By Peadar O’Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

While Father John and I were still running our curacy – I am not sure we were still at Clostoken – Lord Lascelles and his wife, Princess Mary, took a notion to visit Galway. Lascelles had a residence near Portumna and the local parish priest, Canon Joyce, got into the news a great deal, fussing around his distinguished visitors. I suppose it was simply because I was so much in Galway that I took notice of this little bit of harmless playacting in an editorial in ‘An Phoblacht’ , under the caption ‘Princess Mary’s Little Priest’. Canon Joyce was not pleased at all, and it didn’t help things that somebody tried to set fire to Lascelles’ residence. There was a great deal of respectable – and understandable – indignation.

My editorial got talked of, and I think it likely I got blamed for more than the editorial and that the blame extended to Father John, too. Some of our friends turned sour on us – we called at a house one day where the good woman , who had a son in one of the religious orders, did not make us at all welcome. We had arranged to meet somebody there, however, so we held on and in the end we sat down to a very begrudged cup of tea.

“Did you hear what Princess Mary did with the rosary beads that Canon Joyce gave her?” , Father John asked the woman of the house. “I did not”, she snapped back , “Ah well,” said Father John, “maybe it’s just as well” , and Father John and I nibbled away at other topics. Our hostess suddenly turned to Father John and said “What did you say about the rosary beads?”. “Ah that,” he replied, “maybe I shouldn’t talk about it. The poor things, they don’t know any better…..”



By Michael O’Higgins and John Waters. From ‘Magill Magazine’ , October 1988.

By this time, Mairead Farrell, Danny McCann and Seán Savage had passed through the bridge linking Line Wall Road to Smith Dorrien Avenue, still being followed at a discreet distance by Soldiers ‘C’ and ‘D’ and surveillance Officer ‘H’. When the message came through that control had been handed over, the IRA trio had reached the junction of Winston Churchill and Smith Dorrien Avenues and, according to Officer ‘H’ , he passed on the word that the handing over document had been signed and he characterised the situation in court as control being passed to the military and police by him.

Other surveillance witnesses appeared to have the same impression of the situation, though this was clarified in cross examination by lawyers for the Crown and Soldiers ‘A-G’ when it was explained that their choice of words had arisen from the fact that there was to be an involvement by both police and military in the arrests.

Soldiers ‘A’ and ‘B’ emerged from King’s Lines with surveillance Officer ‘J’ who indicated to them where the three IRA ASU members were standing, about fifty yards down the road to the right, opposite the junction of Winston Churchill and Smith Dorrien Avenues. The three had crossed the road at the traffic lights and were standing facing in the general direction of Soldiers ‘A’ and ‘B’ and were chatting and laughing. Soldiers ‘A’ and ‘B’ noticed Soldiers ‘C’ and ‘D’ on the far side of the road with a surveillance officer. ‘A’ and ‘B’ , having confirmed once again that they had control, moved in to apprehend the three….. (MORE LATER).


The early Irish were famous for their excellence in arts and crafts, especially for their wonderful work in metals, bronze, silver and gold. By the beginning of the 14th century trading ships were constantly sailing between Ireland and the leading ports of the Continent.

This commerce was a threat to English merchants who tried to discourage such trade. They brought pressure on their government, which passed a law in 1494 that prohibited the Irish from exporting any industrial product, unless it was shipped through an English port, with an English permit after paying English fees. However, England was not able to enforce the law. By 1548 British merchants were using armed vessels to attack and plunder trading ships travelling between Ireland and the Continent (unofficial piracy).

In 1571 Queen Elizabeth ordered that ‘no cloth or stuff’ made in Ireland could be exported, even to England, except by English men in Ireland. The act was amended in 1663 to prohibit the use of all foreign-going ships, except those that were built in England, mastered and three-fourths manned by English, and cleared from English ports. The return cargoes had to be unloaded in England. Ireland’s shipbuilding industry was thus destroyed and her trade with the Continent wiped out.

Ireland then began a lucrative trade with the Colonies. That was “cured” in 1670 by a new law which forbade Ireland to export to the colonies “anything except horses, servants, and victuals.” England followed with a decree that no Colonial products could be landed in Ireland until they had first landed in England and paid all English rates and duties. Ireland was forbidden to engage in trade with the colonies and plantations of the New World if it involved sugar, tobacco, cotton, wool, rice, and numerous other items. The only item left for Ireland to import was rum. The English wanted to help English rum makers in the West Indies at the expense of Irish farmers and distillers.

When the Irish were forbidden to export their sheep, they began a thriving trade in wool. In 1634 The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Stafford, wrote to King Charles I: “All wisdom advises us to keep this (Irish) kingdom as much subordinate and dependent on England as possible; and, holding them from manufacture of wool (which unless otherwise directed, I shall by all means discourage), and then enforcing them to fetch their cloth from England, how can they depart from us without nakedness and beggary?” In 1660 even the export of wool from Ireland to England was forbidden. Other English laws prohibited all exports of Irish wool in any form. In 1673, Sir William Temple advised that the Irish would act wisely by giving up the manufacture of wool even for home use, because “it tended to interfere prejudicially with the English woolen trade.”
George II sent three warships and eight other armed vessels to cruise off the coast of Ireland to seize all vessels carrying woolens from Ireland.

Irish linen manufacturing met with the same fate when the Irish were forbidden to export their product to all other countries except England. A thirty percent duty was levied in England, effectively prohibiting the trade. English manufacturers, on the other hand, were granted a bounty for all linen exports.

In 1665 Irish cattle were no longer welcome in England, so the Irish began killing them and exporting the meat. King Charles II declared that the importation of cattle, sheep, swine and beef from Ireland was henceforth a common nuisance, and forbidden. Pork and bacon were soon prohibited, followed by butter and cheese.

In the middle of the 18th century, Ireland began developing a silk weaving industry. Britain imposed a heavy duty on Irish silk, but British-manufactured silk was admitted to Ireland duty-free. Ireland attempted to develop her tobacco industry, but that too was prohibited.

In 1819 England withdrew the subsidy for Irish fisheries and increased the subsidies to British fishermen – with the result that Ireland’s possession of one of the longest coastlines in Europe, still left it with one of the most miserable fisheries.

Late in the 18th century the Irish became known for their manufacture of glass. George II forbade the Irish to export glass to any country whatsoever under penalty of forfeiting ship, cargo and ten shillings per pound weight.

By 1839, a French visitor to Ireland, Gustave de Beaumont, wrote – “In all countries, more or less, paupers may be discovered; but an entire nation of paupers is what was never seen until it was shown in Ireland. To explain the social condition of such a country, it would be only necessary to recount its miseries and its sufferings; the history of the poor is the history of Ireland.”


From the 15th through the 19th centuries, successive English monarchies and governments enacted laws designed to suppress and destroy Irish manufacturing and trade. These repressive Acts, coupled with the Penal Laws, reduced the Irish people to “nakedness and beggary” in a very direct and purposeful way. The destitute Irish then stood at the very brink of the bottomless pit. When the potato blight struck in 1845, it was but time for the final push…..
(From here.)

We are no longer bitter to the point of distraction , nor do we seek ‘revenge’.
But we continue to demand justice.


….or maybe he hadn’t got the right email address?

A Woman’s Email to Her Husband:

My Dear Husband,

I am sending you this letter via this BBS communications thing, so that you will be sure to read it. Please forgive the deception, but I thought you should know what has been going on at home since your computer entered our lives TWO YEARS AGO. The children are doing well. Tommy is seven now and is a bright, handsome boy. He has developed quite an interest in the arts. He drew a family portrait for a school project, all the figures were good, and the back of your head is very realistic. You should be very proud of him.

Little Jennifer turned three in September. She looks a lot like you did at that age. She is an attractive child and quite smart. She still remembers that you spent the whole afternoon with us on her birthday. What a grand day for Jenny, despite the fact that it was stormy and the electricity was out.

I am doing well. I went blonde about a year ago, and discovered that it really is more fun! George, I mean, Mr. Wilson the department head, has uh, taken an interest in my career and has become a good friend to us all.

I discovered that the household chores are much easier since I realised that you didn’t mind being vacuumed but that feather dusting made you sneeze. The house is in good shape. I had the living room painted last spring; I’m sure you noticed it. I made sure that the painters cut holes in the drop sheet so you wouldn’t be disturbed.

Well, my dear, I must be going. Uncle George, uh, Mr. Wilson, I mean, is taking us all on a ski trip and there is packing to do. I have hired a housekeeper to take care of things while we are away, she’ll keep things in order, fill your coffee cup and bring your meals to your desk, just the way you like it. I hope you and the computer will have a lovely time while we are gone. Tommy, Jenny and I will think of you often. Try to remember us while your disks are booting.


Your Wife.

Sometimes we put too much time into our ‘online lives’ and sometimes the amount of time we spend doing computer work is unnecessary – if we are in the right frame of mind and have a decent internet connection and the proper equipment we can get the same amount of work done in maybe half the time. But even having the above is no use if we don’t know where to send our work/enquiry/solution etc or if we send same to the wrong address, which brings me to the point of this unusual (for me, anyway!) post : RSF has recently updated some of its email addresses, and if you now need to contact RSF in Dublin (or the RSF Head Office , 223 Parnell Street in Dublin 1) you can do so via email at dublin@rsf.ie and you can contact the web admin for RSF at admin@rsf.ie ; RSF in Limerick City and County can be contacted at limerick@rsf.ie , Galway RSF at galway@rsf.ie , RSF in Monaghan can be contacted at monaghan@rsf.ie and if your looking for RSF in Cork City and County then email them at cork@rsf.ie , for Kildare RSF contact kildare@rsf.ie and for RSF in Mayo, mayo@rsf.ie.

If we get any more updates from RSF re contact details, we’ll post them here. And if you want to contact the authors of this blog, you can do so at the ‘Leave a comment’ link (at the end of each post) on our ‘WordPress’ site , here.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.

About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
This entry was posted in History/Politics. and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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