Thursday, June 06, 2013


Funeral arrangements : Reposing at Smyth’s Funeral Home, Roscommon on Friday 7th June from 5.30pm to 8.00pm followed by Removal to the Sacred Heart Church. Requiem Mass on Saturday at 11.30am with Burial afterwards in St. Coman’s Cemetery. Family Flowers only. House private Saturday morning. Donations, if desired, to CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners’ Dependants Fund), 223 Parnell St., Dublin 1 and to the Roscommon-Mayo Hospice.

Please note that a bus will be leaving Dublin at 8.45am for the funeral from 223 Parnell Street on Saturday 8th June 2013 ; please telephone 01 8729747 to inquire re same.

'THERE WILL BE ANOTHER DAY.....' By Peadar O'Donnell ; first published in January 1963.

It was one o' clock in the morning when Bertie Smyllie phoned me ; Hogan , who was in the country all day , called at the 'Irish Times' office on his way home, to give me an appointment for that afternoon , and I was encouraged that he seemed eager to discuss terms with me. When I was shown into Hogan's office I was taken aback that he should ask me sharply whether Smyllie had not telephoned me. I shut the door with my shoulders and leaned against it , for a moment, and told him nobody 'phoned me. He said he asked Smyllie to 'phone me to save me the embarrassment of coming to him , for he could make no terms with me.

Every government supporter in County Donegal , it seemed, was on the 'phone to Dublin to report that the Movement had collapsed , and that Peadar O' Donnell had dare not show his face there any more. To make terms with him now would be to give him more power for mischief and, since nothing was to be gained, there was nothing to lose - we played hard knuckles for a while , and I named persons I was certain were among those who telephoned the Minister and I mocked at them as witnesses to anything more complicated than the rumble of wind in their own guts. He gave me a few etchings of myself. He was good.

It was our first, and it turned out to be our only meeting and, as we talked, a strange thing happened to me : it was the sort of experience an author enjoys at some stage or other in any reasonably good book , when the material which excites his mind becomes a self-lit in such a way as to take on the brilliance of a vision. I think it is likely that there are many communications between a man and his environment which remain suspended below the level of consciousness until some flick of unusual excitement touches them off , and they then give him a vision in depth. Anyway , I was startled..... (MORE LATER).



From 'IRIS' magazine, Easter 1991.

By Martin Spain.

The ships of the British Empire , carrying merchants , soldiers , bureaucrats and missionaries , brought with them an alien civilisation and religion and took cheap labour and raw materials. They also brought the military hardware to enforce this raw deal and those who took up arms against such domination then , as those who employ the same tactics today , are denigrated as narrow-minded and anti-democratic militarists (they certainly are labeled as such , and worse, by those who left their ranks for comfortable and richer prospects ; one example here!) . The entirely anti-democratic nature of an Ireland under British rule is not to be considered when castigating the men and women of 1916 , as with Oglaigh na hEireann today , for having "no mandate" ; the whole argument as to 'mandates' is one which the revisionists are very fond of , as they reduce 'democracy' to the concept of 'majority rule'. The undemocratic imposition of partition they accept as a fait accompli , while at the same time the in-built unionist majority in the Six Counties is also accepted as a 'reasonable democratic' block on Irish unity.

Revisionists have no problem accepting the argument that there can be no Irish unity until 'the people of the Six Counties will it' : that the concept of democracy is as much about protecting the rights of minorities as guaranteeing a permanent sectarian statelet against the wishes of 40% of the people of the Six Counties is rejected in this context in favour of majority rule, because in this situation it suits them to take this line.

Likewise , 1916 is attacked because nobody went out beforehand and received a 51% majority in an election in favour of such a tactic. But the Easter Rising took place in a country under foreign occupation , and few would argue that most Irish people didn't desire freedom. The continuing support for the 'Irish Parliamentary Party' up to 1914 and the willingness of so many to fight another country's war in the killing fields of Flanders in the hope that this sacrifice would result in the granting of Home Rule is evidence enough of that aspiration. The role of the vanguard in any revolution has, by necessity, been a minority pursuit. (MORE LATER).


Thomas Kent , 1916 Rebel and, below, Robert Emmet,1803 Rebel.

This newspaper article , regarding the body of Thomas Kent , caught not only my attention but that of one of our readers , who contacted us in relation to a similar story, concerning the unknown final resting place of Robert Emmet.

Various graveyards and vaults have been suggested re Emmet's grave - that his remains were buried in Bully's Acre ("....near the right-hand corner of the burying ground, next the avenue of the Royal Hospital, close to the wall, and at no great distance from the former entrance, which is now built up...") ....a nearby unofficial popular burial place in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham....that he was reinterred in St Michan's, a church with strong United Irish associations (in whose vaults lie the remains of the Sheares brothers) ....St Anne's in Dawson Street.....(the old)Glasnevin Churchyard.....the vault in the Church of Ireland St Peter's Church in Aungier Street.....St Paul's Church, North King Street ,and in a graveyard in County Kerry.

Our reader sent us some documents which he was given years ago by his grandfather , and which make for very interesting reading , and add to the mystery : the grandfather in question was given the documents by Joe Doolan , a 1916 man , and our reader introduced those documents to us with this foreword : " Joe Doolan worked in St James Hospital with some fellow 1916 Veterans.Their employment was part of a tradition where the Government assured veterans were given these jobs because of their role in the 1916 Rising. Joe fought under Major John McBride. The story is written on the back of Civil Service paper, and this paper was used to record the daily inspections of locations where rodent control measures were in place.

My Grandfather was a young lad during the Easter rising. He recalls when on an occasion of a parade, he was dressed in an Irish Kilt and walked in the parade. He hand was held during the length of the parade by none other than Maud Gonne, and under his kilt was hidden a gun. The gun was removed when they arrived at the other end of the parade. He became fully active in the 1920s, when he and others would go around Dublin and beyond, going into pubs and smashing them up if they were selling British alcohol, and hold up coal merchants selling British coal, and forcing them to throw the coal into the Liffey. There were times when they would not throw the coal into the Liffey if the merchants agreed to move guns around the city for them. I have no knowledge of the relationship between Joe Doolan and my grandfather. Joe had told the story of Robert Emmet on a number of occasions, he said he would write it down some time , which he did. He gave it to my grandfather and it was put away for years. In the late 1980s my grandfather called me aside and handed me a battered brown envelope. Inside that envelope was the hand written story of the last resting place of Robert Emmet. I have that document safely put away...."

Our friend sent us five pages , the first of which he designed himself as a 'cover' for the other four pages , which are , as stated, hand-written by Joe Doolan :

Page 1 (cover) , of 5 - the other four pages were written by Joe Doolan on 9th May , 1966.

Page 2 : "...who was the person most likely to take any interest in Emmet's last resting place ? There is but one answer to that question : Sarah Curran....when Emmet was being conveyed to his place of execution in Thomas Street , Dublin , while the procession was passing along the South Quays, a carriage with a lady in it , a lone figure draped in black, driving along the North Quays in the opposite direction stopped....the lady waved her handkerchief in the direction of Emmet....he saw the gesture and waved his hand in reply but was rudely stopped by his jailers....."

Page 3 : "...on the day of Emmet's execution , Sarah Curran was away from home from early morning until late in the evening. On her way home, she delayed in the village of Rathfarnham in order to interview a man (Keogh?) , a carter by occupation , with his own cart and horse....on the following morning, very early, he came to the gate of the Priory with the remains of Emmet covered with sacking. Sarah Curran met him and asked him to bury the remains....."

Page 4 : "...the two men were on duty in the Rathfarnham district and while there went in for a drink to Farrington's public house.....they engaged in conversation.....and he said, very positively - 'Emmet is buried within 50 yards of where you stand.....' "

Page 5 : " arrangement was made between Robert Emmet and Sarah Curran in which the survivor pledged his or her word and honour to have the deceased buried in or near the grave of Gertrude Curran in the Priory grounds, this arrangement was made shortly before Emmet's insurrection....when in the graveyard they found the grave described, beside the walk, with a tree at the foot and another at the head...."

Intriguing , no doubt, and all the more so considering that this information was wrote 47 years ago , but... "....In this district nearly every ancient site is associated in tradition with either Sarah Curran or Robert Emmet and it is not surprising therefore to find that this burial place has been suggested as the last resting place of Robert Emmet. This tradition goes back for well over a century and it is rather surprising that this site was not investigated when the search for Emmet's remains was being made at places a great deal less accessible and no less improbable.

In October 1979 the opportunity offered itself to carry out this investigation. The Priory estate was being developed and heavy machinery moved in to lay the roads and sewers. A Mrs. Bernadette Foley of nearby Barton Drive drew attention to the need to carry out this work before the site was buried for ever under a concrete jungle. With the co-operation of Messrs Gallaghers, the developers, a small group undertook to investigate the site. First the exact location was checked on the original large scale manuscript map in the O.S., next the field was carefully chained and the site marked to within a few feet and then a narrow trench 3 feet (0.91 m) deep was dug through where the burial should have been. The result was a complete blank. A second and a third trench were cut at intervals until a large area had been investigated without finding any burial, timber, brick or stone.

The developers then offered to investigate further with the excavator and carefully cleared an area of 20 yd (18 m) long and 10 yd (9.1 m) wide to a depth of 4 feet (1.2 m) without finding any sign of disturbance. They then deepened this area by another two feet with no better result. All the accounts of the burial state that it was made in a vault and it is therefore surprising and disappointing that no evidence whatever was found and there does not seem to be any obvious explanation for it. The builders, Messrs Gallaghers Ltd. were commended for their interest in this aspect of the site and their painstaking excavation work under the supervision of Mr. Leslie Black was expertly carried out...."
(from here.)

And we can only presume that " or near.." was adequately encompassed in the searches that were done....?


Interned by the British since April 2010 , no warning , no 'court' case , no reason....

Although I am loathe to ask people to do that which I am unable to do myself (I won't be in Ireland on that date) , I'm doing just that now : if you can make it to this event , please do so and , if you are unable to attend , please highlight it on your blog or 'Facebook' page etc. It literally could be any one of us the next time....


An Irish Rebel : James Connolly , 1868 - 1916.

Although we have practically an endless supply of information on James Connolly available to us , after much deliberation we decided to re-publish an article that John , from this parish, authored a few years ago, on the basis that 'if it ain't broke , don't fix it !' (...that , and the fact that I have a suitcase that needs packing!) .

James Connolly was born on June 5, 1868, at 107, the Cowgate, Edinburgh. His parents, John and Mary Connolly, had emigrated to Edinburgh from County Monaghan in the 1850s. His father worked as a manure carter, removing dung from the streets at night, and his mother was a domestic servant who suffered from chronic bronchitis and was to die young from that ailment.

Anti-Irish feeling at the time was so bad that Irish people were forced to live in the slums of the Cowgate and the Grassmarket which became known as 'Little Ireland'. Overcrowding, poverty, disease, drunkenness and unemployment were rife -- the only jobs available was selling second-hand clothes and working as a porter or a carter. James Connolly went to St Patricks School in the Cowgate, as did his two older brothers, Thomas and John. At ten years of age, James left school and got a job with Edinburgh's 'Evening News' newspaper, where he worked as a 'Devil', cleaning inky rollers and fetching beer and food for the adult workers. His brother Thomas also worked with the same newspaper. In 1882, aged 14, he joined the British Army in which he was to remain for nearly seven years, all of it in Ireland, where he witnessed first hand the terrible treatment of the Irish people at the hands of the British. The mistreatment of the Irish by the British and the landlords led to Connolly forming an intense hatred of the British Army.

While serving in Ireland, he met his future wife, a Protestant named Lillie Reynolds. They were engaged in 1888 and in the following years Connolly discharged himself from the British Army and went back to Scotland. In 1890, he and Lillie Reynolds were wed in Perth. In the Spring of 1890, James and Lillie moved to Edinburgh and lived at 22 West Port, and joined his father and brother working as labourers and then as a manure carter with Edinburgh Corporation, on a strictly temporary and casual basis. He became active in Socialist and trade union circles and became secretary of the Scottish Socialist Federation, almost by mistake. At the time his brother John was secretary; however, after John spoke at a rally in favour of the eight-hour day he was fired from his job with the corporation, so while he looked for work, James took over as secretary. During this time, Connolly became involved with the Independent Labour Party which Kerr Hardie formed in 1893.

Cobbler's Shop :

In late 1894, Connolly lost his job with the corporation. He opened a cobblers shop in February 1895 at number 73 Bucclevch Street, a business venture which was not successful. At the invitation of the Scottish Socialist, John Leslie, he came to Dublin in May 1896 as paid organiser of the Dublin Socialist Society for £1 a week. James and Lillie Connolly and their three daughters, Nora, Mona and Aideen set sail for Dublin in 1896, where he founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party in May of 1896. In 1898, Connolly had to return to Scotland on a lecture and fund-raising tour. Before he left Ireland, he had founded The Workers' Republic newspaper, the first Irish Socialist paper, from his house at number 54 Pimlico, where he lived with his wife and three daughters. Six other families, a total of 30 people, also lived in number 54 Pimlico, at the same time!

In 1902, he went on a five month lecture tour of the USA and, on returning to Dublin he found the ISRP existed in name only. He returned to Edinburgh where he worked for the Scottish District of the Social Democratic federation. He then chaired the inaugural meeting of the Socialist Labour Party in 1903 but, when his party failed to make any headway, Connolly became disillusioned and in September 1903, he emigrated to the US and did not return until July 1910. In the US, he founded the Irish Socialist Federation in New York, and another newspaper, The Harp. In 1910, he returned to Ireland and in June of the following year he became Belfast organiser for James Larkin's Irish Transport and General Workers Union. In 1913 he co-founded the Labour Party and in 1914 he organised, with James Larkin, opposition to the Employers Federation in the Great Lock-Out of workers that August. Larkin travelled to the USA for a lecture tour in late 1914 and James Connolly became the key figure in the Irish Labour movement.

Irish Citizen Army :

The previous year, 1913, had also seen Connolly co-found the Irish Citizen Army, at Liberty Hall, the headquarters of the ITGWU. This organisation, the ICA, was established to defend the rights of the working people. In October 1914, Connolly returned permanently to Dublin and revived the newspaper The Workers' Republic that December following the suppression of his other newspaper, The Irish Worker. In The Workers' Republic newspaper, Connolly published articles on guerrilla warfare and continuously attacked the group known as The Irish Volunteers for their inactivity. This group refused to allow the Irish Citizen Army to have any in-put on its Provisional Committee and had no plans in motion for armed action. The Irish Volunteers were by this time approximately 180,000 strong and were urged by their leadership to support England in the war against Germany. It should be noted that half of the Provisional Committee of the Irish Volunteers were John Redmonds people, who was the leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The Irish Volunteers split, with the majority siding with Redmond and becoming known as the National Volunteers -- approximately 11,000 of the membership refused to join Redmond and his people.

However, in February 1915, The Workers' Republic newspaper was suppressed by the Dublin Castle authorities. Even still, Connolly grew more militant. In January 1916, the Irish Republican Brotherhood had become alarmed by Connolly's ICA manoeuvres in Dublin and at Connolly's impatience at the apparent lack of preparations for a rising, and the IRB decided to take James Connolly into their confidence. During the following months, he took part in the preparation for a rising and was appointed Military Commander of the Republican Forces in Dublin, including his own Irish Citizen Army. He was in command of the Republican HQ at the GPO during Easter Week, and was severely wounded. He was arrested and court-martialled following the surrender. On May 9, 1916, James Connolly was propped up in bed before a court-martial and sentenced to die by firing squad -- he was at that time being held in the military hospital in Dublin Castle. In a leading article in the Irish Independent on May 10, William Martin Murphy, who had led the employers in the Great Lock-out of workers in 1913, urged the British Government to execute Connolly.

At dawn on May 12, 1916, James Connolly was taken by ambulance from Dublin Castle to Kilmainham Jail, carried on a stretcher into the prison yard, strapped into a chair in a corner of the yard and executed by firing- squad. Connolly's body, like that of the other 14 executed leaders, was taken to the British military cemetery adjoining Arbour Hill Prison and buried, without coffin in a mass quicklime grave. The fact that he was one of the seven signatories of the 1916 Proclamation bears evidence of his influence.

As a post script, and on a personal level, I will quote James Connolly's words to the Irish Citizen Army on 16 April, 1916 :
"The odds are a thousand to one against us, but in the event of victory, hold onto your rifles, as those with whom we are fighting may stop before our goal is reached." To those people whom Republican Sinn Féin would consider having "stopped before the goal is reached", I point out that the fact that James Connolly died on a chair should not be seen to infer that he wanted that chair placed at a table where a compromise would be the outcome.

Had James Connolly being willing to accept a compromise , he could more than likely have become a paid patsy in Ireland for Westminster but political principles meant something then , and still do today , to some people.


Ah flip it anyway : one last job before we belles take on everything that NYC wants to throw at us...!

On Sunday afternoon coming (9th June 2013) , myself and one team (from CABHAIR) will be doing battle in the 'Hotel Raffle' with supporters of Brazil , France , Cork , Shamrock Rovers , Chelsea , Everton and the aforementioned Doncaster Belles and Arsenal teams at the monthly raffle and then , a few short hours after we win (!) , myself and a different team will be 'doing battle' in Dublin Airport to make certain that we board our flight to New York City , for our two-week holiday , as previously mentioned.

I won't have time to do the usual raffle report here ( I'll be over there!) and it will be 'old news' by the time I get around to posting it : we don't expect to be updating the blog until late June or maybe even early July. This is the first break we have had since June 2011 and, considering it's taking place in New York, we know we're going to need time to recover after we get back !

Thanks for reading, Sharon.