buried on the 4th August in Westminster Abbey. Incidentally, his wife, Elizabeth, died four years earlier (in 1684) on the same date as her husband, the 21st July.

If this short piece wasn’t about British imperialism in Ireland, that would almost be romantic!


…1751 :

A boy born in Dublin on the 19th October 1751 – Charles Edward Saul Jennings (pictured) – took a leaf from his Da’s book and took a title from his Da’s heritage. Sort of!

His Da, Theobald, from Polaniran, in Tuam, County Galway, was a doctor, and his Ma, Eleonore (Jennings, née Saul, aka ‘Lady Eleonore’) was the daughter of a rich Dublin distiller and, indeed, that may have given her husband, Theobald, the notion that he, too, should be ‘titled’.

So when the family moved to Tonnay-Charente in the south of France in the mid-to-late 1700’s, the Da continued to practice as a doctor and, in order to improve his customer base (!) declared himself to all and sundry to be the ‘Baron of Kilmaine’, and was accepted in posh French society as such!

Charles Edward had a rebellious streak about him and soon found an outlet for it in the French Army, where he rose to the rank of General – he supported the revolutionaries in France and Ireland (he was a devoted friend to Theobald Wolfe Tone and a close confidant of Napoleon I, and was described as the only officer Bonaparte ever trusted completely) and had, by then, already accepted his Da’s ‘title’ and was known among his military comrades as the ‘Baron of Kilmaine’ and/or ‘Brave Kilmaine’.

He helped to secure the financial well-being of Matilda Tone and her children after her husband was killed by the British and, such was his standing in France, he was appointed military governor of Switzerland in 1799, when he was only 48 years of age, but had to resign from the position because of health issues.

He died in Paris on the 11th of December, 1799, and was buried with full military honours, leaving behind his wife, Susanne (née Kirchmeyer) – the couple had no children, so the ‘title’ died with him.


…1919 :

At about 2am on Sunday morning, 19th October 1919, 23-year-old ‘Dublin Metropolitan Police Constable’ Michael Downing (pictured), a farmer’s son from Adrigole on the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, was ‘on patrol’ and crossing a road near High Street in the Liberties area of Dublin, walking towards a group of men on that side of the street.

As he got nearer to the men, one of them pulled out a revolver and shot him dead.

The men were IRA Volunteers and were tending to an arms dump that the ‘Constable’ was (inadvertently) walking towards. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.


…1920 :

On the 19th October, 1920, British Crown Forces stormed into a pub in Turloughmore, in County Galway and dragged a number of men out of the premises and flogged them by the side of the road, and in the nearby villages of Corofin and Cummer, on consecutive nights, men were taken from their beds, stripped and flogged by the roadside.

This issue was raised in Westminster on the 21st October but, as expected, British politicians attempted to cover-up for the offenders, their military colleagues in Ireland, by claiming that republicans in stolen British Army uniforms were responsible! –

‘Mr. T. P. O’CONNOR (by Private Notice) asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to the statements in several newspapers that on Saturday night last two lorries of uniformed men seized Thomas and Martin Feeney at the village of Corbally and flogged them with a rope, and assaulted one of them in addition with a rifle; whether on the same night at the town of Corofin Patrick Raferty was also flogged; whether on Sunday evening a number of young men were stripped and were whipped and otherwise assaulted on the road; whether a young man named Michael Welby and a young woman named Miss Glynn were shot and wounded at the village of Cummer by the police on the same occasion; and whether an inquiry will be immediately instituted and the persons guilty of these floggings and other assaults will be brought to justice…?’

The pathetic ‘they-flogged-themselves-Sir!!’ absurdity can re read here, if you can stomach it.


…1921 :

In the run-up/ prep work for the signing of the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ (which was signed by the Free Staters and the British on the 6th December 1921) a number of meetings were held between the Staters and Westminster political and military representatives.

One such meeting was held on the 19th October, 1921, to discuss financial issues regarding ‘repatriable financial assets’ ie ‘because of your actions we spent this amount and you have to pay us back’. The British reps stated that the fledging Free State entity ‘owed’ Westminster £153 million sterling for “debt and pension charges” incurred during the British visit to the State (!!) but the Staters – masters at fumbling in greasy tills – replied that, on the basis of past over-taxation “since the Union” (!!) and retardation of the Free State’s industrial and commercial development, the charge to Westminster should be about £3 billion sterling!

That was of course a bluff by the Staters, and it was called by the British (who knew the ‘strength’ of their new allies) – a ‘compromise’ arrived at was that ‘Article 5’ of that Treaty would contain an agreement that ‘…the Free State was required to pay a fair and equitable share of the UK public debt and war pensions..’ and that ‘settlement’ was worked through by both entities involved.

Incidentally, the Staters continue to believe that they owe various British ‘Lords’ and ‘Dukes’ money, and they continue to pay them!


…1921 :

While the Staters were capitulating, politically and militarily, to Westminster – see above – on the 19th October, 1921, religious capitulation was also taking place.

It was on that same date that Pope Benedict XV sent a telegram to the English ‘king’ George V rejoicing at the resumption of the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ discussions, instead of telling him that he and his ilk should get the hell out of Ireland, politically and militarily.

The English ‘king’, delighted to have received such a ‘thumbs-up’ from that Pope, wrote back saying that he hoped that “…a settlement may initiate a new era of peace and happiness for my people..”. That “new era”, your kingship, won’t materialise in Ireland until the British military and political presence has left the country for good.


…1922 :

Two Free State soldiers died on the 19th October 1922 ; Private Michael M Bailey, 20 years of age, was born in Wales and was stationed in Portobello Barracks in Dublin, in the Transport Division of the FSA.

He was in a convoy which was travelling to Naas in County Kildare when a sniper shot him dead.

Two State troopers, a Sergeant Clarke and a Sergeant-Major Sean O’Suillivan (who was only 17 years of age) came across a crowd of people outside a shop on Corporation Street, in Dublin city centre.

They wanted to disperse the crowd but they wouldn’t move anywhere so Sergeant Clarke fired a warning shot into the air, but the bullet rebounded off a wall and hit the young Sergeant-Major, killing him. We presume the crowd then left the scene.


…1922 :

On Thursday, 19th October 1922, Aghadoe House (pictured) in Killarney, County Kerry, was burned down by the IRA, to ensure that it would not be used as a base by the Free Staters. It was rebuilt three years later.

In 1870, 97% of the 32 Counties of Ireland was ‘owned’ by English ‘landlords’ and the ‘big house on the hill’ (the ‘landlords’ residence)was availed of by English troops and militia as a base from which to secure their presence, and those vermin were welcomed in by the owners. When he was the IRA Chief of Staff, Liam Lynch issued a directive that “all Free State supporters are traitors and deserve the latter’s stark fate, therefore their houses must be destroyed at once…”, and that order was followed with gusto by the rebels, as the ‘landlords’ were hated in their community by the majority.


…1923 :

On the 19th October, 1923, a State ‘Criminal Investigation Department’ (CID) operative named Thomas Fitzgerald was killed, following an armed robbery in a factory in Castleknock, Dublin. A Free State soldier, William Downes, was later hanged for killing Fitzgerald –

‘At 8am on Monday, 29 November 1923, William Downes climbed the scaffold in Mountjoy and became the first man executed by the Irish Free State… it is ironic then that the first man to climb the scaffold would not be an ‘irregular’ or opponent of the new State. Downes was in fact a pro-Treaty soldier.

At 5pm on 19 October 1923, Superintendent F O’Driscoll of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) received a phone call from the Castleknock Candle Factory. The CID was an armed police force which dealt with crime during the Civil War period and the panicked caller told him that his premises had just been robbed by armed raiders…’ -More here.




Only back after our absence last week […bet ya never even noticed..] and we have to excuse ourselves again for next Wednesday, 26th October 2022 ; we have a christening and a funeral to attend over the weekend and early next week and, although one event is obviously more sombre than the other, both will end up in a pub, where we’ll reacquaint ourselves with old friends, colleagues and comrades, and make new ones, as ya do!

We’ll be back ‘on air’ on Wednesday, 2nd November 2022 and, if ya want, you can catch-me-if-you-can on ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’.

Oh, and by the way – we sourced three cabins in Waterford for the now-37 of us that are heading off on a ten-day break in November. The six of us that’ll be sleeping in the vans and cars at night are the lucky ones…!

Thanks for the visit, and for reading!

See y’all on the 2nd November next.

Sharon and the team.

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