February 2014

History Selection

Thomas Moore, poet, singer, songwriter, entertainer, died February 1852
Thomas Moore
 February 1852
Charles Gavan Duffy, political activist, died February 1903
Charles Duffy
 February 1903
William O'Brien, social revolutionary and journalist, died February 1928
William O'Brien
 February 1928
Maurice Walsh, writer, died February 1964
Maurice Walsh
 February 1964
Dermot Morgan, actor, died February 1998
Dermot Morgan
 February 1998
Benedict Kiely, writer and broadcaster, died February 2007
Benedict Kiely
 February 2007

Ireland in 2000

January 10th: Loyalist Richard Jameson was shot dead.

January 12th: Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin met the American president Bill Clinton at the White House.

January 28th: Death of Tony Doyle, actor.

February 3rd: John Gilligan was extradited from the UK to Ireland on drug trafficking and murder charges.

February 7th: The Chester Beatty Library opened in new premises in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Extradition of John Gilligan
Extradition of John Gilligan
Jonathan Bowman
Jonathan Bowman

February 11th: The Assembly and Executive in Northern Ireland were suspended.

February 19th: Ireland recorded their biggest ever victory over Scotland in rugby.

March 3rd: Death of Jonathan Philbin Bowman, TV presenter and journalist, aged 31.

March 27th: The Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday began public hearings in Derry.

March 28th: Ireland secured their first rugby victory in Paris in 28 years.

April 10th: The Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council was established.

April 20th: Police shot dead John Carthy after a 25 hour siege at his home in Abbeylara.

May 4th: British PM Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern arrived in Northern Ireland for talks as part of a review of the Good Friday Agreement.

May 9th: The Chief Constable of the RUC announced that five military installations would close.

John Carthy
John Carthy
David Trimble
David Trimble

May 27th: The Ulster Unionist Council announced support for the UUP's leader David Trimble to re-enter the power-sharing Executive with Sinn Féin.

May 30th: Devolution was restored in Northern Ireland.

June: It was reported that a record number of women were travelling to Britain for abortions.

June 26th: The IRA issued a statement saying that it had opened some arms dumps to be viewed by independent weapons inspectors.

July 2nd: It was announced that 2,000 soldiers would be drafted to Northern Ireland to help police the Loyalist marching season.

July 6th: The Intoxicating Liquor Act came in effect, abolishing the 'holy hour' on Sunday afternoons when pubs were forced to close.

July 28th: The final paramilitary prisoners were released.

August 21st: Jackie Coulter and Bobby Mahood were killed as the ongoing Loyalist paramilitary feud erupted into further violence.

September 21st: In the South Antrim By-election, the DUP took what had previously been second safest UUP seat.

Mural to Jackie Coulter
Mural to Jackie Coulter
Bill Clinton and Bertie Ahern meet earlier in 2000
Bill Clinton and Bertie Ahern meet earlier in 2000

October: Westlife scored their seventh straight UK number one, the only artists in UK chart history to do this.

November 18th: Death of Lochlainn O'Raifeartaigh, physicist.

December 12th: Bill Clinton arrived in Dublin.

December 13th: Bill Clinton met with political leaders in Northern Ireland.

December 15th: The UDA and UVF released a statement announcing the end of hostilities.

Girl musician by Rose Shaw
Girl musician, by Rose Shaw

Children, by Rose Shaw
Irish children, by Rose Shaw

Musician, by Rose Shaw
Musician, by Rose Shaw

Book Review

Freedom of Angels

Author:     Bernadette Fahy

Publisher: O'Brien Press

Date published: 1993

Freedom of Angels

Bernadette Fahy tells the story of her childhood in Goldenbridge, the orphanage to which she was committed at the age of seven. While her brothers escaped as ten-year-olds to a kinder institution, avoiding the harshness of Artane, Bernadette remained where she was until sixteen, at which age the orphans were released, without preparation and with their self-esteem deliberately destroyed, into the outside world. It took many years for Bernadette to recover – not aided by a rejecting mother who had married again and would not tell her step-children she already had a family.

Conditions at Goldenbridge were so tough, Bernadette compares them to a concentration camp. Children slept in dormitories, from which they were woken twice a night to relieve themselves. Bed-wetting was dealt with cruelly. The children's day consisted of awful meals, substandard schooling, dreary religious services and hard labour, including the obligation to make sixty rosaries a day. Physical violence was the norm; Bernadette recalls a girl being struck for weeping on the day she'd heard her brothers were dead. A particularly haunting memory involved the 'rec' room, where young children would be ordered to sit in silence, watched over by their stern-faced carers. Any noise or movement resulted in a savage beating. Bernadette herself was violently attacked for talking in the dormitory, an experience that left her with deep psychological scars.

While Bernadette was incarcerated, the rest of the country seems to have been oblivious to what was taking place in the church-run orphanages and industrial schools. The children regularly went out with families who treated them well. Outsiders laid on parties and events for them. Bernadette's own mother sometimes gave her expensive gifts, apparently unaware that conditions at Goldenbridge meant she could not keep them.

Reflecting on her experiences, Bernadette ascribes this brutality to the religious framework of self-denial and self-punishment in which the nuns existed, as well as to the impossibility of a small group of often untrained adults caring for a mass of children, many already damaged by their home backgrounds.



Ancient Irish road


I bring a branch of Evin's apple-tree,
In shape alike to those you know:
Twigs of white silver are upon it,
Buds of crystal with blossoms.
There is a distant isle,
Around which sea-horses glisten:
A fair course against the white-swelling surge—
Four pedestals uphold it.
A delight of the eyes, a glorious range
Is the plain on which the hosts hold games:
Coracle contends against chariot
In Silver-white Plain to the south.
Pedestals of white bronze underneath
Glittering through ages of beauty:
Fairest land throughout the world,
On which the many blossoms drop.
An ancient tree there is in bloom,
On which birds call to the Hours:
In harmony of song they all are wont
To chant together every Hour.
Colours of every shade glisten
Throughout the gentle-voiced plains:
Joy is known, ranked around music,
In Silver-cloud Plain to the south.

Unknown is wailing or treachery
In the homely cultivated land:
There is nothing rough or harsh,
But sweet music striking on the ear.
Without grief, without gloom, without death,
Without any sickness or debility—
That is the sign of Evin:
Uncommon is the like of such a marvel.
A beauty of a wondrous land,
Whose aspects are lovely,
Whose view is wondrous fair,
Incomparable is its haze.
Then if Silverland is seen,
On which dragon-stones and crystals drop—
The sea washes the wave against the land,
A crystal spray drops from its mane.
Wealth, treasures of every hue
Are in the Land of Peace—a beauty of freshness:
There is listening to sweet music,
Drinking of the choicest wine.
Golden chariots on the plain of the sea
Heaving with the tide to the sun:
Chariots of silver on the Plain of Sports,
And of bronze that has no blemish.
Steeds of yellow gold are on the sward there,
Other steeds with crimson colour,
Others again with a coat upon their backs
Of the hue of all-blue heaven.

At sunrise there comes
A fair man illumining level lands:
He rides upon the white sea-washed plain,
He stirs the ocean till it is blood.
A host comes across the clear sea,
They exhibit their rowing to the land:
Then they row to the shining stone
From which arises music a hundredfold.
It sings a strain unto the host
Through ages long, it is never weary:
Its music swells with choruses of hundreds—
They expect neither decay nor death.
Many-shaped Evna by the sea,
Whether it be near, whether it be far—
In which are thousands of many-hued women,
Which the clear sea encircles.
If one has heard the voice of the music,
The chorus of little birds from the Land of Peace,
A band of women comes from a height
To the plain of sport in which he is.
There comes happiness with health
To the land against which laughter peals:
Into the Land of Peace at every season
Comes everlasting joy.
Through the ever-fair weather
Silver is showered on the lands,
A pure-white cliff over the range of the sea
Receives from the sun its heat.
There are thrice fifty distant isles
In the ocean to the west of us:
Larger than Erin twice
Is each of them, or thrice.

A wonderful child will be born after ages,
Who will not be in lofty places,
The son of a woman whose mate is unknown,
He will seize the rule of the many thousands.
A rule without beginning, without end.
He has created the world so that it is perfect:
Earth and sea are His—
Woe to him that shall be under His unwill!
'Tis He that made the heavens,
Happy he that has a white heart!
He will purify multitudes with pure water,
'Tis He that will heal your sicknesses.
Not to all of you is my speech,
Though its great marvel has been revealed:
Let Bran listen from the crowd of the world
To the wisdom told to him.
Do not sink upon a bed of sloth!
Let not intoxication overcome thee!
Begin a voyage across the clear sea,
If perchance thou mayst reach the Land of Women.