“NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, BUT YOU’RE FREAKIN’ ME OUT…


There’s a ton of ‘The Twist’ but we’re fresh out of ‘Stout’*

Like a death in the hall that you hear through your wall

New York, I love you, but you’re freakin’ me out..”
(from here, slightly edited*..!)


And we’re gonna be freaked out for four weeks – flying out from Dublin airport to JFK on Saturday 21st July 2018, and flying back to Dublin on Saturday, 18th August ; myself and the usual gang, five of us, have been saving for and planning this holiday since our last visit to that city in 2016, and everything fell into place for us a few weeks ago!

Ed Norton has a point but maybe that’s why we love the place – the people, the stressed pace they live at, the constant noise, the smells, the arrogance, the sights, the attitudes of the different people that surround us, everyone trying to sell you something : those that are living (or existing in) Ed’s rant, and have no choice about it, compared to the five of us who are just ‘passing through’. Oh but what a pleasure it is, just passing through!


Two of our many New York friends, Kevin and Mal, have insisted that we stay in an empty apartment they own in East Harlem, a beautiful residence which we have had the pleasure of staying in before and where we met (and made) new and old neighbours, with whom we shared sight-seeing trips, park visits, outings to pubs and clubs and a roof-top party (or two..!). Then, for our second week, we’ll be in an apartment in the Bronx, thanks to Shay and Emma, and Pat, Frankie and Sam will again (!) no doubt take on the role of ‘minders’ in futile attempts to stop us from wrecking havoc in the Bronx Mall and Yankee Stadium, then, after causing all that chaos, layin’ low in the Bronx Zoo ’till the heat dies down…!

For our third week we’ll be staying in Hell’s Kitchen, in a three-bed duplex, courtesy of Liz and Susie and their families and their neighbours and their roof-partying crazy friends and then, finally (sh*t..is it that time already…?), for our last week, we’ll be in Queen’s, shopping, partying and sight-seeing with Kevin, Heno, Mel, Larry and their lady friends, and most of our travelling for the four weeks will be done, we have been told (!) in the company of Joel and his trusted steed!
And, as usual, in that last week, the whole lot of us, from all four areas
(numbering about fifty people!) will meet up in the early afternoon and literally take over a pub (owned by one of our benefactors!) and we’ll eat, drink and party there until late morning the following day! We are really looking forward to that get-together, a ‘date’ to be spoiled only by the fact that it takes place during our last week.


And then home. To our partners, our kids and grandkids, our jobs, our (other) friends and neighbours…and our pics, our memories and the souvenirs we will treasure from the month we spent in New York, in 2018. And then the saving begins again for our next journey to that mad city. But, anyway – for now : this will have to do as our ‘holding post’ until either the 22nd or the 29th August 2018, when I should be ready to put something together (but that, too, will more than likely reference New York..!)


Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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ON THIS DATE (4TH JULY) 220 YEARS AGO : IRISH REBEL BYRNE AT BALLYGULLEN, WEXFORD.

‘Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, in the parish of Kilanerin near Monaseed in County Wexford. He became involved in the United Irishmen with Anthony Perry of Inch who was the chief organiser in the area. At the age of eighteen he participated in the 1798 Rising at Vinegar Hill Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford at Ballygullen on July 4, 1798 (220 years ago on this date).


Following the rising, he went on the run in the Wicklow Mountains and afterwards worked as clerk in a Dublin timber yard where his half-brother Edward employed him as foreman from 1799 to 1803. There he met Robert Emmet. He was in command of the Wexford men (a group which intended becoming involved in Emmet’s rising but never did so) stationed at Coal Quay, Dublin, on July 23rd, 1803. Sometime between the failure of the 1803 Rising and before his arrest, Emmet sent him to Paris to support his brother Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet.


When the Irish Legion was formed by Napoleon he joined with the rank of Sous-Lieutenant ; later he was promoted to Lieutenant and later to the rank of Captain of the Grenadiers. He fought in the Napoleonic campaign (1804 – 1815) and was retired with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel when the British Government forced the dismissal of the officers of the Irish Legion on half pay and disbanded the Legion. He received the Cross of Officer of Legion of Honour from Louis Phillipe on July 21st, 1832.


He retired in 1835 after thirty-two years and seventeen campaigns in the French army. He died peacefully in his sleep on January 24th, 1862 aged 82 years and is buried at Montmarte cemetery. His memoirs were published in Paris in three volumes by his widow in 1863. They were reprinted in 1997. Among the highlights of the memoirs are detailed accounts of Emmet’s home made rockets and ammunition, the well-organised plans for revolt and a great description of the Dublin working-men who formed the large part of his army. John Mitchel who visited him when he was eighty years old described him as ‘one of those rare beings who never grow old’…’ (from here.)

‘Republished here is ‘Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798’ : Being the Chapters from the Memoirs of Miles Byrne Relating to Ireland published in Dublin by Maunsel & Co., in 1907. This publication was taken from Byrne’s complete memories, which had been edited by Byrne’s wife and published in Paris in three volumes the year after his death in 1863. In 301 printed pages, ‘Some Notes of an Irish Exile of 1798’ treat on Byrne’s involvement as as a leader of the United Irishmen during some of the bloodiest fighting of the Rising in Wicklow and Wexford, through to his encounters with Robert Emmet at the end of the Rebellion.


Miles Byrne was born at Ballylusk, Monaseed, Co. Wexford in 1780 and like many of the leaders of the United Irishmen in 1798 was extremely young – Byrne himself had turned just eighteen and had already been involved in preparations for the Rising with Anthony Perry of Inch, the chief organiser in the area. Byrne participated in all of the major battles of the 1798 Rising in counties Wicklow and Wexford, including those at Oulart, Clough, Vinegar Hill, Enniscorthy, Arklow and the last battle in County Wexford, at Ballygullen in 4th July 1798..’ (from here.)


Miles/Myles Byrne, United Irishman and officer in Napoleon’s Irish Legion, was born in Monaseed, Co. Wexford, on the 20th March, 1780 : he was only a boy when he witnessed the attacks by the yeoman militia and other mercenaries which England let loose in Wexford in 1798. But he took his place in the United Irishmen and fought through the Wexford campaign, joined Michael Dwyer afterwards in Wicklow, later came to Dublin and was a comrade and friend of Robert Emmet in the continuation of 1798 which failed so sadly in 1803. He was sent by Emmet (who was then on the run) to France to seek assistance from Thomas Addis Emmet and the other exiled United Irishmen. He went with no hesitation ,in the hope that he would return in the ranks of a conquering army – but it was not to be. In the 1850’s he wrote his memoirs of the 1798 Rising, in which he was critical of the “gentlemanly nature” of the rebel approach, believing them to have been “too willing to negotiate and to accept (British) government protections and non-existent government good faith” (sounds familiar).


In Montmartre (‘Hill of Martyrs’) Cemetery in Paris lie the remains of Myles Byrne, United Irishman, Wexford man and survivor of Oulart Hill and Vinegar Hill in 1798. The inscription on his gravestone reads – ‘Here lies Myles Byrne, Lieutenant Colonel in the service of France. Officer of the legion of Honour. Knight of St Louis, born at Monaseed in the county Wexford in Ireland, 20 March 1780. Died at Paris,the 24th January 1862, his long life was distinguished by the constant integrity and loyalty of his character and by his high-minded principles. Sincerely attached to Ireland, his native land, he gave faithful service to France, the country of his adoption.’ It was on this date (4th July) 220 years ago that Miles Byrne once again stood his ground against British forces in Ireland.




‘NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916′.



From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


CHAIRMAN (Mr Patrick Callan) : “The majority of the Irish people are with John Redmond and his party and I think we should approve of what Mr Kelly said.”


MR. WARD : “We should go a little further and draft a resolution condemning the action of those rebels that created the disturbance and destruction.”


CHAIRMAN : “It is the ring leaders I would go for,” to which a Mr. McHugh replied that it was not fair to criticise schoolteachers behind their backs.


MR. KELLY : “In my opinion on a lot of men in high positions, the blood of these innocent men will fall. I am sorry to stand here as a Roman Catholic and have it to say, but I don’t care if priest or minister reads it, that the blood of these young men should be left on those responsible for it.”


‘1169’ comment – what a self-serving bunch of politically ignorant slibhins – not one word between them in relation to the true cause of the conflict in this country, the British military and political presence. And unfortunately, that type are prevalent today, too.


(Next – ‘America Propping Up The Empire’, from the same source.)




NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


‘AN CUMANN CABHRAC.


Returns are still coming in for the National Collection to support the dependents of republican prisoners. For various reasons the collection arranged for Christmas Day was delayed in some areas with the result that returns for these areas are only now coming to hand.


We continue the list of contributions received so far but, since to list them parish by parish would take up far too much space, we are grouping them into districts and hope that this will meet the wishes of the local organisers.


One point the collection has definitely made clear – the Armagh and Omagh raids struck a very responsive chord in the hearts of our people in every part of the country so that we hear from every area – ‘The collection was successful beyond our greatest hopes…the people were eager to contribute, anxious to show their support for the national demand : “The British forces in Ireland must be got out!” ‘… (MORE LATER.)





VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE…

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


What appears to be a generally paranoid way of looking at things extends also to the Republic (sic – the author is referencing the Free State) – “Controlled by priests and the Vatican…” : they would never accept a united Ireland as “the Protestant population had been decimated..” Those present in the cafe are shocked to learn that the leader of a medium-sized opposition party in the Republic (sic – see above) is a Protestant but still they claim that living there has been dangerous for Protestants – “Farmers were murdered and buried in ditches and the government said that they’d gone to Australia (!?) but they were killed and their land given to Catholics..”


The visits of the Taoiseach, President McAleese and Brian Cowan also irritated the Orangemen. Victor, a farmer from the local area, cannot understand what business they had in the affairs of “a foreign nation” , and neither can he understand why anyone here would have an affinity with the ‘Republic’ – “We have our own foreign minister in London and our own Prime Minister and if people don’t like it then they should go and live in the Republic..”, says Victor. He is equally critical of the local MP, ‘First Minister’ David Trimble who, he claims, “will be gone this time next year.”


Trimble and his wife were subjected to horrific abuse at the count for the Westminster election last year and many predict that his party will suffer at the polls to the benefit of Ian Paisley’s ‘Democrat Unionist Party’ – “Trimble sold out the Protestant people ; and the people of Northern Ireland (sic) deserve better than that traitor,” says Victor. The irony of the claim that the people of ‘Northern Ireland’ deserved better, despite the fact that a majority voted for the ‘Good Friday Agreement’, is lost on those in the cafe…


(‘1169’ comment – and the ‘irony’ of bluntly claiming that “a majority voted for the ‘Good Friday Agreement’ “ without mentioning that 19% of those entitled to vote in the Occupied Six Counties did not bother to do so is, apparently, lost on Carl Whyte, the author of the piece. Incidentally, of those entitled to vote on that 1998 Treaty in the Free State, 43.97% did not bother to do so – both sets of figures are normally ‘glossed over’ in relation to that vote, as is the case in that piece.)


(MORE LATER).





ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 11TH JULY 2018)…

..we should be just about finished our multitasking job – this Sunday coming (the 8th July) will find myself and the raffle team in our usual monthly venue on the Dublin/Kildare border, running a 650-ticket raffle for the Dublin Executive of RSF : the work for this event began yesterday, Tuesday 3rd July, when the five of us started to track down the ticket sellers and arrange for the delivery/collection of their ticket stubs, cash and unsold tickets (yeah, right!) and, even though the raffle itself is, as stated, to be held on Sunday 8th July, the ‘job’ is not complete until the following night, when the usual ‘raffle autopsy’ is held.


The time constraints imposed by same will mean that our normal Wednesday post will more than likely not be collated in time for next Wednesday (11th) and it’s looking like it will be between that date and the Wednesday following same before we get the time to put a post together, which is unfortunate, as we wanted to mention an event which took place on the 11th July 1924 : it was on that date that the ‘Treaty of Surrender’ was registered at the ‘League of Nations’ by the Free State authorities which, in our opinion, would have been the ideal occasion for a legal challenge to it, based on the fact that, when Michael Collins and his supporters were attempting to ‘sell’ it to their own side, they made a big deal of the ‘Boundary Commission’ clause and in particular the part of it which stated that the ‘border’ could be adjusted “in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants”, which is precisely why Westminster ‘took’ only six of the nine Ulster counties – a built-in ‘majority’.


A legal question mark remains in regards to the fact that the British actually took it on themselves to amend the 1921 Treaty of Surrender to allow themselves (ie Westminster) to unilaterally appoint a representative to speak on behalf of the Stormont ‘Parliament’, an action which was not agreed to in the Treaty.


The Boundary Commission clause (‘Article 12’) was not properly adhered to by the signatories of the 1921 Treaty thereby, legally, negating the Treaty itself but deep pockets would be required to take such an action. And the only grouping in this State in a position to mount a challenge like that is the same (Free State) grouping which benefited then and continues to benefit today from that Clause and the political system which was spawned from it. And the chances of that happening are about the same as myself and the raffle team winning all eight prizes this Sunday! Anyway – see you on Wednesday 18th July next.



Thanks for reading, Sharon.




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ON THIS DATE (27TH JUNE) 98 YEARS AGO : IRISH MUTINEERS IN INDIA.


Irishmen serving with the British Army in India mutinied in protest at the atrocities being committed in Ireland by the British. The three-day mutiny began on June 27th, 1920 – 98 years ago on this date – when 350 Irishmen gave in their arms and refused to soldier for England. The mutiny was confined chiefly to members of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Companies, 1st Battalion, Connaught Ranger Regiment, stationed at Wellington Barracks, Jullunder, Punjab, India
(near the border with Pakistan). The men at Jullunder were led by Private Joseph Hawes, a ‘First World War’ veteran, and
among the mutineers there was a William Daly, brother to James. Their protest was joined two days later by a detachment of ‘C’ Company at the hill-station in Solon, near Hyderabad, under Private James Daly
(pictured), and the men declared that their ‘base’ (basically, a hut) had been renamed as ‘Liberty Hall’, but the Connaught Ranger company at Jutogh hill-station remained loyal to the British crown.


On the 30th June, 1916, following the deaths of Privates Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears in an attempt to capture the magazine at Solon, the mutiny ended. Seventy-five of the mutineers were arrested and taken to Lucknow where they were held until September when they were moved to Dayshai Prison to stand trial and, while imprisoned there ,they were subjected to such harsh treatment by the British that it resulted in the death of one of the men, Private John Miranda , a native of Liverpool. At the subsequent general court-martial, fourteen of the prisoners were sentenced to death and the remainder to terms of imprisonment varying from ten to twenty years. In mid-October 1916, 13 of the fourteen death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment – the exception was Jim Daly, a native of Tyrellspass, County Westmeath ; he was executed in India by a British Army firing squad on the 2nd November, 1920.


After six months, the mutineers were transferred to Portland Convict Prison in England, where they suffered long periods of solitary confinement and ill-treatment during their fight for political status. They were later moved to Maidstone Prison and, in 1922, the regiment was disbanded after the signing of the Treaty of Surrender that created the 26-County ‘Free State’ then, on January 3rd, 1923, more mutineers were released and they returned to Ireland.


Incidentally, while the mutineers did express Irish patriotism, it appears that some of them leaned, politically, towards the then newly-created bastard Free State – in 1922, 28 of them, who were in Maidstone Prison, petitioned to be released so that they could join the Free State Army ; in effect, they apparently took offence at British soldiers in Ireland who were killing Irish men, women and children but wanted to join a pro-British militia in Ireland (ie the Free State Army) which had been formed, with military support, by Westminster, to ‘put manners’ on Irish men, women and children!


Anyway – in October 1970 (the 50th anniversary year of the mutiny) the remains of James Daly, Patrick Smythe and Peter Sears were brought back to Ireland : Smythe, a native of Drogheda, Co. Louth and Sears, from Neale, Co. Mayo, were buried in the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. James Daly was re-interred in his native Tyrellspass – among those in the Guard of Honour at the reinterment ceremony were five of his fellow mutineers : Joseph Hawes, James Gorman, Eugene Egan, Patrick Hynes, and William Coote.


Unfortunately, today, there are still those who ‘express Irish patriotism’ yet see no contradiction in joining and/or supporting the Free State Army or the army of its parent body, the British Army. ‘Great Irish fools to practice on’, indeed.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


‘NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916′.


4th May, 1916, as reported in ‘The Dundalk Democrat’ – MR. E. KELLY said : “I know from the districts around what the bulk of these Sinn Féiners were. To my mind – and I say it knowing that the Press is here and that it will be published – they are nothing but the cowards that flinched conscription when their leader (John Redmond), their true and tried leader, declared that Ireland would be a strong arm to assist England in this war. The majority of these fellows in the rural districts are the cowards, because instead of fighting on the side of right and justice, they fought on the wrong side… (shouts of “Hear! Hear!” from some of those present) …(but) I suppose that the majority of these fellows really believed that they were going to beat the soldiers, beat England, once they got inside houses in Dublin.


One out of a thousand of these fellows – poor Irish countrymen – who went there to die had an idea what “a big field gun” meant, but they had no idea of “a small man-of-war”. But they know all about it now. It should be a lesson to the young people of this generation and of the generations to come to know that they cannot, with out-of-date rifles and bad ammunition, face either the fleet or the army of England and it should put an end to the disturbances in this country. If only they would support John Redmond and his Party.”


MR. T. WARD : “The tried and trusted leader!”


MR. E. KELLY : “As a last effort even yet our country might be saved. But it is hard lines to these men who have spent the last 30 years working for the country to see their efforts destroyed by a treacherous gang. The country should stand today behind John Redmond and his responsible leaders…” (MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (27TH JUNE) 172 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF ANNA AND FANNY’S BROTHER (!)

‘Charles Stewart Parnell was born on 27 June 1846 in County Wicklow into a family of Anglo-Irish Protestant landowners. He studied at Cambridge University and was elected to parliament in 1875 as a member of the ‘Home Rule League’ (later re-named by Parnell as the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’). His abilities soon became evident…in 1878, Parnell became an active opponent of the Irish land laws, believing their reform should be the first step on the road to Home Rule…in 1879, Parnell was elected president of the newly founded ‘National Land League’ and the following year he visited the United States to gain both funds and support for land reform. In the 1880 election, he supported the Liberal leader William Gladstone, but when Gladstone’s Land Act of 1881 fell short of expectations, he joined the opposition. By now he had become the accepted leader of the Irish nationalist movement…’ (from here.)


At a meeting in Ennis, County Clare, of the (‘Irish National’) ‘Land League’, on the 19th September 1880 (a few months after he was elected ‘president’ of that organisation), Charles Stewart Parnell, whom the British described as “..combining in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absence of their attractiveness…something really must be done about him…he is always at a white heat or rage and makes with savage earnestness fancifully ridiculous statements..” (but who was also looked at in a wary fashion by some of his own people as he was a Protestant ‘Landlord’ who ‘owned’ about 5,000 acres of land in County Wicklow and his parents were friends of and, indeed, in some cases, related to, Protestant ‘gentry’ in the Wicklow area) stated –


“Now what are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted? Now I think I heard somebody say ‘Shoot him!’, but I wish to point out a very much better way, a more Christian and more charitable way…when a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral Coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed..”


But enough about this man (more here, if you must..!) who, through no fault of his own, overshadowed the work of his two sisters, Anna and Fanny (pictured – Fanny is on the left of the graphic) : these two ladies established a ‘Ladies Land League’ on the 31st January 1881, which, at its full strength, consisted of about five hundred branches and didn’t always see eye-to-eye with its ‘parent’ organisation – in its short existence, it provided assistance to about 3,000 people who had been evicted from their rented land holdings.


The ‘Ladies Land League’ was formed (with the welcome support of Michael Davitt) 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 (a prime example of ‘do-as-I say-not-as-I-do’ politics), introduced and enforced a ‘Crimes Act’ that same year, 1881 – that particular piece of British ‘statute law’ in Ireland was 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!
However – 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
(the brother, Charles, came to an ‘arrangement’ with Gladstone ‘on behalf’ of the Ladies Land League) on the 10th August 1882, 19 months after it was formed. And formed it was – by two fantastic Irish women (with support from a third patriotic lady, Delia Parnell), to whom the wheeler-dealer Charles Stewart Parnell was related!




NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


GAELIC AND FREE – True Gaels had to be members of every organisation with a national outlook, said Chairman Andy Scannell at the Cork GAA convention last month. They did not recognise the boundary that tried to divide Ireland and as the most widespread, powerful and effective organisation in the country, it behoved the GAA to act as standard bearers in the march towards the goal of an Ireland, Gaelic and free.


THE DEPUTY SAID – “The remaining problem to be solved was the re-unification of the country”, said Deputy Brennan at a Fianna Fáil convention in Donegal. “Fianna Fáil was accused of not having a definite plan towards that end, but no party or section had a definite plan. Fianna Fáil would solve the partition problem if given the backing of the majority of the Irish people”, he said. Will someone please tell the Deputy that his party actually did rule Leinster House for nineteen years!


BOOMERANG – Speaking to the ‘Ulster’ Unionist Council in Belfast in February 1946, Basil Brooke said – “Let us always remember the historic words of President Lincoln : ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’. “ (NEXT [from the same source] – ‘AN CUMANN CABHRAC’.)





TWO’S COMPANY…

1)

You couldn’t make this stuff up – an ex-RUC/PSNI man (and ‘OBE’ recipient) has been announced by the Free State Minister for ‘Justice’, Charlie Flanagan, as the new State ‘Garda Commissioner’! The new man had no problem with enforcing the British writ in the British-occupied Six Counties and now, thanks to his equally ‘writ-less’ colleagues in Leinster House, he now finds himself in an ‘official’ position to enforce his pro-British political beliefs in the rest of Ireland, on a wage of €5208 a week – that, along with his nixer money, should make him less susceptible to (other) untoward carry-on. As if the ‘cops’ here weren’t anti-republican enough before his appointment.


“The Fox is now in charge of the hen-house. What a dreadful betrayal of victims who have been consistently blocked and denied access to evidence by his current office. Shame on you. PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris named as new Garda Commissioner…” (from here) and this is one of the bridges that ‘Commissioner’ Harris already burnt. Now he has a new box of matches to play with, courtesy (curtsy?) of West Brits in Leinster House.




2)

This pair are apparently due to visit Ireland next month and, among other places they’ll grace with their ‘royal’ presence, will be the so-called ‘Famine’ (sic) Memorial in Dublin – nice of them to fit that in, considering they come from and are related to those that created that ‘famine’ in the first place. And this is the message they’ll be delivering to us by such a visit.







..AND 3)’s A CROWD –

– a crowd of cheerleaders, that is, for 1) and 2), above.


To whom do we owe our allegiance today?

To whom do we owe our allegiance today?

To those brave men who fought and died that Róisín live again with pride?

Her sons at home to work and sing,

Her youth to dance and make her valleys ring,

Or the faceless men who for Mark and Dollar,

Betray her to the highest bidder,

To whom do we owe our allegiance today?






VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE…

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


The UDA leader Johnny Adair visited Drumcree as late as last July : “He’s allowed to walk the Queen’s highway,” says one of the cafe customers, “the only thing he’s been convicted of was for not having a dog licence.” Adair has a conviction for directing terrorism and is alleged to have been responsible for the death of up to 22 Catholic civilians. He is also the only paramilitary to have his licence revoked under the ‘Good Friday Agreement’.


Journalist Susan McKay also points out in her book ‘Northern Protestants’ that the parade at Drumcree has never been peaceful and that as far back as 1832 the Orange Order defied the ‘Party Processions Act’ by marching down the ‘Walk’, now known as the Garvaghy Road.


Ivor, a member of the Portadown Orange Order, also claims that as an internee he saw Gerry Adams and Billy McKee talking about their strategy and part of that was to destroy the Orange Order.” Much of what Ivor says sums up the general problems that the Orange Order experience – Protestants are no good at propaganda, says Ivor. They are wary of journalists who “…come and visit and then go away and twist what we say,” and he also points out that the only ones who give them fair coverage are RTE (!). Everyone reserves particular condemnation for certain Dublin journalists regarded as friends of unionists, some of whom had come to visit : “As bad as the rest,” says Ivor…. (MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (20TH JUNE) 169 YEARS AGO : TROUBLED IRISH REPUBLICAN POET DIES.

My Dark Rosaleen‘ ; a poem about the authors feelings for his country and its tradition of resistance in arms to those that would seek to rule it. The author, James Clarence Mangan (pictured), contributed written material on a regular basis to the Irish republican newspaper ‘The Nation’, and became friends with its editor, Charles Gavan Duffy.


Born in Fishamble Street, in Dublin, in May 1803, James Clarence Mangan did not have an easy life (or an easy death). He went to a school on Lord Edward Street (then known as ‘Saul’s Court’) and was known as a bright child – although barely in his teens, he did not need to be prompted to study other languages ; he was well on his way to being fluent in German, Italian, French and Spanish when his parents had no choice but to remove him from school, as they were in dire needs, financially, and their fifteen-years young son, James, would have to bring in a wage if the family were to stay together.


He got a job in a solicitors office as a ‘clerk/secretary/general gofar’ and was able to use his time in work to study his own preferred papers – language , poetry and politics. He would sometimes translate poems and other writings from the German language and, indeed, from the Irish language, into English, and have them published, under the name ‘Clarence’, in some of Dublin’s periodicals. His published works in ‘The Nation’ newspaper concerned themselves with Irish poetry and short stories, and were signed as being from ‘The man in the Cloak’, ‘Vaccus’ and ‘Terrae Filius’. He was an Irish republican at heart, and his writings could be found in the ‘United Irishman’ newspaper (edited by John Mitchel), ‘The Irish Felon’ newspaper (edited by Thomas Devin Reilly) as well as Charles Gavan Duffy’s ‘The Nation’ newspaper.


James Clarence Mangan was a troubled man in his own mind ; a deep-thinker, he tended to keep to himself and, apart from his writing contacts, was not one for socialising : he apparently suffered from what we now know as ‘depression’, and his ‘mood swings’ were no doubt exasperated by the fact that every day was a challenge for him, financially. He felt he had no-one to confide in, or lean on. He fell into the trap that snared so many others in those days (and still does today) – alcohol ; drink and opium were his crutch, and weakened him to such an extent that he became a victim of the cholera epidemic of that time. On 13th June, 1849, he was found half-dead in a damp cellar in Bride Street, Dublin, and was taken to the Meath Hospital ; on the 20th June, 1849 – 169 years ago on this date – James Clarence Mangan died, aged only forty-six years. His writings have secured him a place in Irish history and, although perhaps not as well known as others of his time, James Clarence Mangan played his part as best he could.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


‘NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916′.


4th May, 1916, as reported in ‘The Dundalk Democrat’ – ‘Mr E Kelly, JP, said that since their last meeting all the members were very well aware of the trouble in Dublin and some parts of Ireland. He did not know how the majority of the Guardians might feel on the matter, but he felt himself perfectly inclined to pass a verdict in the way of condemnation of what had occurred because he considered it the most disastrous thing that had happened during their time.


So far as the rank and file was concerned he would be inclined to make an appeal to the authorities for leniency because certainly from what he knew and from what he heard it appeared that these young fellows had been led into this business like lambs to the slaughterhouse.


Mr J. Shevlin (an ex-RIC man) : “Hear! Hear!”


Mr. E. Kelly : “Although on several occasions they gave us a very awkward time in this district. The reason I am glad is that, had it done no other good, it has let these poor dupes of fellows see the folly of their movements. I see where the leaders were shot. We are a kind-hearted people in this country and we like no man to be shot if possible, but I think that the people in the rural districts of Ireland should not let their tenderheartedness get the better of them in this business and that everyone should approve of the action of the authorities in shooting these rebel leaders.


Because that is what they are – only a handful of foolish revolutionists. I would like to make an appeal to the authorities to have mercy on the poor dupes who were led away without knowing anything…” (MORE LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (20TH JUNE) 255 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF ‘THE FATHER OF IRISH REPUBLICANISM’.

“From my earliest youth I have regarded the connection between Great Britain and Ireland as the curse of the Irish nation, and felt convinced that, while it lasted, this country could never be free nor happy. My mind has been confirmed in this opinion by the experience of every succeeding year, and the conclusions which I have drawn from every fact before my eyes. In consequence, I was determined to employ all the powers which my individual efforts could move, in order to separate the two countries.


That Ireland was not able of herself to throw off the yoke, I knew ; I therefore sought for aid wherever it was to be found. In honourable poverty I rejected offers which, to a man in my circumstances, might be considered highly advantageous. I remained faithful to what I thought the cause of my country, and sought in the French Republic an ally to rescue three millions of my countrymen” – Theobald Wolfe Tone, who was born in Dublin on this date – 20th June – in 1763, in a family said to be related to French Protestants who arrived in England in the 16th century.


His father, Peter, was a coach builder who also farmed in an area close to Sallins, in County Kildare, and his mother, Margaret, was from a merchant family – she converted to the Protestant faith following his birth. He was baptised as ‘Theobald Wolfe Tone’ in honour of his godfather of the same name from Kildare (who was himself related to Arthur Wolfe, the ‘1st Viscount Kilwarden‘).

That Wolfe Tone was born on the 20th June, 1763, is not in question, but the exact date and circumstances of his death most certainly is – “..he was sentenced to death on November 10th, 1798 ; on November 11th he was informed by his gaolers that he would be publicly hanged on the following day, Monday 12th, at one o’clock.
It is generally accepted that Wolfe Tone died on November 19th , 1798, (but) in fact, he could have been murdered at any time during the previous week, and there is no doubt, and none of us should be in any doubt, of his murder by British Crown agents…”
(more here).


‘Once I stood on that sod that lies over Wolfe Tone

And I thought how he perished in prison alone

His friends unavenged and his country unfreed

Oh pity, I thought, Is the patriot’s need






I was awakened from my dreaming by voices and tread

Of a band who came in to the home of the dead

There were students and peasants, the wise and the brave

And an old man who knew him from cradle to grave..
(from here.)




NEWS, COMMENTS ETC.


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


A Damning Indictment – “Only four per cent of the 450,000 pupils attending primary schools could get secondary education, while only eight per cent of secondary students could afford to go to a university,” pronounced Dr Noel Browne, Fianna Fáil Executive member, at a party social in Tipperary on January 23rd.


This was surely a damning indictment of not merely Leinster House policy, but nineteen years of Fianna Fáil supremacy in that House.


Dr Browne was followed by a Mr Con Ryan, the local Fianna Fáil Chairman who, believe it or not, said – “Fianna Fáil is the legitimate successor of Sinn Féin.” ! (‘1169’ comment – how ironic! Any Irish republican will tell you that, today, it is (P) Sinn Féin that are “the legitimate successor” of Fianna Fáil as, just like Fianna Fáil, the Provisional Sinn Féin grouping left the Republican Movement ‘to change the system from the inside’ ie from within Leinster House. And, as with Fianna Fáil, the system changed them!) (MORE [from News, Comments etc’] LATER.)





ON THIS DATE (20TH JUNE) 151 YEARS AGO : IRISH REPUBLICAN ‘CLANN’ FORMED IN AMERICA.

‘Clann na Gael was an Irish-American revolutionary organisation, formed after the defeat of the Fenian rising of 1867. Its aim was to achieve Irish independence. Founded by Jerome J. Collins*, a journalist, Clann na Gael’s most important leaders were William Carroll and John Devoy. By the late 1870s, the organisation had 10,000 members (and) became formally linked to the Irish Republican Brotherhood…’ (from here – also* ; according to John Devoy [in 1924], Jerome James Collins founded what was then called the ‘Napper Tandy Club’ in New York on 20th June 1867 : 151 years ago on this date.)


In his book entitled ‘Women in Ireland’s Fight For Freedom’, the late Cork republican Gearoid MacCarthaigh wrote – “In the 1940’s, the women of Cumann na mBan and the girls of Clann na Gael were the ones not in gaol or internment camps and managed to keep the republican position before the public. They held regular protest marches and meetings in Dublin, and were often batoned by the Free State Guards. On one such occasion the late Commandant Katie O’Connor of Clann na Gael was knocked unconscious in the middle of O’Connell Street, Dublin, by the blow of a baton welded by one of the so-called ‘Guardians of the Peace’..”


For one who played such a pivotal role in Irish republicanism, Katie O’Connor is not remembered as much as she deserves to be – it was at the funeral of the Fenian leader Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin, in August 1915, that a fifteen-years young girl, from Henrietta Street in Dublin, was moved by the scenes she witnessed. One year later, that girl, Katie O’Connor, now aged 16, involved herself in the Easter Rising, carrying messages between the different rebel garrisons, and the following year she joined Clann na nGael, an Irish republican girl scout organisation (which had been founded by the Kelly sisters in 1910).


During the Tan War (1919-1921) Katie O’Connor was a dispatch carrier and, like all other members of the Clann na nGael girl scout organisation, she opposed the Treaty of December 1921 and took the republican side in the Civil War. She was jailed in Kilmainham in the autumn of 1922 and was subjected to degrading treatment by her Free State captors : she was stripped naked and jeered at by the Staters, who delighted in terrorising their 22 years-young female prisoner. She was the youngest of the women political prisoners and was transferred along with other female prisoners to the Free State internment camp at the North Dublin Union Workhouse. When released two years later (in 1924), she was elected leader of the organisation and, from then until well into the 1940’s, she travelled throughout Ireland and England setting up branches – she was to hold her leadership position for almost fifty years.


On one of her visits to England in the late 1920’s, in a hall in Gay Street in Liverpool, the ‘Countess Markievicz’ branch of the Clann was established ; Katie O’Connor and two other Clann leaders, Cissie Cunningham and Kathleen McLaughlin, became firm friends with the ‘Markievicz’ membership, especially the O/C, Kathleen Walsh, and sisters Rita and Kathleen McSweeney. It was members of Clann na nGael that organised the first van-load of supplies for the nationalist population of Belfast, and other areas, following the August 1969 pogroms. In the 1970’s, Katie O’Connor stepped down as Clann leader (her replacement was Maura Lyons) but Katie did not end her support for the Republican Movement – she assisted the IRA and worked with the prisoners organisation, ‘An Cumann Cabhrach’ (now ‘Cabhair’).


On the 11th January, 1983, at 83 years of age, Katie O’Connor died ; she had been a ‘dissident/terrorist’ for sixty-seven years. And we need more like her.


And we also need more like John Kenny – ‘In 1914, Co. Kildare native John Kenny ran a dangerous secret mission that helped set the stage for the 1916 Uprising ; he was born in Branganstown, Co. Kildare in 1847 and, after spending a few years in Australia, he arrived in New York around 1870, where he joined Clann na Gael (and) rose quickly through the ranks – by the early 1880’s he was the president of the New York Clann na Gael. John Devoy and Thomas Clarke, later arrested and imprisoned on an attempted bombing mission in London, were among the members.


In 1885, John left a very successful business in New York to bring his family back to Ireland, renting The Mount, a horse farm in Kilcock, Co. Kildare. There, while playing the part of a gentleman farmer, he ran high-level meetings and laundered funds coming in from America. His young daughter Margaret would be sent through town carrying a cake to a neighbour’s house as a signal that a meeting was to be held that night. The children were strictly warned never to speak of anything or anyone they saw at The Mount (and) despite evident surveillance by G-men, the children enjoyed their years in Kilcock – but the stress took its toll on John’s marriage. In 1890, the family moved back to New York. John and Annie separated, the children were sent to boarding schools in America and John returned to Ireland – first to Naas and later to Dublin, where he continued his revolutionary work. His frequent trips between Ireland and America served as a cover for his role as a Clann na Gael/IRB liaison operative..’ (from here.)


They rose in dark and evil days

To right their native land ;

They kindled here a living blaze

That nothing shall withstand



(Re my soon-to-be holiday destination : Clann na Gael were once based in Number 112 West 72nd Street, New York. And we’ll be sure to visit that building on our travels but it’s not one of the apartments we’ll be staying in. Just as well, really, as it’s a bit on the ‘rough’ side for our liking…!)





ON THIS DATE (20TH JUNE) 220 YEARS AGO : FOULKSMILLS –‘TREAT THE LOCALS AS HARSHLY AS POSSIBLE’.

(From various sources -) ‘The Battle of Foulksmills, known locally as the Battle of Horetown and also known as the Battle of Goff’s Bridge, was a battle on 20th June 1798 between advancing British forces seeking to stamp out the rebellion in County Wexford during the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and a rebel army assembled to oppose them, who were fighting to take back control of the major cities..(British) General Sir John Moore left New Ross with 1,500 men to march to Wexford town. With the Wexford rebellion contained he, in conjunction with General Lake marching from the north, was determined to crush the Wexford rebels…Moore was supposed to be joined en route by the garrison of FortDuncannon. These troops however failed to turn up and, after a delay of a few hours, Moore resumed his march towards the village of Taghmon.


As the troops neared Goff’s Bridge near Foulksmills, scouts reported a large rebel force advancing to meet them. The rebel numbers were estimated at 5,000 men. Moore immediately deployed the 60th Rifles to hold the bridge…
The United Irishmen were led by Fr. Philip Roche who, seeing the riflemen deployed at the bridge, led his men to the left of the road in an attempt to out flank the British troops. Off the road, the rebels were in cover of the fields, ditches and hedges (and) attacked with great numbers, but were poorly armed with few muskets and mostly pikemen (but) outnumbered, the 60th Rifles were scarcely able to hold back the attack (and) Moore was forced to personally deploy his troops in line to meet the rebel attack. Once he had done so he was able to bring his artillery into play and the rebels were driven back field by field. However they did retire in good order and the battle was far from a government victory…500 United Irishmen died at Foulksmills along with 100 British troops. The battle left the road to Wexford open to Moore and he took the town the following day…’


Those that live in and around that part of Wexford who have an interest in local history will tell you that British General Moore issued orders for his troops to treat the locals as harshly as possible and to take any provisions they needed, from the locals, to sustain them for at least three weeks. Moore and his gunmen had arrived in Wexford from the West Cork area where they had been ‘searching for arms’, during which they burned homes and generally terrorised the people of that area. The General himself boasted about how, when a single redcoat appears, everyone flees – but he couldn’t have guessed that some so-called ‘republicans’ would actually run towards, and morally embrace, a redcoat…





VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE…

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


What is her solution? Only parties disassociated from violence should be allowed to stand. But what about the almost 20 per cent of the electorate who voted for Sinn Féin? “Those who vote for terrorists aren’t democrats,” she replies, “If people don’t like living in Northern Ireland (sic) then why can’t they go and live in the Republic (sic) ?” When it is pointed out that Catholics and nationalists were settled in the North long before the arrival of mainly Protestant planters, she simply says that refusal is indicative of their general disloyalty.


Ivor is a member of the Portadown District Lodge, and served time as an internee at Long Kesh in the 1970’s. He has lived in Portadown since then and, in what emerges as a recurring theme in the evening, he claims that he has “no problem with the ordinary decent Catholic people…there was no problem in the Garvaghy Road before that McKenna (Brendan MacCionnaith) came along..”


Brendan MacCionnaith is the spokesperson for the Garvaghy Road residents association and was a member of the IRA, convicted of blowing-up the British Legion Hall in Portadown. The Orange Order refuses to meet MacCionnaith because of his convictions – “As a matter of principle, we cannot be involved in talks with convicted terrorists because of what they have inflicted on our community,” says Country Grand Master Denis Watson ; this is despite the fact that Orangemen met with the late LVF leader Billy Wright during disturbances in 1995…


(MORE LATER).



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (6TH JUNE) 97 YEARS AGO : “I ORGANISED AN AMBUSH OF EIGHT RIC MEN..”

Broad Street, Waterford (pictured) – the scene of the delivery point for a strong message from the IRA to Westminster :


“On 6th June, 1921, I organised an ambush of eight R.I.C. men in Broad Street, Waterford, the ambush to take place about 8pm when the patrol of the R.I.C. men used usually pass down by the Cathedral, Broad Street, from their Barracks at Lady Lane, Waterford.


I had assembled about seven men all armed with revolvers in J.K. Walsh’s public house nearby. The names of some of the men were Jim Conway, Phil Sheehy, Willie Nugent, Jack Ivory and Stephen Ambrose. Just as the patrol of R.I.C. men were due to put in an appearance the operation was called off by Vice-Brigadier William Keane who informed us (as far as I can recollect) that there was a meeting of I.R.A. G.H.Q. officers being held in Waterford that night and that our proposed ambush might result in the capture of these officers, as the British would be certain to carry out intensive searches following the attack on the R.I.C. patrol. I am not quite certain now, but I think that Vice-Brigadier Keane was subsequently reprimanded for his action on that occasion by Brigadier Paddy Paul who was very anxious that there should be more activity by the I.R.A. in the City at that time…”

– a statement given in 1955 by IRA Captain Daniel Ennis (aka ‘Dan Power’), a Wexford man, ‘A’ Company, 4th Battalion, East Waterford Brigade. Later that same month (June 1921), Captain Ennis and two other IRA men were instructed to shoot an RIC Sergeant named O’Grady, who had done some “dirty work” and marked himself out as more of a target than he otherwise might have been. O’Grady lived in William Street, in Waterford, near to a public park, which was where the IRA men laid in wait for him, with a scout on the road outside – for three consecutive nights. But the RIC man never showed himself and, on sensing that all was not as it should have been, an IRA inquiry came to the conclusion that one of their own men, who was ‘stepping out’ with one of O’Grady’s daughters, had told her of the plan and she, in turn, had warned her father.


That IRA man was court-martialled and advised to leave the area, which he did. More here but not, alas, in relation to the RIC man or if the romance between his daughter and the IRA man ever bore fruit, poisonous as it would have been.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


FREE STATEISM.


An Irish-American who had taken an active part in the War of Independence and had been a consistent worker for the Movement in the United States, after a few months holiday here during which he had travelled extensively all over the country, gave as his view of the present situation in the country : “The national spirit is almost dead, dead, especially in the South. It is not so bad, though it is weak enough, in the North. But the South is very bad.


And in my opinion, the reason is that it has been deliberately killed, stifled, by the politicians. When the Free State was first accepted it was a very bad blow, but those in control then had to force it down the people’s throats. A worse blow came when the Fianna Fáil party decided to accept the Free State and to persuade or force others to do likewise. Recently the Clann na Poblachta Party, former republicans, have gone the same way. Each in their turn, while keeping up the outward pose of republicanism, have done their utmost to undermine and destroy the national movement. Had they openly declared themselves Free Staters they would have been more honest and entitled maybe to some little respect.


As it is they are a much greater danger to the cause of Irish unity and independence than ever Basil Brooke and the Orange junta could be.” (Next – ‘NOTE WELL WHAT MR. E. KELLY SAID IN 1916’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (6TH JUNE) 97 YEARS AGO – “I SAW HIM FALL, SHOT DEAD, THROUGH THE BACK…”


“On the 6th June, 1921, we heard that a cycling column of soldiers had come in to Stradbally and it was decided to ambush the column at a place called Kilminion, about three miles west of Stradbally on the main Dungarvan road. Thomas Keating of Comeragh, a brother of Pat Keating previously mentioned by me, was in charge of the ambushing party, which numbered about thirty men. The British column was about the same in number.



Before the ambush came off I protested against it being held as our men were very badly armed, having only a few
rusty old rifles and some shotgun with very little ammunition. I myself had a shotgun and five rounds of buckshot. We lay in ambush for a few hours on either side of the main Dungarvan road at Kilminion, when word reached us from scouts that the British were taking the coast road, via Ballyvoile, back to Dungarvan. We hurriedly made across country and had just reached Ballyvoile when I heard shots and saw some of our lads running to take up their positions.



I then saw two soldiers going quickly up the road towards where our men were. (They had seen one of our chaps crossing the road and that’s how they knew we were there).The two soldiers I have referred to fired on Jack Cummins of
Ballyvoile as he was climbing over a wire fence on the railway embankment. I saw Cummins fall. He was shot
dead, through the back. I fired on these soldiers, forcing them to take cover…”
– the words of Michael Cummins (no relation to Jack), Adjutant Stradbally Company, IRA Fourth Battalion, West Waterford Brigade.


The ‘dungarvanmuseum.org’ website (not available, at the time of writing) has the following descriptive passage on its website, in connection with the death of Jack ‘John’ Cummins –
‘Ballyvoile (6th June 1921). On the 6th June 1921, a military cycling column of about 30 men were ambushed at Ballyvoile. Tom Keating of Comeragh, a brother of Pat’s who was killed at the Burgery was in charge of the ambushing party. It was first decided that the enemy should be attacked at Kilminion, near Stradbally, where the County Council quarry now operates. They lay in waiting for a time, but then received word that the British were returning by the lower Coast Road. The Volunteer party hurriedly made their way across country and had just reached Ballyvoile, when a volley of shots rang out. Evidently the (British) military had seen them moving into position. Two of the soldiers moved into higher ground and opened fire again, and this time, Jack Cummins of Stradbally was shot just as he was getting over a barbed wire fence. The Volunteers returned the fire forcing the (British) military to take cover.The fight lasted about half an hour and then the Volunteers had to withdraw due to lack of ammunition. A plaque to the memory of Jack Cummins can be seen at Ballyvoile..’



Jack ‘John’ Cummins was only 23 years of age when a British soldier from the ‘Kent Regiment’ ‘(known as ‘The Buffs’) shot him in the back, on Irish soil, on the 6th June 1921 – 97 years ago on this date. A song about the Ballyvoile Ambush, written by Jack Daly, the grandfather of English singer Kate Bush, can be heard here. Kate’s mother, Hannah, was born just across the valley from this location and her grandfather wrote many local songs.


IRA Volunteer Jack Cummins now sleeps ‘Among Angels’. Rest in Peace.






APPEAL TO THE PRODIGAL…


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


The sacrifice? Yes, many a sacrifice must be made : you may lose a war pension, you may lose your job. You may be a member of an ex-servicemen’s club where they will jeer or assault you. You may even have to forfeit your life.


You will be doing your duty and all you will receive in return is honour. Is it worth it? I am addressing only you who have doubts, and you who perhaps have had no doubts but are sincere of nature, and I know your reply – “Honour and duty are worth any sacrifice.” Then is it not honourable to strive for the freedom of your country, is it not your duty to do so?


In all sincerity you may disagree with me. However, you will agree that it would be impossible to treat this subject fully in a short article, therefore let me reiterate – study what has happened and what is happening to your country. Be fair in your judgement and act accordingly. If you have been or are a British serviceman, please read these few lines again. They have been written by a man who, like you, served, fought and was prepared to die for England.


(NEXT – ‘News, Comments etc’, from the same source.)





VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE…

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


Arlene and May operate the cafe seven nights a week. Inside, there are about ten people, all members of the Orange Order or from families with Orange links, and all are in an angry mood – “We’re going to get down this year and if we don’t there’ll be trouble.” Sam, a farmer from nearby Dungannon, is mellow in his opinions. He can’t understand why those who don’t like the parade couldn’t just close their curtains and turn their backs while the parade took place – “It’s only a ten-minute church parade. Why can’t they just let it pass? But what about the anti-Catholic songs often belted out by Orange bands? “Oh no,” came the reply, “they only play hymn tunes on a Sunday. They (the objectors) shouldn’t be offended with what they play on other days. It’s only natural that other songs are played..”


A young girl, no more than 16, expounds the faults of the Good Friday Agreement ; referring to it as ‘the Belfast Agreement’, she claims that “..it showed that terrorism paid.” She can’t understand why Catholics are anti-Protestant and anti-British and also why they vote for Sinn Féin… (MORE LATER).





HOW TO BE IN THREE PLACES AT THE ONE TIME…

Over the next few days, we’re gonna have to figure out how we can make three of ourselves – we have this here wee corner of the blogosphere to get ready for next Wednesday, 13th June 2018, we have a 650-ticket fundraising raffle for the Cabhair organisation to get ready and then to ‘present’ it on the 10th June and we would love to be able to attend the annual Bodenstown Commemoration, also on Sunday 10th June. But something’s gotta give, as we obviously can’t attend to all three events and, after an emergency meeting here in ‘1169 Towers’, we decided to concentrate our efforts on the Cabhair raffle, our decision having been arrived at with no consideration at all given to the fact that that event is held in a nice, bright and warm indoors location with a (free for us!) restaurant and a bar within easy reach.


For now it’s looking like it’ll be Wednesday 20th June before we ‘put pen to paper’ here again, with an even longer absence to come in the near future : myself and the four girlfriends have been besieged by requests/demands to get ourselves back to New York to meet up with the gang that we haven’t seen since 2016 – and a couple of weeks ago, we all five of us finally got our act together (…only been working on it since August 2016!), and we’re a-headin’ State Side in a few weeks time for one month. Only! And had we not got jobs, kids (and grandkids!), partners etc etc, we would have taken up all the offers we got and stayed for two months. And that’s something we seriously intend to work on.


But anyway – our next post here should be on Wednesday 20th June 2018. If New York doesn’t intrude too much between now and then, that is…!


Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (30TH MAY) 220 YEARS AGO : “INSURGENTS TAKE POSSESSION…”.

“Nothing can exceed the melancholy aspect of this place. The insurgents in our neighbouring county of Wexford are so numerous as to have taken possession of and destroyed the town of Enniscorthy not a house remaining ; men, women, and children murdered and burnt, particularly the clergy. A gentleman has informed me that he saw the bodies of Mr. Hayden, a clergyman past eighty years of age, and of Mr. Nun, a very respectable rector, lying unburied in the street, the day after their entrance, with 400 more dead bodies. Some detachments sent from hence have been defeated : from one under the command of General Faucett, they took two fieldpieces.


The rebels amount to 15 or 16,000 ; march in a disciplined manner, have a squadron of cavalry, and fire their cannon with precision. These circumstances I give on the authority of officers who have been beaten back*. Every tide brings us in boats full of wounded and fugitives. Yesterday the rebels were in possession of Wexford ; thus a port is open to the French, but it is a very bad harbour. At New Ross, ten miles from hence, about 1000 troops and some artillery are got together : the insurgents are around Wexford, about twenty-eight miles from thence. As yet, from the spirit of the principal inhabitants and clergy uniting to guard it, this city has not risen…” – a letter written by a Doctor Christopher Butson, the ‘Dean of Waterford’, on the 31st May 1798. While ‘the rebels’ had indeed taken over, the “not a house remaining ; men, women and children murdered..” etc (information supplied to the good ‘Dean’ by British officers) would today be dismissed as (‘Kitsonian’) ‘fake news’, as it should be.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


FIANNA NOTES.


Would all Company OC’s please take note that we have moved into a new GHQ : our new address is 45 Upper Mount Street, Dublin.


CORK : The Department of AG received a letter from Mill Street, Cork, previous to our removal from Blessington Street. The letter, which contained a stamp for reply, was mislaid during our removal to the new GHQ – would the person please write again as soon as possible.


DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE : All Companies who have not forwarded their annual affiliation fee of 10/- send the said amount on as soon as possible. This applies to Companies who have a membership of 12 scouts or over. (Next – ‘FREE STATEISM’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (30TH MAY) 211 YEARS AGO : ‘FIGHTING’ FOR ELECTION!

‘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.)


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.




APPEAL TO THE PRODIGAL…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


Do not be afraid of knowledge. Do not be indifferent to it. If you are sincere, if you have doubts about the righteousness of your stand, read the history of Ireland. Above all, learn the truth of what has happened in recent years and what is happening in Ireland – in your land, today. Read republican literature constantly, until you can say that you have honestly sought the facts. Then drown your pride and let truth come to the surface, and shine the light of your new-found knowledge on your former course. You will see that you have been going astray.


You know the art of war, you are experienced and you are no coward. You have been brave for England. I ask you to consider if it was for love of her? Do you not love Ireland, has she no claim to your allegiance? Will you not offer your experience and determination to your country? Surely you can see that your motherland has a mother’s right to claim your aid – to ask you to be brave for her. You gained knowledge of tremendous importance when you helped the occupation forces. Now you can use that knowledge to drive those forces out of your country. (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (30TH MAY) 112 YEARS AGO : ‘FATHER OF THE IRISH LAND LEAGUE’ DIES.

Michael Davitt was born on the 25th March, 1846, in Straide, County Mayo, at the height of An Gorta Mór (‘the Great Hunger’) and the poverty of those times affected the Davitt family – he was the second of five children and was only four years of age when his family were evicted from their home over rent owed and his father, Martin, was left with no choice but to travel to England to look for work.


Martin’s wife, Sabina, and their five children, were given temporary accommodation by the local priest in Straide. The family were eventually reunited, in England, where young Michael attended school for a few years. His family were struggling, financially, so he obtained work, aged 9, as a labourer (he told his boss he was 13 years old and got the job – working from 6am to 6pm, with a ninty-minute break and a wage of 2s.6d a week) but within weeks he had secured a ‘better’ job, operating a spinning machine but, at only 11 years of age, his right arm got entangled in the machinery and had to be amputated. There was no compensation offered, and no more work, either, for a one-armed machine operator, but he eventually managed to get a job helping the local postmaster.


He was sixteen years young at that time, and was curious about his Irish roots and wanted to know more – he learned all he could about Irish history and, at 19 years young, joined the Fenian movement in England. Two years afterwards he became the organising secretary for northern England and Scotland for that organisation and, at 25 years of age, he was arrested in Paddington Station in London after the British had uncovered an IRB operation to import arms. He was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, on a ‘hard labour’ ticket, and served seven years in Dartmoor Prison in horrific conditions before being released in 1877, at the age of 31, on December 19th.


He returned to Ireland and was seen as a hero by his own people, and travelled extensively in his native Connaught, observing how, in his absence, nothing had improved for the working class. He realised that if the power of the tenant farmers could be organised, it would be possible to bring about the improvements that were badly needed, and he arranged a convention in August of 1879 ; the result was a body called the ‘National Land League of Mayo’. Thus began the land agitation movement. On the 21st October 1879, a meeting of concerned individuals was held in the Imperial Hotel in Castlebar, County Mayo, to discuss issues in relation to ‘landlordism’ and the manner in which that subject impacted on those who worked on small land holdings on which they paid ‘rent’, an issue which other groups, such as tenants’ rights organisations and groups who, confined by a small membership, agitated on land issues in their own locality, had voiced concern about.


Those present agreed to announce themselves as the ‘Irish National Land League’ (which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members) and Charles Stewart Parnell who, at 33 years of age, had been an elected member of parliament for the previous four years, was elected president of the new group and Andrew Kettle, Michael Davitt, and Thomas Brennan were appointed as honorary secretaries. That leadership had ‘form’ in that each had made a name for themselves as campaigners on social issues of the day and were, as such, ‘known’ to the British authorities – Davitt was a known member of the Supreme Council of the IRB and spoke publicly about the need “..to bring out a reduction of rack-rents..to facilitate the obtaining of the ownership of the soil by the occupiers..the object of the League can be best attained by promoting organisation among the tenant-farmers ; by defending those who may be threatened with eviction for refusing to pay unjust rents ; by facilitating the working of the Bright clauses of the Irish Land Act during the winter and by obtaining such reforms in the laws relating to land as will enable every tenant to become owner of his holding by paying a fair rent for a limited number of years..”


Davitt realised that the ‘Land League’would be well advised to seek support from outside of Ireland and, under the slogan ‘The Land for the People’, he toured America, being introduced in his activities there by John Devoy and, although he did not have official support from the Fenian leadership (some of whom were neutral towards him while others were suspicious and/or hostile of and to him) he obtained constant media attention and secured good support for the objectives of the organisation.


He died before he could accomplish all he wanted to, at 60 years of age, in Elphis Hospital in Dublin, on the 30th of May 1906 – 112 years ago on this date – from blood poisoning : he had a tooth extracted and contracted septicaemia from the operation. His body was taken to the Carmelite Friary in Clarendon Street, Dublin, then by train to Foxford in Mayo and he was buried in Straide Abbey, near where he was born. The ‘Father of the Irish Land League’ was gone, but will not be forgotten.





VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE.

A cafe at Drumcree and the insights it offers into the Orangemen who frequent it. Carl Whyte paid a visit. From ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.


Drumcree Hill, on the outskirts of Portadown. The theatre for some of the worst civil disturbances witnessed in the recent history of the six counties. Traditionally, the Church of Ireland at Drumcree has invited the local Orange Order to hold a service in the church on the Sunday before the 12th of July, a service which has been the catalyst for widespread disorder.


Since 1998, the ‘Parades Commission’ has refused permission for the Orangemen to return to Portadown via the Garvaghy Road after the service. Orangemen gathered in their thousands in 1998 but despite the fact that authorities had previously banned parades and then permitted their passage, that particular year no such permission was given. The ‘District Grand Master’, Harold Gracey, swore that he would stay at the hill until the parade was allowed to march.


Four years later (ie 2002) the Orangemen still maintain a presence at the hill. Evolving from a caravan and car boots, there now exists a small cafe with the motto ‘ Here we stand, we can do no other’ emblazoned across the front. Windowless, it offers the traditional Ulster soda bread and bacon with tea to any visitors. Mid-evening on a June Friday, it is a bustling place ; suitably decked out with bunting (“for the Jubilee”, as everyone is keen to point out), the interior is an oasis of that uniquely loyalist brand of ‘Britishness’, with in-your-face union flags, portraits of ‘Her Majesty’ and that other colossus of Northern Protestantism, “Our own Dr. Paisley”… (MORE LATER).

Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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ON THIS DATE (23RD MAY) 264 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF A ‘UNITED IRISHMEN’ FOUNDING FATHER.

“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, 264 years ago on this date.


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.




”SINN FÉIN IS EVERYTHING ITS NAME IMPLIES – GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE….!’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, October 1954.


PEARSE AS OUR GUIDE.


Sinn Féin will undo the conquest in all its phases, and build a united and prosperous Ireland on solid foundations and, in pursuing the material welfare of our people, we will be mindful of the words of Pádraig Pearse : “Do the millions that make up the population of modern nations, the millions that toil and sweat from year’s end to year’s end in the factories and mines of England, the Continent, the United States, live the life intended for man?


What are the hero-memories of the past to them? Are they one whit better because great men have lived and wrought and died? Were the destiny of the Gael no higher than theirs, better for him would it have been had he disappeared from the earth centuries ago!”


(Next – ‘FIANNA NOTES’, from the same source.)





ON THIS DATE (23RD MAY) 97 YEARS AGO : DISAPPEARANCE OF A BRITISH ‘RFAIO’ IN IRELAND.

‘A British Army Officer (2nd Lt Seymour Livingston Vincent) disappeared, presumed killed, in Co Cork. Casualty of the Great War, Captain Vincent served with the Army Educational Corps- he “disappeared at Fermoy”,while working for the Intelligence services*, presumed abducted and murdered (sic) by the IRA- body exhumed 1926…originally of the 1/13th London Regiment (Kensingtons) (he) was evacuated from Le Havre on 5th July 1916 suffering from shell shock and shrapnel wounds to the right foot and left arm. He returned to France in May 1917 and served in Salonika with the 82nd Company, Machine Gun Corps. He was was born in 1890 and lived in Loughton, Essex.

He was seconded to the 168th Machine Gun Company on 16th March 1916. He died in strange circumstances in May 1921. He had been transferred to the 2nd Brigade, RFA, in December 1920 and had been serving at Fermoy in County Cork. He had applied for a transfer to the Army Educational Corps, before the war he was a teacher, and had then asked to resign his commission. He then disappeared without trace on 23rd May 1921 (97 years ago on this date). It was not until an anonymous letter was sent to the British Government in June 1924 containing details of the burial of a British officer in Lenihans Bog, Glenville, Co. Cork, that further investigations took place.

At the time of his disappearance, the Colonel commanding the 16th Infantry Brigade based at Fermoy basically accused Vincent of lying about his intentions of going on leave but, within a week, another report, regretting several errors in the first, was issued, which noted that Vincent had appeared somewhat disorientated before going on (approved) leave. It went on to report that five days after he left, three members of the 2nd Brigade of the IRA raided Fermoy Station and, breaking into the office there, had stolen various items from Vincents luggage, including a service revolver. Although the Royal Irish Constabulary were informed nothing was ever discovered about his whereabouts. It is thought that he, and possibly another man, were murdered (sic) by the IRA and buried at Lenihans Bog. Vincents body was later re-interred in Glenville Church of Ireland, Glenville, Co. Cork…’ (from here.)


*The IRA found a notebook in Royal Field Artillery Intelligent Officer Vincent’s pocket in which he had listed the contact details of locals that were opposed to the struggle for independence – he was gathering intelligence on where ‘friendly houses’ were located and probably attempting to convince the local ‘friendlies’ to forward any information in connection with the ‘dissidents’ on to him. As a teacher by profession, his was a lesson hard learned.




“TO EVERY GENERATION ITS DEED…”


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, February 1955.


SINN FÉIN NOTES.

APPEAL TO THE PRODIGAL.


Are you an Irishman who has served or who is now serving with the British forces? It is unlikely that you are, but it’s possible – if so, bear with me a moment.


There are men doing wrong who know what they do yet continue to do it. There are others doing wrong who tend towards regret but allow pride to restrain them. There is a third group who are upright, guiltless men and, though they be doing wrong, they sincerely believe they are right – indeed, they are often convinced that their actions are not only just, but noble.


It is to you men of the latter two groups that I am writing. I put it to you that it is not right that an Irishman should join the British forces, whether he serves in China, Africa or Ulster – he is supporting the British occupation of his country. It is a self-evident truth that directly or indirectly he is killing his fellow countrymen. This is fact – face it, for there is no way around it… (MORE LATER).





A BLANK CHEQUE FROM THE TAXPAYER TO THESE POLITICAL TIME-SERVERS…

..and if you feel that that’s in your best interest, then vote ‘Yes’ for it on the 25th May next. Leo and Co. will have moved on to the EU Parliament or some-such cushy and over-paid ‘job’ by the time you realise that your ‘Yes’ vote will have helped to secure such a ‘promotion’ for the career politicians in this State who will do whatever it takes to secure their own financial future, even at the expense of future generations. If, on the other hand, you ‘cherish all the children of the nation equally’ then vote ‘NO’ – show them that some children should not be cherished more than others. Your children will thank you for it in later years. Literally.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH…

SIN SCÉAL EILE.


By Jim McCann (Jean’s son). For Alex Crowe, RIP – “No Probablum”. Glandore Publishing, 1999.


DID WE WIN?


Somewhere from the bowels of the canteen a crazed scream went up – “You Sticky bastards, ye’s are all WASTERS!” The debate stopped abruptly, such was the violent tone of the scream – the ‘screamer’, Owen, a volunteer from the Falls Road, was asked what his problem was. “What’s my problem?? Are you deaf or what? Did you not hear them Sticks getting into us?”


“What Sticks, Owen?” ‘Lightning’ Barnes inquired, They’re our ones pretending to be the Republican Clubs and the SDLP,” he said, pointing out that if you have a line you can sometimes catch people with it. “But you can’t seriously hope to shoot down their argument just by calling them names. You have to make a better argument. Hopefully, the next time we have this debate the ‘Shinners’ will make a better argument.”


Owen was still shaking with rage when he was led away by his comrades. An hour later, I’m glad to say, the arguments of the ‘Republican Clubs’ and the ‘SDLP’ were dismantled by the main body of the ‘audience’, to my personal satisfaction. We went in to see if Owen had cooled down and when we got to where he was sitting,the first thing he asked was ‘did we win?’ “It’s not over yet,” came the reply…


(END of ‘GROWING UP IN LONG KESH’ : Next – ‘VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE’, from ‘Magill’ magazine, July 2002.)



Thanks for reading, Sharon.



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