A day talked about in sadness and horror

Thu, Jun 23, 2016

“ I feel that every step of my plan has been taken with the Divine help. The wire has never been so well cut; nor the artillery preparation so thorough….”

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‘Deep humiliation and bitterness’

Thu, Jun 16, 2016

Despite the crucial role many women played in the 1916 Rising, very few were given the credit they deserved. In fact some women were refused a pension for many years because they were not men.

On Easter Monday 1916, Brigid Lyons, a young medical student at Galway University, was at home in Longford when news came that the Volunteers had staged a rebellion in Dublin.

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Thirty years of mayhem and magic

Thu, Jun 16, 2016

MACNAS, noun: the frolic-like behaviour of a young calf let out to grass for the first time after being kept inside all winter; joyful abandonment; dalliance; wantonness.

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The woman who threw a hatchet at the prime minister

Thu, Jun 02, 2016

There was hardly a marriage of two minds greater than that between Hanna Sheehy and Francis Skeffington, who were married in Dublin in 1903, and who committed their lives to many causes, particularly feminism, pacifism, socialism, and nationalism. Hanna was one of the founders of the Irish Women’s Franchise League, determined to win votes for women. As part of its disobedience campaign, women were urged not to fill in the 1911 Census form correctly. Her husband Francis, totally supportive in all her endeavours, and as head of the household, submitted the following:

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‘Lord, thou art hard on mothers’

Thu, May 26, 2016

Where is more beautiful, Connemara or Kerry?

This question, still argued over today, occupied the Pearse children in happier days before the 1916 Rising. Padraig, who had been coming to the west since 1903, and had built a cottage at Ross Muc, said the only way to finally solve the question, was for his mother Margaret, and his two sisters, the elder, also called Margaret, and the younger girl Mary Brigid, to come to Connemara for a holiday. The two men, Padraig and his inseparable brother Willie, set out in advance to get things ready while the three women followed later.

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Pearse did not want its beauty to be wasted

Thu, May 19, 2016

Reading Geraldine Plunkett’s description of a holiday she and her sister Fiona, and their brother Jack, enjoyed at Padraig Pearse’s cottage at Ros Muc in the summer of 1915, I get a glimpse of the relaxing life-style that welcomed Pearse there since he first came in 1903. In fact after Pearse wrote his famous oration, which he delivered with power and menace at O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral on June 29 1915, events swept him along to such an extent that he was never again able to visit the cottage.

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The professor in his wife’s overcoat

Thu, May 12, 2016

Tom Dillon, originally from Co Sligo, married Geraldine Plunkett, on Easter Sunday 1916. The Plunkett family were practically all committed to the Rising, and the subsequent War of Independence. Tom qualified from UCD as a chemist, worked with the Volunteers, and supplied them with a steady stream of hand grenades and bombs. In May 17 1918 he was arrested and interned with other Irish Rebels, in Gloucester prison, England.

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Families and weddings Easter 1916

Thu, May 05, 2016

Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford were to have a joint wedding with his sister Geraldine Plunkett and her fiancé Tom Dillon, at the Rathmines church, Easter Sunday, April 24 1916. The confusion about the on/off Rising, the rumours about the possibility of Roger Casement being taken prisoner in Kerry, kept the couples guessing as to what would happen. But Joseph, one of the principle organisers of the Rising, probably knew more that what he said to his sister, that Grace ‘did not know the smallest thing about the political situation, and had no idea whatever of such things’.*

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‘They all died well, but MacDonagh died like a prince.’

Thu, Apr 28, 2016

Padraic Pearse, the self-identified President of the Provisional Government, and Commandant-General of the Army of the Irish Republic was rushed to the gallows, or in this case to the grim stonebreakers yard at Kilmainham jail.

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‘If we do nothing else we shall rid Ireland of three bad poets’

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Poetry more than any other art form is intimately connected with the events of Easter 1916. Three of the executed signatories of the Proclamation, Padraic Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh (Tomás Mac Donnchadha) and Joseph Mary Plunkett were recognised poets of their day, who had used their poems to espouse the cause of revolutionary nationalism.

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The gentle warrior within the man

Thu, Apr 07, 2016

Between 1903 and 1915 Padraig Pearse spent as much time time as he could salvage from the press of affairs in Dublin at Ros Muc. In 1907 he built a cottage overlooking lake Eileabhrach. He became a familiar figure and popular in the neighbourhood. He was known affectionately as ‘An Piarsach.’ As well as his political speeches and editorials for An Claidheamh Soluis (The Sword of Light), he absorbed the culture and language of the people, and wrote short stories and poems.

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A family visit to Ros Muc

Thu, Mar 31, 2016

I have been asked how did Pádraig Pearse travel to Ros Muc in the first place, surely it was a burdensome task to get there from Dublin. He had no car, but a bicycle which he kept at his cottage.

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The stranger standing at Maam Cross Station

Thu, Mar 24, 2016

There was a humorous mix-up when Pádraig Pearse first visited Ros Muc in 1903. He was 24 years of age, and already imbued by a passion, and a vision for the Ireland of the new century. *

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Galway’s literary review attracts new talent

Wed, Mar 16, 2016

Éamon Ó Cuiv TD has had his first tentative piece of literary writing published in the current The Galway Review (volume 4). It is a competent piece of writing, and no one would have expected anything less, from the young Lochinvar who rides out of the west to astounding political victories every time. He wrote a review of Daniel Sammon’s Croagh Patrick and Me, Ireland’s holy mountain, which he can probably see from his kitchen window.

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We remain much the same as one hundred years ago

Thu, Mar 10, 2016

One of the most imaginative ideas to mark the 1916 centenary is the 100 To One Project. Three Galway photographers, Enda O’Loughlin, Ian McDonald, Bill Barry, and journalist Caroline Whelan, worked together to produce a book containing 100 photographs of local people aged from 100 years old to a few months. With the exception of the ‘few months’ and other small children, all tell the story of their lives so far.

The authors did chose some high profile characters such as politicians, sports stars, and artists, to get the project going. But through Facebook, and advertisements in the local press, they invited people to come forward. The real power of the book is the stories these people tell, and their Galway faces, many of whom we recognise. Surprisingly despite the enormous political changes during that time, we, as a community, have remained much the same.

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Has Ireland become a ‘hellhole’ of socialism?

Thu, Mar 03, 2016

Bill O’Reilly, the host of Fox News’s ‘The O’Reilly Factor,‘ is threatening to flee America if Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — the self-described democratic socialist who is running for the Democratic Party nomination — is elected president. As quoted in the Huffington Post, O’Reilly said:

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1916 - 1922 A time of courage, and divided loyalties

Thu, Feb 18, 2016

I have written before about a terrifying night in Galway when the Black and Tans went berserk following an incident at Galway railway station on September 8 1920. A drunken Tan, Edward Krumm, confronted the crowd of passengers as they emerged from the train. He produced a pistol and began to fire into the air, causing widespread panic. Séan Mulvoy jumped on his back but Krumm managed to shoot him as they fell to the ground. In turn a man stepped from the crowd and shot Krumm dead.

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Some Galway women in 1916

Thu, Feb 11, 2016

‘The main cause of disloyalty in the county,’ wrote the RIC inspector for Galway East 1916, ‘were the priests and the women of Athenry!’

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Remarks ‘Unworthy of the men in the Dáil’

Thu, Feb 04, 2016

I have written before how records from the Military Pensions Archive show that more than 200 members of Cumman na mBan, some who had sustained injuries and took risks with their lives participating in military action both during the Easter Rising, and in the subsequent War of Independence, were refused a pension because the pension was only applicable ‘to soldiers as generally understood in the masculine sense’.*

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