" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Friday, October 08, 2004

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

.......a 'War Council' was established by the 'Young Irelanders' in July 1848 ; then a 'Provisional Government' was set-up by the Irish Rebels .......

At a meeting in July 1848 at Ballinkeale , County Wexford , it was agreed that a 'Provisional Government of Ireland ' would be established , to operate from Kilkenny . The Young Irelanders 'War Council' sent its people out to all districts in the South of Ireland to organise any local resistance groups and to make a reconnaissance of enemy strength and movement .

But the timing was wrong - the blight that became known as 'The Great Famine' (sic) was on the land ; the potato disease first hit , that time, in 1845 and , by 1846 , every county on the island had been struck by it , with three-quarters of the potato crop destroyed . Typhus fever , diarrhoea , cholera and dysentery followed . It was in this atmosphere that the Irish Rebels were attempting to organise a military challenge against British mis-rule in Ireland .

Meanwhile , the RIC - 'the eyes and ears of Westminster' - had their informers at work against the 'Young Irelanders' .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

" .......the Republican Courts were run by the people , for the people , not like the old British 'justice' system with its 'pomp' and 'ceremony' ......."

" The British 'judge' used wear a wig and gown , which gave him a most sinister appearance ; other wigs and gowns in a pit underneath him , uniformed (British) 'policemen' who glared about , the 'prisoner' in the dock , the 'witness' box - all gave an impression of unreality and unkindness . The silence of the 'court' was the silence of fear , not respect .

We talked of the evening Mikeen , the 'hard man' of our village , had been tried by a 'special' court ; he had got drunk , assaulted a neighbour and threatened to blow up the neighbour's house with dynamite . He had assaulted the Republican police who had obtained a warrant for his arrest and , now , he was about to be tried but no judge was available . My brother Pat was asked to take the Office of judge , and agreed on condition that Mikeen would be satisfied with his appointment .

The prisoner expressed his entire willingness to be tried by a court with my brother as judge , remarking that he could now be sure of obtaining justice , so my brother Pat took his seat on the bench , for the first time . Public interest in the trial was great ; the court (Den Buckley's barn !) was crowded . Though the case appeared bad on paper , the 'world' (ie local people) knew that it had its extenuating circumstances , but the law had to take its course and the trial proceeded in the most formal manner , with the usual good order and silence being observed .

The "state" evidence had almost concluded and , in fact , the last witness - a Republican policeman - was giving evidence ; he was very precise and formal about the matter , perhaps too much so . Mikeen , old soldier that he was , took advantage of the favourable tide which seemed to be going in his direction - it was well known that himself and that particular IRA policeman did not see eye-to-eye ......."

(MORE LATER).


HISTORY LIVES ON .......
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 .
(3 of 6).

There is another group of recollections from the legendary Commanders of the Irish Republican Army during the Tan War and after ; there is Thomas O'Maoileoin (better known as Sean Forde) , Commandant General , IRA , who remained on the Army Council until 1938 . Apart from his fascinating account of military operations he notes how , in the 1930's , .....

... " ...with the right political organisation , we could sweep the land . Without a real revolution - a revolution of the mind - the wheel , I knew , would turn full circle again ..." . It did , of course . He ends with an uncompromising statement on the present -

- " I see no difference in the fight being waged against English domination of this country today , and the fight we fought in Westmeath in 1916 , and in East Limerick in 1920 and 1921 . As far as I am concerned , they are the same people at grips with the same enemy . " John Joe Sheehy , Commandant , Kerry No. 1 Brigade IRA , had much the same to say .......

(MORE LATER).






Thursday, October 07, 2004

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

.......'evictions' were common-place ; as the President of 'The Irish National Land League' (also known as 'The Land League of Ireland') , Charles Stewart Parnell was advocating a different method other than " violence " , by which 'tenants' could strike-back .......

It should be noted that the " violence " referred to by Parnell was , in this scribblers opinion , used in self-defence , as is the " violence " used today by the Irish .

However - at a meeting in Ennis , County Clare , in 1880 , Charles Stewart Parnell stated - " Now what are you to do with a tenant who bids for a farm from which his neighbour has been evicted ? Now I think I heard somebody say "Shoot him !" - but I wish to point out a very much better way , a more Christian and more charitable way . You must show what you think of him on the roadside when you meet him , you must show him in the streets of the town , you must show him at the shop counter .

Even in the house of worship , by leaving him severely alone , by putting him into a sort of moral 'Coventry' , by isolating him from the rest of his kind as if he were a leper of old , you must show him your detestation of the crime he has committed . " That became known as the 'Boycott Campaign' , after the name of the first British 'Land Agent' (in County Mayo) against whom it was applied .

But I digress (again...) ; In July 1848 , the 'Young Irelanders' assembled a 'War Council' and then set-up a 'Provisional Government of Ireland '.......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

".......my uncle , Dan MacNamara , was a judge in the Republican Courts , which we all had experience of ....... "

" The judge of the District Court was always a local man - farmer , labourer or artisan , selected by the people as the man best qualified for the position ; his honesty was his only qualification . The Court was held in the parish school or hall , and the litigants could employ the men who had practised during the British regime , or call on any man they liked to defend them . IRA Policemen and magistrates were all local men ('1169....' Comment - Unlike today , the 'IRA Policemen' of the 1920's did not safely usher Orange parades through Nationalist areas and then rescue British Army footpatrols - ref the Provos in Ardoyne recently ...) .

It might appear to some people that such an arrangement was not conducive to the dignity and proper administration of the law , but such an opinion would be very far from the fact - the public were , of course, admitted to the court , the proceedings were conducted with the utmost decorum and a respectful silence was always maintained .

This atmosphere was not due to the presence of IRA Policemen or other Officers of the law ; it was just due to the pride the people felt in the realisation of one of their ideals . True , if the occasion arose to justify laughter , then they had to laugh , but it was not done without ample provocation . In the days of the old regime the judge sat sphinx-like on the bench , and his wig and gown gave him a most sinister appearance ......."

(MORE LATER).


HISTORY LIVES ON .......
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 .
(2 of 6).

Peadar O'Donnell is also critical of the abstract "leftist" critics of Republicanism - " Though the IRA was often dubbed a purely nationalist organisation , those critics forgot that nationality itself is a progressive force . A nationalist movement , generally speaking, gathers its strength from the working class . If the working class pushes up to the front , they can carry on the revolution to the social revolutionary stage . "

A similar theme - the relation between national and social liberation - is developed by Frank Edwards who was a Lieutenant with the Waterford City Battalion IRA , and a Sergeant with the XV International Brigade in Spain . In his recollections , he tells of agitation in the 1930's in Waterford over the slum 'landlords' , the organisation of 'tenants' and the unemployed and , of course , strikers , concluding simply - " Most of the local IRA supported us , They were working class ."

Nora Connolly O'Brien , the late daughter of James Connolly , provides fascinating glimpses of her eventful life , as does Sean MacBride , one time Chief of Staff of the IRA , today an 'international statesman .......'

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, October 06, 2004

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

.......the 'Boycott' Campaign got its name when Charles Stewart Parnell was addressing a large outdoor meeting at Ennis , in County Clare , in 1880 - the previous year (1879) , speaking in Westport , County Mayo , Parnell stated .......

" A fair rent is a rent the tenant can reasonably afford to pay according to the times , but in bad times a tenant cannot be expected to pay as much as he did in good times . Now , what must we do in order to induce the landlords to see the position ? You must show them that you intend to hold a firm grip of your homesteads and lands .

You must not allow yourselves to be dispossessed as your fathers were dispossessed in 1847 . I hope that on those properties where the rents are out of all proportion to the times , a reduction may be made and that immediately . If not , you must help yourselves , and the public opinion of the world will stand by you , and support you in your struggle to defend your homesteads . "

Evictions were by then common-place and , at the above-mentioned meeting in Ennis , County Clare , in 1880 , Charles Stewart Parnell again promoted a different method by which the 'tenant' could strike-back at the 'Landlord' classes ; but again , what Parnell called "violence" was ruled out .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

".......we were relaxing under a pine tree on a sunny day in 1921 on my uncles farm in Knocksaharing , having worked the land that day . We got to talking about the troubled times we lived in ......."

" It was but natural that our thoughts should wander back over that period of eventful years which had ended only a few months ago ; Dan MacNamara was the first to express his thoughts aloud - he laughed and said - " Bedammed , lads , do you know what it is , we have been through some stirring scenes during the past seven or eight years . If one could only think of all the laughable incidents that occurred from time to time .

Here I am , thank God , back at work again on my bit of territory , I who was once a judge on the bench of the Republican Court , dispensing justice alike to rich and poor , bowed to and called 'Your Worship' by the regular practitioners of the law , some of whom always thought , no doubt , that the dock and not the bench would be the summit of my legal career ! Well , at least we can claim to have been the first Irishmen to establish Courts for our own people since the lapse of the Brehon Laws . And did they not work well ?

They never failed to measure out justice so fairly that the parties concerned were well pleased with the judgement . And what more was wanted ? Soon you will see the British system working again , with some of the old outward pomp and ceremony . This was usually accompanied by , as we know from bitter experience , damn little justice for Irishmen . No matter ! That can hardly happen again ..."

The allusion to the Republican Courts which had entirely replaced the British system , and which had proved such a complete success , evoked many amusing reminiscences ....... "

(MORE LATER).


HISTORY LIVES ON .
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 .
(1 of 6).

This truly remarkable book covers the story of Ireland's struggle as told through some of her outstanding living people (the 'Survivors') recalling events from the days of Davitt , through James Connolly , Collins , Liam Mellows and Rory O'Connor to the present day . We often forget that there are people still alive today who can remember the Easter Rising , lived through the Tan War , the Civil War and the difficult years of the 1930's .

These recollections are a rich repository of historical knowledge ; not the 'dry' history of the textbooks , but the real history of living people . Some of the twenty-three 'Survivors' are familiar names , people who have written extensively and so on . Thus we have Peadar O'Donnell of 'Land Annuity Campaign' and 'Republican Congress' fame . He is particularly critical of the Labour Party after 1916 -

- " One of the reasons Dublin voted Republican rather than Labour was because the masses in Dublin are very Republican . They resented the fact that Labour had deserted the Republic ..."

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, October 05, 2004

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

.......the President of the 'Irish National Land League' (also known as 'The Land League of Ireland') , Charles Stewart Parnell , was in an unenviable political position for a while - he was distrusted by both the British and the Irish .......

Charles Stewart Parnell's great-grandfather was known to have been strongly opposed to any form of an ' Official ' union between Ireland and England ; his mother , apparently , by all accounts, was an 'in-your-face' up-front lady , American by birth , who had no great love for the British -

- her own father had dispatched many an English soldier during the war of 1812 . However - I'll leave the Parnell 'tangent' there and refer back to the previous 'tangent' (!) ; the 'boycott' campaign , which got its name during the Irish 'Land War' when Charles Stewart Parnell (... mini-tangent coming up !) was addressing a large outdoor meeting at Ennis in County Clare , in 1880 .

The previous year (1879) , Parnell had delivered a speech on the same topic (ie 'tenants , rents and landlords') to a large crowd in Westport in County Mayo .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

".......we were working the corn-fields at my uncles farm at Knocksaharing , on a beautiful day in 1921 . 'Reaping' and 'Stooking' , and working up an appetite ....... "

" Above us stood a grassy plateau with a lone pine tree in the middle of it ; the sun , slanting downwards from the west , fell on the short green grass and cast a long shadow eastwards from the pine . My uncle spoke - " It is too early for tea , lads . " Then , looking at the land , and then at the pine tree , he quoted -

- ' Come to the sunset tree ,
The day is past and gone ,
The woodman's axe lies free ,
And the reaper's work is done . '

With one accord we all moved towards the grassy plateau and sat or stretched ourselves at ease around the stem of the pine tree . No one spoke for a while , but I broke the silence - " Dan ," I asked , " did you finish your poetry ? " " No ," he replied , " there's a little more , and it is very appropriate to the time and place . Here it is : "

' Sweet is the hour of rest ,
Gentle the winds low sigh ,
And the bright gleaming of the west ,
On the turf whereon we lie . '

Certainly it was appropriate : above us a gentle breeze stirred the dark branches of the pine , while the sun sinking towards Beal a' Ghleanna maintained its pleasant radiance of light and heat . We thought , and spoke , of the troubled times we lived in ....... "

(MORE LATER).


PASSPORT SCANDAL....... !
By Patrick Murphy .

First published in 'New Hibernia' magazine , May 1987 , page 13 .
A 'skit' in five parts .
[5 of 5].

Special guerilla training will of course be provided on such subjects as how to smuggle washing powder across the border from the North and how to live off the land without paying income tax . Counter espionage tactics will include how to spot a television licence detector van at 100 yards and training in how to blend in with the countryside will be given by county council workmen .

And news is just coming in of clashes between rival Arab groups in Limerick ; heavy fighting is reported in the pro-Iranian area of the Ennis Road and the United Nations has asked the Government to send peace-keeping forces to the area . But as part of the Government cut-backs , Mr. Brian Lenihan has suggested that the fighting should take place for only an hour each day .

Mr. Lenihan was later sold to an Arab by a senior Civil Servant in his department for five pounds . In a communique just issued from Damascus , the Arab has demanded his money back !

[END of PASSPORT SCANDAL....... ! ].
(Tomorrow - 'History Lives On : Survivors . ' : from 1981).
(MORE LATER).






Monday, October 04, 2004

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

.......as a result of a campaign led by John Blake Dillon , one of the leaders of the 'Irish National Land League' (and a member of 'The Young Irelanders' War Council) a new word was to enter the English language .......

The British 'Landlord' who was buying-up land from which the Irish had been 'evicted' was Captain Boycott ; he was targetted by the 'Land League' , whose President , Charles Stewart Parnell was , for a time , viewed with suspicion by both the British and Irish - in 1876 , it was said of him in Westminster -

" Mr. Parnell combines in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absense of their attractiveness . Something really must be done about him . He is always at a white heat or rage and makes with savage earnestness fancifully ridiculous statements ..."

Meanwhile , on 'the other side of the house' , so to speak , the Irish had their view of Charles Stewart Parnell 'coloured' by , amongst other things , the man's background ; he was a Protestant 'Landlord' who 'owned' about 5,000 acres of land in County Wicklow and his parents were friends of (and , indeed, in some cases , related to) the local Protestant 'gentry' .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

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

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

THE TRUCE.......

".......we were convinced that we had lost one of our IRA Officers , as he had dived into heavy flood waters to rescue our supplies from a cart , but , in time , he made his way back to us in the training camp . Our Brigadier , Sean O'Hegarty , looked at the soaked man ....... "

" " You got wet then , Dick ," , said Sean . " Unfortunately , I did, " poor Dick replied , " visibility was deceptive and I erroneously concluded that an island I saw was part of terra firma . " " Better change your clothes , Dick , " said Sean . " Yes, " said Dick , " I will , for a sudden immersion of that nature is liable to bring on pangs of excruciating pain in both arms . " " You are all right yet , anyway .....," Sean observed , tongue in cheek !

It was the harvest time in that beautiful year of sunshine , 1921 ; we had heard that my uncle Dan was reaping the corn at Knocksaharing and , ever anxious to spend a day in his company at that peaceful spot , my brothers , sisters and I arrived there early in the day . We found that a goodly number of the neighbours , including the local IRA Volunteers , had already come to help with the harvest , anticipating a day made pleasant by merely listening to my uncle's discourses .

Work was commenced on Paircin na Coille ; it was the old-time harvest scene - four scythes , wielded with precision by strong arms , cut a wide track from fence to fence . A 'taker' followed each scythe , and two 'binders' easily bound the sheaves each 'taker' laid at right angles to the line of standing corn . Now and then half the 'binders' would leave their work and stook the sheaves . Between the work , the pleasant intervals of rest , dinner and afternoon tea on the field , we found that time had gone by un-noticed .

We had finished the reaping and stooking and now stood straightening our backs at the top of the field called Pairc na mBeach , and had worked up an appetite ......."

(MORE LATER).


PASSPORT SCANDAL....... !
By Patrick Murphy .

First published in 'New Hibernia' magazine , May 1987 , page 13 .
A 'skit' in five parts .
(4 of 5).

Speaking at a meeting of the Colonel Gadaffi Fianna Fail Cumann in Libya North last night the Taoiseach , Mr. Haughey , said that having brought Christianity to many parts of the world the Irish were now bringing passports .

A team of teachers from the Department of Education has gone to the Middle East to give a crash course on how to be Irish to the thousands of new Irish citizens there . Candidates have a choice of talking rural Irish (" It's that bloody crowd up in Dublin that's to blame....") or urban Irish (" It's the bloody farmers that have the country ruined ....").

Traditional Irish airs such as ' Big Tom is still the King ' and ' Do ya want yer auld lobby washed down ?' will be taught by skilled musicians and Gaelic football , which was to have been taught by a few Kerry men will now be handled by Dublin people .......

(MORE LATER).