April 2015

History Selection

Brian Boru, king, killed in battle April 1014
Brian Boru
April 1014
Oliver Goldsmith, died April 1774
Oliver Goldsmith
April 1774
Nano Nagle, died April 1784
Nano Nagle
April 1784
Bram Stoker, died April 1912
Bram Stoker
April 1912
Brian O'Nolan, died April 1966
Brian O'Nolan
April 1966
John Charles McQuaid, died April 1973
John Charles McQuaid
April 1973

Ireland in 1958

January 15th: Northern Ireland qualified for their first World Cup by beating Italy 2-1 in Belfast.

February 6th: Billy Whelan, who had played four times for the Irish national team, was amongst those killed in the Munich Air Disaster. Jackie Blanchflower, who had played twelve times for the Northern Ireland team, survived.

February 21st: Birth of Jake Burns, singer and guitarist.

March 18th: Taoiseach Éamon de Valera said he would be willing to have talks with the Northern Irish government on wider economic co-operation.

March 20th: Work began on the restoration of the State rooms at Dublin Castle.

March 24th: Birth of Dawson Stelfox, architect, in Belfast.

Billy Whelan
Billy Whelan
Jack Murphy
Jack Murphy
March 25th: Birth of Margaret Ritchie, SDLP policitian.

April 15th: Brendan Corish argued in favour of Irish travellers, saying it would be shame if the 'real Irish' were banned from the roads.

May 2nd: Birth of David O'Leary, footballer.

May 2nd: Birth of Jim Harvey, football manager.

May 10th: Jack Murphy, Independent TD, resigned in protest at the indifference of the main political parties towards the unemployed.

May 12th: Seán Lemass opened Ardmore Studios.

May 22nd: Jack Lynch, Minister for Education, announced that the ruling requiring women teachers to retire on marriage would be revoked.

June 2nd: Birth of John Buckley, Cork hurler.

July 1st: A Night to Remember (about the Titanic) was released.

July 2nd: Industrial Development Act passed to encourage influx of foreign capital.

July 5th: Birth of Veronica Guerin, journalist.

'A Night to Remember'
'A Night to Remember'
Carlisle statue damaged
Carlisle statue damaged
July 25th: A nine-year-old was awarded damages after being beaten by a teacher at a national school.

July 28th: The Carlisle Monument in the Phoenix Park was blown up.

August 1st: Birth of actor Adrian Dunbar.

August 6th: The Australian athlete Herb Elliot broke the world record for the mile at Santry Stadium in Finglas.

August 8th: The US Embassy in Merrion Square displayed plans for a new embassy in Dublin.

September 8th: Pan Am's Boeing 707 became the first jetliner to touch down on European soil at Shannon Airport.

October 1st: The assets and management of the Great Northern Railway were divided between Córas Iompair Éireann and the Ulster Transport Authority.

October 20th: Birth of Dave 'Fit' Finlay, wrestler.

October 25th: Northern Ireland-built Short SC.1 experimental VTOL aircraft made its first free vertical flight.

Córas Iompair Éireann advertisement 1958
Córas Iompair Éireann advertisement 1958
De Valera meets the pope
Éamon de Valera meeting the pope
October 29th: The government announced that the end of proportional representation as a voting system would be put to referendum.

November 4th: Taoiseach Éamon de Valera attended the coronation of Pope John XXIII.

November: Birth of Bernadette Sands McKevitt, republican.

December 15th: The Irish Press reported thousands of Belfast shoppers flooding into Belfast for the lights.

December 31st: The Harcourt Street railway line closed.

Remembering the Easter Rising

Remembering the Easter Rising in 1922
Remembering the Easter Rising in 1922

Remembering the Easter Rising in 1922
Remembering the Easter Rising in 1966

Remembering the Easter Rising in 2014
Remembering the Easter Rising in 2014

Book Review

Easter Widows

Author:     Sinéad McCoole

Publisher:    Doubleday Ireland

Date published: 2014

Easter Widows

Sixteen men were executed following the Easter Rising; this book charts the lives of seven Easter widows, concentrating on their relationships before the Rising and describing their paths in the years that followed. First is Kathleen Clarke, wife of Thomas, the most senior amongst the leadership and the man who Kathleen thought should have been named President. After the Rising, Kathleen remained politically active and opposed the Treaty; despite setbacks she held many leading roles including Mayor of Dublin. The longest lived of all the widows, she responded to Bloody Sunday 1972 with 'sadness but not surprise'.

Maud Gonne was another major figure who had worked for Irish freedom for years before her unhappy marriage to John MacBride. By the time of the Rising they were long estranged and Maud was living abroad. She took became a critic of the Free State and campaigned for prisoners' rights, earning the sobriquet 'Maud Gone Mad'.

Lillie, wife of James, seems to have been a more retiring figure, concentrating on her large family, some of whom followed their father into political activism. Frances O'Brennan shared Edward Kent's enthusiasm for Gaelic culture enough for both to change their names, with Frances becoming Áine and Edward Éamonn. Agnes Hickey waited years for Michael Mallin to finish his military service in India, an experience that converted him to Irish nationalism. Mallin's final letter from jail, when he laments his 'little man', his youngest son, is heart-rending. He asked for two of his children to enter religious orders, which they did. Sadly, Agnes was one of those subsequently neglected by the new state.

Sisters Grace and Muriel Gifford both married leaders of the Rising. Grace is famous for her wedding to Joseph Plunkett in Kilmainham Gaol, hours before his execution. Muriel's story is perhaps the most touching. Having already suffered depression and physical illness, she drowned in the sea a year after the Easter Rising while on holiday with other political families.






The Proclamation

IRISHMEN AND IRISHWOMEN: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and, supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the last three hundred years they have asserted it to arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades-in-arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God. Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, in humanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on Behalf of the Provisional Government.

Thomas J. Clarke, Sean Mac Diarmada, Thomas MacDonagh, P. H. Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, James Connolly, Joseph Plunkett

The seven signatories