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One hundred thousand welcomes to you to my official blog of all things Irish from me, Diane Byrnes, host of the Echoes of Erin radio show on WEDO Radio 810AM.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Note: Often times I am asked for information on my 'Specials', so I decided to post the text of today's program on the Blog. The songs, artists and album titles are listed in between paragraphs. Enjoy! Comments are welcome.
April 8, 2007
Padraig Pearse, James Connolly, Thomas Clarke,
Thomas MacDonagh, Sean MacDermott,
Joseph Plunkett, Eamonn Ceannt

Mise Éire by Sean Ó Riada

In Irish history and politics, it is common to draw a distinction between nationalism and republicanism.
· Nationalism is used for any manifestation of national sentiment, including cultural manifestations; for movements demanding autonomy from Britain but not complete independence; and sometimes for secessionist movements committed to constitutional methods.
· Republicanism denotes movements demanding complete independence under a republican government. It is frequently associated with a willingness to use force to achieve political goals.

At first, Irish Republicans who advocated renewed independence from England either were in favor of an independent Ireland retaining the British monarchy if they were ‘moderates’ or, if they were ‘radicals’, favored reviving the Irish monarchy. The republican revolutions in France and America during the late 18th century influenced young Irish men and women, leading to the nationalist movement becoming predominantly republican. The United Irish men were the first group to advocate an independent Irish republic. With military aid from the republican government in France, they organized the failed Irish Rebellion of 1798.

After the Act of Union in 1801 merging Ireland with Britain into the United Kingdom, Irish independence movements were suppressed by the British. Nationalist rebellions against British rule in 1848 (by the Young Irelanders) and 1865 and 1867 (by the Irish Republican Brotherhood) were followed by harsh reprisals by British forces.

In 1916 the Easter Rising was launched in Dublin against British rule. Even though the rebellion failed and most of its leaders were executed by the British, it was to be a turning point in history.

The Foggy Dew by Paddy Reilly
Paddy Reilly At Home

In 1912 Home Rule was about to be introduced in Ireland; not being acceptable to the Northern Unionists, Sir Edward Carson and James Craig set up the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) to defend Ulster against Home Rule.
Irish Citizen Army

In November 1913, the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin; their goal was to secure the rights and liberties common to all the people of Ireland. In 1914 the Irish Volunteers received a shipment of 1,500 rifles from the Asgard, a yacht belonging to Erskine Childers; the riles and ammunition were purchased from Germany, who were now at war with Britain.

The Asgard with Mrs. Childers


The women organized into Cumann na mBan. The main organizers were Agnes O’Farrelly, Mary MacSwiney, and Countess Constance Markievicz. When the organisation absorbed the suffragette movement, Inginidhe na hEireann (Daughters of Ireland), they adopted a uniform and became a regular army.

Countess Constance Markievicz with Daughter Maeve & step-son Stanislaus


Countess Markievicz and Bulmer Hobson organized the nationalist youth into Na Fianna Eireann (Warriors of Ireland) which encouraged the boys to study their heritage and culture, there by developing their sense of nationalism and independence. Many of these ‘boy scouts’ went on to become fully fledged members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.


Erin Go Brath by Dominic Behan
Easter Week and After

Soldiers of the Legion of the Rearguard

By Kathleen Largey Thompson
Irish Songs of Freedom

Irish Citizens Army


Mise Éire by Sean Ó Riada

The Route in Dublin

Red line indicates British blockade through the city centre (not drawn are the blockades in the north and south of the city)
1: General Post Office (GPO, Pádraic Pearse, Thomas James Clarke, Joseph Mary Plunkett, William Pearse and James Connolly)

2: Four Courts (Edward Daly)

3: Mendicity Institution (Sean Hueston)

4: South Dublin Union (Eamonn Ceannt)

5: Jacob's Factory (Thomas MacDonagh, Michael O'Hanrahan and John MacBride)

6: College of Surgeons (Michael Mallin and Countess Constance Markievicz)

7: Boland's Mill (Eamonn de Valera).

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, Irishmen and Irishwomen, between 1,000 and 1,500, attempted to seize Dublin, with the ultimate intention of destroying British rule in Ireland and creating an Irish Republic to include all 32 counties. The leaders, Pádraig Pearse, James Connolly and others knew their chances of success were slight; yet they fought and died.


Let’s focus on James Connolly. Who was this man? James Connolly was born to Irish parents in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1868; he began work at age 11. He spent three years in America before traveling to Ireland to organize the Labor Movement.

James Connolly was a Socialist. He worked at all times to bring about change against the capitalist system from which the new order was expected to rise. Connolly would have supported any program which made for democracy in industry and equitable distribution of wealth and power. He was as intensely patriotic as any antisocialist.

James Connolly


He helped to form the Irish Citizen Army, which joined with the Irish Volunteers. While serving as Commandant General of the Dublin Division, Irish Republican Army, he was badly wounded in the fighting in the GPO; he was the last of the leaders executed in Kilmainham.

James Connolly by Mary Black
The Black Family

James Connolly by Wolfe Tones
Let The People Sing

The Blood Stained Bandage by Ray McAreavey
This is Free Belfast

Kilmainham Goal


Mise Éire by Sean Ó Riada

The Women of Easter Week – some notes from Nora Gillies O’Daly.

The women of Cumann na mBan learned First Aid; rifle cleaning and sighting, drill and other things that would be useful in assisting the men. Seven of months of training took them to Easter Week. The countermanding order was very disappointing; Nora Daly returned home from her Cumann na meeting place, Father Matthew Park. Her home in Clunny was a regular arsenal of bombs that were made on the premises; there was dynamite, gelignite, rifles, bayonets, and ammunition.

Constance Markiecivz


On Easter Monday the mobilization order came; Nora went to inform Bridget Murtagh and May Moore. The ladies joined Countess Markievicz at Stephen’s Green, then were directed toward the summer-house where they met Miss Ffrench-Mullen.

On Tuesday the ladies left the Green and went to the College of Surgeons where other First Aid Assistants were working; Rosie Hackett and Bridget Murtagh, Mrs. Sheehy-Skeffington had visited during the week.


Other women that were instrumental in the Rising included Elizabeth O’Farrell a Courier who delivered the ‘orders of surrender’ to the British commander and then to the Irish Citizens Army troops throughout Dublin.

Helena Molony edited the women’s newspaper Bean na hEireann and served as an officer in the Irish Citizen Army; she was part of the group who stormed the GPO.

Winifred Carney was a suffragist and advocate for trade unions who was working as James Connolly’s secretary; she was also a ‘crack shot.’

Women of Ireland by Wolfe Tones

Wolfe Tones Profile

Grace by Jim McCann
Grace and Other Love Songs

The Easter Rising will be continued next week.

[1] The Concerned Group for Republican Prisoners, “Irish Republicanism a brief history. www.cgrplinfo/Irish%20Republicanism.htm
[2] The Concerned Group for Republican Prisoners, “Irish Republicanism a brief history. www.cgrplinfo/Irish%20Republicanism.htm
[3] Organisations behind 1916 Easter Rising, ‘The 1916 Rebellion’ www.1916rising.com/organisations.html
[4] 1916 The Rising, http://users.bigpond.net.au/kirwilli/1916/
[5] Echoes of Erin 1999 Easter Rising Program, Notes: ‘83rd Anniversary’. ‘My Fight for Ireland’s Freedom by Kathleen Clark. Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan. The Story of the Irish Race by Seamus MacManus. The Irish People, April 18, 1998 Edition.
[6] The Women of Easter Week, Nora Gillies O’Daly, contributed by Anthony J. Roche ‘ Fighting women of 1916.’

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