MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
(from here.)
Republican Sinn Féin will hold its National Commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. Those attending are requested to assemble at the Garden of Remembrance at 1.45pm, and the parade will leave for the GPO at 2pm.

RSF Head Office will distribute 2,000 items of printed material (sample of same, pictured, left) on the day, between the Ambassador exhibition hall/event centre and O’Connell Bridge. Those printed items have been assembled into 500 ‘packs’ of four, and will be handed out, free of charge, on a ‘first-up-best-dressed’ basis and all genuine republicans are welcome to attend this 100th anniversary commemoration!


By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.


Grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement, and all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months. Many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Seán Wynne, supervising teacher, the education unit in Portlaoise Prison and the education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer, print unit, Arbour Hill.

First Print : November 1999, reprinted March 2000, illustrations by D O’Hare, Zack and Natasha. Photograph selection : Eamonn Kelly and Harry Melia.


My cell has a window, a small barred window
its form is rigid, confining, constant
it defines my being
its shards pierce my soul
each steel piece, a rod of fear
a bar of hate
I huddle in the gloom
and acknowledge the dark of my pain.

My cell has a window, a small barred window
through it I see freedom
I feel the sun’s warmth, the soft summer breeze,
I hear birds sing,
the children’s laughter and play
from the school yard
I hear the train, steel on steel,
pulsing and pulling
through the deep trees, the green fields
past the houses, over the bridge
down by the pathways.

Each spaced gap a ray of excitement
a moment of longings
a glimpse of beauty
and I know I can’t be contained.

Dermot Griffin.



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

Biographical Note : Jim McCann is a community worker from the Upper Springfield area in West Belfast. Although born in the Short Strand, he was reared in the Loney area of the Falls Road. He comes from a large family (average weight about 22 stone!). He works with Tús Nua (a support group for republican ex-prisoners in the Upper Springfield), part of the Upper Springfield Development Trust. He is also a committee member of the ‘Frank Cahill Resource Centre’, one of the founders of ‘Bunscoil an tSléibhe Dhuibh’, the local Irish language primary school and Naiscoil Bharr A’Chluanaí, one of the local Irish language nursery schools.

His first publication last year by Glandore was ‘And the Gates Flew Open : the Burning of Long Kesh’. He hopes to retire on the profits of his books. Fat chance!


I asked Dede what he would be doing with his Lev Yashin goalkeepers gloves and I agreed with the doctor’s prognosis that Dede’s answer of what I could do with his Lev Yashin goalkeeper’s gloves would prove both a medical and surgical impossibility. Although, if Dede had got a grip on me, I dare say he would have had a go at it.

Looking back at it now – the whole tragic episode – I don’t blame or hold any animosity towards Dede for costing me the ‘Man of the Match’ award. I have learned that life is too short to harbour any thoughts of revenge or retribution and, as I have already stated, I suppose Dede thought that it was important at the time. I forgive him.

(*Author’s Note : I have consulted both the Oxford English Dictionary and the De Bhaldraithe Irish dictionary, as the word processor I am using does not recognise the verb ‘ambuled’ (‘to be rushed to hospital’). Amazingly, when I searched the Oxford-English dictionary all I could find was the noun ‘ambulance’ (from the same root) but no reference to the verb ‘ambuled’. The Oxford-English dictionary people and scrabblers, please note! More surprisingly, on looking through the Irish dictionary under the present tense of the free-verb, ‘Otharcharrtar’ (‘is rushed to hospital’) it wasn’t there, either. Dochreidte!)
(Next [from the same source] – “Thank You, Boys, Thank You”. Part One.)


‘Magill’ magazine has unearthed new information which raises a grim but important question : were explosives from within this Republic used in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings? It is a question which, bizarrely, also encompasses the controversial Dónal de Róiste case. By Don Mullan, author of the book ‘The Dublin and Monaghan Bombings’.
From ‘Magill’ magazine, February 2003.


On 1st April 1974, Captain Patrick Walshe was assigned responsibility for guarding the ‘Irish Industrial Explosives Factory’ at Clonagh, County Meath and, from the moment he set foot in Clonagh, he was alarmed at the lack of security around the factory, which was handling hundreds of tons of high explosive material. He immediately feared the potential consequences of this, if the explosives were to be stolen by outsiders sympathetic to the IRA’s bombing campaign in the North.

Walshe’s concerns were such that he immediately began to document the security flaws at Clonagh and report them to his army superiors. During a 10-month duty assignment at the factory he prepared and submitted 32 detailed reports, including high quality photographs, highlighting the resultant easy access to Clonagh for anyone who might wish to avail of its deadly stockpile. He felt the need to deliver so many reports because of what he considered a carefree attitude being adopted by people in authority, including politicians of the day, who were made aware of the situation.

Walshe says he was particularly alarmed when the Dublin and Monaghan bombs exploded on the 17th May 1974, murdering 33 civilians, and feared it was an act of retaliation by the British for the lack of security at Clonagh. British military intelligence has long been suspected of colluding with the UVF to carry out the synchronised attack. Responding to a question about the attacks on Dublin and Monaghan in Peter Taylor’s 1999 BBC documentary ‘Loyalists’ , David Ervine of the ‘Progressive Unionist Party’ chillingly described them as a way of “returning the serve”.

In recent months information has surfaced which has lent weight to Patrick Walshe’s fears and, indeed, his suspicions that Clonagh was a supply source for the IRA bombing campaign in the North was confirmed prior to Christmas 2002 by former Taoiseach Dr Garrett Fitzgerald in his new book, ‘Reflections on the Irish State’, in which he makes the following statement : “I particularly recall how furious I was in the mid-1970’s at the discovery that the British Army in Northern Ireland (sic) had known for 18 months that explosives being used by the IRA were being stolen from a particular explosives factory in our state but had not told us about this, apparently because they preferred to use this leakage as a propaganda weapon against us than to save lives in Northern Ireland (sic) by stopping it.” (MORE LATER.)[NOTE – see our ‘EXCLUSIVE!’ piece, below…]


Joseph Denieffe (pictured,left), was born in Kilkenny City in 1833 and died, 77 years later, in Chicago, America, after 63 years of service in the Cause of Irish republicanism.

Joseph Denieffe grew up to become a tailor by trade and, while in his early teens, witnessed Daniel O’Connell’s campaign for the ‘Repeal of the Act of Union’ and would have been just ten years young when approximately one million people assembled at what was known in its day as a ‘Monster Meeting’ at the Royal Hill of Tara in County Meath on 15th August 1843. He would have heard, on that day, the speech delivered to that vast crowd by Daniel O’Connell, who stated – “We are at Tara of the Kings – the spot from which emanated the social power, the legal authority, the right to dominion over the furthest extremes of the land. The strength and majority of the national movement was never exhibited so imposingly as at this great meeting. The numbers exceed any that ever before congregated in Ireland in peace or war. It is a sight not grand alone but appalling – not exciting merely pride, but fear. Step by step we are approaching the great goal of Repeal of the Union, but it is at length with the strides of a giant…”

Imagine the scene as a ten-years-young child must have seen it : shoulder-to-shoulder with people packed together as far as a child could see ; one million people, defiantly cheering and clapping at a lone figure on a wooden platform as he shook his fist and shouted rebelliously in the direction of Westminster. It was a day that was to have a life-long effect on young Joseph Denieffe, and thousands of other young boys and girls, and men and women. When he was twelve years young, Joseph Denieffe would have witnessed the ‘Great Hunger’ (‘An Gorta Mór’, 1845-1852) when an estimated one million people died on the land and another one million people emigrated in ‘coffin ships’, and he would have noticed how Daniel O’Connell and the other career politicians did not suffer, how the Church leaders would bless the dead and pray for the dying before retiring to their big house for a meal, after which they would sleep contently in a warm bed as a million people died around them. Others, too, noticed that injustice – William Smith O’Brien, a follower of Daniel O’Connell’s, was one of the many who had grown impatient ; he helped to establish the ‘Young Ireland’ group, with the intention of organising an armed rising against the British.

Joseph Denieffe joined the ‘Young Ireland’ group in 1847 (the year of its formation) – he was fourteen years young. He worked with William Smith O’Brien (who, as an ‘English Gentleman’, was an unusual Irish rebel – he had been educated at Harrow, had a fine English accent and actually sat in Westminster Parliament for a good few years!) and others for the following four years when, at eighteen years of age (in 1851) , the economics of the day dictated emigration. He ended up in New York, and contacted a number of Irish Fenians in that city – John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny and, at only twenty-two years of age (in 1855), he assisted in the establishment of an Irish republican group in America – the ‘Emmet Monument Association’ – which sought to raise an army to force England out of Ireland. That group decided to send Joseph Denieffe back to Ireland to organise a branch of the organisation there and, by 1856, a small but active branch of the Association was up and running in County Kilkenny. Its membership included such well-known Irish rebels as Thomas Clarke Luby, Peter Langan and Philip Gray.
On hearing of the establishment of the ‘Emmet Monument Association’ in Ireland and America, another Irish rebel , James Stephens, returned to Ireland as he was interested in the objectives of the new group – Stephens himself had taken part in military action against the British in 1848, with William Smith O’Brien , in the town of Ballingarry in Tipperary, and had fled to Paris to escape an English jail sentence, or worse. By 1857, he had established a branch of the ‘Emmet Monument Association’ in Dublin.

The leadership of the Association in America – John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny – then sent one of their most trusted men, Owen Considine, to Ireland to assist in organising a fighting force in the country. In December 1857, Joseph Denieffe returned to America on a fundraising mission ; he stayed there until about March in 1858 and, having raised eighty pounds – a good sum of money in those days – he came back to Ireland. On St Patricks Day that year (17th March, 1858) , Joseph Denieffe made his next move – he met with Thomas Clark Luby and James Stephens, as arranged, on that St. Patricks Day in 1858 and the three men then founded the ‘Irish Republican Brotherhood’, a military organisation whose aim was to overthrow British mis-rule in Ireland. The following day, Joseph Denieffe returned to America to continue his fund-raising activities – but political trouble was brewing in America, too. Talk, and fear, of a civil war was everywhere. To make matters worse for his fund-raising efforts, James Stephens and John O’Mahony had fallen out over the direction that armed resistance to the British was going. America was now home to literally millions of Irish men and women who had been forced to leave Ireland because of British interference and the effect An Gorta Mór had on them yet, as far as James Stephens was concerned, John O’Mahony and the American leadership had failed to harness enough support amongst the Irish for an armed campaign against the British.

James Stephens accused John O’Mahony and his people in America of being “Irish tinsel patriots (who make) speeches of bayonets, gala days and jolly nights, banners and sashes, bunkum and filibustering, responding in glowing language to glowing toasts on Irish national independence over beakers of fizzling champagne…” and it was in the middle of the above turmoil that Joseph Denieffe found himself in America in the early 1860’s. Fund-raising in those circumstances was not possible, but he stayed in that country, perhaps hoping that, when things settled down, he could carry-on with his task. He never ‘lost the faith’ – he was now living in Chicago and was in his early-thirties. He continued his work for Irish freedom and, even though the immediate momentum had been lost, he stayed in America, spreading the word and building contacts for the Irish republican cause. In 1904, at seventy-one years of age, he wrote a number of articles for the New York newspaper ‘The Gael’ ; those articles were later published as a book, entitled – ‘A Personal Narrative of the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood’, and is a fantastic read for those interested in the history of the on-going struggle for full Irish freedom.

At 77 years of age, Joseph Denieffe died in Chicago, on the 20th April, 1910 – 106 years ago on this date – having proudly given sixty-three years of his life to the Irish cause, working for the most part either in the background or underground, never seeking the limelight. He is not as well-known as he should be but, like all true Irish republicans, his objective was to promote and further the Irish cause, not himself.

This land of mine, the old man said,
will be alive when we are dead,
my fathers words still ring divine – “God Bless this lovely land of mine.”


Yes, seriously – John Bruton has gone public on his knowledge of British Army dress etiquette and one must say he sounds pretty peeved about it! But first – my own claim to fame which, incidentally, happens to be in a ‘shared space’ with the aforementioned Mr. Bruton (shudder!).

On Sunday, 10th April last, the ‘Sunday Times’ newspaper published an article on page 4 entitled ‘De Róiste dismissal case hits impasse as he rejects review’ and, in a comment on same, I emailed them the following…
‘Dear Sir/Madam,
A chara,
In connection with Justine McCarthy’s article on 10th April last (‘De Róiste dismissal case hits impasse as he rejects review’, page 4) your readers may be interested to know that an article from 2003, by Don Mullan, entitled ‘Explosive Questions’ (published in ‘Magill’ magazine, February 2003) regarding that same issue, is currently being posted on the Irish history and politics blog ‘1169 And Counting’. The many finer details in the Mullan piece set the stage expertly for those interested in the de Róiste case and would be of interest to your readers.

Go raibh maith agat,
Sharon O Suillibhan, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.’

…and they published most of it on Sunday 17th April 2016, meaning that the price of my autographs just doubled!

In that same issue of the ‘Sunday Times’ (17th April 2016), in the ‘You Say’ column of their ‘Culture’ magazine, a John Bruton (!) had a letter published in which he ‘tut-tutted’ television programme makers for their carelessness in how they present British Army etiquette in their work –

– but that couldn’t possibly be the ‘John Bruton’ we know who, as a proud Irishman, would never offer ‘jolly hockeysticks’ to the British ‘royal family’ or its military, surely. Could it…?

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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