‘It was late afternoon of a warm day (on Thursday, 2nd June 1921) in Carrowkennedy, County Mayo. Irish Volunteer Jimmy O’Flaherty heard the warning cry, “HERE THEY COME!” and pushed the butt of his Lee-Enfield .303 into his shoulder, flipped the safety off, and tilted his head to right to line up his sights.

He could hear the two RIC Crossley Tenders approaching from the south. A bead of sweat dripped down his back as he saw the lead truck come into view. Jimmy had served with the Connaught Rangers in WWI. He felt the familiar nervous tension of impending combat, but his training took over. He lined up his sights on driver of the first truck…’ (from here.)

IRA Major General Michael Kilroy (who was later to be appointed as the Commandant of the 4th Western Battalion of the IRA) was in command of the IRA’s West Mayo Flying Column, comprising about 30 Volunteers when, on the 2nd June, 1921 – 100 years ago on this date – they ambushed a convoy of RIC and Black and Tans who had just vacated Darby Hastings pub in Carrowkennedy.

A fierce firefight ensued resulting in the immediate deaths of eight Black and Tans, two more of whom were wounded and died later. The survivors from that particular British expedition, about sixteen RIC/Tans, had sought refuge in a near-by cottage and then surrendered themselves to the IRA Flying Column. They were relieved of their weapons and ammunition, which were added to the Lewis Machine Gun and the various rifles which the IRA confiscated from those enemy forces that day.

The negative aspect of that excellent job, however – as far as this blog is concerned anyway – is the fact that Michael Kilroy later joined the then newly-formed Fianna Fáil party and was elected, in 1927, as a Leinster House representative for that grouping. But he at least ‘done the country some service’ before he decided to ‘do the (free) state [and himself] some service’.


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

Patriotism the Remedy ;

But patriotism is frowned upon today by those responsible for education although there are, thank God, the individual teachers who can rise above the cold, anglicised, anti-national curriculum of the State Department of Education.

The reason for this frowning on patriotism is obvious – our national schools, colleges and universities might produce the patriots who, in a few short years, would embarrass the Kildare Street servants of the British Crown by attacking the British occupation forces.

Evidently, the educationalists would have our tongues profain Gaedhilge while we remain acquiescent in the face of the occupation of part of Pearse’s Republic. No! A revival of true patriotism must precede Aithbheochaint na Gaedhilge… (MORE LATER.)


..in 1772 : The British Parliament passed an Act which permitted Catholics in Ireland to lease bogland from them or from their ‘legal representatives’ in Ireland. Bit like a thief robbing your car and offering to lease it back to you.

..in 1774 : An Act of ‘the Irish Parliament’ (which was the ‘Legislature of the Lordship of Ireland/the Kingdom of Ireland’, and was modelled on, and established in Ireland, by the Parliament of England) permitted Irish Catholics ‘to testify their allegiance’ to an English ‘king’. Up to then, I suppose, we could just simply tell him to get stuffed!

..in 1949 : the British Parliament, Westminster, passed an Act ‘declaring the special relationship of Irish citizens to the United Kingdom’ and affirming the status of what they called ‘Northern Ireland’ – ie the Occupied Six Counties – as ‘being within the United Kingdom’. Naw. Bad trade – keep your “special relationship” and give us our Six Counties back. Thanks anyway.


‘Esther Vanhomrigh (an Irish woman of Dutch descent, pictured) died on this day in 1723. She was the lover of the famous Irish writer Jonathan Swift, after meeting him as a young woman. The two exchanged several letters as their relationship grew. Swift referred to her as ‘Vanessa’, a name derived from the Dutch prefix Van in her last name, and ‘Esse’, an affectionately shortening of her first name.

After her parents died, Vanessa went to live with Swift as they were already romantically involved. However, she was desperately unhappy in Ireland with no friends or family around her. Swift had also began a relationship with another woman. Vanessa confronted him and told him to stop seeing her. He refused so she left him and returned to England.

Vanessa had a difficult life after she left Swift, struggling financially with large debts she had inherited from her mother. She nursed her sister when she died of tuberculosis, and died herself a short time later…’ (from here.)

Jonathan Swift (aka ‘Isaac Bickerstaff’) was a somewhat politically confused individual ; he was practically born, reared and educated as an Irish ‘Whig’ and was recruited to that grouping by Joseph Addison but, after working and associating with them for a number of years he came to the belief that they were too ‘liberal’ (!) so, when an even more right-wing outfit, the ‘Tories’, offered him a political home, he accepted the offer.

His writing skills had been recognised for years and he took up a position with the ‘Tories’ as a PR-type person, writing leaflets for the foot-soldiers to distribute, and writing political articles for publication and was further rewarded for same with his appointment as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.

Like the other financially stable ‘toffs’ that he was in with, his opinions on the Irish (despite the fact that he himself was Irish!) were less than forgiving ; he wrote an artice entitled ‘A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People from Being a Burthen to their Parents, or the Country, and for Making them Beneficial to the Publick’, which was published anonymously, and in which he jokingly and satirically (?) wrote that Ireland’s overpopulation and dire economic conditions could be alleviated if the babies of poor Irish parents were sold as edible delicacies to be eaten by the rich (which, no doubt, would have drawn guffaws from his Whig/Tory friends).

In the early 1740’s, already suffering from Ménière’s disease, he was inflicted with a paralytic stroke which left him with an inability to communicate – he found it difficult to speak, write or understand language, both verbal and written, and was declared to be unable to care for himself.

He died in 1745, just six weeks shy of his 78th birthday, and is buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. On his memorial tablet is an epitaph of his own composition, which states that he lies ‘where savage indignation can no longer tear his heart.’
We wonder was it the Irish, the Whigs or the Tories that gave rise to his feelings of “savage indignation”?


Why the media consensus on a broad range of issues is increasingly disturbing.

By John Drennan.

From ‘Magill’ Annual, 2002.

Though the Cardinal didn’t say anything in Salem, our consensus can devine what you are thinking. Somewhere along the line, poor defenceless Celia had been snubbed by the cruel Cardinal. There was one consolation for Bertie – the subsequent great outpouring of sympathy from ‘hurt’ commentators cemented Celia’s position as official first lady. Why couldn’t the Cardinal just wake up and live in the present?

This was followed by more ructions after the Cardinal made some inoffensive remarks about the intellectual caoacities of his opposite number. The fact that his opposite number agreed with the Cardinal was irrelevant. After all you can’t take any chances. Best to keep your foot on the neck of the sort of serpent who is opposed to liberal individualism.

As the ‘hurt’ mob rolled out again (would our grandfathers have been so easily injured?) the barrage was as inspiring as all of its predecessors. Nothing was free from the begrudgery of our sour puritans. Even some harmless remarks by the Cardinal about how he was once saved by his guardian angel from a burglar inspired vinegarish sneers such as ‘Where were the guardian angels of the children abused by priests…?’ (‘1169’ comment – given the circumstances – indeed, given any circumstances – a valid question.) (MORE LATER.)


On the 2nd June, 1994 – 27 years ago on this date – 29 people, including ten senior British ‘police officers’ (RUC) in Ireland, died during the 1994 Scotland RAF Chinook helicopter crash at Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. They were travelling from Belfast to a ‘security conference’ in Inverness.

In 1994, the PIRA were in the process of ending their campaign to remove the British military and political presence from Ireland and ‘go respectable’ (ie constitutional), a process which actually slowly began in 1983 and was built on in 1986, when their colleagues in PSF decided to work and operate within Free State structures, thereby confining themselves to ‘tweaking’ the State system, rather than changing it.

Not all of the ‘players’ in unionism/loyalism, in Westminster or, indeed, in this State, were agreeable that PIRA members and PSF members should be afforded the luxury (!) of such a new beginning and voices (and tempers) against “forgiving the terrorists” made themselves heard within unionism/loyalism, Westminster, and this State.

And then, practically in the middle of the political and military toing-and-froing, the British organised a ‘security conference’ in Scotland and tasked some of their people in the Occupied Six Counties to attend same ; ten senior ‘RUC intelligence officers’, nine British Army ‘intelligence officers’ and six M15 operatives from the occupied area were known to have perished in the helicopter incident and, to put it mildly, not all of those politically and military ‘heavy’ individuals would have been in favour of hugging a perceived ‘black sheep’ or, as academic Sydney Elliott put it –“The loss of such senior intelligence personalities probably ensured the political case for a peace process (sic) to go ahead despite the recent successes against PIRA…”

Recent discussion in relation to the Chinook incident has included talk about ‘…internal (British) Ministry of Defence housekeeping…a litany of deceit and subterfuge…wide ranging cover-up in relation to the crash…the conspiracy theory that the Chinook was deliberately downed by someone..’ and, bearing in mind that the British, like all imperialists and colonisers, have no permanent friends, only permanent interests, who knows what really happened on this date, 27 years ago, regarding that incident…?


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

Out of O’Connell’s moral force was begotten the ‘Irish Parliamentary Party’ ; out of the ‘Young Ireland’ movement was begotten the Republican Brotherhood and the Rising of 1916.

Britain, by ruthlessness and intrigue, crushed the flowering of freedom and imposed by force – the threat of immediate and terrible war – the partition of our country and the disunity of our people.

We do not doubt the sincerity of Mr. Cosgrave and his colleagues when they advocate the use of “moral pressure”. We do not doubt the sincerity of any Irishman who advocates policies different from ours. But we do doubt their wisdom. In the face of present-day realities, in the face of our history and our traditions, there can be only one wise national policy – to break the connection with England, and be prepared to meet British force with Irish force when necessary.

(END of ‘Force : Moral or Physical?’ ; NEXT – ‘Talk, Force and Politicians’, from the same source.)

Thanks for reading,


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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