Quiet determination -- I think that's what he had. He was passionate about the Irish language, Irish history and culture, the Irish way of life.
Above, oil painting of Patrick Pearse at Ros Muc, Connemara
He saw what the English education system was doing, trying to stamp out any indigenous cultures, and produce obedient servants of the British Empire.
“I thank the goodness and the grace that on my birth has smiled and made me in this Christian age, a happy English child” – this was the prayer in Irish National School readers, before 1916. This was the attitude that he rebelled against - and was determined to change.
Pearse's Cottage, Ros Muc
Patrick Pearse had a cottage in Ros Muc and last year at Easter, Fionnuala and I went over there to join in the local commemorations of the Easter Rising.
We heard many stories about Pearse from people in the area, people whose grandparents might’ve met him long ago. There were fond memories of him.
People remembered him as a quiet man who visited the area regularly. They described how he would sit with them, late into the night, listening to their stories, endeavouring to learn everything about their way of life, and discussing and developing ideas for a better future for Ireland. Éire saor agus Éire Gaelach.
They appreciated his interest and he inspired them with his dedication.
If you read his short stories (that were based around Ros Muc), you can see how much he loved the place and the people. That was why we wanted to be in Ros Muc for Easter last year, to remember him and to commemorate the Easter Rising, one hundred years later.
Raidió na Gaeltachta inside Pearse's Cottage, Ros Muc at Easter 2016
Raidió na Gaeltachta was there to record the occasion. They all crowded into Pearse’s Cottage to interview the locals. The man you see talking in the centre, above is Frank Ó Máille. Pearse stayed in his father’s house, the first time he ever visited Ros Muc. (an Teach gorm - ach níl sé gorm níos mó, faraor). His father met Pearse at Maam Cross railway station and brought him in his sidecar to Ros Muc.
I wanted to create something special to mark that special year. While I was working on an art project there, I created a short film entitled: Ar theacht an tSamhraidh. With my brother Fearghas, we projected it onto the gable end of the cottage, as you can see in the video below (click on the link).
An raibh an Piarsach féin ann an oíche úd, meas tú, agus an bheirt againn ag seasamh le chéile, i gcoim na h-oíche?
The painting of Patrick Pearse, which appears in the film, is hanging in the Olivier Cornet Gallery in Dublin at the moment. And you can see more about the Ros Muc art project at the first link below.