'Regan, so it seems like I know you already! I've written four novels set in Ireland (three based around the War of Independence). I see that you gave a talk on the Christmas Truce, which tells me you like your history. I have a blog - historywithatwist.wordpress.com - which you might or might not like. I live in Greystones, Co Wicklow and am married, with four children. That's enough about me. Hope we can stay in touch. All the best, David…
Martin fought in the GPO in 1916. He was interned that Easter; firstly at Ballykinlar and later in Frongoch in Wales. During the war of Independence he was active in Carlow/Kilkenny. In this period he was arrested and detained in Mountjoy prison. Martin went on to become a founding member of the Irish Police Force (An Garda Siochana). He retired as chief superintendent of the force. He remains were buried in Barntown's Cemetery, Wexford in May 1947.
The Thomas Lynch referred to in early text, most likely, was educated by Michael Lynch and Bridget Healy. Thus, at least, there is that connection, but no more, John…
et revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish volunteers and the Irish citizens Army, have patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory"
Roger casement was disillusioned ( which perhaps led to depression) with Germany's response of ammunition and 20,000 rifles. Instead he hoped there would also have been German 'boots on the ground' The failure of this mission played a huge part in the confusion regarding the timing of the 'right moment to reveal itself ' .
This failure could have been a blessing in disguise, especially for the people of Kerry. Ballymullen Barracks in Tralee was the primary recruitment base for the Royal Munster Fusiliers and was heavily involved in recruitment at that time with over a thousand men and more in training there. Most of them would have been Irish and many from Tralee and surrounding area. They would probably have been drawn into a reluctant war a type of civil war with other Irishmen had these guns landed. It was generally the British policy in Ireland at that time to leave the issues of policing and combating the insurgents in the War of Independence to the RIC the Black and Tans and to the Auxiliaries. But this was different and the Rebellion was the very start, prior to any such policies being formulated.
On a national scale this failure led to confusion and countermanding of orders regarding mobilization from the head man Eóin Mc Neill who changed his mind after being misinformed and then on learning the truth of it changed his mind again. So much for meticulous planning. I think it reasonable that McNeill had knowledge of this proclamation and its contents. The question here is if the Rebellion was planned for Easter Sunday where was the evidence of 'resolutely waiting for the right moment' A shopkeeper would be a poor one indeed if he waited until the Easter weekend to get in his supply of Easter Eggs. The importation of these guns would require distribution and then training in their use, tasks that would be difficult to achieve in a couple of days. So the planning / timing was askew.
Its no wonder men like Bulmer Hobson gave up on these schemes and retired into obscurity. Again this failure due to bad planning may have been a blessing nationally, as the Rebellion as it was, was confined to Dublin. Had the guns arrived and the entire country rise, the spectacular failure of the 1916 Rising would not have been realized. The martyrdom of the leaders was the greatest coup for Independence as we have learned. This decision to have the leaders shot was down to this failure of a successful importation of arms but as stated in the Proclamation...'by gallant allies in Europe' This was seen as the ultimate treason the ultimate attempt at sedition.
So all considered regarding the 'what ifs' we could say the best thing for Ireland, the best failure of its history could be put down to "No answering signal from the Shore" Those unfortunate men at Ballykissane in their fervor went to their deaths for an ideal but was it needless?
WW2. A number of Jewish people were killed in the Blitz there too, as Belfast had received many children under the Kindertransport scheme.
Here in England, the news about President Kennedy was received as just another news item, albeit sad and shocking, except within the Irish community of course. Interestingly, the Irish Protestants in my neighbourhood were as saddened at the news as were the Catholics. He was mourned as an Irishman, not as a Catholic. It strikes me that, in issues that really matter, being Irish seems to be more important than church.
By the way, the only 'Black & Tan' hanged for murder during the War of Independence was an Irishman - a Dubliner and a Protestant. You'll find a review of my book 'Running with Crows' [my author name is DJ Kelly] here at The Wild Geese and also details of it here in the Green Pages. My research for the book centred around the Dublin community in which the executed William Mitchell had grown up. My research taught me that, back then, Dubliners cleaved to their local communities rather than to their churches. The United Irishmen (arguably the first serious movement towards unity and independence) were men of all faiths. It's fascinating to read about them.
When next you visit Dublin, do go into St Michan's church, where you can 'shake hands' with a long-dead crusader down in the vaults. Churches are great repositories of our history.
ame answer may well indeed be given to those who would have us commemorate, next month, the centenary of the enactment of Home Rule. What is there to commemorate in the passing of a Bill that was never allowed to be implemented?
To look at the question we must take three issues into consideration. The first of these being the intransigence of the conservative British establishment and aristocracy to any question of granting home rule to Ireland.
The second issue we must look at is the political mood that existed in Ireland with the background of World War I and the influence that war had on the leaders of the Rising of 1916.
The third issue we must consider are the values that were enshrined in the Proclamation of the Irish Republic on that fateful Easter Monday
Conservative politicians, the aristocracy and the top echelons of the British military had always been appalled at any idea of home rule for Ireland. As far back as 1886 Lord Randolph Churchill, was the first to realise the ‘Orange card was the card to play’. The Liberal Party that had supported Home Rule under Gladstone moved away from that policy under Asquith. But the Conservative and the Liberal parties always operated in the interests of British politics, and never in the interests of Ireland.
In their resistance to home rule, elements in the British army and the Conservative establishment were prepared to fraternise with Germany in order to obtain illegal weapons for Carson’s rebels at a time when they were well aware that they were likely to be at war with Germany sooner rather than later. A fraternisation for which Roger Casement would be charged with treason and later hanged.
The Easter Rising
It must be remembered that the Easter Rising did not occur in isolation; it took place in the middle of World War I. The leaders had watched thousands of young men being sacrificed on the battlefields of Europe, ostensibly for the ‘freedom of small nations’, and had decided that it was ‘better to die ‘neath an Irish sky’ in a fight for their own ‘small nation’. And yes they were pragmatic enough to realise they would need arms and support from ‘allies in Europe’ those same sources that had supplied arms to Carson’s Ulster rebels; an action to which Britain had turned a blind eye.
When he addressed his court martial accusers’, Pearce said, ‘Germany means no more to me than England does’. Connolly had displayed a banner across the front of Liberty Hall, which read. We Serve Neither King Nor Kaiser. These were hardly the actions of men who were in the pay of or had been duped by Germany. As the Proclamation stated they relied first on their ‘own strength’. At his court martial Connolly said ‘We believe the call we made was in a holier cause than any call made during this war’.
John Redmond, in his address to the Irish Volunteers at Woodenbridge (Aug 1914), had sent thousands of Irishman to their deaths in the interests of conflicting empires. This he did without any consultation with his own party. Such were the times and the deeds that convinced thinking men and women to abandon Home Rule, the Monarchy and the rule of Westminster and declare an Irish Republic; where they would be citizens and not subjects.
The claim that many families ‘of minority religions were made to feel unwelcome in Ireland and some left as Ireland became a less diverse society’ is true. The first ten years of independence saw Ireland run by ‘a native gombeen ascendency buttressed by the Roman Catholic Church’. Later there was De Valera’s Roman Catholic fiefdom and a ‘privileged position’ for that religion as part of the state apparatus. A situation that was not helped by the inconsiderate pronouncement of Cardinal McRory, that soon there would not be Protestant left in the country. None of which can be sheeted home to the men of 1916.
Values enshrined in the Proclamation
The declared aims of the Proclamation of the Republic were stated thus: ‘The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens…. cherishing all the children of the nation equally’. This was again ratified by the first Dail in 1919 in The Democratic Programme:
….we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation…. It shall be our duty to promote the development of the Nation’s resources, to increase the productivity of its soil, to exploit its mineral deposits, peat bogs, and fisheries, its waterways and harbours, in the interests and for the benefit of the Irish people.
For over ninety years since independence these aims and ideals have been neglected by successive governments in the southern Irish state. Had they been adhered to perhaps the Ulster unionists may have found less reason to resist a unified country. Instead there has been a move away from the principles of the Republic and a concerted effort in support of revisionism; with every excuse being used to rewrite history rather than to accept that the ideals of Easter Week and later the Democratic Programme and the War of Independence, have never been achieved.
In this era of globalisation, and the demise of the nation state, one may ask why it is essential at all to answer or even discuss the questions of events that occurred a hundred years ago. And the answer must surely be that the values of the Irish Republic have been enshrined in the hearts of Irishmen and Irishwomen wherever green is worn. As Thomas McDonagh said of the Proclamation ‘It lives. It lives. From minds alive with Ireland's brilliant intellect it sprang…. Such documents do not die’.
No, ‘the same destination, at which we eventually arrived anyway’ is not the last stop on the road for the many that believe in the aims of a true Republic as outlined above.
Rather than commemorate the centenary of a failed Home Rule Bill, it may be more appropriate to declare a National Day of Mourning for a failed Republic.
t with Valerie.
From the film's website, at http://www.shalomireland.com/
"Shalom Ireland is a documentary about Ireland's remarkable, yet little known Jewish community. The one hour film chronicles the history of Irish Jewry while celebrating the unique culture created by blending Irish and Jewish traditions. From gun running for the Irish Republican Army during Ireland's War of Independence to smuggling fellow Jews escaping from the Holocaust into Palestine, Shalom Ireland tells the untold story of how Irish Jews participated in the creation and development of both Ireland and Israel.
The film aired on RTÉ, Ireland's national public broadcaster, and has screened at more than a hundred film festivals, community centers, universities and synagogues around the world."
You can purchase the DVD at http://www.shalomireland.com/ in either NTSC or PAL format for $29.00.…