Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Irish Citizen Army’

I’ve never heard this song sung, though it is sung to the same air as ‘Who Fears To Speak Of 98’ and ‘Who Fears To Speak Of Easter Week’. I picked it up from the excellent 1913:Jim Larkin and the Dublin Lockout book (1964), the hard work of the Workers Union of Ireland.

“It is appropriate that the Workers Union of Ireland should sponsor such a book as Jim Larkin was its founder and first general secretary as he had been the founder of and the first general secretary of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union”

If you’re wondering about the air, here is a version sung by Brendan Behan in relation to the 1916 rising that has been uploaded onto YouTube.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Grafton Street, 1911.

A timely gem this, from the National Archives online site.

I have gone from a weekly visitor to the Archives to never having time to set foot in the place owing to work,and you’d miss it. This leaflet is taken from 1911, and written by James Connolly. It can be read by expanding the image below.

Fellow-workers, stand by the dignity of your class. All these parading royalties, all this insolent aristocracy, all these grovelling, dirt-eating capitalist traitors, all these are but signs of disease in any social state – diseases which a royal visit brings to a head and spews in all its nastiness before our horrified eyes. But as the recognition of the disease is the first stage towards its cure, so that we may rid our social state of its political and social diseases, we must recognise the elements of corruption.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

A 24 page commemorative magazine published on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, kindly passed down to me by my uncle Donal.

1916 Easter Week 1966.
This publication is issued by “Irish Socialist” on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Uprising. It has been assembled and edited by Sean Nolan, at 37 Pembroke Lane, Dublin 4, Ireland. 4/66.
Price: One Shilling.

Articles:

Easter Week 1916 – Sean Murray
1916 Re-Examined – A. Raferty
1913 – 1916: Similar Battle Lines – Joseph Deasy
With James Connolly In America – Elizabeth Gurley – Flynn
Some Recollections of James Connolly – Hanna Sheey-Skeffington
1916 Proved Britain Not Invincible – H. Moore & A. Barr
The Connolly Road should lead to… Labour Republican Unity – A.J. Coughlan
I Appointed Myself… ‘War News’ Courier – Donal O’Reilly
Connolly In Belfast – Betty Sinclair
Citizen Army Vetran’s Memories of 1913-1916 and Connolly – John O’Keefe
Scots Socialist on Connolly – Tom Bell
Connolly – Liam MacGabhan
Lenin Supported The Men Of Easter Week – Michael O’Riordan
1916 And Education – A Secondary Teacher
Women and Easter Week – Marion Jeffares

*CLICK ON THE FRONT COVER BELOW TO READ THE FULL MAGAZINE*

1916 - 1966. (Click to read full magazine)

Read Full Post »

F. J McCormick in The Plough and the Stars as Captain Brennan.

The above image is taken from page 184 of the Capuchin Annual 1948.

The Plough and the Stars returns to The Abbey this summer, hopefully for a far less dramatic run than that of 1926, when the play inspired people to riot. “The Ireland that remembers with tear-dimmed eyes all that Easter Week stands for, will not, and cannot, be silent in face of such a challenge”, said Hanna Sheehy Skeffington, the feminist and social activist.

Sean O’ Casey remarked in the preface to his work on the Irish Citizen Army, The Story Of The Irish Citizen Army, that “It appears certain that Nationalism has gained a great deal and lost a little by its union with Labour in the Insurrection of Easter Week, and that Labour has lost much and achieved something by its avowal of the National aspirations of the Irish Nation.” This feeling is evident in this play, and the work is as tragic as it is funny.

The play is one that can spark debate in a way few others can. It’s run at the Abbey this summer is something I’ve been excited about for some time now. To coincide with the run, The Abbey are hosting a number of Talks and Workshops on the play.

Thursday 29 July, 6pm
Shivaun O’ Casey

Distinguished theatre director Shivaun O’ Casey discusses her father’s work.
Tickets: €3

Tuesday 7 September, 6pm
Keepers Of The Flame

Join us as we trace the political and performance history of The Plough and the Stars at the Abbey Theatre.
Tickets: €3

Saturday 4 September 10am
Talking Text

Voice Director Andrea Ainsworth leads a voice workshop using text from The Plough and the Stars
Tickets: €40 (Includes a light lunch and a ticket to the matinee showing)

Read Full Post »

The banner outside Liberty Hall, 1917

The text below is taken from the Bureau of Military History Witness Statement provided by Miss Rose Hackett, a member of the Irish Citizen Army. Rosie had been involved in the Jacob’s biscuit factory strike which took place near the end of August in 1910, ending in success for the workers. She was also involved in a later strike at Jacob’s when in September 1913 three workers were sacked for refusing to remove their trade union badges. During the Rising Rosie was positioned at Stephen’s Green under Commandant Michael Mallin.

Document No. W.S 546

“On the occasion of the first anniversary of Connolly’s death, the Transport people decided that he would be honoured. A big poster was put up on the Hall, with the words: “James Connolly Murdered, May 12th, 1916”.

It was no length of time up on the Hall, when it was taken down by the police, including Johnny Barton and Dunne. We were very vexed over it, as we thought it should have been defended. It was barely an hour or so up, and we wanted everybody to know it was Connolly’s anniversary. Miss Molony called us together- Jinny Shanahan, Brigid Davis and myself. Miss Molony printed another script. Getting up on the roof, she put it high up, across the top parapet. We were on top of the roof for the rest of the time it was there. We barricaded the windows. I remember there was a ton of coal in one place, and it was shoved against the door in cause they would get in. Nails were put in.

Police were mobilised from everywhere, and more than four hundred of them marched across from the Store Street direction and made a square outside Liberty Hall. Thousands of people were watching from the Quay on the far side of the river. It took the police a good hour or more before they got in, and the script was there until six in the evening, before they got it down.

I always felt that it was worth it, to see all the trouble the police had in getting it down. No one was arrested.

Of course, if it took four hundred policemen to take four women, what would the newspapers say? We enjoyed it at the time- all the trouble they were put to. They just took the script away and we never heard any more. It was Miss Molony’s doings.

Historically, Liberty Hall is the most important building that we have in the city. Yet, it is not thought of at all by most people. More things happened there, in connection with the Rising, than in any other place. It really started from there.

Signed: Rose Hackett,
26/5/51.

Irish Citizen Army outside Liberty Hall, 1917.

Read Full Post »

Dublin Fire Brigade Piper Bernard Mulhall at Liberty Hall

“O branch that withered without age!
Would we could see you where you’re missed
Step airy on the Abbey stage
Play there ‘The Revolutionist’
Or fill with laughter pit and stalls
With Bartley Fallon’s croak and cry
What led you to those castle walls?
We mourn you Sean Connolly”

Lady Gregory.

Another plaque in place, another important part of working class Dublin history marked.

The home of the Connolly siblings, at 58/59 Sean McDermott Street Lower, now boasts a new plaque from the North Inner City Folklore Project. Captain Sean Connolly and his siblings Katie, Joseph, George, Eddie and Mattie all fought with the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter rebellion. The plaque also pays tribute to young Molly O’ Reilly, who raised the green flag over Liberty Hall in 1916.

Among the crowd were historians, trade unionists, activists,relatives of members of the City Hall Garrison and members of the local community. The Dublin Fire Brigade were represented too, due to Joseph and George Connolly serving within its ranks. Joseph was a firefighter at the time of the insurrection. The Fire Brigade can therefore boast something very few others in the city can, in the form of a real connection to the Easter Rising.

Conor McCabe at Dublin Opinion has some more images worth a look over at their blog.

Speeches and audio

James Connolly Heron speaks at the site of the plaque. His speech covers not alone Sean Connolly and his siblings, but the campaign to save 16 Moore Street.

Las Fallon, of the Dublin Fire Brigade Museum, speaks of Joseph and George Connolly.

Dublin Fire Brigade piper plays outside 58/59 Sean McDermott Street Lower.

Wind, coughing, and all the other things nature/people can whip up when you’re trying to record something, but still….

Images

Dublin Fire Brigade members at Liberty Hall

Fittingly, a relative of James Connolly presents a relative of Molly O' Reilly with the green flag to raise.

The raising of the flag

The flag is raised.

Dublin Fire Brigade colour party

Citizen Army uniforms today, spot on right down to the red hand!

Dublin Brigade- Irish Republican Army

Las Fallon, Dublin Fire Brigade, speaks of George and Joseph Connolly.

Banner marking the role of women in the revolutionary years

A poem is read prior to the unveiling

A small selection of the fantastic collection of images from the period on display afterwards

The Starry Plough blows in the wind with the new plaque behind it.

Dublin Fire Brigade trade unionists pay respect. Firefighter Russ McCobb laid this on behalf of Impact workers.

Another snap of the brief talk on the Connolly connection to the Dublin Fire Brigade

The plaque itself

After the ceremony, we decided to visit Glasnevin Cemetery. There, we thought it only fitting to undertake a search for a particular grave with the day that was in it.

The grave was that of Captain Sean Connolly, Irish Citizen Army.

Read Full Post »

“What was this Republic of which I now heard for the first time? Who were the leaders the British had executed after taking them prisoners, Tom Clarke, Padraic Pearse, James Connolly and all the others, none of whose names I had ever heard? What did it all mean?”

So wrote a young British soldier serving in Mesopotamia, or Iraq to you and me. Bemused by what had occured in Dublin, this one soldier had gone to war not lured by the recruitment posters featuring small nations (often personified in the form of female characters) but in his own words “..for no other reason than that I wanted to see what war was like, to get a gun, to see new countries and to feel like a grown man”. This young soldier would continue to serve that army afterwards, but in 1920 became a member of the 3rd Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army, rising through the ranks to become a flying column leader who inflicted terror on Auxiliary forces at Kilmichael and the Essex Regiment of the British Army and the Royal Irish Constabulary at Crossbarry. The young man, of course, was Tom Barry.

Tom Barry

Barry was not the only Republican leader who saw the Rising in an unusual manner. In Dublin,a young medical student named Ernie O’ Malley was taken aback by events, and vivdly described events on Sackville Street.

“Other shops had just been looted: Lawrence’s toy bazaar and some jewellers. Diamond rings and pocketsful of gold watches were selling for sixpence and a shilling, and one was cursed if one did not buy…. Ragged boys wearing old boots, brown and black, tramped up and down with air rifles on their shoulders or played cowboys and Indians, armed with black pistols supplied with long rows of paper caps. Little girls hugged teddy bears and dolls as if they could hardly believe their good fortune”

Ernie O' Malley

While literally seeing the outbreak of the rebellion, O’ Malley would also encounter a student he knew who told him they were arming themselves in case Trinity College would be attacked. O’ Malley informed the student that while he was off home, he would return later(The fact O’ Malley was a UCD Student would no doubt lead to cries of ‘Sacrilege!’ from some even today). Largely indifferent at first to what was occuring, O’ Malley would quickly turn towards the rebels, even making his way down Moore Street and towards Nelsons Pillar one night, where he discussed the rising so far with a uniformed officer of the Irish Citizen Army. Amazingly, O’ Malley and a schoolboy friend would take it upon themselves to assist the rebels, through taking potshots at soldiers with a rifle his friends father had been given “as a present by a soldier who brought it back from the Front”

In his memoir, On Another Man’s Wound he went on to note that after the rebellion he purchased a copy of James Connolly’s Labour In Irish History. History would see Ernie O’ Malley remembered as a leading republican anti-treatyite, and a key intellectual within the movement.

James Stephens

In Dublin, James Stephens was surprised by the outbreak of the insurrection, in fact to the extent that he did not notice at first and went about his business. A novelist and poet, his account of the week, The Insurrection in Dublin, is well written and oft-humourous.

“This has taken everyone by surprise. It is possible, that with the exception of their staff, it has taken the Volunteers themselves by surprise; but,today, our peaceful city is no longer peaceful; guns are sounding or rolling and cracking from different directions, and, although rarely, the rattle of machine guns can be heard also.

Two days ago war seemed very far away- so far, that I have convenated with myself to learn the alphabet of music”

Stephens would seek confirmation of the Risings continuation from his own window, and the Republican flag flying over the Jacob’s Garrison, under the command of Thomas MacDonagh, but including a diverse band of individuals like Peadar Kearney (author of The Soldiers Song), Major John MacBride and the actress Máire Ní Shiubhlaigh, a member of Cumann na mBán, the womens auxiliary force to the Irish Volunteers.

“It is half-past three o’clock, and from my window the Republican flag can still be seen flying over Jacob’s factory. There is occasional shooting, but the city as a whole is quiet. At a quarter to five o’clock
a heavy gun boomed once. Ten minutes later there was heavy machine gun firing and much rifle shooting. In another ten minutes the flag at Jacob’s was hauled down.

Many had believed that the country would rise after Dublin, and create a national uprising out of a regional one. This was not to be, with contradictory orders from national leadership leading to mass confusion. Liam Mellows mustered a force of several hundred in Galway who were involved in several attacks on police barracks’ yet did not have the capability to sustain any sort of campaign in the region. Men of the ‘Fingal Batallion’ of the Irish Volunteers would find themselves active in Ashbourne, County Meath with Thomas Ashe, where they inflicted real damage on local Royal Irish Constabulary forces. Still, the significant forces available to the Volunteers nationwide were not used, as many had obeyed the order of Eoin MacNeill and word did not travel from Dublin at a speed to allow for a nationwide insurrection.

Dan Breen, front row.

The frustration of some Volunteers outside Dublin can be clearly felt in Dan Breen’s account of news reaching him in Tipperary, and his attempts to establish contact with Sean Treacy, a leading figure of the Third Tipperary Brigade and a close friend.

“Sean had left his home on the first news of the Rebellion and cycled from one centre to another, urging the Tipperary Volunteers to take action….

…We were bitterly dissapointed that the fighting had not extended to the country. We swore that, should the fighting ever be resumed, we would be in the thick of it, no matter where it took place”

Perhaps fittingly, on the 21st of January, 1919, Sean and Dan would play no small part in resuming the fighting with the Soloheadbeg Ambush, an action that has found a place in Irish history as the event which essentially kick-started the War of Independence. Anyone new to the period should seek out the ‘Wanted’ poster for Dan Breen, which is sure to raise a chuckle, highlighting his “sulky bulldog appearance” among other things.

Events in Dublin would have a ricochet effect far beyond the city or even Irish countryside. In Wales, Captain Jack White would find himself arrested too.

Captain Jack White

White had drilled, and in fact dressed (disagreeing with Sean O’ Casey on the matter of uniforming such a workers militia), the Citizen Army long before the insurrection.

In his memoir, Misfit, White noted that “In short, I am arrested in the South Wales coalfield for trying to get the Welsh miners out on strike. Why? To save Jim Connolly being shot for his share in the Easter Rising in command of the Citizen Army. Had I succeeded I would have crippled the coal supply for the British Fleet”

Years after the insurrection, White would find himself an anarchist in Spain,and in an article published on November 11th 1936 titled “A Rebel In Barcelona: Jack White’s First Spanish Impressions” White would once again speak of the Easter Rising.

“You will have heard no doubt about the Dublin Rising of 1916. That rising is now thought of as purely a national one, of which the aims went no further than the national independence of Ireland. It is conveniently forgotten that not only was the manifesto published by the “bourgeois” leaders concieved in a spirit of extreme liberal democracy, but, associated with the “bourgeois” leaders was James Connolly, the international socialist, who some regarded as the great revolutionary fighter and organiser of his day. In command of the Irish Citizen Army, which I had drilled, he made common cause with the Republican separatists against the common Imperial enemy.”

The article was printed in the CNT-AIT Boletin de Informacion, and White concluded by stating he greeted the working class revolution with “..the voice of revolutionary Ireland”

Not all former comrades of James Connolly and the Irish Citizen Army were as kind. Sean O’Casey had walked from the Citizen Army (where he held the situation of Honorary Secretary) with maintained a belief that the Citizen Army had aligned itself too closely with what he saw as reactionary nationalist forces.

Sean O' Casey

In his ‘Story of the Irish Citizen Army’ (available to read free online over at Libcom) O’Casey wrote of the raising of the green flag over Liberty Hall, stating that in his opinion “Labour had laid its precious gift of Independence on the altar of Irish Nationalism…”

Concluding Book 3 of his own autobiography, Drums under the Windows, published in 1945, it becomes clear he did not change his views with regards the new and secondary role the Irish labour movement had taken to Irish nationalism:

“But Cathleen, the daughter of Houlihan, walks firm now, a flush on her haughty cheek. She hears the murmur in the people’s hearts. Her lovers are gathered around her, for things are changed, changed utterly.

A terrible beauty is born.

Poor, dear, dead men. Poor W.B. Yeats”

Lastly, it is worth taking a brief look at a story that is personal and not political. In Portrait of a Rebel Father , Nora Connolly O’ Brien, daughter of James Connolly, describes the initial reaction of the family to their fathers execution.

Nora Connolly O' Brien

“Mama, we must go back to the Castle and ask for daddy’s body”
“They won’t give it to us”
“We must ask”
It was refused.
“Mrs. Connolly”- a nurse came to them as they stood in the hall not knowing what to do- “before Mr. Connolly left us I cut this off for you” On her hand was a lock of daddy’s hair. Mama took it and held to her cheek all that was left of him.

Of course, the above opinions and reactions are just a small sample of what is out there. This Easter Week, we should look at the event not just as a week long insurrection, but as an event that would ricochet on through the troubles that followed and continue to spark debate long after the last bullets whizzed through the Dublin sky.

A fantastic snap from life.com from one of the the 2006 commemorations at the GPO,Dublin.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: