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We’ve already touched on James Connolly’s 1902 Yiddish election leaflet before. Below is the translated version copied from Saothar 13. Also worth reading in the issue is Manus O’Riordan’s excellent article entitled ‘Connolly Socialism and the Jewish Worker’.

The following is the 1902 Yiddish leaflet authored by Boris Kahan, Secretary of the East London Jewish branch of the SDF, as translated for Saothar bu Sid Resnick, of the US Yiddish socialist newspaper, Morning Greiheit, on 12 May, 1987, the 71st anniversary of Connolly’s execution.

Friends!

On 15th January, the Municipal elections will take place and you are asked to consider for whom to cast your vote. But, before your reach your decision we, Jewish Social Democrats, wish to say a few words.

There are three candidates on the list for the Wood Quay Ward: you have here a Home Ruler, another a publican, and one labour candidate of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, James Connolly, who is supported by the Dublin United Labourers Union.

For which of the candidates will you vote on 15th January? For the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoise?

No, you cannot and you ought not do that! It is the bourgeoise which always has the bag of gold before its eyes. Everything that stands in its way, everything that does not agree with its gut interests it tramples underfoot no matter how sacred that may be. It is the bourgeoise that arouses race hatered, incites one people against another and casuses war. The bourgeoisie is the cause of Anti – Semitism; with its press it provokes hatered of the Jew and seeks to throw the blame for everything upon the Jew in order to deceive the people and conceal its sins against its own people.

No, you cannot vote for the Home Ruler, the candidate of the bourgeoisie! The Home Rulers speak out against the English capitalists and the English landlords because they want to seize their places so that they themselves can oppress and exploit the people. No mater how nicely and well the Home Rulers talk or how much as friends of man they seek to appear or how much they shout about oppressed Ireland – they are capitalists. In their own homes they can show their true colours and cast off their revolutionary democratic disguise and torment and choke the poor as much as they can. And you, Jews, what assurance do you have that one fine day they will not turn on you?

You ought to vote for the Socialist candidate and only for the Socialist candidate. The Socialists are the only ones who stand always and everywhere against every national oppression. It is the socialists who went out onto the streets of Paris against the wild band of anti-Semites at the time of the Dreyfus case. In Austria and Germany they conduct a steady struggle against anti – Semitism. And in England , too, the Socialists fight against the reactionary elements who want to shut the doors of England against the poorer jews who were driven to seek a refuge in strange land by the Russian government’s brutality and despotism.

The Socialist candidate is the only one for whom you ought to cast your vote.

In conclusion, a few words to you, Jewish workers of Dublin. Upon you rests the obligation to support the Socialist candidates as much as you can. The aims of the Irish Socialist Republican Party ought to be close to you. These are your own interests, the interests for which every knowledgeable worker must fight. These are the objectives for which every worker must strive. What does this party want? It wishes to abolish that system of private ownership under which the working class is condemned to labour, to create the wealth of the world and enjoy for itself absolutely nothing It wishes to construct a system in which the worker shall have the right to benefit from his labour and live a free, happy and enlightened life without bosses and rulers over his body and soul.

Jewish workers! No matter how small your numbers as you can achieve much. Do your duty and work earnestly had in hand with your Irish brothers. Canvass for votes, vote yourself and persuade others to vote on the 15th of January for the Socialist candidate, James Connolly.

With Socialist greetings,
The East London Jewish Branch of the
Social Democratic Federation.

You must cast your vote at the New Street School
James Connolly, 26 Fishamble Street, Dublin.

James Connolly (1902)

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Pardon my shadow.

just watched Joe Duffy deliver an amazing story on James connolly for irelands greatest..he has my vote.! If your in ire vote..no 1513717103

-Nicky Byrne from Westlife over on Twitter. With him on board, surely it’s a done deal!

To vote for Connolly text Great3 to 53125.

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With RTÉ currently running a weekly programme geared towards finding Ireland’s greatest ever citizen, its nice to see SIPTU getting in on the act in calling for James Connolly to be voted number one. And who wouldn’t, considering the remaining top five contains none less than, as Donal recently called them, the “Freestate Prick” Michael Collins and the “Northside Dick” Bono. Lucky enough we are I suppose that Stephen Gately and Adi Roche missed the cut (no offense to either of course…)

Do what the ominous big building tells you to

I can say with a good deal of confidence that the other two lads on here would be with me in calling readers to vote Connolly, and never mind the biters who try and say “sure he’s not Irish…” Take half an hour out of your time and watch TG4’s newest “Seachtar na Casca” programme on the man, then try and listen to someone tell you that James Connolly is not Irish…

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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…)

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This is a nice find, from the Irish Municipal Employees’ Trade Union, 1942.

The back of the leaflet was clearly used in 1942 by someone dealing with union finances, as it is littered with figures and sums.

Union members are encouraged to attend a commemoration in memory of Connolly on May Day, and also to show up a demonstration on the 3rd of May, “…to participate along with other Trade Unions in procession, which will leave STEPHEN’S GREEN at 12.15 pm”

Of all places, it showed up recently in the books of the Dublin Fire Brigade Union, loaned to the DFB Museum. The things that show up in books eh?

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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)

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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Who was the first man shot that day?
The player Connolly,
Close to the City Hall he died;
Carriage and voice had he;
He lacked those years that go with skill,
But later might have been
A famous, a brilliant figure
Before the painted scene.

From mountain to mountain ride the fierce horsemen.

W.B Yeats.

This Easter Monday sees a new plaque unveiled in Dublin, a plaque to the memory of Sean Connolly and his siblings ( Joe, Mattie, George, Eddie and Katie, who all served with the Irish Citizen Army during the Easter Rising) and young Molly O’ Reilly who raised the green flag over Liberty Hall in April, 1916.

In The History of the Irish Citizen Army, by R.M Fox, he wrote that:

In front of the hall itself the Citizen Army cleared a space and formed up on three sides of the square. Inside this square was the women’s section, the boys scouts’ corps under Captain W. Carpenter, and the Fintan Lalor Pipe Band. Captain C. Poole and a Colour Guard of sixteen men escorted the colour bearer, Miss Molly O’ Reilly of the Women Workers’ Union who was also a member of the Citizen Army.

….. “I noticed” said a member of the Colour Guard, “That some men, old and middle aged,and a great number of women were crying. and I knew then that this was not in vain and that they all realised what was meant by the hoisting of the flag

Sean Connolly famously starred in a play by James Connolly entitled ‘Under Which Flag?’ a week before the insurrection, which went hand in hand with the symbolic raising of the green flag over the hall. He was shot on the roof of City Hall on Easter Monday by a British Sniper who had taken up position in Dublin Castle. His brother, Mattie, was with him as he died. Sean is remembered not only as a captain within the Citizen Army but also as an actor at the Abbey, with Lady Gregory writing a poem in his memory after 1916.

James Connolly himself wrote in an article titled The Irish Flag published on the 8th April 1916 in the Workers Republc newspaper, that

For centuries the green flag of Ireland was a thing accurst and hated by the English garrison in Ireland, as it is still in their inmost hearts. But in India, in Egypt, in Flanders, in Gallipoli, the green flag is used by our rulers to encourage Irish soldiers of England to give up their lives for the power that denies their country the right of nationhood. Green flags wave over recruiting offices in Ireland and England as a bait to lure on poor fools to dishonourable deaths in England’s uniform.

On Easter Monday, April 5th the flag will be raised at Liberty Hall by a relative of Molly O’ Reilly. This flag will be presented by the great grandson of James Connolly. This ceremony will begin at 12 noon. After this, the crowd will move on to Sean McDermott Street where the plaque will be unveiled on 58/59 Sean McDermott Lower, where the home of Sean Connolly once stood.

There will be a photographic exhibition of images from the revolutionary years in the nearby Community Hall at Killarney Court.

This is all being carried out by the North Inner City Folk Project, the people behind fantastic events like the commemoration of the forgotten women of 1916, and promises to be a good one. I look forward to it!

Update: Images and audio from the launch can be found here

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Edit: Here is the translation.

A 1902 election leaflet for James Connolly, Wood Quay ward

Serious praise is due to Tomás O’Riordan and all involved with the University College Cork MultiText Project in Irish History , which has become an online home to many rare Irish historical photos and texts from the revolutionary years, ranging from characters like Jim Larkin and James Connolly to WB Yeats and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington.

The above find is undoubtedly one of my own personal favourites.

Some great insight into the election of 1902 can be found in Samuel Levenson’s fantastic biography of Connolly.

“As usual, Connolly’s campaign consisted for the most part of open air meetings, his favourite location being in New Street. The support of the Trades Council did not do much to make Connolly respectable, he recieved the usual amount of vilification. Sermons were preached in which he was termed an anti-Christ, and Catholics were forbidden to vote for him under pain of excommunication. It was charged that his children attended Catholic school only to camouflage his own beliefs”

Connolly was one of three Irish Socialist Republican Party candidates. None of the three managed to get elected on the day, with the other two candidates losing by decisive majorities. Connolly ultimately polled 431 votes, while the winning candidate achieved 1,424 votes.

An address made by Connolly “to the electors” and “fellow workers” of Wood Quay can be read online here

“…remember how the paid canvassers of the capitalist candidate – hired slanderers – gave a different account of Mr. Connolly to every section of the electors. How they said to the Catholics that he was an Orangeman, to the Protestants that he was a Fenian, to the Jews that he was an anti-Semite, to others that he was a Jew, to the labourers that he was a journalist on the make, and to the tradesmen and professional classes that he was an ignorant labourer; that he was born in Belfast, Derry, England, Scotland and Italy, according to the person the canvasser was talking to”

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Liam Weldons 'Dark Horse On The Wind'


“Yet there’s always hope in anyone singing as well as this man sings on this record, singing words as true and as deeply felt as these, in this voice both lonely and full of power. This is Dublin singing and Irish singing, as Dublin as the Easter Rising, as Irish as the Love Songs of Connacht or Flanders fields or the Limerick Soviet that got clobbered”

-Pearse Hutchinson on Liam Weldons ‘Dark Horse On The Wind’

James Connolly (Track 5)

Liam Weldons ‘Dark Horse On The Wind’ is one of the classic Dublin albums. Both my own parents are of Ballyfermot stock, and Liam lived opposite my mothers family home where she says a familiar face or two could often be seen. Ballyfermot played no small part in the ‘Folk Renaissance’ of the 1960s and 70s of course, with Downeys and other pubs in the area hosting fantastic singers nights and sessions, the Ballyfermot Phoenix Folk Night in particular. The Fureys of course were a huge part of the scene locally, as was Liam, but names and faces like Christy Moore would swing by on occasion too. Only quite recently I saw Andy Irvine upstairs in Downeys, so some of the tradition remains.

I’m rambling here however, back to ‘Dark Horse On The Wind’. A ’76 classic from Mulligan Records. A class act, thankfully brought back to us in 1999 with a star-studded launch in the Cobblestone (sadly on the other side of the city from Ballyfermot, but all is forgiven) An album that opens with a song reflecting on the troubles of the time in which it was written, lamenting our dead and cursing the nature of the “nation of the blind” that ensured yet more would join then. An album that closes with a beautiful song about, of all the innocent things in the world, the Jinny Joe. Between the Mausers and the Jinny Joes, we find songs of love and songs of class conflict. Blue Tar Road in particular dealing with, what Liam himself termed

“Travellers being pushed from pillar to post by the corporation and even some mortgage-minded vigilante type citizens”

Fintan Vallely, writing in the Sunday Tribune in 1999 about the songs of Liam Weldon, stated that


“Uncompromising, these challenged the middle-class complacency of the Irish Free State, and dangerously he trod ground shared with critics of a Irish national identity which he believed in”

That perfect Dublin mix, of the personal and political, the songs of love and the songs of liberty, is what makes ‘Dark Horse On The Wind’ the classic it is. Here, you’ll find ‘James Connolly’ (perhaps the best rendition I’ve heard, and a song of a man Liam termed “Irelands greatest socialist revolutionary”) and Smuggling The Tin, a nice short number on smuggling tin across the border into the free state.

While Liam was unsure who had written James Connolly, in ‘One Voice’ Christy Moore writes that he himself had

“…long since recorded it before I learned that it was written by Patrick Galvin, the Cork poet and writer. We have subsequently met.

….I did a subsequent recording for an album commemorating 100 years of the Scottish Trade Union council. The inclusion of the song caused anger among certain Scottish Trade Unionists who cared not that Connolly gave his life, living and dying, for all workers north, south, east and west. It was ironic uproar indeed, for Connolly was born in Edinburgh in 1869”

Liam Weldon passed away in 1995.


Smuggling The Tin (Track 2)

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