June 28, 2015

Ireland's Revolutionary and Fairyhouse traditions

Irish Grand National (1921) - Won by Mr A. Wills’ ‘Bohernore’ at Fairyhouse
Stephen Gwynn wrote an account of Dublin during the Easter Rising of April 1916:
"On Monday a very large proportion of the officers from the Curragh and the Dublin garrison were at the Fairyhouse races. In the Castle itself there was only the ordinary guard."

Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote in an essay 'The Shaping of Modern Ireland’ (p.14):
"As for the middle class as a whole, there is some reason to believe that on Easter Monday, 1916, the main focus of its interest was not the G.P.O but Fairyhouse Racecourse."
Conor Cruise O'Brien wrote in another essay ‘1891-1916’:
"Those of us who have been born since 1916 have almost always been taught to think of ourselves as belonging to the revolutionary tradition; this is commonly the case in the aftermath of successful revolutions. It can do no harm to remember that what we might call the 'Fairyhouse Tradition’ is not less persistent, although it does not cut such a figure in the history books."
Also made here. Colm Tóibín wrote:
"I have always had a problem with the idea that our state was founded as a result of 1916. The rise of the Catholic middle classes throughout the nineteenth century made the emergence of some sort of state a certainty; and the civil war was fought not about the North but, in many instances, between the settled middle class and the men of no property. To glorify the Rising as a cataclysmic event in Irish history to the detriment of more abiding forces seemed to me to distort grossly what happened in the past."
Warre B Wells and N. Marlowe wrote in ‘A history of the Irish Rebellion of 1916’:
"Among the upper and middle classes of all creeds, whatever sentimental sympathy with sedition there might have been before the Rebellion, there was none during its progress. These classes generally treated the troops as their deliverers from a regime of anarchy. They gave the soldiers from England a welcome which vastly surprised these unfamiliar men, who imagined at the outset that every inhabitant of the city was a potential enemy."
Frances Mulraney wrote on Irish Central:
"Because the vast majority of us are not descended from Irish rebels who took part in Easter Week. We’re descendants of the 140,000 who followed John Redmond’s split in the Irish Volunteers, supporting the British effort in World War One in the hope of achieving Home Rule. We’re descendants of those Dublin citizens who were angry at the rebels for the destruction of their city and the loss of innocent civilians. We’re descendants of those who played no part whatsoever in the Rising. In some cases, we’re even the descendants of those who fought against them."
Eilis O'Hanlon wrote an article in the Sunday Independent, April 12 2015 writing that those who glory in violence of 1916 would reject it in 2016:
"The awkward truth about the 1916 Easter Rising is that most of us would have probably opposed it too."

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