Francis Sheehy-Skeffington did not enter his wife Hanna’s details on the 1911 Census form at their home…as the suffragettes had a campaign of non-cooperation with the 1911 Census. Francis recorded four people in the house : himself (aged 32), his one year old son (Owen) and two female servants, Philomena Morrissey (aged 23) and Mary Butler (aged 21).

The enumerator, James Crozier, attempted to circumvent the boycott by recording Hanna’s details. Almost all of the information was incorrect. He entered her name as Emily, (but her correct name was Johanna), had the wrong age of 28 (her real age was 33), he recorded their marriage as 3 years in length (but they had been married for 8 years) and recorded her place of birth as Dublin (she was born in Kanturk, Co. Cork). He was correct in recording that they had had one child and that this child was alive (Owen Lancelot). The enumerators, who were from the police force, had extensive powers to make enquiries locally about those who refused to fill out the form.

Johanna Mary Sheehy (pictured, in 1912, on her release from Mountjoy Prison in Dublin), known as Hanna, was born in Kanturk, County Cork, in May 1877. She belonged to a prosperous farming and milling family. Her father, David Sheehy (1844-1932), was a member of the IRB and later an MP, and had been imprisoned no less than six times for revolutionary activities. Hanna was a highly influential figure during the suffragette movement and was also active in the realms of socialism and Irish independence. She married Francis Skeffington in 1903. They joined their names together on marriage, a symbol of the equality in their relationship. Both were founder members of the Irish Women’s Franchise League in 1908 which fought for women’s suffrage. They had one child, Owen Lancelot, in 1909. She was fired from her teaching post in 1912 following her arrest for breaking windows during a militant suffragette protest. In 1912 she and her husband founded the ‘Irish Citizen’ newspaper. She was active in the labour movement assisting in the soup kitchen at Liberty Hall in 1913.

Like her husband Hanna was a pacifist. She attended a meeting in Wexford organised by John Redmond for conscription to the British Army. Huge crowds attended as conscription was so popular and trains had been organised from Waterford and Kilkenny. Redmond was about to address the audience when a very heavily veiled Hanna stood up on a box asking people to repudiate Redmond and his recruiting. She was torn down from the box by the crowd and her clothes almost ripped from her. She was very badly mistreated by the crowd and if it were not for the intervention of the police and some members of the public she would have been thrown into Wexford Bay ; “A much battered and torn and, I am sure, very much bruised, Mrs Skeffington was rescued”.

During the Rising Hanna did not join the rebels but she brought food and messages to the various outposts. Her elderly uncle, a priest named Eugene Sheehy, a well-known Land League and IRB member, was at the GPO as a confessor to the rebels. She was in the confidence of some of the leadership as they selected her to act as a member of a civil provisional government to come into effect if the Rising was prolonged (she was to be one of five members of the Provisional government to be set up once the rebellion was victorious). She considered the Rising as the first point in Irish History where the struggle for women’s citizenship and national freedom converged. Her husband Francis, who was not involved in the Rising, was arrested while trying to prevent looting. He was detained by Captain Bowen-Colthurst and shot without a trial. She refused £10,000 in compensation and instead looked for a court martial for her husband’s killer.

After the Rising she worked tirelessly to convince the American public to support the Irish cause and conducted a series of lectures there to raise funds. She went to America with Margaret Skinnider and Nora Connolly but the US authorities did not want her there as she was “talking too much” and so she returned to Ireland. In 1917 she was appointed to the executive of Sinn Féin, rising to become the Director of Organisation. In the War of Independence she served as a judge in the Republican law courts in Dublin and during the Civil War she helped to set up the Women’s Prisoners’ Defence League. In the 1930’s Hanna was assistant editor of An Phoblacht. She died in April 1946 and is buried beside her husband Francis in Glasnevin…’ (from here.)

The inscription on the Sheehy Skeffington headstone reads – ‘Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Rose Skeffington, born Magorrian in Ballykinlar, Co. Down. Died at Ranelagh, Dublin 16th April 1909. And Francis Sheehy Skeffington her son / murdered in Portobello Barracks April 26th, 1916 and his wife Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, Feminist, Republican, Socialist. Born May 1878 / Died April 1946 And their son Owen Lancelot Sheehy Skeffington, born May 19th 1909, died June 7th, 1970 who, like them, sought truth / taught reason & knew compassion.’

(That headstone dates Hanna’s death as ‘May 1878′, and other sources cite her date of birth as ’24th May’. But, either way, in our opinion, the Lady deserves a write-up and also deserves to be remembered more than she is.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

The Sinn Féin Committee will continue its activities after the elections, and one means by which it hopes to bring the message of Republican Ireland to New York is by playing a more active part in circulating the ‘United Irishman’ newspaper among the scores of thousands of Irish here.

The Prisoners’ Aid Committee are stepping up activities during the summer months. The May 28th dance at the Jaeger House will probably end this type of money-raising for some time as the New York summer heat makes such social activities impossible. Meanwhile, however, the Committee have a table at Gaelic Park where tickets for a prisoners raffle are sold every Sunday, and copies of the ‘United Irishman’ newspaper, detailing the work of the Prisoners Committees in Ireland and England, are available also.

Joseph Sullivan (Louth), an AFL trade union official in New York, is organising a Labour Committee of the prisoners aid so that the thousands of Irish trade unionists in this city may play their part in support of the men in jail. Indeed, many trade unionists are already active in the work of the prisoners aid committee ; among them are Tim Murphy (Kerry), the President of the Compressed Air Workers Union… (MORE LATER.)


The heavy-handed official response to a number of Irish publications and websites has drawn attention to this country’s growing satirical network. Which can only be a good thing. By Noel Baker.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

One feature in the February edition of ‘The Slate’ magazine, entitled ‘Blacks in the Jacks’, drawing attention to the growing number of black people working in the toilets of Dublin night spots, attracted strong criticism from some members of the public and sections of the press.
Issue 6 had the papers incandescent with rage over a jokey feature about the Bulger killers fronting Louis Walsh’s new boy band and, more recently, the Garda Siochana claimed that
‘The Slate’ had a hand in the May Day ructions on Dame Street in central Dublin, when images of rampaging gardai battling with demonstrators were beamed into our homes. ‘The Slate’ responded with a ‘Dame Street Massacre Commemorative Issue’ and a front-page headline which blared ‘PIGS OUT!’

The furore prompted thoughts of another satirical monthly which ran into a spot of bother within the last six months – except this one, being web-based, won’t be finding a glass case any time soon. Spoof Northern Ireland (sic) website ‘The Portadown News’ is one of a growing number of satirical efforts that are finding their niche online – and finding controversy there, too.

Website editor ‘Newt’ was forced to quit his job as a technical author at a computer company after pro-republican (sic – that publication is a Provisional Sinn Féin mouthpiece, not “pro-republican”) newspaper ‘The Andersonstown News’ accused him of ‘sectarian bias’ and contacted his employer to complain that he was working on the website while at work, thereby breaching the terms of his contract. The row made it on to the pages of the ‘Observer’ newspaper and ‘BBC Online’, assuring publicity for a website which delights in slamming both sides of the sectarian divide in the North. And it was a personal victory for ‘Newt’, as he explained to ‘Magill’ via email last week – “I got the last laugh because (a), I hated my job, it was unbelievably boring, and (b), I then got offered work at the BBC, ‘Sunday People’ and the ‘Irish News’, which is much more entertaining”, he says, not unreasonably… (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Eithne Nic Suibhne (pictured) stated, in her letter –

“Let England clear out of our land and then we can review the situation. If you could get them all on the one cry of ‘let England get out before anyone discusses anything with her’ and if we see any reason for going to war we shall do it when we please, but our present position is neutrality.”

Referring to our October issue and the extracts from speeches made by Mr. Kelly (now a Fianna Fail member in Leinster House) made in May 1916, condemning the Easter Rising, Eithne Nic Suibhne wrote – “…you could tell them (the Councils) that they had better not go on record like that. You might get results..!” These extracts show what a lively interest and a clear, keen understanding she had of current political events and, it need hardly be added, that her insistence on neutrality was with regard to international war.

On the issue of Irish independence, and the clearing-out of the British occupation forces from every inch of our national territory, she certainly was not neutral. How she exulted in the brilliant success of the Armagh Raid ; how gladly she would have read of the raid on the Omagh Barracks only two days after her death! Like her immortal brother, Terence, she would make no compromise. Ar dheis láimh Dé go raibh sí.

(END of ‘Eithne Nic Suibhne’. NEXT – ‘Leinster House Debate ; A Terrible Message For The North’, from the same source.)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe. Or at least don’t be as reckless as the old you. Or, if you must be, don’t get caught. But if you do get caught, leave our name out of it (especially if we were out partying with ya, but done a bunk out the side door before the Covid Cops arrived)…!

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“Nor one feeling of vengeance presume to defile

The cause, or the men, of the Emerald Isle.”

– the words of William Drennan, physician, poet, educationalist political radical and one of the founding fathers of the ‘Society of United Irishmen’, who was born on the 23rd May in 1754, 266 years ago in this month.

As well as his involvement with the ‘United Irishmen’, William Drennan will be forever associated with the descriptive term ‘Emerald Isle’ being used as a reference for Ireland, although he himself stated that that expression was first used in an anonymous 1795 song called ‘Erin, to her own Tune’.

When he was 37 years of age, a group of socially-minded Protestants, Anglicans and Presbyterians held their first public meeting in Belfast and formed themselves as ‘The Belfast Society of United Irishmen’ (the organisation became a secret society three years later), electing Sam McTier as ‘President’, strengthing the link that William Drennan had forged with that revolutionary organisation – Sam McTier was married to Martha, who was a sister of William Drennan.

‘..he was born on May 23, 1754, at the manse of the First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street, Belfast, where his father was minister. A doctor by profession, he became one of the pioneers of inoculation against smallpox. Drennan became one of the founder members of the United Irishmen, and upon moving to Dublin in 1789 was appointed its chairman…after he was tried and acquitted of sedition in 1794, he withdrew from the movement and emigrated to Scotland (but remained) committed to radical politics..he married Sarah Swanwick in 1800, and they had four sons and a daughter…’ (from here.)

William Drennan died on the 5th February 1820, at 66 years of age, and is buried in Clifton Street Graveyard, Belfast.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Election Committee : A Sinn Féin Election Aid Committee was set up in New York toward the end of April to raise money for the Sinn Féin candidates in the Six County elections.

A couple of socials and meetings were planned and great interest was shown from the outset by many in the re-activisation among the exiled Irish of the Sinn Féin idea.

Veteran Kerry republican Seán O’ Riada, who first took a leading part in Irish-Ireland affairs back during the ’98 Centenary celebrations (57 years ago) and hasn’t ceased to work for the Irish Republic since then, was appointed Chairman, Peter Loughran (Armagh) was elected Co-Chairman, the Secretary is Seán Canning (Derry), whose brother, Manus Canning, is serving a penal servitude term in Wormwood Scrubs, and the Treasurer is Joseph Sullivan (Louth), a trade union leader in New York.

Committee workers include Mrs. Michael Fearon, Armagh, John McGovern, Cavan, Jeremiah Carroll, Cork, Henry McGuigan, Armagh, Hubert MacManus, Dublin, John Carroll, Galway, George Harrison, Mayo, Simon Farrelley, Cavan, and many others… (MORE LATER.)


The heavy-handed official response to a number of Irish publications and websites has drawn attention to this country’s growing satirical network. Which can only be a good thing. By Noel Baker.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

In one unremarkable Dublin hostelry there is a glass-case partition containing your typical smattering of Oirish pub bric-a-brac. Amidst the clutter of museum-piece Oxo cube boxes and random bits of clay is a red-covered magazine declaring itself to be ‘The National Humorous Journal of Ireland’ – no problem there, except that the magazine is called ‘Dublin Opinion’. Either the title itself was meant to be ironic, or else Ireland’s humourists really didn’t give a toss about people outside of the Pale. Well…it was from the 1950’s, I suppose, and the barman wouldn’t let me prise open the casing to find out.

Of the modern day successors to ‘Dublin Opinion’, monthly magazine The Slate shares a similar attitude towards people who don’t live by the Liffey (or ‘culchies’, as they are invariably referred to), and it’s hard to imagine a copy making an appearance in a kitschy pub cabinet any time soon.

But if you can gauge the success of a satirical publication by the amount of official opprobrium thrown in its direction, ‘The Slate’ is carrying out its job to perfection. A visceral but brutally funny read, ‘The Slate’ administers a sound kicking to virtually every feature of contemporary Ireland (including ‘Magill’ magazine, obviously) (MORE LATER.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Eithne Nic Suibhne (pictured) stated, in her letter –

“I was going to suggest that the Standing Committee (of Sinn Féin) send a circular to all County Councillors, Corporations and Urban Councils asking them to demand a public declaration that this country is to be strictly neutral in case of any war and to be really neutral – not make-believe, as it was the last time. If the Circular were worded so as to bring out the horror of the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs, and if the Councils were called to take their individual stand for the people they represent and called on not to try to evade their duty by saying ‘we leave it to the government’.

They will not escape responsibility if they do not do all in their power to keep these horrors from our land, and warning them that the attempt to mark the letter ‘read’ will be taken as a deliberate alliance with those who wish to embroil this country in England’s wars and not only to send our boys as cannon fodder for her advantage, but bring destruction and incalculably appalling diseases on the land.

If the Circular did this, and in addition pointed out that once England gets into war mood she will immediately begin to ‘fight for Christianity’ and the ‘Free World’ against ‘Godless Russia’ etc, but we have heard that before and will decline to be fooled or let our people be fooled…”

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe. Or at least don’t be as reckless as the old you. Or, if you must be, don’t get caught. But if you do get caught, leave our name out of it…!

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Another Moore Street fiasco in the making?

A Fine Gael political representative is currently flying a kite to gauge reaction/opposition to a proposal to build a playground for children on a 1798 graveyard.

The ‘Croppies Acre’ in Dublin, a memorial to the ‘Croppy Boys’ of the 1798 rebellion and believed to be where the men and women of ’98 were buried after being executed by the British is, unfortunately, being stared at, financially and for votes, by the Blueshirts.

This is probably why the political ‘powers-that-be’ allowed this sacred spot to fall into disrepair in the first place ie ‘..anything would be better than the drug den it has become..’ but those of us who see and appreciate more than a profit margin can hopefully nip this disgraceful proposal in the bud – please sign the petition against this folly and ask your friends, colleagues, workmates etc to do the same. We are up against political careerists who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Let’s try and educate them.


Seán Hogan (pictured, left), who was practically still in his teenage years when he was appointed as one of those in command of the ‘Third Tipperary Brigade’ of the IRA, a leadership group which became known by the British as ‘The Big Four’ – Dan Breen, Seán Treacy, Seamus Robinson and Seán Hogan.

Seán Hogan was born in Tipperary in 1901 and, at just 18 years of age, he took part in the Soloheadbeg ambush on the 21st of January in 1919, in which two Crown force personnel (James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell) were killed as they drew their weapons. The British went all out to capture or execute those responsible and, on the 12th of May 1919, Seán Hogan was taken prisoner at a friends house, the Meagher’s, at Annfield, in Tipperary, and taken to Thurles RIC barracks to be held overnight, and then transported to Cork. The following morning – the 13th May, 1919, 101 years ago on this date – Seán Hogan was taken by a four-man armed British military escort to Knocklong train station and the five men got on board a train ; Hogan, who was handcuffed, was put sitting between RIC Sergeant Wallace and Constable Enright, both of whom were armed with revolvers, and Constables Ring and Reilly, carrying shotguns, sat opposite the three men.

Seán Hogan (right), thought to be about 20 years young when this photograph was taken.

An IRA unit, led by Seán Treacy, Dan Breen, Seamus Robinson and Eamonn O’Brien, and including Ned Foley, Seán Lynch, John Joe O’Brien, Ned O’Brien and Jim Scanlon (all from the East Limerick Brigade IRA) located the compartment where Seán Hogan was being held against his will and Seán Treacy and Eamonn O’Brien drew their revolvers and walked through the train to the compartment ; on entering same, they loudly instructed all present to put their hands up and called for Seán Hogan to make his way to them. RIC Constable Enright placed his revolver against Hogan’s neck, using him as a shield, but was shot dead as he did so, as both Treacy and O’Brien had fired at him (Eamonn O’Brien was to say later that they would not have shot Enright had he not attempted to attack Hogan) and Hogan, still handcuffed, took that opportunity to land a two-handed punch to the face of Constable Ring, who was sitting opposite him. Seán Treacy and RIC Sergeant Wallace were trading punches, as were Eamonn O’Brien and Constable Reilly, when one of the IRA men managed to take Reilly’s shotgun from him and smashed him over the head with it. He collapsed in a heap on the carriage floor. Constable Ring, meanwhile, found himself on the platform, having exited the carriage through a window, and withdrew from the area.

Seán Treacy and RIC man Wallace were still trying to get the better of each other, with Treacy telling Wallace to give it up as he was outnumbered and had lost his prisoner, but Wallace refused to do so. Both men were now grappling for Wallace’s Webley revolver and Wallace managed to get enough control over it to fire a shot, which hit Seán Treacy in the neck – in that same instance, IRA man Eamonn O’Brien fired at Wallace, killing him instantly. Treacy survived, and was recorded later as saying “I thought I was a dead man. I had to hold my head up with both hands, but I knew I could walk.”

Seán Hogan remained active in the struggle : he operated in Dublin, Kilkenny and Tipperary, was involved in the ‘French Ambush’ and was also heavily involved in raids on various RIC barracks and remained active until the Treaty of Surrender was being discussed, a ‘compromise’ which he was unable to support or condemn – he left the Republican Movement at that point and returned to Tipperary, to try and earn a living as a farmer. He couldn’t, and moved to Dublin where he got married and fathered a child, but the times were tough, economically, and he and his family could only afford to live in a slum tenement building in North Great George’s Street. He was suffering from depression at this stage and voiced disappointment that the Ireland he was living in was not that which he had fought for. He died, penniless, at 67 years of age, in 1968, and was buried in Tipperary town.

The news has spread through Ireland and spread from shore to shore

Of such a deed, no living man has ever heard before

From out a guarded carriage mid a panic stricken throng

Seán Hogan, he was rescued at the station of Knocklong

When a guard of four policemen had their prisoner minded well

As the fatal train sped o’er the rails, conveying him to his cell

The prisoner then could scarce foretell, of hearts both brave and strong

That were planning for his rescue at the station of Knocklong

The shades of eve were falling fast when the train at last drew in

It was halted for an hour or so by a few courageous men

They sprang into the carriage and it did not take them long

‘Hands up or die’ was the rebel cry at the station of Knocklong

King George’s pampered hirelings, they shrivelled up with fear

And thought of how they placed in cells, full many a Volunteer

Now face to face with armed men, to escape, how they did long

But two of them met with traitors deaths at the station of Knocklong

From Sologhead to Limerick, such deeds as these were never seen

And devil a tear was ever shed for Wallace of Roskeen

They did old England’s dirty work and did that work too long

But the renegades were numbered up at the station of Knocklong

Now rise up Mother Erin and always be of cheer

You’ll never die while at your side there stand such Volunteers

From Dingle Bay to Garryowen, the cheers will echo long

Of the rescue of Seán Hogan at the station of Knocklong.
(From here.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

“The results, gratifying as they are, must strengthen the determination of our people to continue the effort to establish and maintain the sovereign independence of the Irish nation.

In this spirit, Sinn Féin will pursue the course it has set itself and, in pursuing that course, we seek no quarrel with Irishmen and any quarrel that may eventuate will certainly not be the responsibility of the Sinn Féin organisation. We wish to thank very sincerely all those people, whoever they may be, who helped the Six-County election campaign in any way. We could not have hoped for anything like the success it has achieved without their fine support ;

Who fears to rally to Sinn Féin,

or nationhood deny,

heed not what hostile Press proclaims,

with “splinter party!” cries.

For duty to your country calls

to you, from shore to shore,

that freedom for all Ireland be

for Sinn Féin to restore.

Who fears to march on with Sinn Féin,

upholding Ireland’s right,

as did the men of ’98,

united side by side.

They gave their all for country’s cause,

against the common foe –

in tribute to their memory

united, stand once more!
(by Micheal O h-Aonghusa.)

(END of ‘Sinn Féin Post-Election Statement’ ; NEXT – ‘American Items Of Interest’, from the same source.)


Anna Catherine Parnell, pictured, was born ‘Catherine Maria Anna Mercer Parnell’ on the 13th May, 1852 – 168 years ago, on this date – at Avondale House in Rathdrum, County Wicklow. She was the tenth of eleven children of John Henry Parnell, a landlord, and Delia Tudor Stewart Parnell, an Irish-American woman (the daughter of Admiral Charles Stewart of the US Navy).

Anna and one of her sisters, Fanny, worked with their brother, Charles (Stewart Parnell) in agitating for better conditions for tenants and, on the 31st January in 1881, the two sisters officially launched a ‘Ladies Land League’ which, at its full strength, consisted of about five hundred branches and didn’t always see eye-to-eye with its ‘parent’ organisation, the ‘Irish National Land League’.

In its short existence, it provided assistance to about 3,000 people who had been evicted from their rented land holdings to assist and/or take over land agitation issues, as it seemed certain that the ‘parent’ body was going to be outlawed by the British and, sure enough, the British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone, introduced and enforced a ‘Crimes Act’ that same year, 1881 (better known as the ‘Coercion/Protection of Person and Property Act’) which made it illegal to assemble in relation to certain issues and an offence to conspire against the payment of rents ‘owed’ which, ironically, was a piece of legislation condemned by the same catholic church which condemned the ‘Irish National Land League’ because that Act introduced permanent legislation and did not have to be renewed on each political term.

And that same church also condemned the ‘Ladies Land League’ to the extent that Archbishop McCabe of Dublin instructed priests loyal to him “..not to tolerate in your societies (diocese) the woman who so far disavows her birthright of modesty as to parade herself before the public gaze in a character so unworthy of a Child of Mary…” – the best that can be said about that is that that church’s ‘consistency’ hasn’t changed much over the years, and that it wasn’t only a religious institution which made an issue out of women being politicised – ‘In the year in which the Ladies’ Land League was formed, Ireland was first mentioned in the 15 January 1881 issue of the ‘Englishwoman’s Review’. Tellingly, this was a report headed ‘Women Landowners in Ireland’ (and) there was also a small report of a ‘Catholic Charitable Association’ being formed ‘by a number of Irish ladies for aiding the families
of poor or evicted tenants’.

The addition of the phrase “It is distinctly understood that the society shall take no part whatever in political agitation..” reveals the disapproval felt by the journal for those engaged in that agitation *. The formation of the Ladies’ Land League was then noted : ‘In anticipation of Government action against local branches of the Irish National Land League, arrangements are being made for the establishment of a Ladies’ Land League throughout Ireland. Such a movement has already been organised in America, where Mrs Parnell, the mother of the Member for Cork, is the President, and Miss Fanny Parnell and Mr John Stewart, the sister and brother of Mr Parnell, MP, are acting as organisers. The Irish movement will be led by the wives of the local leaders of the existing league, and will devote themselves to the collection of funds…’ ** (from here).

* / ** – That periodical was assembled and edited by, and for, middle-class women of the day (late 19th/early 20th century) and, while it did cover and promote economic independence for women, occupation outside of the home for women, the need for better educational facilities for women to enable and encourage women to seek employment in ‘the male professions’ ie politics and medicine, it was truly of its day in that it was felt to be a bridge-too-far to call for women to take to the streets for the right to be more than ‘just’ fund-raisers. In short, the authors were, in effect, confining themselves to be further confined.

In October 1881, Westminster proscribed the ‘Irish National Land League’ and imprisoned its leadership, but the gap was ably filled by the ‘Ladies Land League’ until it was acrimoniously dissolved on the 10th August 1882, 19 months after it was formed. Anna’s brother, Charles, died in 1891 and, somewhat disillusioned with the political society that she lived in, she moved to the south of England and went by the name ‘Cerisa Palmer’. On the 20th September in 1911, when she was living in Ilfracombe in Devon, England, at 59 years of age, she went for her usual daily swim but got into difficulties. Her plight was noticed from the shore but she was dead by the time help arrived. She was buried quietly in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church in Ilfracombe, in the presence of just a handful of strangers.


As social work in Ireland reaches a landmark, Phil MacGiolla Bháin argues that the profession is flawed beyond salvation.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

The current child protection system is largely premised on the ‘fact’ that children are, ordinarily, at risk from the nearest available male, usually the father. The fact – yes, fact – that children are now and always have been statistically more at risk from the mother is ignored.

If social work were a profession like law, medicine or teaching, then there would be a thriving private practice. Social work’s professional services are only in demand from the State and from organisations that carry out operations on behalf of the State. The idea of a private individual soliciting the services of a social worker to provide a service to them is, quite frankly, bizarre, disordered and mad.

It was stated in ‘The Irish Social Worker’ last year (Vol.19, No. 2-3) that the health board-run child protection system was falling to pieces ; social workers are apparently voting with their feet and leaving in droves. This is excellent news. The system cannot be patched and covered up – it must be put permanently and verifiably beyond use. The structure is unsound and it cannot be repaired or renovated. It must be knocked down and a new one built from the ground up. (END of ‘Fit To Practise?’ NEXT – ‘Kicking Against The Pricks’, from the same source.)


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

The Republican Movement has lost a very good friend and a constant enthusiastic worker in the death of Miss Annie McSwiney (Eithne Nic Suibhne, pictured). In particular, this newspaper has lost a real helper, regular contributor, one of our very first subscribers and a constant critic whose criticism was always constructive, vigorous always, sometimes almost sharp, but inspired with the desire to help us, to guide us, the better to serve the Cause she loved so well.

In some accounts published in the press after her death the impression is conveyed that she had ceased to take any active part in political or national affairs for many years. That this impression is false can be easily shown, but no better proof is required than to quote from a letter written by her on the 14th October, the day before she died, to the Secretary of this newspaper and received here at the same time as the news of her death was being announced.

The main purpose of the letter was to acknowledge receipt of copies, sending of annual subscriptions for friends and giving names of others who would take the newspaper, and some instances of her active help and co-operation. The letter continues – “I was wishing I could contact you (by phone) and ask if you would get some striking demonstration (organised) to show these 13 nations of the (World) Ploughing Organisation that their insolence (in insisting that the two puppet States in Ireland be treated as separate countries)…all these people come to our land and one after another they insult us and no one ever says a word. No wonder the insults are on the increase…” (MORE LATER.)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe. Or at least don’t be as reckless as the old you. Or, if you must be, don’t get caught!

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‘Saoirse – Irish Freedom is the voice of the Irish Republican Movement. The monthly newspaper of Republican Sinn Féin, it takes its name from Irish Freedom – Saoirse, a Fenian paper which first appeared in November 1910 and continued as a monthly publication until December 1914 when it was suppressed by the British authorities. Among the contributors to that paper were Bulmer Hobson, PS Hegerty, Terence McSwiney, Pádraig Pearse, Ernest Blythe, Piaras Beaslaí, Pat Devlin, Fred Cogley, JW Good and Roger Casement.
Irish Republicans have always attempted to produce a newspaper, as a means of speaking to the people. As revolutionaries we have had to rely on our own resources to counter-act the status quo message promoted by the Establishment media…’
(from here.)

The May 2020 issue of this Irish republican newspaper can be downloaded, for free, here ; but you will be asked for a small few bob next month, for the June 2020 issue – the newspaper, and the organisation which produces it, are (obviously!) not State-funded and your custom would be greatly appreciated. Thank You – GRMA!


6th May, 1882 (138 years ago on this date) – the scene of the executions in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, pictured, of two top British officials, ‘Lord’ Frederick Cavendish, and his under secretary, Thomas Henry Burke, by members of ‘The Invincibles’.

The killings were condemned by both the Irish establishment and the churches ; indeed, Charles Stewart Parnell publicly condemned the killings, but he was implicated in same by letters published in ‘The Times’ newspaper, allegedly written by him. The letters expressed sympathies with the killers and suggested his public condemnation of them had been insincere. Parnell denied he had written the letters and they were subsequently proven to be forgeries, penned by Richard Pigott, a journalist who had a long-standing grudge against Parnell. After he had cleared his name, Parnell received a standing ovation from his fellow MPs on his first return to the House of Commons, a ‘Welcome Back’, if you like, for one of their own.

However – months went by and no arrests were made. Then, in one day, twenty-six men (all members of ‘The Invincibles’) were arrested and charged with the ‘Phoenix Park murders’. The men soon realised that this was no ‘desperate face-saving’ expedition by the British ; one of the top members of the organisation, James Carey, had turned informer and his brother, Peter, also told the British all he knew about the group.

The other jarvey (cab-driver), Michael Kavanagh, also agreed to inform on the ‘Invincibles’. Between May and December 1883, fourteen ‘Invincibles’ passed through Green Street Courthouse – five of them were hanged – some of them not ‘properly’ so – they were then decapitated and their remains were ‘gifted’ to be used for ‘medical science’ purposes. One of those spared the death penalty but who was sentenced to life imprisonment instead was James ‘Skin-the-Goat’ Fitzharris, who was arrested on the evidence given by the other driver, Michael Kavanagh.

When he was first arrested, the British offered Fitzharris (pictured) a deal if he, too, would turn informer, but he refused. His ‘trial’ actually ended with him being acquitted by the jury but the judge then halted proceedings and ordered that he be re-arrested ; he was then charged with being an ‘accomplice’ in the deed, found guilty, and sentenced to life. During both of his ‘trials’, ‘Skin-the-Goat’ made a mockery of the proceedings and refused to recognise the so-called ‘authority’ of the British to carry-out such functions in Ireland. James ‘Skin-the-Goat’ Fitzharris was fifty years of age when he began his life sentence – he was sixty-five when he got out of (Portlaoise) Prison, and things had changed ; his comrades were either dead or had moved away and, to the eternal shame of the Republican Movement, it turned its back on the man.

He had no job and no-where to live, he knew no-one and no-one wanted to know him. His choice now was to live on the street or sign himself into the workhouse – he chose the latter, and survived for the next twelve years as a pauper, between the gutter and the workhouse. He died in 1910 (on 7th September) aged seventy-seven. He was jobless, homeless and friendless when he died, alone, in the South Dublin Union Workhouse in James Street, Dublin.

James ‘Skin-the-Goat’ Fitzharris was twenty-five years young when he joined the Movement in 1858 and stayed true to his republican principles for fifty-two years, until he died. He had a hard life, in hard times, but he came through it and never recanted his actions or his beliefs. And, to his credit, he was working for a noble cause, unlike the two British agents/officials he encountered in the Phoenix Park in Dublin, on the 6th May, 1882, 138 years ago on this date, and unlike the informers and the politicians he encountered along the way.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

“Sinn Féin entered the contest of these elections with the definite purpose of raising the issue of foreign occupation of Irish territory above the rut of party politics and of uniting the people in the demand that the British occupation forces must leave Ireland.

The issue is plain and simple and in placing it before the people of Ireland, and of the public at large, Sinn Féin entertains no feelings of animosity against any Irishman because of class, creed or individual outlook. This was plainly demonstrated by the manner in which Sinn Féin conducted the election campaign.

The verdict of the polls is most gratifying, and amply justifies the Sinn Féin approach to the ending of British occupation, and the evils that stem from Britain’s unwarranted interference in affairs that are the sole concern of the Irish people. Sinn Féin made it amply clear both before and during the campaign that its intention of pursuing its policy would remain unaffected by the election results…” (MORE LATER.)


As social work in Ireland reaches a landmark, Phil MacGiolla Bháin argues that the profession is flawed beyond salvation.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

We need another set of rules and structures for people charged with protecting children and assisting families. It would help, of course, if these could see the children and parents they come into contact with as human beings rather than as objectified by an abstract ideology.

When occasionally eyebrows are raised concerning the involvement of social workers in the life of a family, the explanation for failure or error is either the individual failings of a social worker and/or an organisational failing of health boards snowed under with work.

It would be a crass mistake to believe that Moira Woods was some off-the-wall maverick who got it terribly wrong. In the wake of the report of the Medical Council’s ‘Fitness to Practise Committee’, there was much blather about structures being different now – multi-disciplinary, working-peer reviews etc – but what hasn’t changed since the time of Moira Woods is the worldview of the vast majority of those ‘practising’ child protection. If anything, this has got worse… (MORE LATER.)

‘1169’ comment : we have mentioned this instance of elder abuse in our area (Clondalkin, Dublin) before on the blog ; the two sisters and their families lost in their criminal endeavours and had all financial access to their parents savings taken from them, but the decent neighbours and friends etc won’t forgive them for what they done and the resulting animosity is still fresh to this day, which is not at all surprising. The ‘Fit To Practise’ article has reminded us of a particular episode which happened within days of the two women having had their access to their parents bank account and credit union account taken from them by their brother (‘Uncle S’), who was in the process of putting a stop to his parents savings and pensions being ‘appropriated’ by those two sisters and their families.

Besides the physical fights that ensued (two such confrontations that us locals know about, each one started by the sisters or one of their family members) – one in a local pub at a 60th birthday party and the other when the husband of one of the sisters attempted to hold ‘Uncle S’ hostage in his deceased parents bungalow – the two sisters, in one attempt to wrest back financial control, actually reported their brother to Social Services in Cherry Orchard, in Ballyfermot, for ‘financial elder abuse of his mother’!

The Social Service man and the Office he represented, acting solely on the ‘word’ of the two sisters, tried to ‘legally’ browbeat and threaten the poor man into handing all financial access back to his two sisters but ‘Uncle S’ vigorously defended both himself and the action he had been forced to take because of the morally-corrupt deeds of his two sisters and their families and repeatedly offered to show that Social Services Office the proof of the thievery that had taken place and called their bluff by suggesting that they take a legal case against him, during which the two sisters would be named and shamed, in public, and the shortfallings in how the Social Services ‘industry’ in this State operates would be highlighted by him, with that particular Office practitioner being named and a legal case taken against him. ‘Uncle S’ stood his ground and that State ‘service’ backed down, apologised, and offered to drop the whole issue, to which ‘Uncle S’ replied that he wanted them to take a case against his two sisters for ‘financial elder abuse’ and that Office said they would get back to him about that. They never did, and the reason is obvious – because their own incompetence would have been exposed in any such court case so they decided to do nothing!

Definitely ‘not fit for practise’, as presently constituted, but they can be successfully challenged and defeated, and they should be ; they are too powerful in this State and believe themselves to be beyond reproach.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Other speakers dwelt on the contribution made by Fr. Liam Pilkington (pictured) one of the top leaders of the Anglo-Irish war, to the defeat of the Black and Tan terror and the upholding of the Republic in the days following the acceptance of the Treaty.

Dr. Andrew Cooney, former Chief of Staff of the IRA, said Fr. Pilkington was probably the only senior officer surviving who had not deviated by as much as one inch from the principles of Irish republicanism, or the position he had taken in the dark days of 1922. Liam Cotter (pictured), Chairman of the ‘Republican Prisoners Aid Committee’, said the economic side of the struggle for Irish freedom had always been stressed by the leaders of the Republican Movement from Wolfe Tone on down.

Michael McGinn of Philadelphia spoke of a recent visit to Ireland and how the people there felt regarding Irish republicanism. Others who spoke briefly included Paddy O’Mahoney, Diarmuid Corkery, Eamon Deady, who are going to Ireland on a visit, and John Kerry O’Donnell.

Barney Rooney summed up and thanked the gathering for coming there to honour a great leader. He, himself, had served under him in the old days. Joe Stynes was the Committee Chairman. (END of ‘Fr. Liam Pilkington Departs For Ireland’. NEXT – ‘Eithne Nic Sibhne’, from the same source.)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe. Or at least don’t be as reckless as the old you!

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On Saturday, 29th April, 1916 – 104 years ago on this date – Pádraig Pearse issued the ‘Surrender Order’ on behalf of the Irish republican forces who were taken part in the (Easter) Rising in Ireland against the forces of the Crown –

“In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at Headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the Commandants of the various districts in the City and Country will order their commands to lay down arms.


29th April, 3.45 p.m., 1916.”

Approximately 64 rebels, 132 crown force members and 230 civilians had been killed. About 2,500 people had been wounded, and the centre of Dublin was devastated by the British shelling.

Sometimes overlooked and/or deliberately played-down is the role that the Capuchin Friars took on during the 1916 Rising, including that of their input regarding the ‘Surrender Order’ –

‘..the Capuchin Friars were heavily involved with the surrender – after the initial surrender had taken place between General Lowe, Patrick Pearse with Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell as the ‘runner’ (and) in all the discussion between the British Forces and the Irish Military Army. They ably assisted Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell [Cumann na mBan] with the task of delivering the surrender order to the other leaders all around the outskirts of Dublin in their strategic positions i.e Eamonn Ceant, Thomas MacDonagh , Dev Valera et.al. Of course General Lowe, not wanting to take any chances that these surrender orders would not be safely delivered..ordered two of his officers to accompany them. They then went to Dublin Castel to deliver the surrender message..’ (from here.)

‘While many clerics have supported the armed struggle of the IRA since 1916, the Capuchin Friars have been particularly noted for their republicanism. One such Capuchin was Fr Aloysius Roche, the son of an Irish father and English mother, born in Scotland in 1886. He studied for the priesthood and, following his ordination, he was transferred to Dublin where he was attached to the Capuchin Order in Church Street.

During Easter Week 1916, Fr Aloysius along with Frs Albert, Augustine and Dominic brought spiritual aid to the Volunteers in the numerous garrisons and outposts throughout Dublin. Following Pádraig Pearse’s surrender on Saturday, 29 April 1916, Fr Aloysius spent the next day carrying the surrender order to the main garrisons on the south side of the city. In the early hours of the morning of 3rd May, Fr Aloysius administered the last sacraments to Pearse, MacDonagh and Thomas Clarke, the first three leaders of the Rising to be executed.

On 7th May, he met John Dillon, a leading member of the Irish Parliamentary Party, who agreed to do all in his power to persuade the British government to stop the executions. And it was largely due to his efforts that Dillon, five days later, during a debate on the rising in the House of Commons, launched a blistering attack on the British government’s handling of the situation in Ireland. Earlier that day, Fr Aloysius accompanied James Connolly by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Gaol for execution and stood behind the firing squad as they fired the final volley. During the Tan and Civil Wars he was an enthusiastic and practical supporter of the national struggle and continued his republican allegiance throughout the following decades…’ (from here.)

Incidentally, the ‘Fr Dominic’ mentioned, above, was Fr Dominic O’Connor (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, pictured, being led away by Free Staters from ‘the battle of the Four Courts’, in 1922) – it is recorded that the then ‘President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State’ [aka ‘Taoiseach’], WT Cosgrave, did not agree with the political outlook voiced by the Capuchins and he wrote to the Archbishop, Edward J Byrne, to voice his objections and, in one such letter, actually accused Fr Dominic of “treasonous acts”!

Fr Dominic was, at the time, the chaplain to the local IRA Cork Brigade, and is on record for a reply he gave to the church hierarchy in relation to their anti-republican/pro-British sermons : “Kidnapping, ambushing, and killing obviously would be grave sins or violation of Canon Law. And if these acts were being performed by the Irish Volunteers as private persons, they would fall under excommunication. But they are doing them with the authority of the Republic of Ireland. Hence the acts performed by the Volunteers are not only not sinful, but are good and meritorious..therefore the excommunication does not affect us. There is no need to worry about it. There is no necessity for telling a priest in confession that you went to Mass on Sunday, so there is no necessity to tell him one is in the IRA, or that one took part in an ambush or killing etc”.

In another letter of complaint he sent, Cosgrave referred to a different priest, a Fr John Costello, and complained to the Archbishop that that priest had made it his business to approach Free State troops, in 1922, and called on them to lay down their arms ; when they declined to do so, he would call them “murdering green Black and Tans”! As ‘Lord Cosgrave’ probably said, in private – “It rings in my ears as kind of what miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord and president be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric? Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” (!)

Sometimes one has to be ‘meddlesome’ in order to be honourable.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Disruption Tactics Fail ;

The Unionist threat to unseat prisoner candidates if elected backfired. Instead of disrupting the Sinn Féin campaign it put northern republicans on their mettle. English law in Ireland has always had but one purpose – to legalise the dispossession of the Irish, in rights and in property. Our forefathers fought against it and we today proudly follow in their footsteps.

National Unity ;

The main plank of the Sinn Féin election platform was that there can be no political or economic development in Ireland while the country is divided. Not only must the border be removed and the physical unity of the country as a political and economic entity be restored, but the whole people must unite with the common purpose of developing Ireland’s material resources for the welfare of all its citizens.

Democracy! ;

The English electoral laws and divisions as applied to Ireland produce a fine example of ‘democracy’ – 450,000 votes elect ten unionists, 152,000 votes elect two separatists ; 45,000 votes to elect one unionist but 76,000 votes to elect one separatist!

(END of ‘Disruption Tactics Fail’, ‘National Unity’ and ‘Democracy!’. NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Post-Election Statement’, from the same source.)


“The term ‘slavery’ is rarely associated with the white race, although during the 1600’s this was the most significant portion of the market. More specifically, the Irish were targeted the most and the fact that the population of Ireland fell by 850,000 in the space of one decade highlights just how brutal things were…he (Oliver Cromwell, pictured) was one of the main reasons why the situation got to this point. His fanatical anti-Catholic views meant that any action he took over the Irish was brutal to say the least and as well as utilising the conquest of Ireland for religious and political means, he was bidding to cleanse the country of Catholics. In achieving this, selling the Irish off as slaves was one of his biggest weapons, but he also made sure life was as difficult as possible for those that did stay by burning off their crops, removing them from their land..” (from here.)

Pictured – some of Oliver Cromwell’s Irish victims, sold as slaves and ‘sex workers’ to the highest bidder.

On the 29th April, 1599 – 421 years ago on this date – a baby boy, Oliver Cromwell, who had been born on the 25th April, was christened in Saint John the Baptist church in Huntingdon, England. Decades later, when someone was trawling through the birth records for that period, they came across an unofficial addendum to that particular entry : it read – “England’s plague for five years…”

Cromwell should need no introduction to readers of this blog, but some readers may not be aware of the significance of a particular date – the 3rd September – in relation to the time he wreaked havoc on this Earth. That creature died on that date in 1658, and it was also on that same date, in 1649, that he began his nine-day siege of Drogheda after which thousands of its inhabitants were butchered (..but they deserved it, according to the man himself – “This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood..”). The infamous ‘Death March’, which he forced on his enemy after the battle of Dunbar, took place on the 3rd September (in 1650) and, one year later on that same date – the 3rd September, 1651 – he wallowed in more blood and guts, this time in his own country, at the battle of Worcester. And, somewhere in between wrecking havoc and stealing and selling Irish children, he found the time (on the 27th September in 1649) to write to his political bosses in London :


Dublin, 27th September 1649.

Mr. Speaker – I had not received any account from Colonel Venables – whom I sent from Tredah to endeavour the reducing of Carlingford, and so to march Northward towards a conjunction with Sir Charles Coote – until the last night. After he came to Carlingford, having summoned the place, both the three Castles and the Fort commanding the Harbour were rendered to him. Wherein were about Forty Barrels of Powder, Seven Pieces of Cannon ; about a Thousand Muskets, and Five-hundred Pikes wanting twenty. In the entrance into the Harbour, Captain Fern, aboard your man-of-war, had some danger ; being much shot at from the Sea Fort, a bullet shooting through his main-mast. The Captain’s entrance into that Harbour was a considerable adventure, and a good service ; as also was that of Captain Brandly, who, with Forty seamen, stormed a very strong Tenalia at Tredah, and helped to take it ; for which he deserves an owning by you.

Venables marched from Carlingford, with a party of Horse and Dragoons, to the Newry ; leaving the place, and it was yielded before his Foot came up to him. Some other informations I have received form him, which promise well towards your Northern Interest ; which, if well prosecuted, will, I trust God, render you a good account of those parts. I have sent those things to be presented to the Council of State for their consideration. I pray God, as these mercies flow in upon you, He will give you an heart to improve them to His glory alone ; because He alone is the author of them, and of all the goodness, patience and long-suffering extending towards you. Your army has marched ; and, I believe, this night lieth at Arklow, in the County of Wicklow, by the Sea-side, between thirty and forty miles from this place. I am this day, by God’s blessing, going towards it.

I crave your pardon for this trouble; and rest, your most humble servant, OLIVER CROMWELL.

P.S. I desire the Supplies moved for may be hastened. I am verily persuaded, though the burden be great, yet it is for your service. If the Garrisons we take swallow-up your men, how shall we be able to keep the field? Who knows but the Lord may pity England’s sufferings, and make a short work of this? It is in His hand to do it, and therein only your servants rejoice. I humbly present the condition of Captain George Jenkin’s Widow. He died presently after Tredah Storm. His Widow is in great want.

The following Officers and Soldiers were slain at the storming of Tredah: Sir Arthur Ashton, Governor; Sir Edmund Varney, Lieutenant-Colonel to Ormond’s Regiment; Colonel Fleming, Lieutenant-Colonel Finglass, Major Fitzgerald, with eight Captains, eight Lieutenants, and eight Cornets, all of Horse; Colonels Warren, Wall, and Byrn, of Foot, with their Lieutenants, Majors, etc; the Lord Taaff’s Brother, an Augustine Friar; forty-four Captains, and all their Lieutenants, Ensigns, etc; 220 Reformadoes and Troopers; 2,500 Foot-soldiers, besides the Staff-Officers, Surgeons, etc.’

A Butcher of even his own forces. But he was appreciated in some circles…


As social work in Ireland reaches a landmark, Phil MacGiolla Bháin argues that the profession is flawed beyond salvation.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

The internal ideological dynamics of social work pass the ordinary person by as they go about their lives. They are unaware of the existence of the rather strange worldview that governs family life until they have the misfortune to come into contact with these agents of the local State. Then, their family becomes ‘a referral’ and finds itself inducted into an industrial system for ‘the Protection of Children’. The family moves out of the constitution as a revered basic unit of Irish society into a post-feminist landscape where misandry and expediency rules.

Enforcing the educational advantages that the middle class in any society have over working-class people, social workers ‘invite’ frightened, disorientated parents to “case conferences” where they explain in opaque terms about the “treatment plan” for the family. I once witnessed the chairperson of a ‘case conference’ telling a working-class couple who just wanted their kids back that they were not to worry because the chairperson’s specialised training was “Jungian”! Had this not being so serious, it could have been part of a Monty Python script.

That this self-righteous matron could think that this bit of information was 1) intelligible and 2) reassuring to a couple whose kids were in health board care under – to say the very least – dubious circumstances, is a classic example of the middle-class professional mindset infecting this entire area of endeavour… (MORE LATER.)


Thomas Patrick Ashe, pictured, was born in Lispole, in County Kerry, on the 12th of January, 1885, the seventh of ten siblings. He was active in Irish republicanism, trade unionism and cultural circles, and commanded the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade which won the Battle of Ashbourne on the 29th of April 1916 (a battle which lasted for over five hours), 104 years ago on this date. He qualified as a teacher in 1905 at De La Salle College, Waterford and after teaching briefly in Kinnard, County Kerry, in 1906 he became principal of Corduff National School in Lusk, County Dublin. He was a fluent Irish speaker and a member of the Keating branch of the Gaelic League and was an accomplished sportsman and musician setting up the Round Towers GAA Club as well as helping to establish the Lusk Pipe Band. He was also a talented singer and poet who was committed to Conradh na Gaeilge.

The funeral procession in Dublin, 30th September 1917 (pictured) for Thomas Ashe, an IRB leader who died on the 25th September that year, after being force fed by his British jailers – he was the first Irish republican to die as a result of a hunger-strike and, between that year and 1981, twenty-one other Irish republicans died on hunger-strike. The jury at the inquest into his death found “..that the deceased, Thomas Ashe, according to the medical evidence of Professor McWeeney, Sir Arthur Chance, and Sir Thomas Myles, died from heart failure and congestion of the lungs on the 25th September, 1917 and that his death was caused by the punishment of taking away from the cell bed, bedding and boots and allowing him to be on the cold floor for 50 hours, and then subjecting him to forcible feeding in his weak condition after hunger-striking for five or six days..”

Michael Collins organised the funeral and transformed it into a national demonstration against British misrule in Ireland ; armed Irish Republican Brotherhood Volunteers in full uniform flanked the coffin, followed by 9,000 other IRB Volunteers and approximately 30,000 people lined the streets. A volley of shots was fired over Ashe’s grave, following which Michael Collins stated – “Nothing more remains to be said. That volley which we have just heard is the only speech which it is proper to make over the grave of a dead Fenian.”

The London-based ‘Daily Express’ newspaper perhaps summed it up best when it stated, re the funeral of Thomas Ashe, that what had happened had made ‘100,000 Sinn Féiners out of 100,000 constitutional nationalists.’ The level of support shown gave a boost to Irish republicans, and this was noted by the ‘establishment’ in Westminster – ‘The Daily Mail’ newspaper claimed that, a month earlier, Sinn Féin, despite its electoral successes, had been a waning force. That newspaper said – ‘..It had no practical programme, for the programme of going further than anyone else cannot be so described. It was not making headway. But Sinn Féin today is pretty nearly another name for the vast bulk of youth in Ireland..’

Politically, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) and established IRB circles in Dublin and Kerry and eventually became President of the Supreme Council in 1917. While he was actively and intellectually nationalist he was also inspired by contemporary socialism. Ashe rejected conservative Home Rule politicians and as part of that rejection he espoused the Labour policies of James Larkin. Writing in a letter to his brother Gregory he said “We are all here on Larkin’s side. He’ll beat hell out of the snobbish, mean, seoinín employers yet, and more power to him”. He supported the unionisation of north Dublin farm labourers and his activities brought him into conflict with landowners such as Thomas Kettle in 1912. During the infamous lockout in 1913 he was a frequent visitor to Liberty Hall and become a friend of James Connolly. Long prior to its publication in 1916, Thomas Ashe was a practitioner of Connolly’s dictum that “the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour”. In 1914, he travelled to the United States where he raised a substantial sum of money for both the Gaelic League and the newly formed Irish Volunteers of which he was an early member.

Ashe founded the Volunteers in Lusk and established a firm foundation of practical and theoretical military training. He provided charismatic leadership first as Adjutant and then as O/C (Officer Commanding) the 5th Battalion of the Dublin Brigade. He inspired fierce loyalty and encouraged personal initiative in his junior officers and was therefore able to confidently delegate command to Charlie Weston, Joseph Lawless, Edward Rooney and others during the Rising. Most significantly, he took advantage of the arrival of Richard Mulcahy at Finglas Glen on the Tuesday of the Rising and appointed him second in command. The two men knew one another through the IRB and Gaelic League and he recognized Mulcahy’s tactical abilities. As a result he allowed himself to be persuaded by Mulcahy not to withdraw following the unexpected arrival of the motorised force at the Rath crossroads. At Ashbourne on the 28th of April Ashe also demonstrated great personal courage, during a battle which lasted over five hours, first exposing himself to fire while calling on the RIC in the fortified barracks to surrender and then actively leading his Volunteers against the RIC during the fight.

After the 1916 Rising he was court-martialled (on the 8th of May 1916) and was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. He was incarcerated in a variety of English prisons before being released in the June 1917 general amnesty. He immediately returned to Ireland and toured the country reorganising the IRB and inciting civil opposition to British rule. In August 1917, after a speech in Ballinalee, County Longford, he was arrested by the RIC and charged with “speeches calculated to cause disaffection”. He was detained in the Curragh camp and later sentenced to a year’s hard labour in Mountjoy Jail. There he became O/C of the Volunteer prisoners, and demanded prisoner-of-war status. As a result he was punished by the Governor.

He went on hunger strike on the 20th September 1917 and five days later died as a result of force-feeding by the prison authorities. He was just 32 years old. The death of Thomas Ashe resulted in POW status being conceded to the Volunteer prisoners two days later. Thomas Ashe’s funeral was the first public funeral after the Rising and provided a focal point for public disaffection with British rule. His body lay in state in Dublin City Hall before being escorted by armed Volunteers to Glasnevin Cemetery. 30,000 people attended the burial where three volleys were fired over the grave and the Last Post was sounded. While imprisoned in Lewes Jail in 1916, Thomas Ashe had written his poem ‘Let Me Carry Your Cross for Ireland, Lord’ which later provided the inspiration for the Battle of Ashbourne memorial unveiled by Sean T. O’Kelly on Easter Sunday, 26th April 1959 at the Rath Cross in Ashbourne :

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord, the hour of her trial draws near, and the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice, may be borne by comrades dear.

But, Lord, take me from the offering throng, there are many far less prepared, through anxious and all as they are to die, that Ireland may be spared.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord, my cares in this world are few, and few are the tears will for me fall, when I go on my way to You.

Spare Oh! spare to their loved ones dear, the brother and son and sire, that the cause we love may never die, in the land of our heart’s desire!

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! Let me suffer the pain and shame, I bow my head to their rage and hate, and I take on myself the blame.

Let them do with my body whate’er they will, my spirit I offer to You, that the faithful few who heard her call, may be spared to Roisin Dubh.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! For Ireland weak with tears, for the aged man of the clouded brow, and the child of tender years.

For the empty homes of her golden plains, for the hopes of her future, too! Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord! For the cause of Roisin Dubh.

(from here.)

Thomas Patrick Ashe – born 12th January 1885, died, at 32 years of age, on the 25th September 1917.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

Republican Aid Committee ;

American friends please note that a Central Committee has been set up in New York to co-ordinate efforts to raise funds for the prisoners dependants. Subscribers and those wishing to help should write to – Chris McLoughlin, Secretary, c/o Clan na Gael HQ, Hargrave Hotel, 112 West 72nd Street, New York 23.

Fr. Liam Pilkington (pictured) Departs For Ireland ;

A reception was held for Father Liam Pilkington on Wednesday night, the eve of his departure to Ireland and the African mission fields, at the Clan na Gael hall, West 72nd Street, New York. The place was packed despite the temperature and the humidity.

Seán O’Riada, well known Kerry republican and life-long struggler in the cause of Irish freedom, introduced the one time Commandant of the Third Western Division, Irish Republican Army. Speaking in Irish, Mr. O’Riada spoke of the movement for independence as it has come down to us in our day and of the awakening that would seem to be occurring now. He then made a presentation to Fr. Pilkington on behalf of the Clan na Gael of New York, to which Liam replied that he was happy indeed to be among men and women who had remained faithful to the Republic through the long years.

He said he himself had been removed from the struggle for nigh on 30 years in the mission field of Africa but it was his hope that he, too, had remained faithful to the ideals for which they had fought 40 years ago. He said that when the struggle for a free Ireland was resumed* more attention should be paid to the economic side of the question. This was not a petty matter of a border**, he said, but embraced all the needs of the Irish people that they could live in their own land and find useful employment there, and that he would always pray and offer Masses for their cause which was so close to all of them.

Thanking Fr. Pilkington, Seán O’Riada said that the economic side of the struggle was of the utmost importance and James Connolly’s work in this regard should be studied today…

(‘1169’ Comment – * the struggle has never stopped, and therefore did not then, or ever, need to be “resumed”. ** A border imposed in a country, by a foreign entity, is not “a petty matter” and should not be dismissed as such by anyone who claims to be opposed to a border of that nature.)

(END of ‘Republican Aid Committee.’ ‘Fr. Liam Pilkington Departs For Ireland’ piece to be continued….)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe, and ‘play’ safe!

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‘William Henry O’Shea [pictured] (pronounced “O’Shee”, a fact that gave rise to much worthless humour in the clubs and music halls at the time of the divorce decree) was born in 1840, the son of a Catholic Limerick solicitor. He was educated in England. He travelled at his father’s expense before his father purchased a commission (for him) in the 18th Hussars…

He married Katharine Wood in 1867. Profligate and commercially unsuccessful (he was made bankrupt in 1869, and would be again), he and Katharine were increasingly dependent on the generosity of her extremely wealthy aunt..he was a member of parliament for Clare 1880-5 and was imposed by Parnell on Galway in 1886. He abstained on the Home Rule Bill and resigned. He gave evidence against Parnell at the special commission and in late 1889 instituted proceedings for divorce. His divorce broke Parnell’s leadership of the Irish Party. O’Shea descended into the obscurity in which he died (on the 22nd April) at Hove in 1905. As one re-approaches Capt O’Shea one might think perhaps that he had been stereotypically cast as a knave…(but he was)..a villain of resilience. His caricatural aspects work in an almost Dickensian way to mitigate his profound unpleasantness of character…’ (from here.)

And there’s more here about this unsavoury political character, but…as our readers in America would say – “Enough Already..!

God knows that there are more than enough ‘unsavoury political characters’ out there to write about, especially so during this Covid 19 period, which has brought even more rogue characters of that type – from Leinster House to the White House, and other political institutions in between – into the public eye.

Instead, a few paragraphs on the innocent bystander (!) in Mr. O’Shea’s life (he died, by the way, on the 22nd April, 1905 ; 115 years ago on this date) : Katharine Wood –

Born in 1846, on the 30th January, Katharine Wood (pictured) matured into an unwitting femme fatale, said to be practically solely responsible for ‘the most notorious scandal of the late Victorian Age’ – the downfall of Charles Stewart Parnell and the split which followed in the ‘Home Rule Movement’.

‘Kitty’ was a name she would have hated, as it was slang for a woman of loose morals. In fact, she only loved two men in her life and married both of them, though the marriage to Parnell was to prove tragically short-lived as he died in her arms after a few brief months of happiness. She was born Katharine Wood and was known as Kate to her family. Her father was a baronet, a member of the British aristocracy and her brother a Field Marshall, although their grandfather had started life as an apprentice and was a self-made man.

The Woods were closely linked with the Gladstone family and Katharine often acted as a go-between with William Gladstone when Parnell was trying to persuade the British government to grant Ireland independence. She had married William O’Shea at the age of twenty-one, not long after the death of her father, and the marriage had produced a son and two daughters. O’Shea neglected his wife and pursued his own pleasures while she was often left to bring up the children alone, while also looking after her elderly aunt. She played the part of a dutiful wife, however, and hosted dinner parties to help her husband’s career. Parnell, an important figure in Irish politics, was always invited, always accepted and yet never showed up.

Annoyed and perplexed by these apparent snubs she went to confront him in person at his office in Westminster in July 1880. The effect was immediate ; “This man is wonderful and different,” she was to write later. Parnell was a bachelor who had once loved and been rejected, and never took an interest in women again until he met Katharine. It was a suicidal love as she was married to a fellow Irish MP and was a respectable wife and mother. The power of the attraction between the two, however, was impossible to resist and before long they were living together in her home in Eltham in the suburbs of London.

They had an illicit ‘honeymoon’ in Brighton and Katharine was to bear three children to Parnell while still married to O’Shea, the first of whom died soon after being born. It is even thought that she bore Parnell a son who could take his name after they finally married, although this child was stillborn. O’Shea knew of the relationship but turned a blind eye to it. Then the Aunt died and left Katharine a large inheritance and he decided to divorce his wife and shame Parnell publicly. The ensuing scandal ruined Parnell’s career and his health.

His traditional supporters in Catholic Ireland turned away from him when they learned he had been living with a married woman even though he and his beloved Katharine became man and wife after they married at Steyning register office in Sussex, the county where they made their home. In an attempt to revive his flagging fortunes, Parnell went to Ireland and spoke at a public meeting in County Galway. He was caught in a thunderstorm and developed a chill from which he never recovered. Seriously ill, he returned to be with Katharine and died soon afterwards.

They had been married for only four months. It is estimated that half a million people lined the streets of Dublin to pay their respects to Parnell as his coffin was taken to Glasnevin cemetery to be buried near Daniel O’Connell. Later Eamon de Valera and Michael Collins were also laid to rest nearby. On the granite stone above his grave lies just one word – ‘Parnell’, enough to identify Ireland’s flawed hero whose dream of a free and united country at peace with Britain was destroyed by his love for a married woman.

And what happened to Kitty, as the world now knew her? It was all too much for her and she lived out her days quietly in Sussex. She never married or fell in love again but looked after her children and died at the age of seventy-five. When she was buried, only her immediate family came to the funeral and on her grave monument were the names of both her husbands with that of Parnell, the great love of her life, above that of O’Shea who gave her the name she is known by. There is no sign of ‘Kitty’, however. By the gravestone is a plaque placed by the Parnell Society with Parnell’s promise to her: “I will give my life to Ireland, but to you I give my love..” Katharine Wood died on the 5th February 1921, at 75 years of age, in Littlehampton in Sussex, England, and is buried there. (from here.)

And there you have it – O’Shea and Parnell were both bounders who attempted to take advantage of an innocent woman. That’s my take on it, and I’m stickin’ to it, regardless of what the other team members of this blog think about it..!


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June, 1955.

Two Prisoner Candidates Elected To Thirty-Two County Parliament!

Northern republicans on road to freedom : Thursday, May 26th 1955, is a landmark in Irish history. A new chapter has been opened. The total vote cast for Sinn Féin candidates, great though it was, is of secondary importance to the new spirit of co-operation and voluntary service to Ireland that has spread throughout the country.

We are proud of the response made by the republicans in the North to Ireland’s call for freedom and unity ; after years of betrayal and confusion – in spite of enemy tactics to disrupt and ‘friendly’ efforts to discourage – the republicans of the North have proved that the courage and idealism of the O’Neills and the O’Donnells lives on. The election is a phase in the Sinn Féin campaign to organise all Irishmen into one united people to end forever British occupation and influence in Ireland, to restore to the Irish people their fundamental right to govern themselves and to develop the resources of Ireland for the happiness and prosperity of the Irish people.

It is now the task and duty of all Irishmen to rally to the support of Northern republicans in their demand for a 32-County Parliament. Sinn Féin has the plans, you have the power – join Sinn Féin and unite the Nation!

(END of ‘Sinn Féin Victory’. NEXT – ‘Disruption Tactics Fail’, ‘National Unity’ and ‘Democracy!’, from the same source


On the 22nd April, 1875, Michael Joseph O’Rahilly (‘The O’Rahilly’) was born in Ballylongford, in County Kerry. He had a busy, well-travelled and interesting life and took part in the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland, during which he was killed in the fighting.

“Friday April, 29 1916. The General Post Office in Dublin, occupied on the Monday as the headquarters of republican insurrection, was burning fiercely. The insurgents inside had decided they had to make their escape across Henry Street to the network of small houses and shops on Moore Street.
A small party of twenty armed men dashed across the open street to establish a toehold there and to clear out a British barricade. At their head was a distinguished looking gentleman in green uniform, complete with Victorian moustache and sword.

The charging party was hit by volleys of British bullets from the barricades on both sides. Four Volunteers were killed outright. Their leader, the moustached gentleman, fell wounded in the face. He managed to drag himself out of the line of fire to Sackville Lane, where he lay, bleeding, grievously injured. His name was Michael O’Rahilly…” (from here.)

More information re ‘The O’Rahilly’ himself – ‘His interest in Irish history led him slowly and inexorably towards nationalism. The first indication of nationalism is in a letters controversy in 1899 in the European edition of the New York Herald, following celebrations of Queen Victoria’s 80th birthday. Rahilly criticised the celebrations, pointing out the miseries her reign had inflicted on Ireland. Some of his criticism was censored by the paper as too offensive..’ – can be read here, and his family history can be read here.

‘SING of The O’Rahilly,

Do not deny his right;

Sing a “The” before his name;

Allow that he, despite

All those learned historians,

Established it for good;

He wrote out that word himself,

He christened himself with blood.

How goes the weather?

Sing of The O’Rahilly

That had such little sense

He told Pearse and Connolly

He’d gone to great expense

Keeping all the Kerry men

Out of that crazy fight;

That he might be there himself

Had travelled half the night.

How goes the weather?

“Am I such a craven that

I should not get the word

But for what some travelling man

Had heard I had not heard?”

Then on Pearse and Connolly

He fixed a bitter look:

“Because I helped to wind the clock

I come to hear it strike.”

How goes the weather?

What remains to sing about

But of the death he met

Stretched under a doorway

Somewhere off Henry Street;

They that found him found upon

The door above his head

“Here died The O’Rahilly.

R.I.P.” writ in blood.

How goes the weather?

(By William Butler Yeats.)

(‘The O’Rahilly’s’ grandson, Ronan, 79 years of age, died on Monday last, 20th April. The poor man was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2013 and had been resident in a nursing home in Carlingford in County Louth for the last years of his life. “How goes the weather”, Ronan? Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.)


As social work in Ireland reaches a landmark, Phil MacGiolla Bháin argues that the profession is flawed beyond salvation.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

This is a landmark year for social work in Ireland, with the ‘Irish Association of Social Workers’ celebrating 30 years of existence ; as good a time as any to evaluate what social work has become over its relatively short lifespan.

There is no social work equivalent of the ‘Irish Medical Council’ which, last year, found against Dr. Moira Woods in relation to her investigation into child sex abuse at the Rotunda Hospital more than a decade before. Social workers, rather than being practising professionals, are employees of health boards. There is no ‘Fitness to Practise Committee’ for social work, and so there is little formal sense of what is good or bad social work practice.

Perhaps the most telling piece of evidence about what social work actually is right now was contained in an article in the summer/autumn 2001 edition of ‘Irish Social Worker’ on “Evidence Based Social Work”, the newest fad in social work. All social work practice must now be ‘evidence based’, it told us, which might lead the reasonable person to ask – ‘If you are now basing what you do on evidence, what did you base it on before you were relying on evidence…?’ (MORE LATER.)


“Seán Quinn was a high ranking officer in the Fourth Northern Division of the Irish Republican Army and staunchly anti-treaty. He was ultimately killed by his own countrymen, Irish Free State troops…according to the sources, Seán was at safe house in Castlebellingham in County Louth on April 22, 1923 with his brothers Padraig and Malachi, and other anti-treaty IRA leaders. A Catholic priest who said Sunday Mass betrayed them and soon a large force of Free State troops surrounded their safe house when Seán decided they had to shoot their way out. Both Seán and Padraig were shot and captured. The others escaped. A week later, the civil war ended. Seán died from his injuries a month later on May 22, 1923 in St. Bricin’s Hospital in Dublin…(he) ultimately died for a cause he believed in – total Irish independence from Britain with no strings attached…” (from here.)

On Sunday, 22nd April 1923 – 97 years ago on this date – Seán Francis Quinn (Seán Proinsias Ó Cuinn), an Adjutant General in the Fourth Northern Division of the Anti-Treaty IRA, was in a safe house in Castlebellingham in County Louth, temporarily keeping a low profile with his two brothers, Padraig (Quartermaster General) and Malachi. IRA Volunteer Ned Fitzpatrick was there as well, as was their Officer Commanding, Frank Aiken. In the confusion caused by the shoot-out, after they were surrounded by the Staters, Frank Aiken escaped (Malachi and Ned escaped capture by hiding in the attic) and, just over a month later (on the 24th May, 1923 – two days after Seán died) Frank Aiken issued a ‘Ceasefire’ order and instructed ‘all Units to dump arms’.

Mr. Aiken went on to make a political career for himself in the same political institution he had fought against – the Leinster House administration. He
campaigned for, and won, a seat in Leinster House that same year
(1923) and, in 1926, assisted other turncoats to establish the Fianna Fáil party. He served the Free State faithfully until he died in 1983, at 85 years of age ; he was second-in-command (‘Tánaiste’) of the political apparatus in the Free State from 1965 to 1969, ‘Minister for External Affairs’ twice, State Minister’ for Finance, and for the ‘Co-Ordination of Defensive Measures’, and for Defence, and for Lands and Fisheries. A very busy man, then, who spent his time shoring-up that which he once fought to tear down.

He died from ‘natural causes’, at 85 years of age, on the 18th May, 1983, and was buried with full Free State ‘honours’ in Camlough, County Armagh – one of our six counties which remain under British jurisdictional control. For now, anyway…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

We have been asked what do we think of the “wonderful” replies that Mr. de Valera has being giving to Basil Brooke and the verbal thrust and parry they have been carrying on during the last two weeks or so. These queries are usually accompanied by remarks like “Dev shook him that time” or “Dev didn’t leave him a leg to stand on.”

Quite frankly, we are thoroughly sick of this ‘Punch and Judy’ show – the type of nonsense which has been carried on between the Leinster House and Stormont puppets since 1922. It has got us nowhere and it will get us nowhere. That is the fact and we must face it ; Stormont is a puppet operating under the protection of the British armed forces of aggression and Leinster House is also a puppet, born out of the surrender of 1922, and operating “by the leave” of the British invader and ever watchful not to do anything which would discommode him or cause him to make effective his threat of “immediate and terrible war”.

But we will be told that Mr. de Valera did not accept the surrender in 1922. No, maybe not, though recent speeches make even that doubtful. What is fact is that he has worked the Free State according to the rules laid down by the British, for many more years than anyone else. The very fact that some people still imagine him to be a republican make him a much more effective instrument for carrying out British policy in Ireland than any of the first Free Staters.

(END of ‘Puppets’ ; NEXT – ‘Republican Aid Committee’ and ‘Fr. Liam Pilkington Departs For Ireland’, from the same source.)

(‘1169’ comment – that last paragraph can be best summarised by the old adage ‘if you get a name as an early riser you can stay in bed all day’. There are still those today in Leinster House ‘that some people still imagine to be republicans’ and are therefore ‘more effective instruments’ at implementing Free State and British fiscal etc policy in this State than either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael are ; the supporters of those ‘republicans’ will tell you [as they themselves have been told by their political leadership] that it’s “all part of the bigger picture…the leadership have a plan, they know what they are doing..”. They forget, or don’t want to acknowledge – because it doesn’t suit their narrative – that throughout our history there are very well recorded instances of ‘republicans’ going into Free State and/or British-imposed ‘parliaments’ to “change the system…bring it down from the inside..” only for them to become part of that system. They become politically contaminated and the coin in their pocket becomes their endgame.)

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe – watch what you do, and where you do it!

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Due to Covid 19, Sinn Féin Poblachtach will be commemorating Easter 1916 online this year.

Beginning on Good Friday (10th April) a series of live events will be held on Facebook ; at 4pm, Ard Chomhairle member Colette Healy, Galway will be doing a reading of ‘The Rose Tree’ by W.B. Yeats and also announcing the full Easter online programme.

On Holy Saturday at 2.30pm Ard Chomhairle member Martin Duffy, Lurgan will read the Easter Statement from the leadership of the Republican Movement, following this he will give a short Easter Oration.

On Easter Sunday at 2.30pm Ard Chomhairle member Des Dalton, Kildare, will read the 1916 Proclamation and will them deliver a short Easter Oration.

Finally, on Easter Monday at 2.30pm, National Treasurer Diarmuid Mac Dubhghlais will read the roll of honour of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rising and will give a short Easter Oration.

As part of the SFP/RSF online Easter Commemorative events there will be a regular posting on Facebook and Twitter of historical documents, films such as ‘An Tine Bheo’, excerpts from George Morrison’s MISE ÉIRE, interviews with 1916 veterans, historical documents and photographs and readings of historical documents and speeches. This will begin on Holy Thursday and continue over Easter Weekend and throughout Easter Week ; hope you can join in at some stage!


‘…Jonah Barrington was a member of the late Irish Parliament for the cities of Tuam and Clogher. He was a lawyer of landed background and then later an MP for Tuam and Bannagher…in 1798 he was appointed an admiralty court judge and knighted in 1807. However he was removed from office for embezzlement in 1830, by which time he had long retreated to France to escape his creditors…’ (from here.)

Probably disappointed with the hand that fate had dealt him (but possibly more to do with the way he himself had ‘played that hand’!) he wrote a book entitled ‘The Rise and Fall of The Irish Nation’ which was stated to be ‘a full account of the bribery and corruption by which the (Act Of) Union was carried ; the family histories of the members who voted away the Irish Parliament with an extraordinary black list of the titles, places and pensions which they received for their corrupt votes..’, and that book is occasionally gifted with another title – ‘The Rise and Fall of the Irish Nation: A Full Account of the Bribery and Corruption by Which the Union Was Carried ; the Family Histories of the Members who Voted Away the Irish Parliament’.

Jonah kept company with those as ‘interesting and colourful’ (!) as himself, as the following piece testifies – ‘Irish elections can be boisterous and violent affairs but none more so than the Co. Wexford election to the British House of Commons in 1807, just a few years after the Act of Union…two of the candidates, William Congreve Alcock and John Colclough, fight a duel in front of the county sheriff, 16 magistrates and a large crowd of spectators. Alcock shoots Colclough dead ; he is elected ; he is also tried and acquitted for killing Colclough, but his mind is badly affected ; two years later, he will be confined in an asylum for the insane.

Among the contestants..were two local grandees, William Congreve Alcock and John Colclough. Colclough’s brother, who gloried in the traditional Irish monicker of ‘Caesar’, had been the local MP but was a prisoner of war in France. The Colclough’s, who were generally popular landlords, had lived at Tintern Abbey, a former monastery, since the mid-16th century.

The election campaign was a bitter one, polling was due to take place on 1 June but with just two days to go Alcock took exception to what he alleged was an attempt by Colclough to steal the support of tenants obligated to vote for him in what was, by today’s standards, a slightly democratic election. In what appears like a piece of egregious over-reaction, he challenged Colclough to a duel and in the encounter that followed Alcock shot his political opponent dead. As the MP for Athlone, George Tierney observed tartly, “that’s one way of getting an election”. As duelling was still socially acceptable in early 19th century Ireland, Alcock was acquitted of murder and allowed to take his seat in the House of Commons.

But he was not to continue in office for long – two years after the duel he was committed to an asylum. The Irish judge and memoirist, Jonah Barrington, wrote of Alcock that “..alas! The acquitted duellist suffered more in mind than his victim had done in body. The horror of the scene, and the solemnity of the trial, combined to make a fatal inroad on his reason! He became melancholy ; his understanding declined ; a dark gloom enveloped his entire intellect ; and an excellent young man and perfect gentleman at length sank into irrecoverable imbecility.”

But there is an interesting postscript to this sad tale. Not all those affected by the duel came out of it badly : Colclough’s estate at Tintern Abbey was managed by his steward, one James Kennedy. Because of the absence of Caesar Colclough in France, Kennedy continued to run the estate until his Caesar’s return in 1815. During that period something of the order of £80,000 disappeared. Nobody could pin it directly on the steward but in 1818 Kennedy was dismissed at the behest of Caesar Colclough’s wife, Jane Stratford Kirwan. The money remains unaccounted for. There are, however, persistent rumours that at least some of it may have been used a generation later to fund the migration to the USA of the Kennedy family in the 1840s, and perhaps even to set up the Boston saloon that became the basis of the family fortune. A descendant of James Kennedy, by the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, went on to become President of the United States of American in 1961. Was the Kennedy fortune based on the tragic outcome of a tragic confrontation between two Irish aristocrats..?’ (from here.)

Jonah Barrington, who was born at Knapton, in Abbeyleix, County Laois, in 1760, died at Versailles in France, at 74 years of age, in 1834.

Whatever about the alleged/possible (probable?) Kennedy connection regarding the missing £80,000 (or part thereof)- highly unlikely, we believe, as professional, career politicians would run a mile from tainted money of that sort (!!) – the ‘tenants (being) obligated’ to vote for their ‘landlords’ is a position that, mentally and morally, still exists in this warped State : the ‘landlord’ ie the ‘distinguished’ [temporary] occupant of the ‘Big House’ accepts it as a given, morally, that ‘his tenants’ (constituents) will vote him/her back in for another term in office while the voter/tenant/serf accepts it as a given that he/she is ‘obligated’ to vote for someone from the ‘Big House’. And that’s ‘progress’, Irish style…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, December 1954.

Glasgow Sinn Féin – The cumann held an open meeting on the afternoon of November 28th last and a ‘Manchester Martyrs Commemoration’ concert was held in the hall at 8pm, and the cumann extended a hand of welcome to the new cumann in Dundee – good luck to you all in the East! The Glasgow Cumann have increased their membership in the past few months, but there is room for a lot more so, exiles in Glasgow, give Sinn Féin your support! We wish to thank all who gave their services to the sale of ‘The United Irishman’, and are pleased to announce that they have increased the sale of the paper to 62 dozen copies.

A list of candidates for the Westminster elections, for ten of the twelve constituencies, was announced ; they are as follows – ARMAGH ; Tomas MacCurtain, Cork. SOUTH DOWN ; Kevin O’ Rourke, Banbridge. NORTH DOWN ; John Dugan, Loughguile. MID ULSTER ; Tom Mitchel, Dublin. FERMANAGH/SOUTH TYRONE ; Phil Clarke, Dublin. WEST BELFAST ; Eamon Boyce, Dublin. EAST BELFAST ; Liam Mulcahy, Cork. NORTH BELFAST ; Frank McGlade, Ardoyne and SOUTH BELFAST ; Paddy Kearney, Dublin. Candidates have yet to be selected for Derry and South Antrim constituencies.

(END of ‘Cork Ceremony’. NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Victory’, from ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, June 1955.)


Twenty million acres of land in Ireland ; 661,931 ‘tenants’ (ie native Irish) in Ireland and 19,284 ‘landlords’ (ie British Planter) in Ireland. If the ‘landlords’ could get rid of the ‘tenants’ they could increase the size of ‘their’ ranches.

In the late 1850’s, an unscrupulous British Toff named John George Adair arrived in the Derryveagh area of County Donegal and, by guile, hook and crook, within one year of being in the area, ‘owned’ more than ninty square miles of the surrounding countryside. Adair imported black-faced sheep from Scotland and allowed them to wander on ‘his’ land ; British ‘landlords’ like Adair were not alone in thinking that they could do as they wished with ‘their’ holdings ; their bigotry was shared by the political establishment. In 1860, the British-appointed Attorney General in Ireland, Richard Deasy, had his ‘Act’ passed into ‘law’ in this country – it was known as ‘The Landlord and Tenant Law Amendment (Ireland) Act of 1860’, but was better known as ‘Deasy’s Act’. That piece of British legislation removed whatever insignificant amount of protection that the ‘tenant’ had in relation to their rights and allowed the British a ‘free-hand’ to do as they choose with ‘their’ Irish ‘tenants’.

The new ‘law’ allowed the British to set, amend, introduce and/or change any terms which the ‘tenant’ had with the ‘landlord’ and defined the contract between both parties as “deemed to be founded on the express or implied contract of the parties and not upon tenure or service.” The foreign ‘gentry’ in Ireland were already aware that it was more profitable for them to have livestock on ‘their’ land rather than poor ‘tenants’ who leased the land, and ‘Deasy’s Act’ encouraged them to shift the Irish off the land, ‘legally’, and removed any ‘rights’ that the evicted family may have had prior to the enactment of the new ‘law’.

The Derryveagh ‘landlord’, John George Adair, and many others, lost no time in moving against the families living on ‘their’ estates : within a few months of the ‘1860 Landlord/Tenant – Deasy’s Act’, evictions were taking place at a recorded level of twenty a week ; Adair had already attempted to have the families on ‘his’ estate evicted for ‘stealing’ his Scottish (black-faced) sheep – if the sheep, while wandering free, should end up near a persons cabin, that ‘tenant’ was accused of stealing the animal! He changed the ‘terms and conditions’ of the manner in which he ‘leased’ the land to his existing ‘tenants’ and did not bother to notify them ; those families were served with eviction notices, and Adair then notified the ‘police-force’ and requested the British military to accompany the eviction party while it carried out its ‘mandate’. On the 8th April 1861 – 159 years ago on this date – in Derryveagh, Donegal, John George Adair and his party of licenced bandits physically removed forty-four families from their miserable dwellings, burnt the roofs of same and, before the fire was extinguished, levelled the walls.

Whole families lived in ditches ; no food, no income, no shelter, no hope. Adair and his ‘landlord’ colleagues left such destruction and destitution in their wake that foreign newspapers sent over reporters to follow him, and their words and sketches were sent out world-wide. Irish exiles were furious, and done what they could to help their fellow-countrymen and women back home. In Australia, for instance, a ‘Donegal Relief Committee’ was established, and paid for most of Adair’s and his colleagues victims to re-settle in Australia. That same British mentality in relation to Ireland and the Irish exists to this day and the authors of this blog are of the opinion that only a full British military and political withdrawal from Ireland will solve the issue.


A man suspected of being one of the world’s biggest dealers in illegal weapons was a director of two companies based in Ireland.

By Annamarie Comiskey.

From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.

Amnesty International in Ireland wants all arm brokers operating from Ireland registered, subject to export licence approval and their activities strictly controlled. Jim Loughran from Amnesty International said – “The lack of effective controls of arms dealers has led to an unrestricted trade in small arms, too often linked to human rights abuses in such places as Sierra Leone and Rwanda.”

There was nothing in place to control Leonid Minin when he decided to do ‘business’ in Ireland ; only now, after the companies have closed, and several arms shipments to Africa latewr, the Italian court may find that Ireland should have done something sooner.



From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1954.

The Omagh raid has brought many incidents, amusing and otherwise, in its wake. Among the amusing ones we could mention the epic of the water-tower when a story by some youngsters brought scores of heavily armed soldiers and police to surround the water-tower adjacent to the Omagh Barracks in the belief that one of the IRA raiders, withdrawing from the barracks, had taken refuge there.

Unwilling to risk conflict with him, the doughty warriors of the Empire encamped around the water-tower day and night, prepared to “starve him out”. Goaded by the jibes of the people and the offer of newspapermen to climb the tower to see if anyone was really there, the heroes of the Empire eventually went into action.

They first emptied thousands of gallons of water from the tank and then, covering every possible cranny or hole, from which even a mouse might emerge, with rifles and machine-guns, they sent men half-way up the ladder to lob tear-gas bombs into the space between the concrete wall of the tower and the tank… (MORE LATER.)


..we won’t be in a position to post our usual offering, as our time has already been spoke for!

We have something like the usual monthly fund-raising raffle this Sunday (12th April) to attend to but, because of the Covid 19 situation, it’s only gonna be more-or-less a ‘half-a-raffle’ : still 650 tickets, still €440 in prize money to be distributed between the eight winners but a different format for the gig has been put in place, due to the temporarily changed circumstances.

The location has been changed to reflect the relevant safety necessities required and the usual raffle crew has been reduced in number – myself and two others, one of whom will be assisting remotely, will do the necessary on the day and, as I write, we are in the process of collecting the ticket stubs and cash, which were distributed in the usual fashion (in mid-March, before this bug had upset things too much!) but now have to be collected in a different manner than usual because of the changed situation. It’s do-able, just about, for the April fund-raiser, but the May 2020 gig is looking doubtful, at the moment, but sure it’s early yet…!

Anyway – whatever about next months raffle, we won’t have time to put our stuff together for next Wednesday, the 15th April but, if the blog team are up to it, we’ll have a few words to say on the following Wednesday, the 22nd April. Keep an eye on yourself and yours, for now, and hopefully we’ll all be ok and come out in good form on the other side of this calamity. The luck of the Irish and all that…!

Thanks for reading – Sharon and the ‘1169’ team. Stay safe!

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