The Easter Week Series
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by W.B Yeats
I HAVE met them at close of day
That woman's days were spent
Hearts with one purpose alone
Too long a sacrifice
I write it out in a verse -
|Easter Week holds a special meaning to the Irish people. It was from the steps of the GPO (General Post Office) in Dublin that Padraig Pearce proclaimed the Irish Republic on Easter Monday 1916. A couple of years ago Ellen Naliboff and I did an Easter Week series telling about the lives of those brave men who were executed after the Easter Rising in 1916. During Easter Week we again are focusing attention on those who were involved in the struggle for Irish Independence. This Easter Week series is dedicated to all the heroes who gave so much of themselves so their country would be free.
Siochain agus Beannachtai
by Ellen Naliboff
The Easter Rising brought national attention to the Irish cause and to the oppressive ways in which the English ruled the country. Nationalism swept the country in the wake of the executions of the Easter Rising leaders. The War of Independence, which followed in 1919, the subsequent Civil War of 1922, and the formation of the Irish Free State in 1923 had their roots in the Easter Rising of 1916.
Tom Clarke urged the Supreme Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood that a rising must happen before the end of the Great War. Patrick Pearse, Joseph Plunket and Éamonn Ceannt drafted the first military plans. The Supreme Council decided unanimously to proceed with the uprising although they knew it had little chance of success. The Irish Volunteers were holding recruiting meetings throughout Ireland and training recruits enthusiastically. In spite of the order from Eoin McNeill not to revolt, over 2,000 soldiers made a strike for freedom on Easter Monday. The Volunteers seized and fortified six positions in Dublin city: the General Post Office, the Four Courts, Boland's Mill, St. Stephen's Green, Jacobs Factory and the South Dublin Union. The Volunteers' failed attempts to seize Dublin Castle and Trinity College severely restricted their means of communicating with each other and to prevent the arrival of English reinforcements. By Wednesday, the English outnumbered the revolutionaries by twenty to one. The English secured a perimeter around the city and closed in. By Friday the GPO was engulfed in flames and Pearse gave the order to surrender. Four hundred fifty people, many civilians, were dead with over 2500 wounded. The city was in ruins with the damage estimated at 2 Million pounds. The English subsequently arrested over 3,500 people, including Éamon DeValera and Michael Collins. The English executed all seven signatories of the proclamation of independence (Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, MacDonagh, MacDermott, Plunkett, and Ceannt). The masses of the country now thought that the insurgents were heroic and, for the first time, wanted an end to English rule. Nationalism swept the country.
by Margaret Kristich
He was born March of 1884 in Ballyknockane, County Cork. He went to school at Burnfort and North Monastery School in Cork. He joined the Blackpool branch of the Gaeilge League in 1901, the following year he became the secretary of the local organization. He became a (Irish) Volunteer in 1914. With Terence MacSwiney he dispersed the Volunteers in Cork on the orders from Eoin MacNeill who countermanded the order at Easter 1916. MacCurtain was Lord Mayor of Cork.
MacCurtain received many death threats as did other leading Republicans. Most of these people lived "on the run". This wasn't possible for MacCurtain, father of 5 and a leading figure in Cork. A few days after receiving what was to be his last death threat, and after a policeman had been shot in Cork, police closed off the area around MacCurtain's home. A group of men dressed in civilian clothes made up of Royal Irish Constabulary, some having English accents broke into the home of Tomás MacCurtain and shot him dead in front of his wife and family.
Lord French and Lloyd George claimed that MacCurtain was killed by his own people. An inquest was held and the police selected the jury. The verdict of the inquest:
"We find that Alderman Tomas MacCurtain, Lord Mayor of Cork, died from shock and hemorrhage, caused by bullet wounds and that he was wilfully wounded under circumstances of the most callous brutality: and that the murder was organised and carried out by the RIC officially directed by the British Government.
We return a verdict of wilful murder against David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of England;Lord French, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland; Ian MacPherson, late Chief Secretary of Ireland; Acting Inspector General Smith of the RIC, Divisional Inspector Clayton of the RIC; DI Swanzy and some unknown members of the RIC." (1)
(1) Michael Collins, The Man Who Made Ireland by Tim Pat Coogan; p 124; Roberts Rinehart Publishers; 1992; Boulder, Colorado
by Margaret Kristich
He was born in Cork City in 1879. He helped form the Cork Celtic Literary Society with Daniel Corkery. .He was the author of five plays. In 1911 he was appointed commercial teacher and organizer of classes in the towns of County Cork. He was one of the main founders of the Cork Volunteers. He also published Fianna Fail, and was the main contributor. After 11 issues it was suppressed. He and Tomas MacCurtain dispersed the Volunteers at Easter of 1916 following Eoin MacNeil's orders. He regretted this deeply the rest of his life. He was imprisoned several times for his Nationalist views and activities. He represented West Cork in the first Dail and was involved in setting up Dail Eireann's Arbitration Court.
After the murder of his good friend, Tomas MacCurtain, Terence MacSwiney was elected Lord Mayor of Cork. On August 12, 1920 while attending a meeting at City Hall he was arrested along with several others. Within a few days all were released except for MacSwiney. He was court - martialled and sentenced to two years imprisonment. He told the court that by not taking any food he would limit any prison term imposed upon him. He was transferred to Brixton Prison in England.
The tragic ordeal of Terence MacSwiney began. During most of he hunger strike MacSwiney's family was allowed to visit him, then towards the end his sisters, Mary and Anne were forcibly removed from a waiting area. His brothers Sean and Peter were told to wait in a room and could only see their brother when they were summoned. His wife Muriel was also told she would be summoned. As death approached the family was told they would be summoned when a crisis occurred. In reality as Terence MacSwiney was dying he was attended by his brother Sean and Fr. Dominic, when Sean attempted to call the family, the authorities probhited him from using the telephone. Terence MacSwiney died after 74 days on a hunger strike on October 25, 1920. The man who had said" It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer" had sacrificed his life for the freedom of Ireland.
During MacSwiney's long ordeal, the world expressed its shock and dismay with England's actions towards MacSwiney. The world witnessed MacSwiney's hunger strike. Press from as close as France to as far away as Afghanistan covered Terence MacSwiney's hunger strike. One of the presidential candidates in America cabled Lloyd George: "you have appalled the world by your callous indifference to the death throes of the heroic Lord Mayor of Cork". (2)
Following are a few of the press tributes to Terence MacSwiney
Londoners lined the streets to pay their last respects as the coffin was taken to the train for MacSwiney's last trip home to Cork. Sadly even this solemn family tragedy was again marred by politics. Lloyd George was influenced by Sir Henry Wilson to have MacSwiney's family removed from the boat train at Holyhead and the coffin was diverted to Cork. October 31, the day of Terence MacSwiney's burial was declared a national day of mourning in Ireland by the Dail.
(2) A Trinity of Martyrs; Sean O'Kelly, Irish Book Bureau, Dublin
by Margaret Kristich
Kevin Barry was an 18-year-old medical student at UCD. He was the fourth of a family of two boys and five girls. He was born January 20, 1902 at 8 Fleet Street, Dublin. He was baptized in St. Andrew's Church, Westland Row. His parents were Thomas Barry and Mary Dowling Barry. The family had a farm in Tombeagh, Hacketstown, County Carlow.
During the War of Independence (1917-1921) the streets of Dubin were in the middle of a war zone. Young Barry was captured after a street battle. He was sentenced to hang. The Irish demanded that Barry be treated as a prisoner of war. Women marched in the streets of Dublin carrying banners "England Executes Prisoners of War". The War of Independence was not an ordinary conventional war.
Because of Kevin's Barry age most people had hoped that he would not be executed. He was tried in military court under a new act called the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act (1920). It granted wide sweeping power to the military - arrest without charge, detention without trial, secret court martials, and suppression of coroners reports.
The Barry family believed that young Kevin's life would be spared because a close family friend, Ernest Aston, a Dublin engineer and Protestant Home Ruler went to see Lloyd George in London and had been promised that a reprieve would be issued.
There was a big movement in Ireland and England to save young Barry. The Westminster Gazette wrote -
" We hope the prerogative of mercy will be used in the case of the lad Kevin Barry, who lies under sentence of death in Dublin. He is only 18, and his execution would be a painful and distressing act.". (4)
There were a couple of escapes planned but were aborted because of the massive presence of Black and Tans and Auxiliaries present in Mountjoy Jail and some other reasons. Michael Collins was anguished because he could not free Kevin Barry when he had helped so many others escape from prison. He was tortured in jail and refused to name the others who were in his group or his commander.
Kevin Barry's plight focused attention on the fight for Irish independence.
Erskine Childers wrote a powerful and moving letter to the Westminster Gazzette protesting the verdict and sentence of Kevin Barry. In the letter he demanded fair treatment of captured Volunteers. " He also put the Irish struggle for independence in proper perspective for the English people when he wrote:
This lad, Barry was doing precisely what Englishmen would be doing under the same circumstances and with the same bitter and intolerable provocation - the suppression by military force of their country's liberty. To hand him for murder is an insulting outrage, and it is more: it is an abuse of power; an unworthy act of vengeance, contrasting ill with the forbearance and humanity invariably shown by the Irish Volunteers towards the prisoners captured by them when they have been successful in encounters similar to this one." (5)
The hanging of Kevin Barry gave Ireland a powerful martyr. The Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney was buried the day before Kevin Barry's execution. Some believe this was the turning point for the national movement. After Kevin Barry's death hundreds of youths joined the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence.
According to Seamus de Burca (letter to Irish Press August 5, 1951 the following song about Kevin Barry was written by an Irishman living in Glasgow, Scotland around the time of the execution of Kevin Barry. De Burca protested against the using of the melody for other songs. He wrote "The melody, like the words, belongs to the man who wrote it, who gave both to the Irish nations without any reward. Let us preserve this song about a gallant soldier inviolate". (Taken from Kevin Barry by Sean Cronin;National Publications Committee, Cork, 1971)
In Mountjoy Jail one Monday morning
Why not shoot me like a soldier,
Just before he faced the hangman
Calmly standing to attention,
For the cause he proudly cherished
The song continues for another two verses. There were many songs written about Kevin Barry, one also by Contstance Markievicz.
(4) Kevin Barry by Sean Cronin; National Publications Committee, Cork, 1971
by Ellen Naliboff
Thomas Ashe (1885-1917) born is Lispole, Co. Kerry and trained as a teacher in De La Salle College, Waterford. He lived in Lusk, North County Dublin while teaching in the Dublin National Schools.
In the 1916 Easter Rising he commanded the Fifth Battalion, North County Dublin (The Fingal Volunteers). In an encounter with armed Royal Irish Constabulary at Ashbourne, Co. Dublin, he captured four police barracks with large quantities of arms and ammunition. Arrested soon after, the British court martialed and sentenced him to death. The sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. Released in 1917 he was re-arrested for making speeches "calculated to cause disaffection" according to the government and sentenced to one year's imprisonment at hard labor. With other Republican prisoners at Mountjoy prison, his demand to be treated as a prisoner-of-war was refused. The prisoners went on a hunger strike as the only form of protest left to them. Ashe collapsed and died on 25 September 1917 after being forced to lie on a cold floor for fifty hours, then force-fed. In his weakened condition that was enough to cause his heart and lungs to stop.
Ashe was buried in his IRA uniform. Countess Markievicz, with a revolver in her belt, led Veterans of the Easter Rising, Armed Volunteers in uniform, and 30,000 people who followed his funeral. Ashe's death whipped up sentiment and Volunteer battalions were reorganized in Dublin. The remaining prisoners in Mountjoy were granted political status.
by Margaret Kristich
He was born August 11, 1894 (d. 1969) in Grange, one mile south of Donohill, County Tipperary. His parents were Daniel Breen and Honora Moore.
On January 21, 1919 the day that the first Dail met, Breen took part in an ambush at Sologhodbeg, County Tipperary. He and Sean Treacy planned the attack as a continuation of the Easter Rising of 1916. The attack at Sologhogbeg was the first engagement of Irish forces with the Crown forces. This event was the beginning of the War of Independence. After Sologhodbeg, Breen was on the run with a price on his head. By 1921 the reward for Breens capture was 10,000 pounds. He quickly established himself as a leader in the IRA. Breen was badly wounded in one of many battles with the British forces. He was elected TD for Tipperary in 1923 and was the first anti Treaty deputy to take his seat. He represented Tipperary in the Dail from 1932-1965. He wrote MY FIGHT FOR IRISH FREEDOM, detailing the actions taken during the War of Independence and ending with the tragic Civil War.
by Margaret Kristich
He was born in New York on October 14, 1882. His father Vivion Juan de Valera, was Spanish and his mother was Katherine Coll from Ireland. When he was 2 his father died and his mother sent him to Ireland to be raised by the Coll family in Bruee, County Limerick. He was a mathematics professor. He married Sinead Flanagan, also a teacher, on January 8, 1910. During the Easter Rising in 1916 he was the commander of Boland Mills in Dublin and held it until he received word from Padraig Pearce to surrender. He was sentenced to death but at the last moment the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Many believe his life was spared because he was born in America. He was released in 1917 when the general amnesty was granted. Upon his return to Ireland he was the Sinn Fein candidate in East County Clare and won the election handily against the Redmondite candidate. This was a significant election because of de Valera's involvement in the Easter Rising the previous year.
de Valera became both the President of Sinn Fein and The Irish Volunteers in 1917. He said the aim of Sinn Fein was to make English rule in Ireland impossible. It was hoped by all that when the World War ended and a Peace conference was held that Ireland would be able to present its case for freedom from England. Through the various elections Sinn Fein won elections and represented the majority of the people. Sean T O'Kelly was sent to Paris to represent Ireland's cause. He was unsuccessful in gaining recognition of the Irish Republic. The U.S. congress voted to urge the Parish Peace Conference to support Ireland's request for self-determination.
In April 1919 de Valera was elected President by Dail Eireann (Irish Parliament). The Cabinet Ministers were - Arthur Griffith, Count Plunkett (his son was one of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic who was executed for his part in the 1916 Uprising), Cathal Brugha, Constance Markievicz, Eoin MacNeill, William Cosgrave, Michael Collins, Richard Barton and Richard Mulcahy, Robert Ginnell.
The stage was being set for the conflict between de Valera and Micahel Collins. de Valera was willing to let the politician's debate, while Collins was impatient and wanted to take action to secure Ireland's freedom.
Since the British Government was in control of the Irish Revenue and taxation, the Republican government needed to raise funds. The Republican Government issued Republican bonds. As Minister of Finance, the task was left to Michael Collins to organize the loan. The funds were to be used to present the cause for Irish Independence on the world stage. Harry Boland was sent to America to make arrangements for a visit by de Valera's. The purpose of the visit was to raise money to float the Dail Eireann loan; to have the U.S. Congress recognize the Irish Republic and if the U.S. joined the League of Nations to secure America's assistance in the League. de Valera went to the U.S. in June 1920 and traveled around the U.S. raising funds until December 1920. He was successful in raising funds because of the suppression of Dail Eireann by the British government. The violence against the Irish people was on the rise and this all made it easier for de Valera to gain support for the Irish cause for freedom.
By April 1921 England was proposing a cease to hostilities but they were not willing to offer much, in fact Lloyd George said that members of the Dail would be granted safe conduct with the exception of 3 or 4 who were accused of serious crimes. This was obviously aimed at Collins and a few others. This was totally unacceptable to the Dail. After a truce was called in July 1921 representatives were selected to go to London to work out a treaty. de Valera insisted that Collins head the delegation. Collins did not wish to negotiate a treaty. He felt it was an impossible situation
When Collins and the delegation agreed to a treaty this led to the bitter split between de Valera and Collins. de Valera headed the Republican cause and Collins the Free Stater cause.. Dail Eireann accepted the treaty after a bitter debate, it passed by a vote of 64-57 on January 7, 1922. After the vote de Valera stood, visibly shaken and said: The Republic still goes on until the nation itself has disestablished it, before we rise, I should like to say my last word. Up to this we have had the record of four glorious years, years of magnificent discipline in the nation. The world is looking on at us now." (6) His voice faltered and he could not continue. The chamber was filled with young soldiers who had fought side by side for Ireland's freedom and now both sides the Republicans and the Free Staters realized the magnitude and horrible ramifications of the vote. Member after member broke down in tears at the thought of the horrors to come as a result of the vote.
Arthur Griffith was elected President to replace de Valera and a Provisional Government was selected to establish the Irish Free State.
During the next year de Valera lead the Republican side in the Civil War. At the close of the Civil War and for years to come de Valera was a strong force in Ireland's politics. He served in many positions in the government of Ireland including president for many years. His accomplishments are too numerous to mention.He also founded the political of Fianna Fail in 1926 Eamon de Valera died at the age of 92 on August 29, 1975. His wife preceded him in death two years previously. He was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery after receiving a state funeral. ( This is a very brief outline of de Valera's contributions, just a few of the highlights in his long career are mentioned. He made many contributions to Ireland).
(6) The Anglo-Irish Treaty by Frank Gallagher;Hutchinson & Co., London 1965 p.187
by Ellen Naliboff
(1882-1966) was one of the early leaders of the Irish nationalist Sinn Féin Party. In the Easter Rising he was staff captain to Padraig Pearse in the General Post Office. Although he was not court martialed he was arrested and interned in England. Opposed to the Treaty of 1921 he was a founding member of Fianna Fáil in 1926. He was second President of Ireland. He died in Dublin on 23 November 1966.
He served two terms as president of Ireland, from June 1945 to June 1959.
by Ellen Naliboff
Cathal Brugha, born Charles William St. John Burgess, 18 July 1874 in Dublin and educated at Belvedere College until he was forced to leave at sixteen when his father's business failed. He then became a clerk at a church supplies firm and shortly thereafter founded a new firm with the Lalor brothers in 1909 to manufacture candles. He married Kathleen Kingston of Birr (Offaly) in 1912. He joined the Gaelic League in 1899 and became a Lieutenant in the Irish Volunteers.
in 1913. As Second-in-Command at South Dublin Union, he was severely wounded in the Easter Rising of 1916. Brugha weak from loss of blood continued to fire upon the enemy and then suddenly the Volunteers heard the voice of Brugha singing "God Save Ireland". Although crippled for the rest of his life he took a leading part in the War of Independence. From October 1917 to April 1919, he was Chief of Staff of the IRA, then was Minister of Defense until January 1922. He represented Waterford in the Dáil Éirean from 1918 until his death in 1922. In the absence of Eamon de Valera and Arthur Griffith, he presided at the first meeting of Dáil Éirean on 21 January 1919 and proposed that the Volunteers take an oath of allegiance. On January 7, 1922 the Dáil Éirean ratified the Treaty by a slim majority of seven votes. De Valera has voiced his opposition early with the support of Brugha. Brugha opposed the treaty and clearly resented the influence of Collins over the IRA. As one of more militant opponents Brugha voted against the Treaty and was replaced by Richard Mulcahy as Minister of Defense. He fought on the Republican side in the Irish Civil War. Wounded in O' Connell Street, Dublin he died 7 July 1922.
by Margaret Kristich
Harry Boland - (1887-1922). He was a tailor and had a shop on Middle Abbey Street, Dublin. He was a close friend and personal confidante of Michael Collins. For several years they were inseparable and as close as brothers. He was also a close friend of Eamon de Valera. He took part in the Easter Rising in 1916 and was in Dartmoor Prison with de Valera until de Valera was transferred to Maidstone Jail. Austin Stack and Thomas Ashe were also in Dartmoor Prison with Boland. He served as Secretary in Sinn Fein; Republican envoy to the U.S.; secretary to de Valera and lieutenant to Michael Collins. He helped bring about the Pact that led to the signing of the Treaty of 1921. During the War of Independence he worked closely with Collins.
Boland was President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Along with de Valera and Collins he was probably one of the most influential people during this critical time in Ireland's history. According to Tim Pat Coogan 's book about Michael Collins, without Boland, the "Sinn Fein effort would have collapsed." With Collins he helped de Valera escape from Lincoln Prison in England.
He served as Deputy from Roscommon in Dail Eireann. Although he held high office in the Irish Republican Brotherhood he voted against the Treaty. After the fall of the Four Courts he helped reorganize the Irish Republican Army in the Province of Leinster.
While in America he was replaced as Sinn Fein National Secretary by Hannah Sheehy-Skefffington (the widow of the slain pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington who was killed while in prison during the 1916 Easter Uprising). Collins had been concerned about the Executive Committee of Sinn Fein and it's moderation and lack of willingness to be more militant and felt there was a lot of hostility towards himself and those of the more militant. This move against Harry Boland was proof of Collin's suspicions. The Committee wanted to have more moderates and Boland didn't fit in with their philosophy.
Both Harry and Michael Collins were in love with the same woman, Kitty Kiernan. When Harry went on his mission to America he thought he was going to marry Kitty and mentioned in a letter to her about honeymooning in America. Upon his return from America he not only learned about the Treaty but that Kitty was engaged to Michael Collins. He learned of this news from Michael Collins.
When Collins signed the Treaty he knew there was a lot of intrigue and he did not know who he could trust and these were men whom he had fought with towards the realization of a free and independent Ireland. Collins wrote to Boland warning him to beware that changes were taking place and to be cautious of whom he trusted. Collins was unaware at this point that Boland had come under the influence of de Valera in America and nowwas his supporter.
On the night of July 31, 1922 while sleeping in a hotel room, soldiers of the Free State Army broke into his room to arrest him. An inexperienced soldier shot him. He died three days later.
by Ellen Nalibof
Robert Childers Barton (1881-1975) was born in Co. Wicklow and educated at Rugby and Oxford. An extensive landowner and a progressive landlord, he sat on the Committee of the Irish Agricultural Organization Society from 1910. He was a British army officer during Easter 1916, resigned his commission and joined the Irish Republican Army. The British arrested him for making a seditious speech in 1919. He escaped from Mountjoy prison. He left a note for the governor that he could not stay any longer because the service was not satisfactory. They rearrested but released him on declaration of the Truce in 1921.
As Minister of Agriculture in 1921, he founded the Land Bank, and headed the Agricultural Credit Corporation, 1934-1954. He signed the 1921 Treaty as "the lesser of two outrages forced upon me and between which I had to choose" but later repudiated it. He died at home in Wicklow, 10 August 1975.
by Ellen Naliboff
Ernie O'Malley (1897-1957)born in Castlebar, County Mayo, was one of the most talented and colorful of modern Irish republicans. A leader in the 1916-1923 Revolution he was a contemporary of Michael Collins and Eamon de Valera.
O'Malley thought the Treaty was a compromise and joined the Anti-Treaty side in the Civil War. He commanded the capture and defense of the Four Courts Frances Mary Blake edited his account of that war, The Singing Flame, and published it after his death. He was more severely wounded than in the War of Independence, and much of the book is spent in prison and prison hospitals. The severity of his wounds and the unwillingness of the Free State to add another martyr to the Republican canon probably saved him from execution. On his release in 1924, he was in poor health and 27 years of age. While in prison he had been elected to the Dáil but never took his seat. In 1928 he embarked for the US with Frank Aiken to raise money for the proposed Irish Press.
Aiken returned to Ireland at the end of the long fund-raising tour, but O'Malley stayed behind. During the next five years he moved around California, Taos, New Mexico and Mexico, mixing with bohemians, artists and writers. In 1933 he met the wealthy Hooker family of Greenwich, Connecticut In August, 1935, Helen came to Dublin to make plans for her wedding. She married Ernie O'Malley in September in London. The couple had three children, but the marriage was not happy for long and the divorce was acrimonious. O'Malley's last years were spent in deteriorating health. When he died in 1957 he was given a State funeral.
by Ellen Naliboff
Liam Lynch (1893-1923) was born in Co. Limerick where he worked in a hardware store. He reorganized the Cork Volunteers in 1919 and commanded an effective Brigade in the Anglo-Irish War of Independence. He was a member of the Irish Republican Army Supreme Council, Chief of Staff of the IRA, established the IRA Executive, March 1922. He was an influential opponent of the 1921 Treaty. Although he resigned over the seizure of the Four Courts, he joined its garrison in June, 1922. Commander of the first southern division of the "Irregulars" he sought to hold the "Munster Republic" and issued the "orders of frightfulness" against the Provisional government. While preparing to come to terms with them in April, 1923, he was shot to death.
by Margaret Kristich
Maude Gonne MacBride - (1865-1953)Irish Nationalist, I.R.A. leader and actress. She was born of an Irish father and English mother, in Aldershot, England. Her mother died in 1871 and she was educated in France and in 1882 moved to Dublin when her father was posted there. Her father died in 1886 leaving her independently wealthy. She developed tuberculosis and moved back to France to recover where she met Lucien Millevoye, editor of "La Patrie". They agreed to work for Irish and French nationalist causes. They had two children. After a couple of years she returned to Ireland where she aided people in County Donegal who were the victims of mass evictions. Her work was so successful she had to go back to France to avoid arrest.
She co-founded Inghinidhe na hEireann (Daughters of Erin), a revolutionary woman society. In 1918 she was arrested and deported with several other Sinn Fein leaders( de Valera, County Plunkett, Cosgrave, Griffith, Countess Markievizc and Kathleen Clarke) for her part in the anti conscription campaign. They were imprisoned without charge. In 1920 Dail Eireann in an attempt to set up some semblance of normalcy of self-government set up a court system. Along with Kathleen (Mrs. Tom) Clarke, Maude Gonne MacBride was one of the justices.
The year of 1920 saw the Black and Tan "war". Across Ireland peoples homes and businesses were being systematically destroyed and people were forced to live in barns.This was part of the campaign of the English government to bring the Irish people to submission through by destroying their economy. Maude Gonne MacBride suggested to Arthur Griffith that the women of Ireland should form an organization to aid the families who had been left homeless and jobless. de Valera was also organizing a similar organization in America. These efforts were to become known as the White Cross.
During the Civil War she headed the prisoner release campaign. She spearheaded protests, pickets and parades.
John O'Leary the Fenian and veteran of the 1848 Young Irelander Uprising, introduced Maude Gonne to the poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats fell passionately in love with Maude Gonne. Throughout the years Yeats would continually propose marriage to Maude Gonne but she never returned his love. She told him "No Willie the world would not thank me for marrying you". Some of his best poetry was inspired by his unrequited love for her. His well known play Cathleen ni Houlihan was written for her. Maude Gonne played the part of Cathleen ni Houlihan at the Abbey Theater. She married John MacBride in 1902 and this devastated Yeats. The marriage was not a happy one. John MacBride was executed for his part in the 1916 Easter Uprising.
Yeats even proposed marriage to Maude Gonne's daughter and was also refused.In a very strange twist of fate in 1948 when the remains of William Butler Yeats were finally returned to Ireland for burial at Drumcliffe, County Sligo, Maude Gonne MacBride's son Sean MacBride as Minister of External Affairs for Ireland escorted the coffin off the boat and lead the State funeral procession.
Maude Gonne and John MacBride's son Sean MacBride received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1974 and was a founder member of Amnesty International.
by Ellen Naliboff
Liam Mellows (1892-1922) was born in Lancashire, reared in Co. Wexford. He was educated at the Royal Hibernian Military School. James Connolly influenced him toward socialism. Sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) in 1912, he was a founding member of the Irish Volunteers Although deported to England, he returned for the Easter Rising of 1916. He then escaped to the USA where he was agent for de Valera's tour in 1920. He opposed the Treaty as a coercion and betrayal of the republic. His employment includes working with Devoy on Gaelic American and as editor of Poblacht na hÉireann, Quartermaster General of the Irish Republican Army, 1921. He was a member of the Four Courts garrison, June 1922. Arrested in September 1922, he was executed on December 8, 1922.
by Margaret Kristich
Erskine Childers - Born June 25, 1870 in London. Author and Irish Nationalist. Among his writing was the FRAMEWORK OF HOMERULE. He was educated at Trinity College and Cambridge and served as a Clerk in the House of Commons from 1895-1910. His father was English and his mother was Irish, a Barton of Glendalough House, County Wicklow. Robert Barton was his cousin. He was in the Boer War in 1899. He married Mary Ellen Osgood of Boston in 1904. They received as one of their wedding gifts the yacht, Asgard. It was later to play an important part in the history of Ireland. In 1914 Erskine Childers, his wife, Mary Spring-Rice and Gordon Shephard among the crew transported arms to Howth for the Irish Volunteers. The Volunteers marched towards Dublin but were met by the police, all but 19 of the weapons were saved and those 19 were broken in the struggle. At the same time the Orangemen in Belfast were well armed and allowed to march in the open.
In March 1921 when Dail Eireann's Publicity Director was arrested, Erskine Childers was appointed to replace him. He along with Frank Gallagher published the Irish Bulletin. Childers was brilliant and quite gifted with words. When Lloyd George introduced the "Better Government of Ireland Bill" and tried to appeal to American public opinion and compared Ireland's fight for Independence with the secession of the southern states in the United States in the 1860s, Childers wrote an eloquent reply.
"The Irish answer to this declaration of war - this heroic defiance of the weak by the strong is something like the following: we do not attempt secession. Nations cannot secede from a rule they have never accepted. We have never accepted yours and never will. Lincoln's reputation is safe from your comparison. He fought to abolish slavery, you fight to maintain it. As to "resources" yours to ours are infinity to zero. You own a third of the earth by conquest; you have great armies, a navy so powerful that it can starve a whole continent, and a superabundance of every instrument of destruction that science can devise. You wield the greatest aggregate of material force every concentrated in the hands of one power; and while canting about your championship of small nations, you use it to crush out liberty in ours. We are a small people with a population dwindling without cessation under your rule. We have no armaments nor any prospect of obtaining them. Nevertheless, we accept your challenge and will fight you "with the same determination, with the same resolve' as the American States, North and South, put into their fight for their freedom against your Empire." (taken from Irish Bulletin March 4, 1920).
Erskine Childers along with de Valera and others wrote the outline of the draft for the Treaty with England. Erskine Childers was in the delegation sent to London to work out a Treaty. He was opposed to the Treaty. Even while on the move during the Civil War Childers was never without his printing press. He constantly tried to educate people through the written word. He was arrested by Free State Government troops in November 1922. The day after his arrest Churchill in a unprecedented speech about a prisoner said" I have seen with satisfaction that the mischief-making murderous renegade, Erskine Childres has been captured. No man has done more harm nor shown more genuine malice, or endeavored to brig a greater curse upon the common people of Ireland than this strange being, actuated by a deadly and malignant hatred for the land of his birth." (One wonders if Churchill hated Childers because he was born in England and worked for the English government and now fought for Irish freedom or if he felt so threatened by this brilliant man and his great use of words). Erskine Childers was shot at dawn on November 24, 1922 in Beggards Bush Barracks, before he had a chance to appeal his death sentence.
Before Erskine Childers died he wrote to his wife - "My beloved country, God send you courage, victory and rest, and to all our people harmony and love. It is 6:00 A.M. You will be pleased to see how imperturbably normal and tranquil I have been this night, and am. It seems perfectly simple and inevitable, like lying down after a long day's work".
No complaints, regrets, bitterness, just amazing courage like so many others who gave their lives for Ireland.
by Ellen Naliboff
Rory O'Connor (1883-1922) was born in Dublin. He emigrated to Canada where he worked as a railway engineer 1911-1915. The Irish Republican Brotherhood requested that he return. He was wounded in the 1916 Easter Rising and interned.
He disagreed with the IRB's policy of secrecy, which he thought was a deterrent to the promotion of popular agitation. He was the Irish Republican Army Director of Engineering, 1919-1921. He rejected the 1921 Treaty, led the IRA Military Council, repudiated the authority of the Dáil in March, 1922, and led the establishment of the garrison at the Four Courts in April, 1922. He surrendered June 1922, and was executed 8 December 1922.
by Ellen Naliboff
Edmund John (Eamon) Duggan (1874-1936) was born in Longwood, Co. Meath and educated as a solicitor. He was arrested in the Easter Rising, 1916. The British court-martialed and sentenced him to three years of penal servitude but they released after one year.
He served as Director of Intelligence of the Irish Republican Army. He was elected to the Dáil in 1918. The British arrested him again in 1920 and released him in 1921. After the Truce he became the Chief Liaison Officer for Ireland. He signed the 1921 Treaty, served as Minister for Home Affairs in 1922, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defense and the Executive Council. He died suddenly at Dún Laoghaire on 6 June 1936.
by Ellen Naliboff
Austin Stack (1879-1929), a rebel born in Kerry on December 7, 1879, joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1908. He served as commandant of the Kerry Brigade of the Irish Volunteers in 1916. The government arrested and sentenced him to death. They commuted his sentence to penal servitude but released him in June 1917. At different times between 1919 and 1922, he served as Minister for Home Affairs, Finance and Defense. He took part in the Civil War in opposition to the Treaty of 1921.
He went on a hunger strike for forty-one days before being released from prison in 1923. On August 10, 1925, he married Una Gordon, a wealthy widow who kept a "safe house" for Republicans during the War of Independence. He never recovered his health from his hunger strike and he died in a Dublin hospital April 27, 1929.
by Ellen Naliboff
Cathal O'Shannon (1889-1969), was a trade unionist and journalist for the Peasant, Sinn Féin and other fugitive nationalist papers and the Gaelic League organ, An Claidheamh Solus.
He mobilized with a hundred Volunteers at Coalisland, Co. Tyrone on Easter Sunday, 1916. They dispersed when there were no orders from Dublin. The British arrested and interned him until the General Amnesty of 1917. Later, they arrested and imprisoned him in England for urging Irish independence. He was released after a hunger strike of seventeen days.
In 1921 he campaigned as a Volunteer and as a trade union officer until the Treaty of 1921. He was a leader of the efforts by Labour Party members to mediate between the Republicans and the Irish Free State sides during the Civil War. He remained active as a trade union official until his retirement in 1969. He died in Dublin on October 4, 1969.
by Ellen Naliboff
Éamonn Broy, (1887-1972) was born in Rathagan, Co. Kildare. Assigned to the G division, the secret service of the British administration in Ireland, he supplied Michael Collins with valuable information. When Collins was on the run Broy hid him in the College Street police station. Arrested in 1921, he was jailed for six months, then dismissed. After the Treaty he served as adjutant of the Free State air force. He died in Dublin 22 January 1972.
by Ellen Naliboff
Richard Mulcahy, (1886-1971), Leader of Fine Gael, served as Minister of Defence. These loyal troops became the Free State Army, while the anti-Treaty forces became known as the Irregulars. Born in Waterford, his father was a postmaster and he worked in the postal service in Thurles, Bantry, and Dublin. After the formation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, he became second-in-command to Thomas Ashe in the Easter Rising of 1916. He was interned at Frongoch until the general amnesty. He rejoined the movement as the chief of staff of the Republican Army. In 1918, he was elected Member of Parliament for Clontarf division. The following year, he married Josphine Ryan, sister of Dr. James Ryan and Phyllis Ryan, wife of Sean O'Kelly. A supporter of the Treaty of 1921, he was also General Officer Commanding the Provisional Government during the Civil War. He replaced Cathal Brugha as Minister of Defense when Brugha voted against the Treaty.
After William T. Cosgrave resigned leadership of Fine Gael in June 1944 and served until October 1959. He spent the last five years of his life arranging his papers that he presented to University College, Dublin. He died 16 December 1971.
by Margaret Kristich
Countess Constance Markievicz (nee Gore-Booth; 1868-1927); born in London, was raised at Lissadel House, County Sligo, married Count Casimir Markievicz, 1900. She joined Sinn Fein, and launched Fianna Eireann, 1909; joined Inghinidhe na hEireann, wrote A Call to the Women of Ireland; became an officer of the Irish Citizen Army, which resulted in the resignation of Sean O'Casey She was second in command at St. Stephen's Green under Commandant Michael Mallin during the Easter Rising. She was sentenced to death for her roll in the Easter Uprising, but the sentence was commuted because of her sex. President of Cumann na mBan, the women's auxiliary of the Irish Volunteers, 1917. Sinn Fein MP for St Patrick's Dublin, 1918, being the first woman to be elected to the Commons, but did not take her seat - establishing a Republican tradition. Sinn Fein TD for South Dublin, 1923-1927. In March 1919 when de Valera returned to Ireland after his prison escape planned and executed by Micahel Collins and Harry Boland. de Valera appointed his cabinet members, he appointed Constance as Minister for Labor. She wrote to de Valera telling him that she could give all her time for Ireland. The Viceroy banned the annual Cumann na mBan conference in 1919, it was to held at the Mansion House. Nothing got in the way of Constance Markeivicz, so while the British soldiers were guarding the Mansion House, Constance and her companions held their conference in the Gaelic League Hall. Dublin Castle even attempted to have her deported to Poland because she was married to a Polish count. The government attempted to destroy Dail Eireann by arresting the leaders. Upon her release from one of her many imprisonment's the Viceroy declared Dail Eireann an illegal association. She never missed a meeting of the Dail except when she was in prison. In 1920 she lived in Dublin with the O'Carroll family for several months. She was known as the children's auntie and was heavily disguised as an elderly woman which allowed her to move around Dublin undetected. She had received death threats as did the other leaders. Dublin Castle wanted the Countess very badly. The following is a police directive dated January 14, 1920
"Superintendent D. Division"
The Countess Markievicz has, according to the newspapers, made two appearances at unannounced meetings in the City. One last night, the other a few days. Ago. I must again impress on all who superintend the grave importance of securing this woman's arrest, and to this end, force sufficiently strong to secure her arrest must be held in reserve at each Divisional Headquarters tonight and tomorrow night. The moment an unannounced meeting is discovered a message must be sent by the quickest method available to the nearest Divisional headquarters and to the G. Division, Dublin Castle. The police on the spot must act firmly and promptly as the Countess never remains at a meeting for more than a few minutes and may possibly be heavily veiled, and therefore, difficult to recognize. A motor van will be kept in waiting at the Castle and will be sent out promptly if her arrest is reported.
Superintendents will have at least three cyclists on duty in their Divisions to look out for suddenly convened meetings and the presence of the Countess or other suspects. They will report at once to their Divisional Headquarters and the Castle any information obtained
In May of 1920 Constance wrote to a friend that she had received another death threat and that there wasn't any doubt that Dublin Castle was plotting to murder all the cabinet members and leaders of the I.R.A. The Lord Mayor Tomas MacCurtain had already been killed in Cork City.
Shortly after this Colonel Smyth, Divisional Commissioner of Police for the Munster Area (Munster:Counties Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford) gave his appalling infamous speech which caused 14 RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) to resign on the spot. Symth was visiting the Listowel, County Kerry barracks with General Tudor, Inspector General of Police and the Black and Tans, along with other police officials. The speech was later to be published in the Freeman's Journal.
"Well, men I have something of interest to tell you, something that I am sure you would not wish your wives and families to hear. I am going to lay all my cards on the table, but I must reserve one card for myself. Now, men Sinn Fein has had all the sport up to the present (side note by MK. Michael Collins war against the Crown forces was proving successful) and we are going to have sport now. We must take the offensive and beat Sinn Fein with hits own tactics.Martial law applying to Ireland is coming into operations shortly. I am promised as many troops from England as I require; thousands are coming daily. I am getting 700 police from England. what I wish to explain to you is that you are to strengthen your comrades in the out-stations. If a police barracks is burned, or if the barracks are already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown out in the gutter. Let them die there, the more the merrier.Police and military will patrol the country roads at least five nights a week. They are not to confine themselves to the main roads but make across the country, lie in ambush, take cover behind fences near roads, and when civilians are seen approaching shout: 'Hands up!' Should the order be not obeyed, shoot, and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching carry their hands in their pockets or are in any way suspicious looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped and you are bound to get the right persons sometimes. The more you shoot the better I will like you; and I assure you that no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man and I will guarantee that your names will not be given at the inquest. Hunger strikers will be allowed to die in jail, the more the merrier.An emigrant ship will be leaving an Irish port with lots of Sinn Feiners on board. I assure you, men it will never land. That is nearly all I have to say to you.." (2)
There had been rumors of what Smyth was going to say and Constable Mee had been selected as spokesman for the group.Mee objected to Symth and called him a murderer and then resigned as did 13 others. Mee went onto to become assistant to Constance Markevicz in the Ministery Department.
The times were very dangerous for Irish patriots. The War of Independence continued until the British government worked out a truce with Dail Eireann of the Irish Republic.
At the Dail Eireann session, where the Treaty was narrowly passed, Constance Markievicz denounced the Treaty. All the women members of the Dail supported de Valera in the vote against the Treaty. The women deputies included, Mary MacSwiney sister of Terence MacSwiney who spoke eloquently against the Treaty, the Countess,Kathleen Clarke and Mrs. Margaret Pearse. The Countess continued her fight for Irish Independence on the side of the Republican Army during the tragic Civil War that was to follow When she was relected to the Dail in 1927 she was in failing health and died the same year. She was a remarkable force in the history of Ireland and was known as the Rebel Countess as well as respectful title of Madame.
by Margaret Kristich
At a later date much needs to be written about the Women of Ireland who did so much for their country and sacrificed so much. They were fighting next to the men and involved in every aspect of the struggle for Irish freedom and independence. There is Kathleen Clarke the widow of the executed 1916 leader Tom Clarke and sister to Edward Daly another 1916 leader who was executed. She later became the first female Lord Mayor of Dublin. Mary MacSwiney, the sister of Terence MacSwiney, she spoke eloquently against the Treaty at Dail Eireann. Muriel MacSwiney, widow of Terence MacSwiney, Nora Connolly O'Brien, daughter of another executed 1916 leader, James Connolly, Helena Malony, member of the National Council, Nancy O'Brien a cousin of Michael Collins who courageously smuggled messages to her cousin from Dublin Castle. She hid the messages in her hair. Mrs. Margaret Pearse whose two sons, Padraig and Willie were executed after the 1916 Easter Uprising Hannah Sheehy-Skeffington (widow of the pacifist Sheehy-Skeffington who was shot in prison during the 1916 Uprising),all the brave women and girls of Cumann na mBan (Leauge of Women). It was the auxiliary force of the Irish Volunteers. It is pronounced - cummon na mon. There are so many more who were an intregal part of Ireland's struggle for freedom, most of whom are not mentioned in books or articles, but are remembered as part of Ireland's soul.
by Margaret Kristich
Tom Barry - (General) born July 1, 1897 in Rosscarbery, County Cork and died July 1980. He married Leslie De Barra. He quickly established himself as a military leader in the IRA and organized the West Cork Flying Column. He gained military experience from the British Army, he was stationed in Mesopotamia (Iraq) when he heard about the 1916 Easter Uprising. He was mesmerized by the words of the Proclamation read by Padraig Pearse. When he returned to Ireland in 1919 his national pride had surfaced full force. Until that time he knew all about English history but not about the Rebellion of 1798 or the other important events in Irish history.
In 1918 a critically important event took place - the elections - where 70% of the people voted. They voted for Republican candidates. The candidates pledged to abstain from the British Parliament, this became a long standing Republican tradition(they refused to take an oath to the British Government). They voted for the Irish Republic to set up a Government and Parliament in Dublin. In January 1919 when the representatives gathered in Dublin they set up Dail Eireann the Irish Parliament and they proclaimed Irish Independence. This set the stage for the struggle to move one step further, Dail Eireann set up a de facto Irish Government which could not coexist with the British Government in Ireland, the two were set on a collision course. Dail Eireann proceeded to set up various departments. The Irish Volunteers were now the recognized army of the Irish Republic - The Irish Republican Army. The Irish Republican Army had moral and legal status the same as any lawfully formed army of a democratic government Michael Collins was the military strategist that devised what we now call guerilla warfare. Tom Barry had the much needed military experience he gained when in the British Army. Tom Barry aptly pointed out in his book Guerilla Days in Ireland that without the Easter Uprising of 1916 there would not have been a Dail Eireann thus "no sustained fight with moral force behind it in 1920-1921 and without the guerilla war Dail Eireann would have been destroyed and the 1916 sacrifices would have been in vain".(7)
Tom Barry was in charge of the West Cork Brigade. The Flying Column was the back bone of the war against England during the War of Independence. At the highest point the West Cork Brigade Flying Column had a 110 men, twice the size of the next largest Flying Column in Ireland. They moved quickly into an area, chose their battle, then disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Tom Barry's primary objective with his West Cork Flying Column was not to fight but merely to stay in existence. The existence of the Flying Columns challenged the British rule and forced them to maintain barracks and strong military presence all over Ireland because they didn't know from whence the Flying Columns would next strike next. Tom Barry's book, Guerilla Days in Ireland is a fascinating glimpse into this very important part of Ireland's history. He tells the stories of many courageous men and women. Some of these people had to endure the "Torture Squad". Two such courageous men were Tom Hales and Pat Harte, both of Clonakilty and members of the famed West Cork Brigade. The following will give you an idea what was happening throughout Ireland during this time.
Sir Hamar Greenwood, British Chief Secretary for Ireland announced in 1920 that resistance to British rule would be wiped out. 150 of the Auxiliaries took over Macroom Castle, County Cork.
"Of all the ruthless forces that occupied Ireland through the centuries, those Auxiliaries were surely the worst. They were recruited from ex-British officers who had held commissioned rank and had active service on one or more fronts during the 1914-1918 war. They were openly established as a terrorist body with the avowed object of breaking by armed force, Ireland's continued resistance to British rule. Their war ranks ranged from Lieutenant to Brigadier-General and they were publicized as the very pick of Britain's' best fighters. Highly paid and with no bothersome discipline, they were habitual looters. They were even dressed in a special uniform calculated to cow their opponents. Each carried a rifle, two revolvers, one strapped to each thigh, and two Mills bombs hung at the waist from their Sam Browne belts. It should be said in all fairness to the better type of British officers that they had refused to join this force.
Macroom was outside the West Cork I.R.A. area, but the Company of Auxiliaries stationed there seemed to concentrate from the time of their arrival on raiding south of our Brigade area. Day after day they traveled in to Coppeen, Castletownkenneigh, Dunmanway and even south of Bandon River By November 1, it seemed to me they were working on a plan to eliminate the I.R.A. resistance by terrorism, in one district at a time and then move on to repeat their activities in some other area They had a special technique Fast lorries (trucks) of them would come roaring into a village, the occupants would jump out, firing shots and ordering all the inhabitants out of doors. No exceptions were allowed. Men and women, old and young, the sick and decrepit were lined up against the walls with their hands up, questioned and searched. No raid was ever carried out by these ex-officers without their beating up with the butt ends of their revolvers, at least a half dozen people. They were no respecters of person and seemed to particularly dislike the Catholic priests. Actually in cold blood they murdered the aged Very Rev. Canon Magnier, P.P., Dunmanway on one of their expeditions. For hours they would hold the little community prisoners, and on more than occasion in different villages they stripped all the men naked in the presence of the assembled people of both sexes, and beat them mercilessly with belts and rifles. They commandeered without payment food and drink and they seldom returned sober to their barracks.Observing some man working at his bog or small field a few hundred yards from the road, they would stop their lorries and start their pleasant game. Laughing and shouting four or five would take aim, no to hit him, but to spatter the earth or bog around him. The man would run wildly with the Auxies' bullets clipping the sods all about him. He would stumble and fall, rise again and continue to run for safety. But sometimes he would not rise as an Auxiliary bullet was sent through him to stop forever his movements. Still laughing and joking , these gentlemen and officers would ride away. Why not? The corpse was only an Irish peasant, and probably a sympathizer with these rebels, and anyway what did it matter? One more or less made no difference and it was part of their duty to strike terror into the hearts of all the Irish." (8)
These were the conditions Tom Barry and the West Cork Brigade and other Flying Columns were fighting throughout Ireland to gain Ireland's independence.
Tom Barry took the Republican side during the Civil War and was imprisoned In 1927 he was appointed General Superintendent with Cork Harbor Commissioners and held this position till his retirement in 1965.
7. Guerilla Days in Ireland - The story of the famous West Cork Flying Column, told by the man who led it; by Tom Barry, Anvil Books, Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, 1971 Reference #1 - taken from Guerilla Days - page 16
by Margaret Kristich
Arthur Griffith - Born in 1872 and died suddenly August 12, 10 days before Michael Collins death on August 22,1922. He was a journalist, politician, and Irish leader. He was the editor of the weekly newspaper called United Irishman. He was the father of Sinn Fein. In a series of articles Griffith advocated the abandonment of Parliamentary methods (this was after the fall of Charles Stewart Parnell). Instead he proposed passive resistance to English rule. He founded Sinn Fein in 1905. He was a Fenian and a member of the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) until 1906. He wanted to see a free and independent Ireland with its own strong economy. He was involved in the Howth gun-running episode (see Erskine Childers article). He opposed conscription during World War I and actively campaigned against Redmond on this issue. It was during this campaign that the press labeled Griffith's Republican Volunteers - Sinn Fein Volunteers versus Redmond's forces. As Griffith's idea of dual monarchy was fading the term of Sinn Fein to identify Republicans, was emerging in Irish history. Although he did not fight with the Irish Volunteers in 1916 he was imprisoned after the Uprising because of his threat as a journalist. Many of the more militant Republicans during the War of Independence did not fully support him because of his lack of participation in the Uprising of 1916, as well as his moderation. Evidently Griffith did not broadcast that he had shown up at the GPO (General Post Office) during that fateful Easter week and was told by Sean MacDiarmada (business manager for his newspaper Nationality) that he was going to be needed after the Uprising and to return home. Griffith was doubtful that the Uprising was going to be successful thus he was not in favor of it, but yet still showed up at the GPO to lend his support to his fellow patriots.
In 1917 as de Valera was emerging as one of the strongest Irish leaders, Griffith was pressured (according to some historians) to withdraw his name for the presidency of Sinn Fein. Since he did not have the support of the Volunteers he would not have won the election, so in a show of unity he withdrew his name and was elected as Vice President of the organization he had founded.
At the close of the War of Independence Arthur Griffith with Michael Collins headed the delegation that went to London to work out a Treaty in 1921. Lloyd George knew the way to achieve what he wanted with the Treaty would be to divide the delegates and have them disagree with each other. He knew that Arthur Griffith was a man of honor and always kept his word. Lloyd George craftily set out to entrap Griffith. Griffith had warned many times in his journals that in negotiations the English could not be trusted, yet he did not heed his own warnings. He also stated that no Irishman could have the authority to give away "an inch" of Irish land. Eventually during the negotiations Lloyd George painted Griffith into a corner and Griffith was forced to support the Treaty.The delegation split down the middle. Griffith said he would sign the Treaty, Collins also agreed as did Duggan Barton would not sign until it was pointed out to him that he would be taking on the responsibility of bringing war to Ireland again. Lloyd George had threatened an "immediate and terrible" war against Ireland if the Treaty was not agreed upon. Duffy and Barton had been astonished at Collins acquiescence to the Treaty. Collins had a private meeting with Lloyd George and not all of what was said is known. But George had said Ireland would be annihilated, and Collins was in the position to know best the strength of the Irish Republican Army and if it could sustain another prolonged war, a war that would have been much fiercer than the War of Independence. Duffy had not believed Lloyd George's threat of all out war against Ireland, but when he heard Collins say that the I.R.A. could not protect the Irish people against the British Army he agreed to sign the Treaty. Just a couple of days prior to this, Griffith told de Valera and the Dail Eireann cabinet in Dublin that he would never sign anything that agreed to the partitioning of Ireland. The Treaty granted Dominion status to Ireland such as in Canada, it also allowed for the partitioning of Ireland and required the Irish Members of Parliament to take an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.
In Dail Eireann when the Treaty was being discussed, Arthur Griffith was the last speaker for those in favor of the Treaty. The speech followed a verbal attack on Michael Collins by Cathal Brugha.
"He was the man (referring to Michael Collins) that made the situation; he was the man, and nobody knows better than I do how, during a year and a half he worked from 6 in the morning until 2 the next morning. He was the man whose matchless energy, whose indomitable will carried Ireland through the terrible crisis and though I have not now, and never have had an ambition, about either political affairs or history, if my name is to go down in history I want it associated with the name of Michael Collins. Michael Collins was the man who fought the Black and Tans for twelve months until England was forced to offer terms."(9)
January 7, 1922 was the fateful day that resulted in the tragic split between Irishmen and Irishwomen who had just completed a successful war against the Black and Tans. January 7, 1922 was the day that Dail Eireann by a very thin margin (64-57) voted to accept the Treaty. It resulted in de Valera resigning as President of the Republic. Arthur Griffith was elected as President of the Provisional Government. The following June the infamous attack on the Four Courts took place plunging Ireland into a nightmare of Civil War and by August, Arthur Griffith was dead.
The following is a poem written by Oliver St. John Gogarty about Arthur Griffith.
"He made the loud tyrannical foe dumb-founded
9. Michael Collins, The Man Who Made Ireland by Tim Pat Coogan;Roberts Rinehart Publishers, Boulder Colorado, 1996 page 306
by Margaret Kristich
Piaras Beaslai -Poet, playwright, Gaeilge scholar and journalist. Born in 1881in Liverpool, attended schools in Liverpool. Died in 1965. In 1904 he left England after editing the Catholic Times, and went to live in Ireland. He soon joined the Gaeilge League. He believed that the Gaeilge League should represent a free and Gaielge Ireland, free of all foreign domination. When Beaslai made a motion stating this as a goal of the Gaeilge League Douglas Hyde resigned as the President in 1915. Hyde a scholar and poet, not a revolutionary, had founded the Gaeilge League in 1893. Beaslai played an important role in the Irish Republican Brotherhood and later the Irish Republican Army. He was an effective speaker for the cause of Irish freedom and also was the editor of an tOglágh, the first edition was published in August 1918. an tOglágh was the voice of the Irish Republican Army. It was not an easy task to edit the paper since it was raided continually. In order to avoid arrest, the leaders were often on the run (not sleeping in their own homes) and this made it very difficult for Beaslai to coordinate everyone and get important information to the various key figures in the Irish Republican Army.
Michael Collins realized the value of Beaslai and during one of Bealai's imprisonment's, Collins arranged his escape as well as Patrick Flemming who had brought to the forefront the issue of prisoners being treated as prisoners of war instead of as criminals. The prison escape was a great success. Thinking they would need 3 bicycles, Collins' men waited outside the walls of Mountjoy Jail. Much to their delight and surprise along with Beaslai and Flemming, 16 more men escaped.
Beaslai sided with Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. He went onto to write a biography of Collins. He also was a general in the new Irish Army. He was present at many important meetings thus giving us a view through the window of the War of Independence and what the key players said.
by Margaret Kristich
To be added later.
by Margaret Kristich
To be added later.
... and selected articles on the internet!
by George William Russell (A.E)
(1867 - 1935)
Your dream had left me numb and cold
I listened to high talk from you,
The hope lives on, age after age,
Here's to the women of our race
Here's to you, men I never met,
(1) Constance, Countess de Markievicz, one of the leaders of '16 and sister of Eva Gore-Booth.
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