Monday, April 7, 2014

Celtic Corner - April 2014

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.
          98 years ago, on Easter Sunday, 1916, there were two conferences in Dublin: one, where the feeling was that because of the countermand issued by the Volunteer’s Chief of Staff, there could be no Rising; the other was held in Liberty Hall by the Volunteer and Citizen Army leaders.
          Monday morning dawned; like all other Irish Risings this one was to be inadequately prepared. But these men were prepared to die, not for an island, but for a nation; a nation with a culture of its own, based on its own language, its own heritage and perhaps most important for”…the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland.”
The great achievement of the 1916 Rising was that it brought about a change in the attitude of public opinion. For although doomed to failure, it was a challenge to conscience and to courage; that Ireland was the first country in the 20th century to gain its own independence is evidence of this.
The story of the Irish Uprising is one of intense dedication, of unvanquished belief in the rightness of the cause, of hopes, of almost blind fidelity with no chance of compromise to but one goal: a free and independent Ireland. This was the common faith of the leaders.
Fearing that disaster was imminent, Eoin MacNeill attempted to call off the maneuvers in an announcement made public Easter morning. The countermanding order was considerable effective: only 1200 or so men turned out to parade.
          Little attention was paid to the marching of the Citizen Army and Volunteers on Easter Monday. By the time the populace was aware that the “invasions” into public buildings were no longer the mock attacks they had become accustomed to, The G.P.O. had been occupied by forces of the Republic. Later in that day a new tri color flag was hoisted over the Post Office, while on its steps, Padraic Pearse read the official proclamation claiming authority for the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic.
          As Republicans fortified the occupied buildings and improvised barricades, the British in Dublin called for military reinforcement.
          By the second day of the Rising, British artillery was being brought into action. Meanwhile, small groups of Irish Volunteers from the county were coming to Dublin to join their comrades. They were shortly to find it impossible to make contact with Republican positions.
During the week that followed, position after position held by Republicans was given up to the British. Connolly was wounded, the Post Office burning, and on Friday morning Pearse issued a statement renouncing hope of military success.
And of course we know the ending, the heroes, the Patriots were executed. And we know that the ending as the Brits fought thinking it was the end, when it was only the beginning. The Irish after six more years of rebellion, independence for 26 counties was ultimately won. Finally after one hundred years, we may see peace & freedom in our last 6 counties of Ulster. Maybe at last a United Ireland.
          As dad always said “only one Ireland, not two”

Cáisc shona duit
Happy Easter

Your Corres Secretary                          President
Frank Darcy                                      Ken Egan