Tuesday, October 12, 2004

JULY 29th , 1848 : RIC , Firearms , Pikes - and Five Children .......

....... a contingent of forty-six RIC men from Callan in County Kilkenny arrived in Ballingarry , County Tipperary , on 29th July 1848 , to arrest the Irish Rebels that were in that town . Realising they were outnumbered , the RIC retreated - but were seen by the Rebels .......

The RIC gang quickly headed out of the town , followed closely by the insurgents . The British 'policemen' headed East out of Ballingarry and took refuge in a two-storey grey-stone farmhouse on the top of a small hill (the house now boasts a plaque above its door , inscribed 'Remember 1848' , and is known locally as 'The War House' ) .

At that time , a British 'warrant' had been issued for the 'arrest' of William Smith O'Brien and , in all probability , the RIC detatchment from Callan , Kilkenny , were out to prove to their British paymasters that they were a trust-worthy bunch of loyal serfs , and decided that , by putting down a Rebel Rising and 'arresting' a wanted man , they could do just that .

But , out-numbered two-to-one , they fled - but could'nt escape their pursuers ; so they forced their way into a house owned by the Widow McCormick , who was not at home at the time . But her five children were .......



war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

" .......the Republican Court system was up-and-running ; a neighbouring Republican , a small farmer , who acted as a judge , was on his third case ....... "

" His judgements had been applauded by the litigants , the people and the lawyers ; naturally , like all good workmen , he took a legitimate pride in his work , and why not the same in his new profession ? So far his efforts had been crowned with success , and a bright future beckoned to him imperatively . But the course of success , like that of true love , does not always run smoothly . Around the corner will be found the obstacle , awaiting its opportunity .

The scene was again the forum , and the third trial was in progress . The great interest it had aroused was manifest in the numbers of the populace who followed with respectful and rapt attention the varying stages in the unravelling of its tangled skein . For it was a fairly complicated legal problem ; at length , however , the full legal facts were before the bench , and nothing remained to be said but the pronouncement of judgement . All eyes were now turned on the judge .

Very efficient and calm , he seemed , as he handled his notes . After a reasonable period of time he appeared to have made up his mind . He glanced upwards , then lowered his eyes again and , clearing his throat a little , said :

" This has been a complicated case , the most difficult I have met with , in all my long experience on the bench ..." The people looked at each other ......."


Review of the book 'Survivors' , written by Uinseann MacEoin , and published by Argenta Publications , Dublin , 1980 .

First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 , page 117 .
Re-published here in 6 parts .
(5 of 6).

Most interesting of all I found Peter Carleton of Belfast , who was a Section Leader in Na Fianna Eireann ; he tells of when Frank Ryan came up to Belfast in 1925 for the Wolfe Tone Commemoration which was held on the summit of Cave Hill , at MacArts Fort .

Referring to the 'Union Jack' flags flying about the city , he declared - " Where I come from , if we can't pull them down , we shoot them down ..." . A new generation of Irish Republican fighters is now carrying out this task .

Until recently we knew about Republican men in the past but little about Republican women ; this book makes up for that to a large extent . Apart from Nora Connolly O'Brien , it collects the memoirs of a number of very brave and dedicated fighters - Marie Comerford , Eithne Coyle (President , Cumann na mBan) , May Dalaigh , and Shiela Humphreys (Vice-President , Cumann na mBan) .

The story of Cumann na mBan is still largely untold - the steady , hard and unrewarding work they did in the political and military spheres .......