ON THIS DATE (19TH SEPTEMBER) 215 YEARS AGO : ROBERT EMMET ON 'TRIAL'.
The 'trial' lasted all day and by 9.30pm he was pronounced guilty ; asked for his reaction, he delivered a speech ("..when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written.." - full text here) which still inspires today. He closed by saying that he cared not for the opinion of the court but for the opinion of the future - "..when other times and other men can do justice to my character.."
He was publicly executed the next day, Tuesday, September 20th, 1803, outside St Catherine's Church in Dublin's Thomas Street. The final comment on the value of Robert Emmet's Rising must go to Séan Ó Brádaigh who states that to speak of Emmet in terms of failure alone is to do him a grave injustice. He and the men and women of 1798 and 1803 and, indeed, those that went before them, set a course for the Irish nation, with their appeal to Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of 'Irishman', which profoundly affected Irish life for more than two centuries and which will, we trust, eventually bear abundant fruit - "The Society of United Irishmen to which he belonged was no myth. Nor is the Republican resistance to English rule in Ireland, before Emmet's Rising and since, a myth. The invasion, conquest and plantation of Ireland are no myths, nor is the suffering of the Irish people. We know of the laws against Catholics, we know of the landlord system and the evictions, the starvation of 1845-48 and the coffin ships. None of these are myths.." (more here.)
It should be noted that it was not only college-educated men and women like Robert Emmet (ie those who might be perceived as being 'upper class') who decided to challenge Westminster's interference in Irish affairs in 1803 : so-called 'working class' men and women also acknowledged the need for such resistance - Edward Kearney, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St / Owen Kirwin, tailor, hanged, Thomas St, September 1st 1803 / Maxwell Roche, roofer, hanged, Thomas St, September 2nd 1803 / Denis Lambert Redmond, coal facer, hanged, Coalquay (Woodquay) Dublin, / John Killeen, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 10th 1803 / John McCann, shoemaker, hanged at his own doorstep, Thomas St, September 10th 1803 / Felix Rourke, farm labourer, hanged, Rathcoole, Dublin, September 10th 1803 / Thomas Keenan, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 11th 1803 / John Hayes, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 17th 1803 / Michael Kelly, carpenter, hanged, Thomas St, September 17th 1803 / James Byrne, baker, hanged, Townsend St, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / John Begg, tailor, hanged, Palmerstown, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / Nicholas Tyrrell, factory worker, hanged, Palmerstown, Dublin, September 17th 1803 / Henry Howley, carpenter, hanged, Kilmainham Jail, Dublin, September 20th 1803 / John McIntoch, carpenter, hanged, Patrick St, Dublin, October 3rd 1803 - there are dozens more we could list here, but suffice to say that 'class' alone was not then, nor is it now, a deciding factor in challenging British military and political interference in this country. 'Justice' is the deciding factor in that equation.
Old Ireland's surrounded with sadness and gloom
We were defeated and shamefully treated
And I, Robert Emmet, awaiting my doom
Hung, drawn and quartered,
sure that was my sentence
But soon I will show them no coward am I
My crime is the love of the land I was born in
A hero I lived and a hero I'll die'.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, October 1954.
AMERICA PROPPING UP THE EMPIRE....
We ask the American people, and particularly those of Irish origin, to examine where they are being led, to look beyond the statements of the politicans to the actions which follow them, to realise what their money and their armed forces are being used for.
How low have they fallen, that 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' should be used as a bully-boy to protect John Bull and his accursed 'empire'?
(END of 'America Propping Up The Empire' : next - 'Church Objects To U.S. Comics', from the same source.)
ON THIS DATE (19TH SEPTEMBER) 138 YEARS AGO - PARNELL AND BIDDING FOR AN 'EVICTED' PROPERTY.
If the Irish Yeomanry are remembered at all it is usually for their notoriety in the bloody summer of 1798. The popular folk memory of every area which saw action supplies lurid stories from the burning of Father John Murphy’s corpse in a tar barrel at Tullow to the sabreing and mutilation of Betsy Gray after the battle of Ballynahinch....(from here.)
At a meeting in Ennis, County Clare, on the 19th September 1880 - 138 years ago on this date - Charles Stewart Parnell - whom the British described as "..combining in his person all the unlovable qualities of an Irish member with the absolute absence 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.." , who was looked at in a wary fashion by some of his own people as 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', 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...when a man takes a farm from which another had been evicted you must shun him on the roadside when you meet him, you must shun him in the streets of the town, you must shun him in the shop, you must shun him in the fairgreen and in the marketplace, and even in the place of worship, by leaving him alone, by putting him in a moral coventry, by isolating him from the rest of his country as if he were the leper of old, you must show your detestation of the crime he has committed..".
However, another man in the leadership of the 'Irish National Land League' which, at its peak, had 200,000 active members, John Blake Dillon (who was also a member of 'The Young Irelanders' War Council) will forever be more associated with introducing the word 'boycott' into the English language as it was Dillon who was the most active in organising such campaigns.
Also active was the then British Prime Minister, William Ewart Gladstone who, within months of Parnell's 'Boycott' statement, introduced and enforced a 'Crimes Act' ; that particular piece of British 'statute law' in Ireland was better known as the 'Coercion/Protection of Person and Property Act', which made it illegal to assemble in relation to certain issues and an offence to conspire against the payment of rents 'owed' which, ironically, was a piece of legislation condemned by the same catholic church which condemned the 'Irish National Land League'! That church did not approve of the Act because it introduced permanent legislation and did not have to be renewed on each political term.
buried in Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. 'The Irish Times' newspaper of the 12th October 1891 wrote of a '..spontaneous and irresistible wave that surged from all parts of Ireland to the grave at Glasnevin, whose wild waters would have swept away any barrier that either priests or politicians could have put up to stop it...the Catholic democracy of Ireland yesterday mustered in force to pay the last tribute of homage to a Protestant leader, in defiance not only of their priests, but of the vast majority of their elected Parliamentary representatives...'
Hopefully, sooner rather than later, we'll witness another 'surge that will sweep away the priests and politicians', who are still a blight in, and on, this country.
From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, February 1955.
BACK TO WOLFE TONE.
There have, I suppose, been 'modernists' and 'liberals' in every age and in every country ('1169' Comment - ...and in every political party, disguised and undisguised), but it seems to me that present-day Ireland has more than its quota. They are the cynical product of the self-seeking opportunism and downright dishonesty of Irish political life over the past 30 years, and their stock-in-trade is the smear and the jeer.
While they regard religious fervour* as sloppy sentiment and a sign of weakness they do not yet openly attack it in Ireland. They do, however, advocate an extreme liberalism whether it be in regard to pornographic literature or immoral and anti-social legislation.
Their most cynical jibes are, however, reserved for the man ('1169' Comment - or woman) who has in him (them) the true spirit of patriotism, for patriotism is out of fashion and regarded as mere parochialism - a relic of a more ignorant and barbaric age... (* - '1169' Comment : although this WAS taking place in the 1950's [and before and since then] it was not, unfortunately, exposed then as much as, thankfully, it is now.) (MORE LATER).
VIEW FROM THE HILLTOP CAFE...
In the paradigm of sectarianism that is the Orange Order, words like 'compromise' and 'agreement' are seldom uttered. The hospitality of those at the cafe in Drumcree is not reflected by the Order as a whole - despite two requests, no one from the Order's head office was available for interview.
Those at Drumcree were not the polished professionals that the Order would like to present - indeed, most had the look of fatherly figures that simply wanted to have a quiet cup of tea and a chat. But it would be a mistake to ignore them, or to dismiss out of hand their perceived grievances as being mere paranoia and nothing more.
It may appear that way but, as ever with the North, nothing is ever quite that simple. The heartbeat of the Order lies somewhere amidst the tables and chairs, the bread and bacon in that little cafe, demanding that their voice be heard. The tea and the trouble will continue to brew for some time yet.
(END of 'View From The Hilltop Cafe' ; NEXT - 'Columbia : No Irish Need Apply', from the same source.)
THE BIGGER (WE THINK) WE ARE....
'The Blog Awards Ireland 2018 : Shortlist Announcement -
The Blog Awards Ireland, are delighted to announce the Shortlist for the 2018 Awards! These awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of the blogger community throughout the country over the past 12 months. After a gruelling round of judging, where each blog was judged on its readability, knowledge on their subject matter, navigation and design choices, the Blog Awards Ireland Judging Panel are proud to announce the Shortlist in both Business and Personal blogs in each category. These blogs will go through one more round of judging before the Finalists are announced!' (From here.)
AND - we made it through to that 'Shortlist'! We are in the hands of the Blog Award Judges who, as part of their remit, will be reading this blog and will therefore no doubt read this post. We don't know who those judges are, so we can't bribe (!) them, nor can I offer them employment as our bag carriers on my next trip to New York with the girls (..all expenses paid, incidentally!) so I decided to write* this poem for them instead :
If you want a Blog Award bad enough
To go out and fight for it,
Work day and night for it,
Give up your time and your peace and your sleep for it,
If only desire of it
Makes you quite mad enough
Never to tire of it,
Makes you hold all other Awards tawdry and cheap,
If life seems all empty and useless without it
And all that you scheme and you dream is about it,
If gladly you'll sweat for it,
Fret for it,
Plan for it,
Lose all your terror of God or man for it,
If you'll simply go after that Award that you want
With all your capacity,
Strength, and sagacity,
Faith, hope, and confidence, stern pertinacity,
If neither cold, poverty, famished and gaunt,
Nor sickness nor pain
Of body and brain
Can turn you away from the Blog Award that you want,
If dogged and grim you besiege and beset it,
You'll get that Blog Award. You can bet on it!
(*..by which I mean 'borrowed and slightly edited it', from here!) We'll either soar to new heights or..it'll be a car-crash for us!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.