Monthly Archives: April 2014

Smithfield meeting on 100th anniversary of Cumann na mBan


by Mick Healy

On Saturday (April 26) a very interesting meeting took place in the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield Dublin. The meeting marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of Cumann na mBan and was addressed by Dr. Mary McAuliffe, a lecturer in Irish Women’s History at UCD and is President of the Irish Women’s History Association.  The room was packed out, with standing room only for some attendees.

Dr MacAuliffe discussd the founding of Cumann na mBan, on 2nd April 1914 in Wynn’s Hotel, Abbey Street, attended by approximately 100 women. She explored the role women played in the national liberation movement, the debates that emerged regarding that role, and the nature of Cumann na mBan’s relationship with the wider women’s suffrage movement. The participants at the meeting contributed to a lively Q&A session.

The meeting was organised by the Stoneybatter and Smithfield Peoples History Project.  The talk was recorded and a video will be put up on Youtube in a few days.


Fianna Eireann history site

I’ve just put up a link to a site dedicated to Fianna Eireann.  You can read about individual members of the Fianna and the Citizen Army’s scouts as well.  At present the site covers 1909-1923.  It’s:

I was delighted to hear from the person behind it and apologise profusely for not getting back to him sooner, as the email address I’ve probably given for this blog is one used by another blog I’m involved in, Redline, and the email there only gets cleared intermittently.



The Political Sublime and the bin Laden discourse – A Regime of Image Production and Distribution as it takes place in the Contemporary Media

by Irvine Forgan

The rebranding of political activism from protest to either acts of criminality or terrorism has slipped into the contemporary discourse almost without notice. Bobby Sands who, with other comrades fasted to death for the sake of the distinction stated in Writings from Prison:

“I am a political prisoner. I am a political prisoner because I am a casualty of a perennial war that is being fought between the oppressed Irish people and an alien, oppressive, unwanted regime that refuses to withdraw from our land.”

At one stage the torture and murder of political activists in police custody was cause for outrage. Steve Biko’s murder in police custody is but one example. But in our time the torture and death, whether of terrorists so named or innocents and whether in custody or by drone is an image of ugliness that the state actively projects. This image production can be traced to the condition of the political sublime.

The notion of the sublime has its origins in the writings of the anonymous author Longinus, who was a Greek teacher of rhetoric and literary critic who lived somewhere between the First and Third Century AD. In his treatise On the Sublime Longinus broadly argued that the sublime is an overwhelming energy source of power and strength. Since the 18th century the notion of the sublime is often associated for us in the first place with its analysis by Immanuel Kant who in his Critique of Judgement used as examples of the sublime images of the Swiss mountains and sea tempests. For Kant the sublime may be terrifying and perilous or it may be something so complex that an inability to form a clear concept leads to an imbalance between thought and experience. As a result the self is made aware of indeterminacy. These perilous and traumatic catastrophes slacken off the grasp of reason, or at any rate they are incompatible with rational knowledge. At one and the same time both enrapturing as well as devastating it is not hard to detect in the sublime the presence of the death drive and to vicariously indulge our fantasies of immortality. Standing before a painting, confronted with the vista of raging oceans which cannot drown us or mountains from which we cannot plummet down because they are no more than pigment on canvas, we can know the pleasure of defeating death. Simultaneously we are able to live out a kind of virtual death by experiencing our destruction rather than its real destructible end. In this way the sublime is both self affirmative and self destructive.

But actually the notion of the sublime has its origin in the Read the rest of this entry

Cork Volunteers Pipe Band

Veteran socialist-republican Jim Lane has written a substantial piece on the 100th anniversary of the the founding of the Cork Volunteers’ Pipe band by Tomás MacCurtain.  You can read it here:

Readers might also be interested in some related links –

Desmond Swanton commemoration 1964:

Tomás MacCurtain funeral:

And this site, among others, has Mick Healy’s interview with Jim Lane:


From the vaults: Irish workers’ protest, London, 1966


Irish Workers Group member Frank Keane carrying the Irish tricolour, Dublin Republican activist from the 1950s-60s Eamonn Nolan carrying the Starry Plough. Butch Roche, who threw a cannister of CS gas into the chamber of the House of Commons in 1970, behind Keane holding the banner.

On the 21st August 1966 about 350 Irish exiles and rank-and-file British labour movement activists took part in an Irish Trade Union Defence Committee demonstration against the Irish Government’s anti-trade union legislation. The then Lemass government proposal that a strike could not be deemed official until a secret ballot was held and strike action agreed to by sixty-one per cent of voting members. The demonstration rallied at Hyde Park and marched to the Irish Embassy in Grosvenor Place where a picket was held. Speakers were Eamonn McCann, Michael Farrell, Liam Daltun and John Palmer.


Current top 25

The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican
Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922
The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography
A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three
The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’
Interview with veteran socialist-republican Gerry Ruddy
Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis
Remembering Máirín Keegan, 1932-1972
Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21
A history of the Provos – part three
In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse
The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921
The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals
Remembering Peter Graham, 1945-1971
The Re-Imaging Programme in the six counties
A History of the Provos – part two of three
Smashing H Block and republicanism today: an interview with F. Stuart Ross
éirígí’s Easter promise – two views
Interview with Jim Lane: veteran socialist-republican
What’s behind the attack on Newbridge Credit Union?
The changing nature of six-county society
Ruairi O Bradaigh interview, 1997