Commemorating 1913 Lockout and founding of Irish Citizen Army

Wreath-laying ceremony

On Saturday, September 7, 2013 éirígí held a number of successful commemorative events to mark the centenaries of the Great Lockout of 1913 and the formation of the Irish Citizen Army.

The day’s events began at 3pm with a ‘Lockout Walking Tour’ of Dublin city centre. Such was the demand for places on the tour that it was booked out for weeks in advance. Led by tour guide Donal Fallon, the forty or so participants were taken on a crash course of the history of Dublin in the early part of the twentieth century.

Everyone who was on the tour, some of whom had traveled from as far afield as Wexford and Antrim, agreed that Fallon brought the 1913 period to life in a highly educational, entertaining and energetic manner. Sites that were visited included the Larkin statue, the Imperial Hotel, Pearse Street Barracks and Liberty Hall.

At 4.30pm the ranks of the walking tour was swelled by several dozen others for a wreath-laying ceremony at the James Connolly statue beside Liberty Hall. The event, which was presided over by éirígí’s Ciaran Heaphey, included a reading of a piece from Connolly, a minute’s silence and the laying of a wreath in memory of the 1913 workers, their families and their wider communities. Of particular interest to those in attendance and passers-by alike was the presence of a uniformed Irish Citizen Army ‘Volunteer’, complete with a replica Mauser rifle of the type that was used in the 1916 Rising.

At 5.30pm more than 150 people packed into the Gresham Hotel on Dublin’s historic O’Connell Street to attend a public meeting on ‘The legacy of the Great Lockout and the Irish Citizen Army’. Before the meeting began those attending were treated to a musically-accompanied slideshow displaying rare photographs and newspaper imagery from the revolutionary decade between 1913 and 1923.

Brian Leeson addresses the meeting

The speakers at the event, which was chaired by éirígí’s Ursula Ní Shionnain, were author and historian Dr Ruán O’Donnell and Cathaoirleach éirígí, Brian Leeson. O’Donnell gave a lively and entertaining overview of the Lockout and the formation of the Citizen Army, while Leeson dealt with the political legacy of these seminal events of modern Irish history.

The day of events was brought to a close with a ballad session featuring ‘The Dublin Twangmen’ in Doyle’s public house on College Green.

Commemorating the Lockout and the ICA

Speaking at the Gresham, Cathaoirleach éirígí, Brian Leeson said, “Today’s events have been a great success and a fitting tribute to those communities which suffered so much in the greatest industrial dispute that Ireland has ever seen. The 1913 Lockout was of critical importance in the development of the Irish revolutionary project. It is therefore important that socialist republicans play a role in celebrating and commemorating the Lockout, the Irish Citizen Army and the remarkable spirit of resistance that emerged in this city one hundred years ago.

“Today’s events saw republicans from all over Ireland come together, not only to remember the Lockout, but also to rededicate themselves to the fight against the exploitation of our people today. The business of 1913 remains unfinished. We in éirígí are committed to playing our part in concluding that business with a definitive victory for the Irish working class over the parasites who still seek to exploit, impoverish and enslave the workers of Ireland in 2013.”

The above piece first appeared on the éirígí site, here.

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Posted on September 18, 2013, in 1913 lockout, 21st century republicanism and socialism, éirígí, British state repression (general), Constance Markievicz, Culture, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Irish politics today, James Connolly, Jim Larkin, Partition, Public events - Ireland, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, Trade unions, Unionism, loyalism, sectarianism. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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