You will not question the Leadership of the Organisation. That is disrespectful. Besides, they know better than you. They are more intelligent and/ or better educated or have been at it longer than you.
The Leadership are incorruptible and have suffered much along the way. That makes it disloyal to question them.
You don’t want to be disrespectful and disloyal, do you?
Let the Leadership do the thinking. Is that not easier?
You must not listen to those who challenge or criticise the Leadership. Those people are disloyal and disrespectful. Besides, some of the things they point out will make you uncomfortable. Put your trust and faith in the Leadership and be comfortable and at ease.
Those who challenge the Leadership are troublemakers. They seek to upset things. It is right that they be expelled and then things will return to the state with which we can be comfortable. If remaining inside the Organisation, they will create disorder. If they are outside the Organisation, their words should not be reported or their criticism printed. Their activities should not be publicised.
You know and your comrades know that you are not a troublemaker, or disrespectful or disloyal. But if you associate with those critics, the ones from outside or that left or were expelled, people will begin to suspect that you too are like them. You want the Leadership and comrades to trust you, to be at ease with you, don’t you? Best ignore the critics, not have anything to do with them.
Besides, what can they possibly have to offer, outside the Organisation?
Solidarity against the attacks of the enemy is a good thing, but not with the critics. They have forfeited any right to solidarity when they broke from or criticised the Leadership and the Organisation. They have brought all this down upon themselves.
Concentrate upon the path pointed out by the Leadership. Concentrate upon the tasks of the moment. All will be well. You are in good hands. The Organisation is in good hands. Everything is fine.
(Gaelic football team Sheares Brothers has been doing very well for a change. A reporter from the Irish Times is about to conclude his interview of the club’s Bainisteoir).
Your club’s local nickname is “the Pats”, I’m told.
Yes, I’ve heard that too.
Is it true – what I’ve been told – that all your players, in your entire team, are called Patrick?
Well, now, many are named Patrick, right enough, but they are not all called Patrick.
[Reporter jots down in his notebook: ‘named not called – wtf???’] Does that not cause problems, though, on the field? I mean, it must be difficult at times for your players to know to which of them the Captain is referring when he shouts out: “Patrick”.
[The interviewer smiles. He has shown the ridiculousness of this situation]. (Fucking unbelievable that this team got as far as its current position in theLeague! he thinks)
No, not all. Sure if the Captain called out “Patrick”, he’d be referring to himself! That would be a strange thing to do, for sure, to be talking to himself! Well, when with the team, anyway.
(This man is an idiot. An idiot managing a ridiculous team. Still, get the interview done, file the story. Then the pub ….) Ok …. what if he wants to say, to indicate to a player, to pass the ball to the left midfielder? Would he just call the position – as in “Pass the ball to Left Midfield”?
Well, he might …. but he’d more likely say “Give Paudie the ball”. That’s Paudie’s usual position, you see.
(What a thicko!) I meant “ok”. Your left Midfielder’s nickname is “Paudie”?
Well, it’s the name he goes by anyhow. Paudie Whelan.
So are all your players called a variation on Patrick?
Pretty much, yes.
Fifteen variations on Patrick? And no repetitions? That’s not possible, is it?
It seems to be.
OK, all right …. what about say, your Centre Forward?
Pa. Pa Walsh.
Hmm. Left Forward?
Packy Ó Braonáin.
(Got you now!)
Sorry, he’s just back from an injury. Patchy …. Patchy Stokes.
Paddy plays that position – Paddy McGuinness.
(Has to run out of them soon). Left Mid-Field?
You had his name already – Paudie Whelan.
(Smartass!) Yes, of course. Right Mid-Field?
That’d be Pád Óg Trainor.
That’s P, a, u, d ……
No. P, á, d; Ó, g.
No, I meant just “Right” , as in “OK’.
(Is he taking the piss?) Well ….. where was I?
Yes …. thanks …. Right Half-Back?
I thought you said ….? Never mind …Paudeen Sullivan.
Pád …. Pád Carney.
P, a, u ….
No, P, á, d; C, a, r ….
I know how to spell Carney, thanks.
That’s Patrick … our Captain. Patrick Burke.
(Have I got him?)
Ah, sorry ….
(Aha! At last!)
Pat Sheehan. His name slipped me mind there for a minute, sorry.
Oh …. Ah. Good. Full Back?
Páraic Ó Flaithearta. Will I spell it for you?
(Fucking smart-ass! I’ll get it from their website. Just let me run him out of Patrick variants first.) No, it’s ok, I know my koopla fokol, gurra mah hugut.
Muise, tá fáilte romhat. Bail ó Dhia ort.
Well …. let’s carry on. Right Corner-Back?
Pádraig. Pádraig Lehane.
(Got you now!) Pádraig. The same as the man next to him, the Full Back.
No, that’s Páraic. P, á, r, a, i, c.
Oh! Ok, yes, I see. My mistake. Goalie?
Yes. Well, thanks. Yes …. I don’t suppose your substitutes are called Patrick?
No, neither is.
Good … good story, thanks. I must be going ….
Don’t you want to know their names?
OK, yes I suppose. Yes, please.
PJ Hanley and Packer Dunne.
I …. see …. ‘PJ’ as in ….. Patrick Joseph?
Um … Well …. Thanks for your time. All the best for your next game in the League. I don’t suppose, heh, heh, your Junior team are all variants of Patrick too?
Ah, not at all! Of course not. Sure, that would be awful confusing. No, there’s Michael Fitzgerald, Mick Smith, Mickey Doyle, Mícheál Connors, Micilín Seoighe, Mikhail ….
As Mayo began to prepare for a replay of the 2016 championship Gaelic Football final against Dublin, I stood with others on a very wet day in Dublin’s Croppies’ Acre to commemorate and honour Robert Emmet and the United Irishmen – an event replete with Mayo connections.
The event, organised by the Asgard Howth 1916 Society, was graced by the presence of the Enniscorthy Historical Reenactment Society, men and women in 1798 costume bearing pikes, including officer uniforms – they had travelled up from Wexford that morning to attend the event. Donal Fallon, historian, blogger, tour guide and broadcaster was to give the oration. Padraig Drummond, the organising persona, had asked me to sing two songs at the event, one near the start and the other near the end.
For the first song, I had chosen the Bold Robert Emmet ballad1 (originally known as The Last Moments of Robert Emmet2), a song that commonly sung more often a few decades ago but still reasonably well remembered. For the second, I was spoiled for choice of relevant songs: Anne Devlin, Boolavogue, The Croppy Boy, Henry Joy, The Irish Soldier Laddie. Kelly the Boy from Killane, The Rising of the Moon, Rodaí Mac Corlaí, Sliabh na mBan, the Three Flowers, The West’s Awake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley …… or I could finish learning some of which I knew bits, like the Sean Bhean Bhocht, General Munroe, Memory of the Dead (Who Fears to Speak of ’98?) or the Mayo version of An Spailpín Fánach.
Though a beautiful song in lyrics and air, I felt Sliabh na mBan was too long for the event and cutting it would also feel wrong. Anne Devlin remembers an extremely brave comrade of the United Irishmen and gives rare acknowledgement to the role of women in the struggle for Irish freedom, which had me veering towards that choice. However, I eventually settled on Men of the West, celebrating the 1798 uprising in Mayo when a small French force under General Humbert landed to support them.
MEN OF THE WEST
The Mayo connection in the forthcoming GAA final was one reason for the choice, another was that this time of year is that which witnessed the repression in Mayo after the defeat of the last rising of that year (and the last forever, the British and their Orange supporters may have thought, until Emmet came out five years later). And other reasons were that I could sing it as a macaronic song (with some of the verses in Irish and some in English), the song was not too long and it has a chorus in which participants could join.
There were yet other reasons for the choice too – not in our culture of song and game, nor in the calendar, but in the ground under our feet, for somewhere under there in what was first called “The Croppies’ Hole” and later “Croppies’ Acre”, the mass grave of many United Irish, lie the bodies of the executed Matthew Tone — younger brother of Theobald Wolfe Tone (who was soon after to give his own life to the Rising) – and Bartholomew Teeling. The younger Tone and Teeling had landed with the French in Mayo, been taken prisoner after the surrender of the French at Baile na Muc, in Co.Longford, brought to Dublin and, despite their French Republican Army officer rank, tried as rebels and hung there.
And in researching background for this article, I came across even further Mayo connections.
The lyrics of Men of the West were written by William Rooney and put to the air of an Irish song called Eoghan Chóir written in turn — and also air apparently composed — by a Mayo United Irishman and songwriter, Riocard Bairéad (Richard Barrett3), who composed the even better-known Preab San Ól4.
The lyrics of Men of the West were later translated into Irish by Conchúr Mag Uidhir, who won a prize for that work at a Feis Ceoil in 1903 – again in Mayo. It was the lyrics of both these versions that I combined to make the macaronic version I chose to sing at the commemoration at Croppies’ Acre5.
THE DUBLIN SONGWRITER — BACKGROUND
While I need to do some research to find out more about this Mag Uidhir, quite a lot is known about William Rooney (Liam Ó Maolruanaigh). Born in the Dublin former red-light district known as “The Monto”6 in 1873, Rooney grew up in a what had been considered the second city of the British Empire but had declined in status with the abolition of the Irish (colonial) Parliament in 1800. The city contained the residence of the Crown’s representative in Ireland, a number of British army barracks and the administration apparatus of the colony, the latter in Dublin Castle. Dublin also contained a substantial loyalist population of the Ascendancy, in addition to “Castle Catholics”7. However, Dublin was also a focal point in Irish nationalist and separatist politics. Relatives and descendants of members and sympathisers of the United Irishmen of 1798 and 1803 lived in the city and the events were in the living memories of some.
Irish Republicanism had seen a resurgence with the Young Irelanders of 1848 and some of their supporters were easily alive when William Rooney was born in 1873 and during his childhood. The founding of the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1858 preceded Rooney’s birth by only 15 years and although the raid on the The Irish People newspaper took place in 1865, followed by the trial and conviction to penal servitude of Ó Donnobháin Rosa, Thomas Clarke Luby and John O’Leary, they would have been still talked about during Rooney’s childhood.
The following year, 1866 saw the failed rising of the Fenians in Ireland and also their shock invasion of Canada and, in 1867, the stirring freeing of the American Fenian prisoners in Manchester and the subsequent hanging of the three martyrs, Allen, Larkin and O’Brien. The spectacular rescue of escaping Fenian prisoners from Australia by the Catalpa and their celebrated delivery to the freedom in the United States took place in 1876.
Although these events were all over (or just occurring, in the case of the Catalpa) by the date of Rooney’s birth, their echoes remained – in living memory, in the cause of prisoners serving sentences in English jails or penal colonies and in agitation for a political prisoners’ amnesty. And God Save Ireland8, written to commemorate the Manchester Martyrs in 1866 by Timothy Daniel Sullivan would have been an extremely popular song among a wide section of the Dublin population during Rooney’s childhood, along with patriotic verses and songs by Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Thomas Davis (1814-1845) and James Clarence Mangan (1803-1849). Verse and songs by these poets were learned by ear and recited or sung but were also available in printed form, in songbooks, song sheets and nationalist publications.
Sullivan was a journalist, owning and editing the publications The Nation, Dublin Weekly News and Young Ireland. As a journalist, Sullivan published reports of meetings of the banned National League in December 1887, for which he was convicted and imprisoned for two months by the British administration. William Rooney was in his late teens at that time and Sullivan lived until 1914.
At the age of around thirteen William Rooney became acquainted with a leading Irish nationalist of his times, Arthur Griffith, through Rooney’s membership of The Irish Fireside Club, a literary discussion group. Both of them joined the Leinster Debating Society (which later became the Leinster Literary Society) which they soon led, Griffith as presidents and Rooney as Secretary. The early 1890s controversy surrounding Parnell’s relationship with Catherine O’Shea caused a serious disruption in the nationalist movement of the time and caused a serious split in the Irish Parliamentary Party of which the Leinster Literary Society became a casualty.
Rooney then formed the Celtic Literary Society in 1893, of which he became president; he also edited An Seanachuidhe (old spelling of “Seanchaí”, a story-teller, a relater of things past), the Society’s journal. The Society’s aims were the study of the Irish language, history, literature and music; it had branches in different parts of the country and its members included John O’Leary, Frank Hugh O’Donnell and Arthur Griffith.
William Rooney was fluent enough in the Irish language to write and to give orations in it and journalists of his times, after summarising a speech in English from the same platform, generally wrote only that he had spoken in Irish9. When he learned his Irish is not clear but he was teaching it in the offices of the Celtic Society. Then Eoin MacNeill got him to join the Gaelic League/ Connradh na Gaeilge after it was formed in 1893.
The Connradh was mainly concerned with promoting the Irish language and literature but also became a social focus in later years, hosting céilidhe (dances and occasion for songs, recitations). Patrick Pearse advocated a more political approach to promoting Irish culture and this accorded with Rooney’s opinion. On the other hand Rooney regarded Irish independence without the revival of the language and culture as meaningless and he castigated the Irish Parliamentary Party for its inaction on the Irish language.
Rooney gave an alternative example, traveling the country speaking publicly in Irish and in English on the need for Irish independence and for the revival of the Irish language.
JOURNALISM AND POLITICAL ORGANISATION
Building on his earlier writing in An Seanachuidhe, Rooney founded with Griffith The United Irishman newspaper in 1899 and his articles and other writings were published in a number of publications of his times:United Ireland, The Shamrock, Weekly Freeman, The Evening Herald, Shan Van Vocht and Northern Patriot (the latter two in Belfast).
Near the end of 1900, again in conjunction with Griffith, William Rooney helped found Cumann na nGaedheal. The former Fenian John O’Leary was president and the Cumann was intended as an umbrella organisation to co-ordinate the activities of a number of nationalist groups (it was merged with others in 1907 to form the original Sinn Féin).
As the centenary of the 1798 Uprising approached, there was something of a fever of preparation with many indicating an interest in participation. Rooney would see his 25th birthday during centenary year and becameof the most prominent organisers for the National Commemoration committee, if not, indeed, the main one.
The year 1898, somewhat similarly to the current centenary of the the 1916 Rising, saw commemorative plaques and monuments being erected, along with talks, meetings, lectures, articles and songs being written. According to historian Ruan O’Donnell, a feeling that the 1889 events had not reached an appropriate level led in 1903 to substantial commemorative events of Emmet’s rising in 1803. Many political working relationships were made during those years which were to survive into much more active days less than two decades since. Many of the songs we have today about the 1798 Rising were written during this period too and Rooney’s Men of the West was presumably also.
In the year of the 1798 centenary commemoration, one of the main centenary commemorations was held in Croppies’ Acre, attended by a reported 100,00010.Rooney was one of the main organisers and a stone was laid on the site which is there to this day.
WILLIAM ROONEY IN MAYO
(The following text is taken from an article by Brian Hoban in the on-line edition of the Castlebar News for 22, Apr 2011)
William Rooney had visited Castlebar with Maud Gonne in 1898 for the centenary celebrations of ‘The Year of the French’. He gave a passionate speech in Irish in which he exhorted people to think for themselves, to educate themselves, and not to take their teachings from others.
He founded Castlebar’s first Public Library at the Town Hall, to which he dedicated his books. Three years later, at the early age of twenty-eight, William Rooney was dead, but the esteem in which he was held in Castlebar continued to grow. In 1911, a new Hurling Club in the town was named the ‘William Rooney’ in his honour. The following year “The Rooney Hall” was opened in Tucker Street. It became a local landmark for several generations, much used by various civic and voluntary organisations, including the PTAA.
The one surviving connection is in ‘Poems and Ballads’, a collection of Rooney’s poetry edited by Arthur Griffith and published in 1902, a year after his death. An original of this title is held by Mayo County Library where it can be consulted.
1798 Centennial Celebrations
William Rooney was one of the main protagonists in establishing the National Commemoration to celebrate the centennial of the 1798 rebellion. Only one month after its inception nationalists in Mayo formed the “Castlebar Central and Barony of Carra ’98 Centenary Association with James Daly appointed as president of the Connaught ’98 Centenary Council. On the 9th January 1898 a commemoration, which was presided over by James Daly, was held at Frenchill, near Castlebar. This was attended by Maud Gonne Mac Bride and addressed by James Rooney. ……………….
James Daly pointed out that the event was both about remembering dead patriots and undertaking “to abide by the principles of the men of ’98 until their country was free again and took its place among the nations of the earth.”
EARLY DEATH AND MEMORY
William Rooney died of TB in 1901 at the age of 27, shortly before he was due to marry. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.
In 1902 the United Irishman published a collection of his writings and in 1908 a collection of his work edited by Griffith, Poems and Ballads of William Rooney, was published. The publication was reviewed disparagingly in the Daily Express that year by James Joyce but Yeats dedicated the 1908 edition of Cathleen Ni Houlihan “To the Memory of William Rooney”.A collection of his lectures and articles, from the United Irishman was published by M.H. Gill the following year.
Griffith described William Rooney as “the Thomas Davis of the new movement”. Brian Ó hUigín (“Brian na Banban” 1882–1963), editor for many years of The Wolfe Tonne Annual and himself no slouch as a writer of songs and verse, said of Rooney that “he blazed the trail to 1916 and gave his life for Ireland”.
And many of William Rooney’s songs are still being sung.
THE MACARONIC VERSION OF MEN OF THE WEST/ FIR AN IARTHAIR
Unknown author but sometimes credited to Tom Maguire (1892– 1993, famed leader of the Mayo Flying Column [yet another Mayo connection!] in the War of Independence, who later took the Republican side in the Civil War). On the other hand Zimmermann (1967) gives the song its earliest appearance as c.1900, when Maguire would have been around only eight years of age. For Tom Maguire credit see http://thewildgeese.irish/profiles/blogs/robert-emmet and a number of other references, some of which state inaccurately that Emmet was “hung, drawn and quartered”; that was indeed his sentence but the British practice of cutting the body of “traitors and rebels”open while still alive to access the entrails had been discontinued for decades although the decapitation part was still practiced and was carried out on Emmet.
3In the very brief research I carried out on the Mayo songwriter, I came across another songwriter by the name of Richard “Richie” Barrett (1933– 2006), an Afro-American who was also a singer, musician and band promoter, involved with such famous rythm ‘n blues groups as the Chantels and Three Degrees. One might hope for a family connection ….
4Translated later into English, recorded by the Dubliners folk and ballad group under the title Another Round.
5For lyrics, see the Appendix after article body and Sources.
7A pejorative term to describe Catholics who cooperated with the colonial Ascedancy regime in Ireland and sought admission to their social circles (for example, to balls and receptions held at the Castle in the 19th Century). An even more contemptuous description for the behaviour of this stratum was the Irish “ag sodar i ndiaidh na h-uaisle” (‘trotting after the nobles’, i.e. like dogs or perhaps servants)
8He also wrote the All for Ireland! anthem, Song from the Backwoods and the Michael Dwyer ballad.