Sunday, June 5, 2016

Celtic Corner - June 2016

CELTIC CORNER

          Bobby Sands was an Irish Nationalist who led a hunger strike in prison in 1981. He was elected a Member of Parliament during the strike and died on May 5, 1981, 35 years ago. Sands endured a long hunger strike that brought great world opinion on the problem in Northern Ireland which years later brought about the Good Friday Agreement.
          Dennis Mulcahy on May 5th, the same date that Bobby Sands died, was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth. During the ceremony the queen said Dennis, by his actions saved one child at a time. I also believe his actions helped to make the Good Friday Agreement a reality.         

I AM OF IRISH AMERICA
I am of Irish America.
I am a child of immigrants.
I am of a people who for over eight hundred years have bowed a knee to no king but the King of Heaven.
And bowed a head to no queen but the Queen of Heaven.

I am of a dispersed people sent in Slavery to Barbados, in Chains to Australia and in Famine to America.

I am of a people who tore themselves from their father’s trembling arms
 Kissed their tear stained Mother’s face good-bye
And traveled all over the world
To keep a roof over beloved heads
And food on a hungry table.

I am of an Empire upon which no sun can set, for
Wherever you go in the whole wide world
Wherever a House of God has risen,
Whenever a house of learning founded
Or a tree of liberty planted by loving hands
And watered by the tears of an Irish exile,
There you will find the Irish Empire.

I thank God for the Blood of my Fathers.
I thank God for the land of my Birth.
I pray that God will save Ireland.
I pray that God will continue to Bless America.

To all my friends in this great American Irish Association, I wish you a very happy and safe summer.

Frank Darcy

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Celtic Corner - May 2016

CELTIC CORNER
Instead of Irish History, I thought this would be more appropriate in honor of Mother’s Day.
I am sure all of you know this tune. Have your handkerchiefs out when you read it.

An Irish boy was leaving
Leaving his native home
Crossing the broad Atlantic
Once more he wished to roam
And as he was leaving his mother
While standing on the Quay
He threw his arms around her waist
And this to her did say.

"A mother's love is a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she's living
You'll miss her when she's gone
Love her as in childhood
When feeble, old, and grey
For you'll never miss a mother's love
'Til she's buried beneath the clay"

And as the years grow onward
I'll settle down in life
And I'll choose a nice young colleen
And take her for my wife
And as the kids grow older
They'll play around my knee
And I'll teach them the very same lesson                       
That my mother taught to me

"A mother's love is a blessing
No matter where you roam
Keep her while she's living
You'll miss her when she's gone
Love her as in childhood
When feeble, old, and grey
For you'll never miss a mother's love
'Til she's buried beneath the clay"

Happy Mother's Day! (Lá an Mháthair faoi shona dhuit!)

        Frank Darcy


Friday, April 15, 2016

Celtic Corner - April 2016

CELTIC CORNER
1916-2016
March is always for St. Patrick. April is for the Rising. On Easter Sunday in Newark, a group of men & women commemorate the 1916 Easter Rebellion with a march from Military Park to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Frank & Kathie Darcy are honored to carry the banner in the march. A mass is celebrated in Irish Traditions and the Proclamation is read.
This year we celebrate 100 years of a free 26 county Ireland. We know the heroes, we know the story. We would have no Ireland, let’s not forget that. Woodbridge Irish Remember.
TIME LINE LIST
1916- The rebel leader Patrick Pearse stands under the portico of Dublin’s General Post Office to announce the birth of the Irish Republic.
1916-Eamon deValera comes to prominence as one of the republican leaders in the Easter Rising.
1916-Patrick Pearse and his fellow Irish rebel James Connolly are executed by firing squad.
1919-The Sinn Fein members elected to Westminster establish their own parliament in Dublin, The Dail Eireann (Assembly of Ireland),soon declared illegal by Britain.
1919-The armed supporters of Sinn Fein become the IRA, or Irish Republican Army, in Ireland’s war of independence.
1919-Michael Collins springs deValera from Lincoln gaol, with the help of a duplicate key.
1920-The Government of Ireland Act provides for separate devolved parliaments in southern Ireland and the six counties of Ulster.
1920-The brutal behavior of the British police reinforcements, the Black and Tans, aggravates the violence in Ireland.
1920-The Ira and the British security forces clash during a violent ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Dublin.
1921-The republican party Sinn Fein is unopposed in southern Ireland’s first general election and so wins every available seat in the Dail.
1921-The Sinn Fein members of southern Ireland’s new parliament assemble on their own, under the name Dail Eireann(Assembly of Ireland).
1921-James Craig (later Lord Craigavon) begins a 19 year term as prime minister of the new province of Northern Ireland.
1921-Envoys sent to London by deValera agree independence for southern Ireland as the Irish Free State, with Dominion status.
1921-The Anglo-Irish Treaty, agreed in London, ends the war between the British army and the IRA.
1921-The British parliament ratifies the Anglo-Irish treaty, but deValera repudiates it and resigns as president of the Dail.
1922-In elections to the Dail the pro-treaty faction of Collins and Griffith defeats the opposition, led by deValera.
1922-Bitter war breaks out between faction of the IRA supporting and opposing the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
1922-The Irish Free State takes stringent measures against rebel terrorism, making possession even of a pistol a capital offense.
1922-With the ratification of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the 26 counties of southern Ireland formally become the Irish Free State.
1922-William Thomas Cosgrove becomes the first prime minister of the Irish Free State.
1923-De Valera and the IRA lay down their arms, bringing to an end the Irish Civil War.
1923-De Valera and his followers do well in elections to the Dail but decline to take their seats.
1926-Eamon De Valera’s faction, Fianna Fail (Warriors of Ireland), enters mainstream Irish life as a political party.
1927-De Valera and his party, the Fianna Fail, finally take their seats in the Dail.
1931-The Irish government classifies the Irish Republican Army as an illegal organization.
1932-Fianna Fail wins enough seats in the Irish Free State’s election for Eamon deValera to form a government.
1932-De Valera withholds farmers’ annuities from Britain, provoking British tariffs and a trade war.
1933-Fine Gael is the name given to a new political party in Ireland, formed by the merger of several smaller groups.
1937-De Valera introduces a new constitution, changing the name of the Irish Free State to Eire (Gaelic for Ireland).
1937-De Valera’s new constitution for Eire lays claim to the six counties of northern Ireland.
1940-Lord Craigavon (previously James Craig) dies in office after nineteen years as Northern Ireland’s prime minister.
1943-Basil Brooke begins an unbroken 20 year period in office as Unionist prime minister of Northern Ireland.
1949-Eire is renamed the republic of Ireland and withdraws from the Commonwealth, severing the last link with the British crown.
1949-The British government declares that Northern Ireland will remain British unless the parliament in Stormont decides otherwise.
1957-DeValera takes stringent measures against the IRA and Sinn Fein, detaining activists in an internment camp.
1959-On the retirement of deValera, Sean Lemass succeeds him as leader of Fianna Fail and prime minister of Ireland.
1963-Terence O’Neill succeeds Basil Brooke (Lord Brookeborough) as Northern Ireland’s prime minister.
1965-Terence O’Neil and Sean Lemass, prime ministers of Northern Ireland and Ireland, have two unprecedented meetings.
1968-The first civil rights march in Northern Ireland, in Derry, is halted by the police with batons and water cannon.
1969-The Provisional IRA reintroduces the fight for justice in Northern Ireland after Protestants attack a civil rights march.
1970-The Social Democratic and Labour Party(SDLP) is formed in northern Ireland as a coalition of Catholic nationalist and civil rights campaigners.
1971-Ian Paisley and others in Northern Ireland form the Democratic Unionist Party, as the intransigent wing of Ulster Unionism.
1971-Gerry Adams is imprisoned for suspected IRA links but is released for lack of evidence.
1972-British paratroops open fire on a civil rights march in Derry killing thirteen in what becomes known as Bloody Sunday.
1981-The first of 10 hunger strikers Bobby Sands dies.
1984-Republican activist Gerry Adams is elected president of Sinn Fein.
1990-Mary Robinson is elected president of the republic of Ireland, the first woman to hold the post.
1993-UK and Irish premiers John Major and Albert Reynolds sign the Downing Street Declaration, a strategy for peace in Northern Ireland.
1994-The IRA declares a cease fire in Northern Ireland, a gesture followed a month later by Protestant paramilitaries.
1998-A proposed referendum on Northern Irish issues is accepted by all the relevant political parties in what becomes known as the Good Friday Agreement.
1998-In the referendum to endorse the Good Friday Agreement, the terms are accepted by majorities in both the republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
1998-The Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble becomes First Minister of the newly convened Northern Ireland Assembly.
2003-Ian Paisley’s hard line Democratic Unionist Party wins in elections to the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly.
2005-The Provisional IRA announces a formal end to armed conflict and orders units to dump all their weapons.
2007-Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly bring the same result as in 2003, with extremist rivals DUP and Sinn Fein the dominant parties.
2007-Long term enemies Ian Paisley (DUP) and Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein) agree to share power in reconvened Northern Ireland Assembly.
2007-Devolved government returns to Northern Ireland with Ian Paisley as first minister and Martin McGuinness as his deputy.
2008-Peter Robinson, elected unopposed as leader of the DUP succeeds Ian Paisley as First Minister of Northern Ireland.
2015-The British government would not allow the Irish to have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Scotland.
          Sadly enough, there is still no justice, no freedom, just hatred, prejudice, false imprisonment and a lot of violence. Just imagine your Celtic language is not legal to speak, your Gaelic games are frowned upon, your religious freedom is always in question. Ireland without question is one country, no partition.
“Ireland unfree shall never be at peace”
Padric Pearse


Caisc shona duit
Happy Easter
                  
Frank Darcy                                                                                      




Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celtic Corner - March 2016

CELTIC CORNER:
Saint Patrick's Day Traditions
THE WEARING OF THE GREEN
     The tradition of wearing Shamrock to celebrate Saint Patrick seems to date from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. This was a very turbulent time in Irish history. The suppression of the Gaelic way of life by the ruling British invaders resulted in many aspects of the Catholic religion in Ireland being forced underground. Strict laws were enforced which prevented the Catholic population from attending schools so 'hedge-schools' were operated in secret.
     These were schools run outdoors in secluded places (sometimes literally 'under a hedge!). The teaching of religion was also forbidden so it is only to be expected that teachers would use naturally available resources to inform their pupils. Thus the Shamrock plant was used to illustrate the message of the Christian Holy Trinity.
     Saint Patrick was credited with using the Shamrock in such a manner so the wearing of the Shamrock by the oppressed Catholic population became a means of demonstrating their defiance to the ruling British class. It also imbued a sense of kinship among
the native Gaelic people, differentiating them from their oppressors.
     Wearing a clump of Shamrock is now a firmly established tradition throughout the world to celebrate not just Saint Patrick but Ireland itself. The Shamrock symbol is widely used by businesses seeking to associate with Ireland and, along with the Harp, is perhaps the single most recognizable symbol of Ireland. It is a shame though that the Shamrock is not a blue plant as the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue!
SAINT PATRICK'S DAY PARADE
     Saint Patrick's Day is unique in that it is celebrated worldwide. It is most unusual that a country has such an international celebration and is really evidence of the generational effects of emigration that has afflicted Ireland for centuries. After the 1845 to 1849 Irish Famine emigration soared with as many as a million native Irish leaving their homes in the decades after the famine to settle in places like Boston, New York, Newfoundland, Perth, Sydney and beyond. The US Census Bureau now reports that 34 Million US Citizens claim Irish descent. Most emigrants like to commemorate their heritage and thus the Saint Patrick's Day Parade came into being.
     The earliest record of a Saint Patrick's Day Parade was in the year 1762 when Irish soldiers serving in the British Army held a Parade in New York City. Earlier records suggest that the day was celebrated by the Irish in Ireland as early as the ninth and tenth centuries.
     Again, this was a very difficult time in Irish history with Viking raiders terrorizing the native Gaelic population. It is thus no surprise then that in times of strife the local population would turn to religion and to a commemoration of their own heritage and individuality - a practice that has been repeated by populations of troubled places since the dawn of time. The New York Parade is now the longest running civilian Parade in the world with as many as three Million spectators watching the Parade of over 150,000 participants.
     The first official Parade in Ireland was in 1931. The 1901 law that copper-fastened March 17th as an Irish national holiday was later amended to insist that public houses close down on the day. This restriction was later lifted in the 1970's. In the mid 1990's the Irish Government really started to promote the event when it changed from a single day's Parade into a 5-day festival attracting as many as a million visitors into the country. Parades are now held in just about every major city in the world with the biggest in several US cities reaching epic proportions.
GREENING OF BUILDINGS AND RIVERS
     The use of the color green reached new heights (or plunged new depths!) when in 1962 the city of Chicago decided to dye part of the Chicago River green. Since then the campaign to have just about every possible landmark turned green for the day has taken off in earnest and in recent years has included the Irish Parliament building, the Sydney Opera House, the Empire State Building, Niagara Falls and even the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt!
A PINT OF PLAIN
     The Irish association with drinking is well known and not always positive. Fortunately there are plenty of examples of the appropriate use of alcohol and Saint Patrick's Day is one of them. It is a widely held tradition in Ireland that beer or whiskey can be taken on Saint Patrick's Day although native Irish pub-goers can only look on aghast as visitors top the heads of their creamy pint of Guinness with a green Shamrock. Sacrilege! It is estimated that as many as 13 Million pints of Guinness are consumed on Saint Patrick's Day, up from the usual 5.5 Million per day!
DRESSING UP
     The tradition of dressing up in Irish outfits is not just confined to participants in Parades. Jovial creatures of Irish origin the world over use the opportunity of Saint Patrick's Day to dress up as Leprechaun or even as Saint Patrick himself. Kids love to wear the big green, white and orange hats and receive sweets thrown to them by similarly clad operators of the various Parade floats.
THE SAINT PATRICK'S DAY DINNER
     Corned beef and cabbage is as traditional an Irish meal as you will ever find and it is often hauled out for Saint Patrick's Day. Traditional Irish music in the background and a family gathering are other Irish Saint Patrick's Day traditions that have been going on for centuries.
May the Love and Protection
Saint Patrick can give
Be yours in abundance
As long as you live


Frank Darcy


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Celtic Corner - February 2016

CELTIC CORNER
The Road to Freedom

        The Rising of 1916, the disgraceful acts of the British Government and the continuing War of Independence that followed in 1919-21 had a profound influence on the shaping of modern Ireland. In 1914 the Irish Parliamentary Party, dedicated to autonomy for Ireland within the British Empire, appeared unassailable. After the General Election of 1918 the party disappeared from the Irish political scene. In the same election Sin Fein, dedicated to the establishment of an independent Republic, was returned as the virtually unopposed voice of Irish nationalism. This was followed by the setting up of an Irish parliament, Dail Eireann, and an even more comprehensive victory at the polls for Sinn Fein in 1921. The great swing in public opinion that brought about this change can only be explained in the context of 1916 and its aftermath.
        The local elections of January 1920, conducted under the new system of proportional representation, resulted in another comprehensive victory for Sinn Fein. Irish American opinion was mobilized and a fund known as the Dail Loan was extended to the United States with considerable success. The various Dail departments continued to operate with varying degrees of effectiveness, despite surveillance. Gradually the existing judicial and local government systems crumbled or were taken over. This process, given increased momentum by the results of the 1921 election, continued up to the Treaty.
        Increasingly frustrated by their failure to curb the IRA, British forces began to adopt a policy of reprisals, unofficially at first. Houses of suspected IRA members, creameries newspaper offices mills and whole villages were burned down by the Auxiliaries and Black and Tans as the violence escalated. On September 20,1920 the Black and Tans burned Balbriggan in County Dublin. Other towns such as Granard, County Longford, Trim, County Meath and Templemore, County Tipperary were also attacked, and on December 11 the Auxiliaries burned the centre of Cork. Official reprisals, such as the burning of houses whose inhabitants neglected to give information to the military and police became increasingly common, while on the other side the IRA shot informers and burned down the houses of active pro-unionists. Finally, with the military conflict in stalemate, and following preliminary negotiations, the terms of a Truce were agreed on July 9, 1921 and came into effect on July 11.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Celtic Corner - January 2016


CELTIC CORNER

The Road to Freedom

 

        The Rising of 1916, the disgraceful acts of the British Government and the continuing War of Independence that followed in 1919-21 had a profound influence on the shaping of modern Ireland. In 1914 the Irish Parliamentary Party, dedicated to autonomy for Ireland within the British Empire, appeared unassailable. After the General Election of 1918 the party disappeared from the Irish political scene. In the same election Sin Fein, dedicated to the establishment of an independent Republic, was returned as the virtually unopposed voice of Irish nationalism. This was followed by the setting up of an Irish parliament, Dail Eireann, and an even more comprehensive victory at the polls for Sinn Fein in 1921. The great swing in public opinion that brought about this change can only be explained in the context of 1916 and its aftermath.

        The local elections of January 1920, conducted under the new system of proportional representation, resulted in another comprehensive victory for Sinn Fein. Irish American opinion was mobilized and a fund known as the Dail Loan was extended to the United States with considerable success. The various Dail departments continued to operate with varying degrees of effectiveness, despite surveillance. Gradually the existing judicial and local government systems crumbled or were taken over. This process, given increased momentum by the results of the 1921 election, continued up to the Treaty.

        Increasingly frustrated by their failure to curb the IRA, British forces began to adopt a policy of reprisals, unofficially at first. Houses of suspected IRA members, creameries newspaper offices mills and whole villages were burned down by the Auxiliaries and Black and Tans as the violence escalated. On September 20,1920 the Black and Tans burned Balbriggan in County Dublin. Other towns such as Granard, County Longford, Trim, County Meath and Templemore, County Tipperary were also attacked, and on December 11 the Auxiliaries burned the centre of Cork. Official reprisals, such as the burning of houses whose inhabitants neglected to give information to the military and police became increasingly common, while on the other side the IRA shot informers and burned down the houses of active pro-unionists. Finally, with the military conflict in stalemate, and following preliminary negotiations, the terms of a Truce were agreed on July 9, 1921 and came into effect on July 11.

 

 - American Irish of Woodbridge, The Celtic Corner Blog (January 2016)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Celtic Corner - December 2015


CELTIC CORNER

     I suppose most Irish born & some Irish Americans know the basic story of the executed leaders of the 1916 Rebellion. I just wonder if we know what happened to the bodies of those leaders and the disgraceful actions by the British Government.

The bodies of the men were thrown onto the back of a truck and taken to Arbour Hill prison, where they were dumped, without rite or coffin, into a pit and had quicklime poured over them. Some of the men’s families had requested that their executed bodies be released to them – Major General Sir John Maxwell, the Commander in Chief of the British forces in Ireland, made a decision not to concede to their wishes for fear that the men’s graves might become a place of pilgrimage or, worse, a rallying point for further insurrection

We do not have a great record where the mortal remains of our patriot dead are concerned.

More than a century before the 1916 Rising, after a sentence of death had been passed on him during his trial for treason, Robert Emmet made one of the most famous speeches in history, instructing that ‘when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then, let my epitaph be written’.

But by the time Ireland ‘took her place’ and joined the United Nations in 1955, Emmet’s remains had long been lost.

Opinion has been divided as to whether the orator’s final resting place was in the vault of a now demolished church in Dawson Street, another in Aungier Street or in a family vault in Glasnevin.

With the exact location still a mystery, Emmet’s epitaph was never written.

Although the remains of the Rising’s leaders were not mislaid, in death, they scarcely fared much better than Emmet. None is commemorated in epitaph; the mass grave in Arbour Hill is unmarked and identifiable only by its proximity to a wall listing the names of the executed men, alongside the reproduced words of the Proclamation of the Republic. Aside from being the location for an annual Fianna Fáil-organised commemoration ceremony, Arbour Hill is remarkable for little else.

There is no eternal flame, no individual tributes to the executed men. It is unloved and rarely visited. Several Dublin tourism websites suggest that visitors to the capital bypass the cemetery at Arbour Hill altogether, on the basis that there is so much to do, and so little time to do it.

The majority of the men executed for their part in the Easter insurrection were deeply committed Catholics – only Connolly was an avowed atheist – and while that might sit uneasily in a modern context, there is no doubt that their Catholic faith meant a great deal to the executed men.

Contemporary reports from the occupied sites during the Rising tell of the Rosary being said almost continuously. One account has a passing Finnish sailor, who found himself caught up in the fighting, joining in with the Rosary as it was recited in Irish. Confessions were heard before battle, the Last Rites were administered to the fallen in the GPO and beyond.

Capuchin priests and Vincent de Paul nuns ministered to the wounded and dying on the streets all week.

After it was all over, Joseph Mary Plunkett was famously, poignantly, married to Grace Gifford in the hours before his execution, the couple exchanging vows in front of a Catholic priest at the tiny chapel in Kilmainham Gaol.

Another of the leaders, Michael Mallin, on the night before his execution on May 8, wrote to his family, telling his baby son: ‘Joseph, my little man, be a priest if you can.’ The two-year-old Joseph Mallin did indeed become a Jesuit priest. At 98 years of age, he is the last surviving child of any of the Easter Rising leaders.

In Kilmainham Gaol, all the men to be executed were visited by priests from the nearby Capuchin Friary on Church Street, and were given Confession and Communion. Even James Connolly received Communion – his first religious observance since his wedding in 1890.

A priest was allowed to witness the executions in the Stonebreakers’ Yard but crucially, was prevented from giving the Last Rites or anointing the bodies of the executed men, in accordance with Catholic practice.

There were no clergy in attendance at Arbour Hill when the bodies of the men were dumped, without ceremony, in their quicklime pit. It may not seem such a sin of omission today, but these were deeply religious and devout men, many of whom compared their own sacrifices to those of the early Christian martyrs.

On this day in 1916, the last execution of the Rising leaders took place in the bleak Stonebreakers’ Yard of Kilmainham. But few know that their bodies were flung into a pit, without respect or honor. It is time to give them at long last the rituals their sacrifice so richly deserves.

“Many suffer so that someday all Irish people may know justice and peace.” Theobald Wolfe Tone

Frank Darcy