Saturday, December 26, 2009

CABHAIR does it again for our Republican POW's : 25th December 2009 , Dublin.
Santa raises the National Flag over some of the CABHAIR swimmers!

Where to begin about this 4-hour CABHAIR Christmas Day marathon ? At 10AM , of course - because that was when the CABHAIR Christmas Crew arrived on site , having driven through freezing fog , on icy but otherwise deserted roads , in Minus 2-degree temperature. The various cars parked as best they could in the immediate vicinity and the work began : the fire material was laid in place , the two tables for the 'goodies' were set-up and the food and drink etc displayed on them , the National Flag and two banners were secured in place , the music system was assembled and tested - then the fire was lit and the CABHAIR Crew opened a can or two of 'soup' and had a brief rest , before the madness properly began....

....and it began at 10.50AM , when two Special Branch cars 'parked' at the entrances to the Swim site , blocking off both access points , as they always have done. They stayed where they were , making no attempt to venture up the twenty metres or so to where the CABHAIR Crew were having a 'private party' , with the fire blazing , the music blaring , and the freezing fog beginning to lift. Then the crowds started to appear - they came down from the opposite end of the Canal whilst others practically formed queues at both Naas Road access points , where the political police were doing their 'best' to harass them and turn them back home. But to absolutely no avail - the Mammies and Daddies , kids and teenagers, just kept coming in their dozens , the cars and trucks driving past on the near-by Naas Road sounded their car-horns loudly and repeatedly , the Rebel songs were pouring out at high decibels from the sound system and , in the sky above us , a weak watery sun was trying its best to shine on us !

CABHAIR had ten swimmers this year , all of whom took to the freezing water between the hours of 12 Noon and 1.30PM , some more than once or twice - all were watched eagerly by a core of at least 100 on-lookers , with about half that amount again coming and going over the duration of the 4-hour event. The swimmers are Joe Snr and Jnr , 'Rubber' , Stephen , Ciaran , Anto , Garry , Dougie , Jimmy and David - all of whom enjoyed a cup of warm 'soup' after they were finished swimming , and we all of us enjoyed a wee sup of that heart-warming brew , and mince pies , crisps , beer , ale , stout, lemonade and loads of chewy sweets 'and stuff'
(!) , all courtesy of CABHAIR and local suppliers. Towards the end of all this good-natured freezing-cold noisy madness and mayhem , a raffle was held, for which only the ten swimmers had tickets : the prizes , all of which were made in Portlaoise Prison in recent weeks , consisted of three items - a bodhron and two etched and framed mirrors . And, as expected (!) - we had three winners , who were thrilled to receive their prizes.

This, the 33rd consecutive such event, was one of the busiest , noisest and hectic CABHAIR Swims in recent years , and left the organisers exhausted by the time it had finally ended , at about 2PM - but in a 'good' way ! There were really only three 'downers' about the Swim :one of the swimmers cut his knee , not seriously , and was 'bandaged'-up on site , not a bother on him ! The other two 'downers' concern the presence of the political police - that they should be there
at all is a waste of tax-payers money , plus the manner in which they ambushed Santa : they took the four-inch brass bell from him , broke the 'chimer' in the centre of it , and gave it back to him , threatening him with arrest the next time they see him at the Swim site. He rightly replied with a 'Greeting' , which we won't repeat here....

Finally - Swim Pics ! We have posted a load of pics over on our 'Sister' site , here, and this link will take you to some pics that Paula took , and Oxana took these pics at the Swim site. As you'll see for yourself , we had one 'back-flipper' - and nine 'belly-floppers' ...;-)
And that's it for this year regarding the CABHAIR Christmas Swim : a hugely enjoyable , busy , hectic
craic- filled four hours , for which CABHAIR themselves are to be applauded , as are the ten swimmers and the approximate 150-200 people that joined-in and/or observed proceedings. And , of course - most important of all - our Republican prisoners , who are in our hearts throughout the year , every year , but more so over the Christmas period.
Thanks for reading!
Nollaig Shona agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This is the sight that imprisoned Irish Republicans will see on Christmas Day...

The following statement has recently been issued by Irish Republican supporters in New York :

"Please help the children of Irish political prisoners this christmas. This is a rough time of year in Ireland for the children of Irish political prisoners, all of whom have been jailed thru non-jury courts. In most cases the primary breadwinner has been taken out of the household. Ten or Twenty dollars can make a difference. Those who donate a $100 will be given a home made ornament as a thank you. More information at
The Annual CABHAIR Christmas Swim will be held this year on Christmas morning at the Grand Canal in Inchicore, Dublin , on the 3rd Lough , at 12 Noon. This year marks the 33 consecutive anniversary of this event. Over the last few years, here in the U.S. we have growing support and sponsorship for those who take the chilly morning plunge in support of the prisoners’ families.
With the holiday season fast approaching, many families will benefit from your donation of any amount in support of the Annual CABHAIR Swim. Your contribution means something truly special to them, especially in days such as these. If you have been meaning to contribute all year, this is the time to do so. Your support will raise the spirits of a family - who have sacrificed themselves to raise the spirit of a Sovereign Irish Nation.

(Click here for additional details on who we are and our objectives)
Videos can be viewed here of NIFC member Darryl Levy talking about the importance of the NIFC's IRPAS Campaign in video One while on video Two , one of the Cabhair Swim organizers, John Horan, discusses the history of the swim at the Canal, from the actual Swim site."
Cumann Na Saoirse Náısıúnta
National Irish Freedom Committee



It began - properly structured and organised - in 1976 ,as a ‘fundraiser with a difference’ combined with the need to gain extra publicity for a situation which was then - as now - making world headlines . Those that sat down together in early September 1976 to tighten-up the then ‘hit-and-miss’ affair were a dedicated team who fully understood that to fail in their business would not only bring derision on them and the issue they sought to highlight , but would give their enemy a publicity coup which they would exploit to the fullest extent . With that in mind , the team persevered - favours were called-in , guarantees were secured , provisions obtained and word dispatched to like-minded individuals in the near-locale . At the appointed time on the agreed day - 12 Noon , Christmas Day 1976 - a soon-to-be 33-years-young event was ‘born’…….
The CABHAIR Christmas Day Swim is , thankfully , still going strong and will be , as mentioned , 33-years-young on December 25th next!

Annual CABHAIR Christmas Morning Swim : 12 Noon , Grand Canal , 3rd Lough , Inchicore , Dublin 8.

Photographs of last years event can be viewed here and , if you can’t make it to the actual swim itself , you might consider posting a donation to the following address (please note that all monies raised goes to the republican prisoners themselves and to their families - no expenses or admin fees etc are removed) :
Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund
223 Parnell Street,
Dublin 1,

Thank You,
Go Raibh Maith Agat.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chris Carney on stage : one of the best preformers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to !

The fund-raiser to benefit the new 'Tom Maguire / Dáithí Ó Conaill Irish Republican Flute Band' was held last night (and this morning!) and, while it was a financial success , it was a 'success' in another way , too - in that it introduced most of us , for the first time , to Chris Carney , the ballad singer. Or should that be THE Ballad Singer ? And it should read like that because , like nearly all of those present , I have attended dozens of ballad sessions over the years - from the Wolfe Tones to the Barleycorn , to Eire Óg and all types in between - but I have never witnessed such a performance from any one person , 'armed' simply with a guitar and a microphone !
For almost three hours , Chris quietly introduced each song , sometimes giving a wee history of the words ....and then ,
honestly - proceeded to lift the roof and stun the audience into silence , with a rendition of whatever Irish Rebel song he was singing , the likes of which we had never seen or heard before , on any stage , in any city , at any time. This young man is talented beyond belief , beyond mere words can describe - a master at his craft , simply unbelievable. It was our good fortune that we happened to be in the right place , at the right time , and we look forward to the next time when our paths cross. If there is any 'justice' in the field of the Irish ballad scene , this young man - Chris Carney - will be its 'King' , the one that others struggle to impersonate.
(Chris can be heard here in action , but it doesn't do him justice at all!)

Now for the formalities (!) : we could not have enjoyed such a fantastic night without the welcomed input from the staff , management and owners of 'The Phibsboro House Pub (Davys)' (36 Phibsboro Road , Dublin 7 ; 'phone 01-8303372) , local organisers Kevin , Brendan , Shane , Frank and Morris and , of course , the 'management' and members of the 'Tom Maguire / Dáithí Ó Conaill Irish Republican Flute Band', and for all those who braved the ice and frost to make it to the venue. Much appreciated!