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Farewell the Hibernian. We shall not see its like again. Actually we probably will. October 2, 2008

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.

In a way this comes a month too late, but it is only right that the CLR salutes the Hibernian as it vanishes from our shelves. The final issue, with a compellingly stark front page message of
“British Crush the Hibernian” provided the end point of a remarkable journey. How remarkable? Well, for an insight consider this – taken from the back cover – which charted the peculiar obsessions of that magazine over the past 29 issues.

Provocative? Why surely. Inside the final editorial gave as good a summation of its guiding principles as those covers. Perhaps better since a couple of hundred words allowed it to expand upon its concerns.

In it we are told that:

Since the outset the Hibernian has sought to instil [oddly enough the British spelling] a deep sense of Patriotism in the Irish people, both at home and abroad.

We make no apologies for this. It is our belief that when a people know who theya re and where they have come from then tehy will build a society that is confident in itself and a Nation that will be truly independent in outlook and utterly unwilling to be bullied by anyone.

To this end our message has been of the red meat variety and no-one can accuse us of being anything other than clear an unambiguous.

Indeed. Red meat. But how bloody, so to speak?

We have revelled in the Biblical exhortation to be ‘determined and confident’ and have totally rejected the mealy-mouthed, lukewarm approach to important issues so beloved by many in the political and media establishment in today’s Ireland.

Red. Very.

For more than two years we have high-lighted the history of the Irish Nation, recognising its importance for this generation and secure in the knowledge that no Irishman or woman who is aware of our history could be anything other than Patriotic.

An interesting idea. History tells us – that for some at least – this isn’t entirely infallible.

That we have been counter-cultural goes without saying. Modern popular culture saps and enervates the human spirit, which is alredy swamped by a tsunami of materialistic hedonism resulting in broken communities, families and individuals.

An interesting and not inappropriate use of the term counter-cultural (although what would Abbie Hoffman have made of it all?). But, to some degree when we read a list of their concerns we see it’s more accurate than might initially be thought.

The tyranny of Political Correctness prevents people from speaking out against the evils of feminism, the promotion of homosexuality, abortion, contraception and divorce lest they be attacked by the liberal/masonic media, et al.

And while you’re thinking about that, think about this…

At The Hibernian we have shown only contempt for political correctness and have never shied away from the promotion of Catholic Order in society. Time and again we have slammed the modern culture which demands that men should behave like sissies while women strive to act like men. If there is to be stability in society then fathers must return to their proper role as head of the family; leaders, providers and protectors of the women and children. Likewise, married women need to be in the home bearing and rearing children and not wasting their lives in the corporate work place.

Sissies – eh? “Women striving to be men”… “heads of the family”… “married women need to be in the home bearing and rearing children…”. Here’s the thing. How many broadly speaking conservative Catholics, let alone Catholics in general ascribe to these views? Sure, you’d probably have little enough dispute about abortion, and there would be a general lamenting of social changes, but how many would believe it possible to roll it back, or when push came to shove actually want to? This Kinder, Küche, Kirche approach would seem to me (and I know some pretty religious people as it happens) to be of very limited appeal. Which might explain, as much as Gerry McGeough’s continuing woes with the British, why the magazine has ceased publishing.

Such a return to Catholic Order would have an immediate effect in both the spiritual and temporal realms and a drastic decrease in the likes of teenage drug abuse and suicide levels would soon become evident.

Hmmm… Perhaps. The Hibernian was always a little coy about which social models actually put into practice it sought to emulate, but a couple of names spring too mind. That they weren’t universally popular with their own peoples is probably neither here nor there… at least not to the Hibernian.

Bearing all this in mind we have consistently and ardently advocated a return to traditional Catholicism in society, with the Latin Mass and Family Rosary at the centre of any revival. In addition we have highlighted the roles our great national heroes of the past have played in defending the right of an independent irish Catholic Nation to exist and thrive. We pay tribute to such men as General Eoghan Rua Ó Neill and the Confederates who founded the first Irish Catholic State at Kilkenny in 1642. Dedicated to the Holy Trinity it remains the first and only allegiance of all true Irishmen and women.

I find this historical linkage fascinating. There is accompanying the article a photograph of Padraig Pearse, and yet no mention of him in the text. Instead the continuity is with the generally little known Confederation. Now, we can argue the toss about the Confederation but it was a little bit more complex than a simple ‘first Irish Catholic state’, not least because it still looked to the English monarch to underpin it, and within months went into alliance with royalist forces in Ireland. Nor were they an unvariegated group in themselves with more and less radical fractures between competing groups. In fact as time went on it became a bit of a mess swinging between support and antagonism to the royalists while all the while the parliamentarians gained strength. So intriguingly the usual linkages to 1916, or indeed 1798, which would broadly underpin Republicanism – even of the more obviously Catholic variety – are ignored. And of course one might also argue that that very conflict with the nascent and distorted Republicanism of the parliamentarians is also of some significance in terms of the Hibernians world view.

Anyhow, it concludes with the following.

For now the Hibernian must fade into the background, but it is our fervent hope that we have kindled a spark of Catholic Nationalism and sense of Irish pride among all true Gaels. Éirinn go Brách agus Beannacht Dé libh.

To me this seems a uniquely 1950s viewpoint, but one which diverges from many of the ‘myths’ of that period found in the general nationalist discourse on the island. 1916 had a centrality then, and after. Republicanism, however broadly defined underpinned the political structures and was defined as the end goal of independence. And however feebly this was applied in practice that Republic was not just synonymous with an Irish Catholic Nationalism. And the viewpoint we read here, I suspect, is due to the profoundly ultra-orthodox Catholicism underlying it. In effect many of the usual touchstones are simply unusable by The Hibernian since they have already been appropriated by other political forces, some similar, some not. And as importantly have been perceived to be failures.

And worth considering another piece which latches straight into an eschatological view entitled “The Last Pope” which beside a photograph of the current Pontiff ponders the prophecies of Saint Malachy and whether the idea that ‘so far 109 out of 112 Popes prophesied by St. Malachy are now more or less known to us” might lead us to the conclusion that Benedict might be the 112th, or 111th, or indeed 110th – more or less. You will all – no doubt – be heartened to hear that…“to all true Catholics… don’t worry about the last Pope predicted by Saint Malachy but as the times that are now in it, it is more important to remain true to the faith and make good use of the one weapon available to us all, the Rosary. For in the end, after all the struggles, trials and tribulations are done, all will be well”. Which sort of begs the question why we are treated to two pages of this? The reason is the crucial distinction between being eclectic and undiscriminating – oh, and of course a small pinch of sensationalism while we’re at it.

Beyond that the sheer oddity of the enterprise is underlined by some other pieces. Take the articles such as “Economics and Salvation” or “Evolution: Fact or Belief?” by Tommy Price.

We’re told by the latter that ‘the reason for the whole space program in the U.S.A. is to seek life in outer space’. Really?

And then that… ‘the scientific establishment backed by tax payers money cannot produce any scientific evidence, not one scientific fact, for life in outer space.All their other theories from The Big Bang Theory to Darwinism to punctuated equilibria under the umbrella of Evolution are devoid of scientific back up. All of the planets that we have knowledge of, cannot support life’.

Well okay. Or actually, no, not okay. I’m not as certain as he that the Big Bang ‘Theory’ necessarily is essential to Evolution, or that the latter is without scientific foundation. But he continues in a way which does not inspire confidence… ‘In Cheshire England, we have Todrell Bank Observatory trying to pick up radio signals from the outer limits of space. They have never picked any signals up to date. So the position is that there is no scientific evidence to support their imaginings.’ Todrell Bank… I…see.

Anyhow, he goes on to lash at Teilhard de Chardin ‘author of this great erroneous folly [attempting to place Evolution within Catholic Theology – side note, I’m rather fond of de Chardin, or at least used to be many years ago]’, argues that Piltdown Man invalidates evolution (it was a hoax you see, so therefore evolution must be a hoax – natch). Marx is lashed because he ‘dedicated his book ‘Das Kapital’ to Charles Darwin. He was able to draw on Darwinism to incorporate these ideas into communist ideology’. We get treated to Soviet Russia’s ‘errors’. There are, should you be curious, and I’ll bet you are: 1. Atheistic Materialism. 2. The compulsory teaching of evolution in her schools. 3. Legalised abortion and industrialised farming, etc… er industrialised farming? Oh yeah. Apparently ‘all these errors are being pushed throughout the west today in spite of the fall of the Iron Curtain and so-called collapse of Communism’. So-called? Sure, ‘when you see evolution being taught in Catholic schools it is preparing the children to be part of a One World Communist Dictatorship’.

And the we are treated to a remarkably shallow run through of some of the usual concerns of those antagonistic to evolution, not least some hoary old musing on the Laws of Thermodynamics, although to be fair Price gives his own unique spin – or perhaps more accurately, idiosyncratic use of language – on them… ‘the Theory of Evolution. The Big Bang Theory, etc. No scientist has ever proved using the scientific method, either by experiment or observation any scientific facts of natural generation. This theory contradicts both the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics’.

The obvious question, who is Tommy Price and why does he feel qualified to give anything other than a superficial opinion on this area is not answered – although some of the eclecticism of the piece is evident when we read that this was compiled from Prof. Granes tape ‘The Myth of Evolution Exploded’. Now that’s scientific method you can trust!

It’s this dancing around with the most reactionary or benighted viewpoint that truly sums up the Hibernian’s worldview. The Catholic church might well have come to terms with evolutionary science many many decades ago, but the Hibernian saw it as its role to critique this from a further right position, one ironically that would put it shoulder to shoulder with the more illiberal forms of Protestantism that were another of its bugbears. And to me, having some exposure to the latter, this is in its own way a strangely familiar piece of work. I had a relative, thankfully based in the UK, who used to regularly hand write long and involved tracts to my grandmother (herself a Protestant) which quoted with undue generosity of verbiage long tracts from the Bible carefully underlined in biro. I suggested responding with quotations from Marx, just for the craic as it were, but my Gran being a kind and gentle soul declined.

It’s easy to be critical – very, very easy – and I’m never entirely cheered to see a publication of whatever stripe fail. The last month or so has seen Village – an entirely different sort of periodical go too. As a platform for a uniquely right wing Catholic nationalist viewpoint the Hibernian has certainly been an education. And oddly enough I like to have my Catholic Nationalists where I can see them – and while they’re busy producing it, well – ‘idle hands…etc’. Anyway, having had this example of Gerry McGeough’s tenacity I would be far from surprised to seeing it reappear in some form or fashion in the future.


1. splinteredsunrise - October 2, 2008

Dear me, and it really had become unmissable. For all the wrong reasons… not nearly as offensive as the old Protestant Telegraph, but much odder in its preoccupations. The 1940s Aiserghe politics, the conspiracy theories, the pseudo-science, all that stuff on the Latin Mass… it was like having our own version of the Weekly World News.

But hey, at least the National Rosary Crusade is still a going concern!


2. garibaldy - October 2, 2008

Even more bonkers than I thought. Coincidentally I was looking recently at the Repsol pamphlet by Derry Kelleher about Christianity and socialism. Lots about that Treilhard guy, though I didn’t read it in detail. Shame that progressive Catholicism has nearly all but disappeared.


3. ejh - October 2, 2008

Has it disappeared in Latin America?


4. Hugh Green - October 2, 2008

Please tell me that it came out the first friday of each month.


5. ejh - October 2, 2008

It’s not quite clear to me, from the piece, how the Brits crushed the Hibernian. What did we do?


6. garibaldy - October 2, 2008

EJH, I was referring to Ireland, but it’s hardly the force it used to be even in Latin America. And Mc Geough is facing prosecution, which is the explanation for the headline. Bit ironic that a magazine celebrating the survial of Irish Catholic culture against the tyrannical Brits and sneaky communists and atheists is blaming the Brits for folding. Kind of undermines the meta-narrative somewhat.


7. ejh - October 2, 2008

Ah, this.

Is it, in fact, a bit dicky to nick people as they emerge from election counts?


8. Joe - October 2, 2008

Splintered, I was thinking the same thing about the Aiseirighe politics. My late Da was an Aiseirighe man in his youth (Haughey FFer in his mature years) and he explained to me that they had a stages theory for reunificaiton: Stage 1 – a national prayer crusade, with a rake of other stages finishing with Stage X – invasion, but only if the prayers etc hadn’t worked. But McGeough mustn’t be good at the old Gaeilge cos whereas the Aiseirighe leader (An fuhrer Gaelach as the TG4 documentary called him) was a Belfast Gaeilgeoir who refused to speak the Saxon tongue, Hibernian is more in the tokenistic, misspelling Éirinn go Brách agus Beannacht Dé libh mode.

On progressive Christianity, Tuesday’s IT had a piece on a conference on liberation theology taking place this week in, I think, the Milltown Institute in Dublin. Now more than ever, we need the Hibernian to demand less of this kind of thing.


9. anarchaeologist - October 2, 2008

My mother, a one time subscriber to this publication, used to leave them lying around the house, to be examined with horror by myself and Fr.Dr. anarchaeologist on wet weekends, after that week’s Donegal Democrat had been gone through for further intelligences of 3-headed calfs born in Laghy.

But hey! When God closes one door he opens a window elsewhere. Surely there’s an opening here for our Aubane comrades to add to their stable of titles?

Excellent post and analysis WbS!


10. Starkadder - October 2, 2008

Interesting, that bit about the 1642 Confederation in
the Hibernian. I think it confirms my theory that,
McGeough was arguably closer to a monarchist of the Jacobite
variety than a follower of Pearse or Wolfe Tone.

And wouldn’t the “nascent Republicanism” of the Parliamentary
forces have included folk like the pro-Irish Levellers,
as well as Diggers, Ranters, Fifth Monarchy men-all
ancestors of the political Left that McGeough loathes?


11. Mark P - October 2, 2008

Does anyone know how long McGeogh spent on the Provisional Sinn Fein Ard Comhairle?


12. Pavement Trauma - October 2, 2008

Another item added to the “What have the Brits ever done for us?” list.


13. Gothbeast running dog - October 2, 2008

Bit more explained about Gerry and his jazz mag here



14. Gothbeast running dog - October 2, 2008

From the above article on SF involvement

‘Because of his IRA activities McGeough had a strong following among some Provo supporters. He was elected to the Sinn Fein national executive in 1999 while studying history in Trinity College. He became the party’s national campaigns organiser in 2001 and remained on the executive until 2003. During that time he, along with Gerry Adams and Martin McGuiness, led Sinn Fein election campaigns and toured the country addressing republicans on behalf of the party.’


15. Ian - October 2, 2008

“Republicanism, however broadly defined underpinned the political structures and was defined as the end goal of independence. And however feebly this was applied in practice that Republic was not just synonymous with an Irish Catholic Nationalism.”

What do you mean by that last sentence WbS? I would have thought that the 1950’s was the last decade when Irish Republicanism was genuinely intertwined with Catholic Nationalism. Only with the rise of Lemass did things start to change – albeit slowly. Nonetheless, that stranglehold did begin to weaken.


16. WorldbyStorm - October 2, 2008

I guess it’s arguable. I think I’d argue that even the weakish Republicanism of Clann na Poblachta, etc, was in principle more broad than Catholic nationalism, and the same is true to a lesser degree of Fianna Fáil. I would qualify that by saying that I mean that largely on a rhetorical level, that the state paid lip service to a broader concept of Republicanism (ill-defined as it was) while being, as you suggest, largely CN in its practice. But even then Irish Republicanism wasn’t just Catholic Nationalism. The concept of Catholic Protestant and Dissenter remained part of the national mythos, again on a rhetorical level.


17. Omar Little - October 2, 2008

In the Hibernian issue on 1916 (pictured above) you will find (and it maybe on the web) an explanation by McGeough why 1916 was a Catholic rebellion. He freely admits that 1798, 1803, 1848 and 1867 are problematic, due to the influence of radical, secular republicanism in 98 and some elements of anti-clericalism and socialism in later years (despite of course what many of our revisionist historians suggest) but that they were still legitimate rebellions against the British. However 1916 was according to him, a Catholic rebellion, led by very devout Catholics. Now while there are obvious problems with this, it is a rational view given a lot of the evidence.
Overall the Hibernian looked back to 1641 etc however and McGeough even tried to take over the AOH; so whether he would admit it or not there was a break with the broad republican tradition.


18. Omar Little - October 2, 2008

Re Clann na Poblachta, there were few as prepared to bend the knee as Sean MacBride.


19. Worldbystorm - October 2, 2008

I sort of agree that there is a bit of a break by him, but I think that his retrofitting of 1916 as Catholic Nationalist is overdone. After all why not as nascent socialist revolution due to the ICA? ‘Twas neither, I think it was pretty much exactly on the tin, or if you prefer the Proclaimstion, a bit of everything but with a reasonably progressive aspect.


20. Worldbystorm - October 2, 2008

Macbride, I’m not much of a fan but CnaP I think was an honest attempt and crucial importing some of the statist ideas from the Labour in the UK, particularly a smallish extension of the semistate and bords.


21. Joe - October 3, 2008

Ian: “I would have thought that the 1950’s was the last decade when Irish Republicanism was genuinely intertwined with Catholic Nationalism.”
Not sure what exactly you mean by that Ian. In my view Catholic Nationalism is intertwined in some way and to varying extents with all the manifestations of republicanism in Ireland right up to now and probably forever. Scratch a Provo, scratch any Northern nationalist, scratch any southern FFer, FGer, most Lab and … you’ll certainly find a “nationalist” and in most cases the Catholic bit will be in the mix too. (“nationalist” meaning aspiring to a “United Ireland”).


22. saoirsi - October 3, 2008

Pity it folded. Whatever else, it gave an active voice to some people who feel marginalised by current society – and allowed them to get organised as active citizens, instead of being quiescent and apathetic consumers.

The “left” gets awfully fond of bashing sincere right-wingers or genuine conservatives, maybe to compensate for the fact that the left – despite its claims of universal brotherhood – still looks and acts awfully elitist in many communities?


23. Starkadder - October 3, 2008

Maybe the reason the left is critical of people like
McGeough is that the “cure” the Hibernian was offering
for a consumerist society might be as bad as the


24. WorldbyStorm - October 3, 2008

Really saoirsi? In my community the left is on the ground out there working with people. And the idea that it’s some sort of ‘elite’ is laughable. To be honest, for my money, the idea of an ‘elite’ left is another ‘elitist’ myth put about by people who have little or no experience or understanding of the left.

As for ‘sincere’ or ‘genuine’ rightwingers – I have no problem with same, bar my opinion that they’re sincerely and genuinely wrong, and few more so than GMcG.

Completely agree Starkadder.


25. WorldbyStorm - October 3, 2008

Joe, I didn’t realise your dad was in that outfit. Any further info? It’s really interesting.


26. CL - October 4, 2008

McGeough, was a member of Sinn Fein’s Ard Comhairle until 2003. Many republican ‘dissidents’ have looked to him for leadership. He has spoken at Republican Sinn Fein commemorations. Clearly fascism and contemporary Irish ‘republicanism’ are not incompatible.


27. Joe - October 6, 2008

Yes WBS, but for Aiseirighe there’d be one less Joe in this world. My folks met through it. I think there are some old papers in some drawer still in my ma’s house (along with a memorial card for Charlie Kerins). History repeats itself, there are surely some old Irish Peoples stashed in my old room there too! My first cousin was a WP local election candidate in Dublin Nth East back in the day and her da was the above mentioned Gaeilgeoir and Aiseirighe founder and leader from Belfast.
Anyone ever read the Speckled People by Hugo Hamilton? It’s a memoir of his childhood with a Da who was a committed Aiseirighe man. A wonderful book. My folks were a lot more mellow re things like the English language and television than his da but it certainly resonated.
Should I dig up an old Aiseirighe paper for the archive? File it under “What the enemy were saying in the forties”!


28. Robert Wilson - October 14, 2008

Ireland is poorer for loosing the Hibernian. I think all the left leaning atheists in charge are leading the country to hell in a hand basket.
I think that the oncoming slump may testify to that


29. Starkadder - October 14, 2008

Is Brian Cowen a “Left-leaning atheist”?


30. http://www.Scrubbu.com - June 19, 2013

This is a topic that is close to my heart..
. Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?


31. internet marketing system - September 21, 2017

People think

Farewell the Hibernian. We shall not see its like again. Actually we probably will. | The Cedar Lounge Revolution


32. 1 - April 28, 2020

The forward has thrived in France alongside striking partner Radamel Falcao who has revived his career at the?Stade Louis II.


33. 1 - April 28, 2020

He also has made more successful take-ons – 67 per cent to 56 per cent- than the Serb, and Nainggolan also wins more tackles per 90 minutes 鈥?1.


34. Ian - April 12, 2021

I could actually see The Hibernian being seen as really relevant today given the recent rise of the far right


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2021

Certainly as a cautionary tale, yeah.


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