Monthly Archives: May 2014

Current top 20: Monday, May 12, 2014

  1. The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on
  2. Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922
  3. Politics and the rise of historical revisionism
  4. Saor Eire – Marxist and republican
  5. The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century
  6. Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography
  7. A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three
  8. The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’
  9. Interview with veteran socialist-republican Gerry Ruddy
  10. Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis
  11. Remembering Máirín Keegan, 1932-1972
  12. Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21
  13. A history of the Provos – part three
  14. In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse
  15. The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals
  16. The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921
  17. The Re-Imaging Programme in the six counties
  18. Remembering Peter Graham, 1945-1971
  19. A History of the Provos – part two of three
  20. Smashing H Block and republicanism today: an interview with F. Stuart Ross

More reading and listening (and viewing)


Seth Lakeman


Favourite albums of 2013 and 2014 so far:

  1. Word of Mouth – Seth Lakeman

  2. Almighty Love – Damien Dempsey

  3. Fanfare – Jonathan Wilson

  4. Until the Colours Run – Lanterns on the Lake

  5. If You Wait – London Grammar

With special mentions to

Other World – Peter Hammill & Gary Lucas and Every Kingdom – Ben Howard

Best musical discoveries of the past year: Damien Dempsey (thanks Mick!), London Grammar, and Matthew & Me (thanks Seth!); oh, and I’ve just discovered Birdy.



I’ve particularly enjoyed reading Adrian Grant’s Irish socialist republicanism, 1909-1936, the first volume of Matt Treacy’s two-volume critical history of the CPI, The Communist Party of Ireland 1921 – 2011: vol 1, 1921-1969 and also his The IRA 1956-1969: Rethinking the Republic.

Although I bought it several years ago, I’m only finally getting round to reading Pete Frame’s The Restless Generation: How Rock Music Changed the Face of 1950s Britain.  And, for a course I teach, I had to re-read Nell Dunn’s 1963 classic Up the Junction and also watch the film (which bears little relation to the novel, which is actually more a bunch of vignettes than a novel).  Very enjoyable, anyway.  


Live gigs of 2013/14483613-235121-14.jpg

  1. Seth Lakeman at Lusty Glaze, June 2, 2013 (Newquay, the West Country)

  2. Seth Lakeman at The Forum, June 1, 2013 (Bath, Somerset)

  3. Damien Dempsey at the Dux, March 27, 2014 (Christchurch, NZ)

  4. Van der Graaf Generator at the Barbican, June 30, 2013 (London)

  5. Matthew & Me at Lusty Glaze, June 2, 2013 (Newquay, the West Country)



Haven’t had the time to see much.  The two films I’ve liked most this year are old films I had to watch because I use them in a course I teach: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (black and white, 1962) and Up the Junction (colour, 1968).

Really liked both, except the film of Up the Junction, apart from being fairly different from Nell Dunn’s original book, is kind of odd because so much in Britain had changed between when the book was published and when the film was made.  For instance, one of the most moving parts of the book, and also the TV play that Dunn and Ken Loach put together in 1965, was the backstreet abortion scene.  But having that scene in the 1968 film didn’t really make sense, because abortion law was reformed in 1967 and so, by 1968, Rube might well have been able to get a legal abortion.

Quite a few students in the class didn’t much care for Polly, the main character, but I like her.  Liked her the first time I saw the movie, on TV a few decades ago when I was a kid, and still do.


Most memorable moment of the past 12 months – not really a leisure moment!

Armed gardai threatening to burst in the double doors of an old mate’s cabin by the Glen of Imaal (in mountainy west Wicklow) early one Saturday morning in the middle of last year.  At one point their sledgehammer made the whole cabin shake; sé do bheatha abhaile!   The banging of the sledgehammer and the shaking of the cabin was also like being back in Christchurch (New Zealand) during one of the main earthquakes.   The guards raided the place and stuffed up our plans to go to Kerry for the weekend; we had to settle for an afternoon drive over to the old Parnell house at Avondale instead.  Pleasant, but not quite a trip to Kerry!


Visual highlight

Sunset at Lusty Glaze.  The photo on the right (from the Seth gig) doesn’t give you a sense of the cliffs on three sides, but is evocative of that great gig there on June 2.  And as for Seth and Sean, Ben, Cormac and Lisbee playing “Setting of the Sun” as the sun dipped into the Celtic Sea behind us (the point at which this photo was taken) – spine-tingling!

Lusty Glaze as we gathered that night:




Exchange with Sinn Fein

Much to my surprise I received an official email from Sinn Fein inviting me to join their on-line supporters’ group.

I replied to it as below. I could’ve said a lot more, but there’s no point in sending them a tirade of abuse (which was what was going through my head when I opened their email!) or trying to convince them of the error of their ways.

Here is my response; below that is their original email (I guess I got it because at some point I read AP/RN on-line or I ordered something from their on-line shop):


To: New Sinn Fein

I received your email with interest.

Since Sinn Fein has abandoned not only socialism but also, eventually, republicanism, I will not be taking up your offer to become an on-line supporter of New Sinn Fein.

Instead, I have joined Clann éirígí as I wish to give my support to the struggle for a 32-county socialist republic.

The Provisional leadership, or the main part of it, opted for an internal settlement in the north and is helping the Brits in running the six-county state, including administering capitalist austerity and hobnobbing with the parasites who sit atop Read the rest of this entry

Annual Bobby Sands vigil, Dublin, Monday, May 5

1981 Hunger Strike Vigil

On Monday, May 5th, éirígí Baile Átha Cliath will mark the 33rd anniversary of Bobby Sands’ death on hunger strike with the annual Black Flag Vigil. All are welcome. Flags and images of the 1981 Hunger Strikers will be supplied. Vigil will last for one hour between 5pm and 6pm on O’Connell Bridge. Bígí Linn.