BUNDORAN HUNGER STRIKE COMMEMORATION, 2022.

On Saturday 27th August 2022, the Bundoran/Ballyshannon H-Block Committee will be holding a rally in Bundoran, County Donegal, to commemorate the 41st Anniversary of the 1981 Hunger Strike and in memory of the 22 Irish republicans that have died on hunger strike between 1917 and 1981 ; those participating have been asked to form-up at 2.30pm at the East End.


Speakers for the commemoration include Tomás Ó Curraoin and a representitive of the hunger strikers families, and bands in attendance will include the Kevin Lynch MFB Derry and Sons of Ireland from Antrim as well as Sean Doyle, the Glens of Antrim Piper, and a republican function will be held on the Saturday night (27th) in the Emerald Bar and music will be provided by Twice Daily Irish Folk Group.


Hope to see you all there!




ON THIS DATE (24TH AUGUST) 219 YEARS AGO : DEATH IN EXILE OF AN IRISH PATRIOT.




James Napper Tandy (pictured) was born in Dublin in February, 1739, and was baptised in Saint Audoen’s Church, in what is now the Liberties area of Dublin, on the 16th February, 1739.


He was a small businessman and, as such, was aware of how deals were done (then and now) and spoke up against the ‘backhander’ system and was also vocal against the restrictions placed on Irish commerce by Westminster, who were more concerned about English trade and commerce than they were about Irish trade and commerce.


Indeed, his campaign to boycott English goods brought him further to the attention of the ‘authorities’ of the day, and brought the man himself closer to like-minded individuals who also recognised the injustices been done to Ireland and the Irish by the English.


In his early forties he joined ‘The Irish Volunteers’ and gained military experience as an artillery commander and, in 1791, he helped to form a Dublin branch of the ‘Society of United Irishmen’. He became an ever more ‘wanted’ man and was forced into exile in 1793, when he left for Philadelphia and from there to Paris.

The French government knew about him and he was appointed as a General in the French Army and, on the 27th August 1798 (coincidentally, the date Castlebar, in County Mayo, was liberated), at 59 years of age, he sailed from Dunkerque with 270 French Grenadiers (pictured) and a large quantity of weapons, powder and artillery, on board the corvette ‘Anacréon’, a 100-ton ship, armed with fourteen four-pounders and a pair of ‘swivels’, reputed to be the fastest vessel in the French Navy.


On the 16th of September, 1798, he landed at Rutland Island, in Donegal, but circumstances (General Humbert’s defeat at Ballinamuck) dictated that he should return to France and, in November (1798) he was captured in Hamburg and then, in September 1799, he was handed over to the British.


He had arrived in Hamburg (then a neutral state) on the 22nd of November, 1798, and it was there that he was arrested and protracted extradition proceedings followed ; the British arrogantly demanded that he be handed over for ‘trial’ – eventually, he was extradited (on October 1st, 1799) but French retribution was swift ; they re-called their ‘charge d’affaires’ and Consul in Hamburg immediately.

A letter from the Senate of Hamburg to the French, which set out their (Germany) reasons for extraditing James Napper Tandy was returned unopened. The German administration then communicated personally with Napoleon Bonaparte (pictured), whose reply was devastating, and which he published for the edification of the public – “You have violated hospitality, a thing that would not happen among the barbarous hordes of the desert..”


He then promptly ordered trade sanctions (which were not lifted until April 1801) on payment of a fine of 4,500,000 Francs.


Hamburg’s representatives in France were given 24 hours to quit their residences and eight days to leave the country (this all coincided with the return of Bonaparte from Egypt and his assumption of power as First Consul of France).

On the 12th February, 1800, James Napper Tandy was put on ‘trial’ in Dublin and was acquitted, but he remained a prisoner in Lifford Jail in County Donegal until April 1801, when he was ‘tried’ for the ‘treasonable landing on Rutland Island’ ; that ‘trial’ began on the 7th April (1801) and he was charged with ‘treason’.


It was known that he was a member of the United Irishmen and that he was one of the leaders of the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and that he had actively encouraged young Irish people to follow the example of the French people, and rise up against the British with force. He was sentenced to death at Lifford Court, in Donegal, and May 4th, 1801, was fixed as the day of execution. A reprieve was granted until May 28th but, on May 12th that year, his execution was postponed indefinitely.


By 1802 the long war between France and England was coming to an end, and negotiations for peace were under way : ‘Lord’ Cornwallis, the ‘Lord Lieutenant’ who had taken personal command against General Humbert’s army in 1798, was the Chief British negotiator and Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, was the Chief French negotiator.

The signing of the Peace Treaty of Amiens (signed on March 25th, 1802) was delayed when the First Consul instructed his brother to demand that the British comply with one further condition – “General James Napper Tandy must be released from prison and restored ‘au sein de la France’ – to the bosom of France..” and, on the night of Sunday, March 7th, 1802, James Napper Tandy was quietly released from prison and put on board a ship for France ; on March 14th of that year he landed in Bordeaux to military and civic receptions.


He died there, from dysentery, at 64 years of age, as an Irish patriot, on the 24th August, 1803 – 219 years ago on this date. His funeral was, according to media reports of the day, “…attended by the whole army in the district and an immense concourse of citizens..”


His widow is buried in Saint Mary’s churchyard in Julianstown, County Meath, where an inscription reads : “To the memory of Mrs Ann Tandy, died 25 Dec 1820, widow of James Napper Tandy, Irish Patriot and General French Army…”



‘O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?

The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!

No more Saint Patrick’s Day we’ll keep, his colour can’t be seen

For there’s a cruel law ag’in the Wearin’ o’ the Green.






I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand

And he said, “How’s poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?”

“She’s the most distressful country that ever yet was seen

For they’re hanging men and women there for the Wearin’ o’ the Green…” ‘





‘TOMÁS MacCURTAIN COMMEMORATION…’


From ‘The United Irishman’ newspaper, April 1955.




In his oration, Domhnall O Cathain said –


“That they were not always successful in their exposition of the lies or their refutation of crooked arguments is only too true. That their efforts were not entirely in vain is evidenced by the fact that the Movement survived and has today recovered some of its former vitality.


That Tomás MacCurtain was an outstanding leader in the Republican Movement is an historical fact. That his name and his memory is cherished by the big bulk of Irishmen (sic) is also a fact. That many people in public and private are proud to say that they knew Tomás MacCurtain, that they worked with him or served under him, is undeniable. That those statements are made with justifiable pride is entirely understandable.


But far less understandable is why those people do not meet here to honour his memory on one night in one year.


Are they afraid of hearing the ideals and methods of MacCurtain recounted from a platform under the auspices of the organisation in which MacCurtain was one of the guiding spirits…?”



(MORE LATER.)




ON THIS DATE (24TH AUGUST) 144 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF MARGARET MARY PEARSE.

On the 24th of August 1878 – 144 years ago on this date – James and Margaret Pearse (nee Brady), then living in number 27 Great Brunswick Street in Dublin, celebrated the birth of a daughter, Margaret Mary (pictured ; a sister for their future son, Padraig).


As a child, Margaret went to school at the Holy Faith Convent in Glasnevin, Dublin, and liked the experience so much that she wanted to train as a teacher, which she did, even though she didn’t think too much of the education system that existed in the State at the time. And neither did her brothers, Padraig and William – so all three set about establishing their own school, in Cullenswood House, Rathmines, Dublin, in 1908.


In 1916, Padraig and William were executed by the British for their part in the Easter Rising that year, which left Margaret Mary in charge of the school, a position she maintained (with great assistance from Fergus De Búrca) until the early 1930’s.


In the 1930s, the then relatively new ‘Fianna Fáil’ party was on the look-out for ‘names’ to help boost its political profile, and Margaret Mary was approached by two people she knew, a Doctor James McCann and her work colleague, Fergus De Búrca, and it was suggested to her that she join the new party and contest a seat in a Leinster House election for it, in the then ‘Dublin County’ constituency.


She agreed, although one must wonder how and why she did so, as she must have known that Fianna Fáil’s political policy, then and now, was counter to that which her brothers, and thousands of other republican fighters, fought and died for.


In 1933, at 55 years of age, Margaret Mary, who was introduced as ‘a spinster from St Enda’s College’, won a seat in Leinster House for Fianna Fáil but lost that position (on the seventh count) four years later but, as continues to happen now, that failed candidate was ‘tucked away’ in the Free State ‘Senate’ on the so-called ‘Administrative Panel’ for futher use by her Free State party.

Margaret Mary stayed in that well-remunerated talking-shop until she died, at 90 years of age, in 1968, in Linden Convalescent Home in Dublin, on the 7th of November that year.


Sad to say that herself and, indeed, her mother, Margaret, ‘lent themselves’ to Fianna Fáil, and the State, as ‘figureheads’ ie the Fianna Fáil party and the State used their name as leverage when it was seeking votes and political legitimacy.




‘DIVIDED LOYALTIES…’



Ulster loyalism displayed its most belligerent face this year as violence at Belfast’s Holy Cross School made international headlines.

But away from the spotlight, working-class Protestant communities are themselves divided, dispirited and slipping into crisis.


By Niall Stanage.


From ‘Magill’ magazine, Annual 2002.


Since then both have lost momentum, in particular the UDP – the party failed to get anyone elected to the Northern Ireland (sic) Assembly and has subsequently become even more distant from the mainstream. The UDA has drifted back to militarism, with politically-minded activists sidelined by Johnny Adair and his cohorts.


John White denies that the UDA is involved in an orchestrated campaign of violence, and claims that “…90% of its members remain committed to the ceasefire..” . He argues that the UDP was frozen out of negotiations by the British and Irish governments (sic) and that this undermined the organisation’s faith in the political process.


“Back in 1994,” he says, “the UDA felt they were part of the process and that their views were being taken on board. But once we were pushed out there was a view among the rank and file of the UDP that the government had used us to get the ‘Good Friday Agreement’. That affected our credibility with the UDA in a big way…”


(MORE LATER.)




ON THIS DATE (24TH AUGUST) 102 YEARS AGO – BRITISH ‘COPS’ ATTACKED IN CORK.

On Monday, 23rd August 1920, the RIC garrison in Glengarriff (An Gleann Garbh, meaning ‘the Rough Glen’) in County Cork, went out on a ‘seek and destroy’ operation in that small town and one of the houses they raided and wrecked belonged to a Mr Jack Downey (the Commanding Officer of the local IRA Company).



The commandant of the IRA Bantry Battalion, Maurice (Mossy) Donegan, knew if that RIC raid went unanswered, those enemy forces would see such inaction as a ‘green light’ to wreck havoc on the rest of the area, so himself and another local Volunteer leader, Ted Sullivan, organised a strike back : three Volunteers – Michael O’Driscoll (a Volunteer with the Coomhoola IRA Company, Fifth Battalion, Cork Number 3 Brigade), William Dillon and Michael Lucey were briefed on where at least three RIC members would be located on the night of ‘Fair Day’, Tuesday, 24th August 1920 – in a pub.


On the evening of the 24th, the three IRA men entered O’Shea’s Pub in Glengarriff, County Cork, and made their way to the snug area where they found three RIC men relaxing over a few pints. The three IRA men stalled for a few seconds and then walked out of the pub ; Mossy told his two comrades outside that the snug “…was too small to get in after the RIC..there would be no room to move and I decided to wait until they came out…”


And they waited.


When the RIC members left the pub, they were followed at a distance by the three IRA men and, because the streets were still crowded, they went unnoticed. As the three RIC men got nearer to their barracks (about one hundred yards from it) which, incidentally, according to reports at the time, was “…strongly fortified on the latest principles, with wireless installation connected with the military quarters in Bantry..”, the IRA men closed the distance between them and the RIC members and opened fire.


A ‘Constable’ McNamara (who had three years ‘service’ and had been wounded in an earlier IRA attack on an RIC barracks in Durrus, in West Cork) was shot in the head and died immediately, a second RIC member, Patrick Cleary, was wounded, staggered along for a few feet before falling on the footpath (he died from his wounds the next day) and the third RIC member, also wounded, managed to run to the barracks and survived the attack.


One of the IRA Volunteers gave this account later – “We each picked one and opened fire. William Dillon’s gun misfired, and the RIC man he was facing pulled the trigger and also missed fire. Before the RIC man could fire again, he was hit and went down. The RIC barracks was only a hundred yards away, and when the three RIC men were down, we cleared off. One RIC man was shot dead, one died the next day, and the third recovered from his wounds after some time…”


The IRA Volunteers then got into a waiting car and made good their escape.




‘UNITED STAND ONCE MORE.’

(by Micheal O h-Aonghusa.)



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








‘Who fears to rally to Sinn Féin

Or nationhood deny

Heed not what hostile Press proclaims

With splinter-party cries.






For duty to your country calls

To you from shore to shore

That freedom for all Ireland be

For Sinn Féin to restore.






Who fears to march on with Sinn Féin

Upholding Ireland’s fight

As did the men
(sic) of ’98

United side by side.






They gave their all for country’s Cause

Against the common foe –

In tribute to their memory

United stand once more.

(END of ‘United Stand Once More’ ; NEXT – ‘Sinn Féin Victory’, from the same source.)




ON THIS DATE (24TH AUGUST) 342 YEARS AGO – DEATH OF AN UNSETTLED CHARACTER (!)

‘…as a Parliamentarian during the English Civil War, Colonel Thomas Blood had been deprived of his estate in Ireland with the restoration of the monarchy in 1660. By 1663 he’d hatched a plot to kidnap the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, James Butler, the Duke of Ormonde, a supporter of King Charles II.


The plot failed and although some of his accomplices were captured and executed, Blood managed to escape by fleeing to the United Dutch Provinces. Now a wanted man, in 1670 Blood returned to England and is believed to have assumed the name of Ayloffe, practising as a doctor or an apothecary in Romford Market…’ (From here.)


Thomas Blood was born in County Clare in 1618 (apparently!) and lived for 62 adventure-filled years, during which he gained notoriety as a conman, a desperado and an all-round rogue. He is perhaps best know for his attempt to steal the British Crown Jewels from the Tower of London on the 9th May, 1671 (around the same time that some of those that knew him suspected that he was a government agent), or maybe for setting-out to kidnap and kill the British Duke of York. Or perhaps others will tell you that he made his name when he switched allegiances from ‘Royalist’ to ‘Roundhead’ during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms!


His ‘Crown Jewel heist’ was partially successful in that he and his fellow-heisters (!) escaped with the British ‘Imperial State Crown’ and ‘Coronation Regalia’, which were hidden in the breeches of one of his accomplices. They were captured on the wharf outside the Tower, and he tongue-in-cheekily acknowledged that the robbery was “…a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful. But it was for a Crown..”


He associated with ‘dissidents’ in Ireland who had been identified by Westminster as being responsible for an ‘abortive coup d’état in Ireland’ and his name had surfaced during investigations into ‘countless conspiracies against the Crown’, including the attempted assassination of a former British ‘viceroy’ in Ireland, James Butler (the ‘1st Duke of Ormond’).



On (at least!) one occasion, he hid among the reeds etc alongside the River Thames, near the town of Battersea, near Wandsworth, intending to shoot a member of the ‘establishment’, Charles II, who was a regular at that secluded spot where he went skinny-dipping!


Apparently, Mr Blood had his target in his gunsight but seemingly became distracted (!) and didn’t fire because, as he said later, “…my heart stopped me, out of awe for his majesty..”


The ‘colourful’ (and artful!) Colonel Thomas Blood died, age 62, at his home in Bowling Alley, Westminster, on the 24th August, 1680 – 342 years ago on this date – after falling into a coma two days earlier.


Such was his reputation, however, that the powers-that-be authorised that his body be exhumed to verify whether he was dead or not!


He was!



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Thanks for the visit, and for reading!


We won’t be here next Wednesday, 31st August 2022, as we’ll probably still be recovering from our working holiday : the ‘1169’ team (and the Girl Gang!) are off to Bundoran on Thursday 25th, for the Hunger-Strike Rally, and we won’t be back in Dublin until Tuesday 30th. It’s a part-work, part-break trip, and we’re looking forward to it – working and partying with our colleagues, in an Irish republican environment!


We’ll be here, up to our usual shenanigans, on Wednesday, 7th September, 2022. And, sure, between this and then, I’ll more than likely have a few words (!) to be sayin’ on Twitter and Facebook ; see ya in Bundoran on the 27th, or over on those other platforms, and again, hopefully – see ya back here on the 7th September!

Sharon and the team.







About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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