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7th-Nov-2015 05:18 pm - An alternative history of the Easter Rising
Patrick Murphy
Irish News
07 November 2015

The solution is simple. If there are going to be several competing centenary commemorations of the 1916 Rising next year, we can solve the problem of how to accommodate them all by doing what we now do best in Ireland - re-writing history.

We can create a revised version of the Rising, so that each group can justify its claim to be the true inheritors of the 1916 ideals. Welcome to Ireland, the land of instant history, where facts are flexible and the truth is a far-off planet.

So here is the (not very) authorised history of the 1916 Rising.

It all began when Pearse was walking down O'Connell Street one day, which was very hard to do at that time, because there was no O'Connell Street.

So he texted James Connolly to ask: "Where am I?" ("That's ridiculous", I hear you shout. You have a point, but is it any more ridiculous than claiming that the IRA's thirty-year war was for "equality" and not for a united Ireland? If we are going to re-write history, we may as well do it properly.)

Connolly replied by writing a pamphlet (Marxists love writing pamphlets) saying that he was busy preparing to serve King (meaning England) and Kaiser (Germany).

(We have reversed Connolly's views to accommodate almost every commemoration next year. Nearly everyone in Ireland now accepts the legitimacy of London rule in the north and Berlin rule, through the EU, across the whole island. So with a swift battering of the keyboard, all groups can now celebrate Irish "independence".)

While passing the GPO, Pearse noticed that it would be a wonderful setting for a rising. But while he was marvelling at the decor, he heard that Roger Casement had been arrested in Kerry.

Casement was later marched through the streets of Tralee to the Dublin train and not a single soul tried to rescue him. "Don't worry, Roger," the townsfolk would have shouted had they bothered to come out. "One day there will be a stadium named after you and your name will be on the lips of every planning official and health and safety officer in the north."

(I'm not sure which group we have re-written that bit for, but it might come in useful.)

So Pearse said: "Let us organise a rising, but it shall be a peaceful rising, because violence is wrong." (That covers the contradiction of preaching peace, while celebrating violence.) So they began their peaceful rising by entering into dialogue with a post office clerk and then engaging in bi-lateral talks, followed by a plenary session - just like they do at Stormont.

They later published the GPO House Agreement whereby the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) would join with all rebel groups to form the IRA, which would later revert to the IRB (Irish Republican Butterfly).They agreed that there should be an IRA for everyone in Ireland.

These IRAs would include the Real, the Surreal, the Continuity, the Intermittent, the Very Disruptive but Really Rather Nice and the Low-calorie, Sugar-free IRA. (I made most of those up, but that does not mean they do not exist. So all dissident groups are historically covered for their ceremonies. All we need now is justification for the individual party political commemorations.)

As the rising began Michael Collins said he would die for Fine Gael, so that it could invent austerity. Connolly said his death would be for the Labour Party, which would help to implement that austerity and de Valera said he would die, but not just yet, so that he could found Fianna Fáil to bankrupt the country.

All the other leaders decided to die for Stormont, so that people could become ministers without standing for election.

So there you have it. Our revised history of 1916 will now allow the various commemorative groups to march, make speeches, pontificate and scorn all rival commemorations.

However, the one thing which none of them will do is to solve the unemployment crisis in Ballymena. Commemorating the rising is seen as an acceptable substitute for failing to implement what it was intended to achieve, including for example, the Proclamation's objective of "the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation".

So the real inheritors of 1916 are neither politicians nor paramilitaries. They are those who, by their actions and principles, commemorate the rising in their daily work. These include for example, the community and voluntary sector, charities, credit unions, GAA clubs, Conradh na Gaeilge and the thousands of ordinary people who make Ireland a better place to live in.

Their history does not need re-writing.

21st-Oct-2015 03:46 am - Roger Casement made a ‘fool of himself’ – Kathleen Clarke
Wife of executed Easter Rising leader reveals disdain for Casement on secret tape

Ronan McGreevy
Irish Times
21 Oct 2015

Sir Roger Casement, the British aristocrat, “made a fool of himself” in his dealings with the Germans, according to the wife of executed Easter Rising leader Tom Clarke.

Kathleen Clarke described Casement as someone who really knew nothing about Ireland and who considered himself a leader of the Irish Volunteers despite being nothing of the kind.

The interview with Ms Clarke was recorded in 1968 by Fr Louis O’Kane and has been stored in the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive in Armagh until now.

A full transcript of its contents has never been released previously.

The Fr Louis O’Kane collection includes some 120 interviews with about 70 veterans or witnesses of the War of Independence, nearly all from the North.

Kathleen Clarke

In late 1914 and early 1915 Mr Casement went to Limburg prisoner-of-war camp in Germany in an attempt to raise a brigade among Irishmen who had been captured early in the first World War.

He hoped it would be the vanguard of a German invasion force which would liberate Ireland from the British, but only 56 out of some 2,000 prisoners joined.

Mrs Clarke told Fr O’Kane that Casement had no mandate to do such a thing. “He went off to Germany and started things that the revolutionary group here didn’t want,” she said.

‘Aristocratic kind’

“They didn’t ask Germany for men. All they asked them for was arms. And he was trying to get men.” She described Casement as the “aristocratic kind and he assumed that when he went into any movement, ipso facto, he was one of our leaders, if not the leader . . . and what could he know of Ireland, when he was all the time out of it.”

However, Casement was successful in securing arms for the rebellion although the Aud Norge, the ship which carried the arms, was intercepted by the Royal Navy on Good Friday 1916 and scuttled.

Roger Casement

Mrs Clarke said her husband had said, while awaiting execution in Kilmainham Gaol, that the Germans “to the last letter of the law” had sent the arms they promised and deserved credit. Mrs Clarke told Fr O’Kane her husband had made up his mind years before the first World War to start a rebellion if war broke out between Britain and Germany.

She and her husband only disagreed on one thing – they were living in New York in 1907 and he wanted to come back to Ireland but she initially refused.

“I said, ‘You’ve done enough for your country, as much as any man could be expected’ and he said, ‘You can never do enough for your country’,” she said.

Mrs Clarke said to her husband: “I don’t want to go. If you’re taking me home to a nice quiet life, I’ll be satisfied to go. I’d love to go, but if you’re going home for a revolution, I’m likely to lose you and I don’t want to lose you.”

She went back understanding the consequences. “Once I surrendered then I went into it wholeheartedly, even thoughI realised I couldn’t see, [how we would win] . . . with the small might that we could throw up against the immense might of the Empire.”

Thomas Clarke

Mrs Clarke became a formidable republican in her own right after her husband was executed in 1916.

She was a founder member of Fianna Fáil in 1926, the first woman mayor of Dublin, a TD and senator. She lived until 1972.

She was anti-Treaty and was interned by the government during the Civil War, but claims in the interview that she tried to persuade the men who were occupying the Four Courts in 1922 to lay down their arms.

She told Michael Collins she would support the Treaty on the basis that it gave Ireland the “machinery to work out to full freedom”.

In June 1922 she went to the Four Courts to remonstrate with the anti-Treaty forces who were occupying it. The occupation led to the Civil War.

Conference

“It’s a challenge to Mick Collins and I know Mick well enough that he’ll only accept that challenge until such time as he can get an army together and kick you out of here. Are you going to wait for that?” she told them.

Liam Mellows, who was occupying the Four Courts at the time and was later executed by the Free State government, responded: “You’re only a woman, what would you know about it?”

The recording is available to visitors of the Cardinal Ó Fiaich library on Moy Road, Armagh, (the project is supported by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund).

Helen Litton, a grandniece of Kathleen Clarke, will give a talk about the relationship between Tom and Kathleen at a conference in the library on November 14th.

17th-Sep-2015 05:34 am - 1916 rebel Thomas Kent to begin final journey home
By Niall Murray
Irish Examiner
17 Sept 2015



The final journey of 1916 rebel Thomas Kent will begin this evening when his remains lie in State close to where he lay buried in a prison yard for nearly a century.

Thousands are expected to attend at the chapel at Collins Barracks on the northside of Cork City, where his coffin will be brought for a 6pm prayer service to be attended by his nieces and other descendants.

The chapel is expected to stay open until after 9pm to cater for the large crowds expected to file past and pay their respects.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny will deliver the graveside oration after tomorrow afternoon’s State funeral about 30km away at St Nicholas’ Church in Castlelyons, near Fermoy. It will also be attended by President Michael D Higgins.

Thomas Kent: Final journey begins today.

Kent was executed on May 9, 1916, at the military detention barracks adjoining what is now Collins Barracks, after being found guilty of taking part in the Rising. When the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) came to arrest the 51-year-old local Irish Volunteers leader and his brothers at their home near Castlelyons in the early hours of May 2, Head Constable William Rowe was shot dead in a gun battle.

A brother, David, was injured and after their surrender another brother, Richard, was shot and later died after he tried to escape. Thomas Kent was found guilty of rebellion in a secret court martial in which a fourth brother, William, was acquitted. David was later sentenced to five years’ penal servitude after his death sentence was commuted, but he was released in June 1917.



St Nicholas’ Church and grounds in Castlelyons, Co Cork, in advance of the State funeral of Thomas Kent, with the Kent family tomb third from the foreground. Full military honours will be given at tomorrow’s reinterment in the Kent family plot. (Picture: Denis Minihane)

The site where family members have held annual anniversary ceremonies for decades, at what is now Cork Prison, was confirmed in June as the shallow grave in which Thomas Kent had been buried. An archaeological dig located human remains that were confirmed as his by DNA analysis.



Laying of a wreath at Collins Barracks, Cork, on May 11, 1933. Kent was executed at the military detention barracks on May 9, 1916.

The remains will be brought back there briefly tomorrow morning before the cortege departs to Castlelyons, where full military honours will be given at the reinterment in the Kent family plot.

The State funeral will be televised live on RTÉ One from 1.45pm tomorrow, and gardaí have advised anyone intending to travel to Castlelyons to arrive by 12.45pm due to strict traffic arrangements and limited viewing space.

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