Wednesday, October 13, 2004

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

....... fleeing from a crowd of about one-hundred armed Irish Rebels , the RIC forced their way into a two-storey house just east of the town of Ballingarry , County Tipperary . There were no adults in the house at the time , but five children were inside .......

An RIC Inspector , followed by forty-five of his men , ran into the house shouting - " British Grenadiers ! British Grenadiers ! " They then proceeded to thrash the dwelling , ignoring the cries of the children , and used what little furniture there was , and the debris they created , to block doors and windows .

On being told that there were five children in the siege house , Rebel leader William Smith O'Brien offered the RIC hostage-takers the opportunity to surrender , making it clear that they would only lose their weapons , not their lives ; but the offer was rejected . The RIC contingent inside the house realised that the Rebels would not attack as long as the McCormick children remained in the house .

They also knew that their RIC colleagues were on the way ; so they 'got brave' , refusing to release the child hostages or surrender : surrounded by their enemy , yet safe from attack . They cleared window-space in the house and readied their rifles .......



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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

" ....... one of the neighbouring Republican judge's , a good man in all ways , had let his new position go to his head , with talk of "...long experience..." on the bench ......."

" The Courthouse was packed when he made that remark - people looked at each other , but the heavy silence was maintained . It continued long enough to allow the full import of the judge's opening remark to be assimilated by even the most dull-witted among the audience . And then the ' envious Casca' struck - not from behind the judge's back , but from somewhere amongst the edge of the populace . It was not a short sword or dagger that was used ; it was a high-pitched cachinnation .

It rent the silence with cumulative effect , for it was possessed of that diabolical quality which compelled the listeners to genuine laughter in spite of their utmost efforts to restrain it . Alas for the blight on flowering genius ! Olagon for the glories departed !

It is indeed a fact that people in high places must needs walk warily , and even the utmost circumspection will sometimes avail them little ..."

[END of ' THE TRUCE....... '].
(Tomorrow - 'AISLINGI'['Visions']).

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 .
[6 of 6].

Cumann na mBan was incredible in its militancy - Eithne Coyle (Cumann na mBan President) recalls how ..." things developed in 1922 , we could see that the Free State was toeing the line for Britain . Nearly all the girls stayed Republican , but the men seemed to waver ." Later , in a political address to Cumann na mBan in 1935 , she stated : " We offer no apology to the rulers North or South of this partioned land in asserting our rights as freeborn Irish women to repudiate that Treaty and the Imperial Parliament of partioned Ulster . We fight for an Ireland where the exploitation of Irish workers by imported or native capitalists will be ruthelessly exterminated . (We will) put an end for all time to that state of chaos and social dis-order which is holding our people in unnatural bondage . "

In this book , Republican women and men recall for the first time the vivid and historic epoch through which they lived ; the high hopes , the scrambles , the fights , the escapes , periods of imprisonment , executions ; the long weary road back into civilian life , back to an Ireland where the reality fell far short of the dream ...

[END of 'HISTORY LIVES ON .......'].
(Tomorrow - 'The IRA Attitude to Elections' : first published in 1981).