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‘Remembrance Wall’ At Glasnevin April 3, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

The Great and The Good were out in force again today in Glasnevin at the unveiling of the ‘Remembrance Wall’ in Glasnevin

The memorial wall bears the names of all those who died in the rebellion 100 years ago, Irish and British, military and civilian, attracting some controversy.

The names are displayed chronologically without distinction between the different categories.

I won’t be out taking a pick axe to it but I do feel uncomfortable at the lack of distinction between victims and how that can be interpreted. To me it’s that those who died fighting for Irish Independence are the same as those who fought against it.
Then the next question is if there are going to be additions to mark the dead in the War of Independence?

Adding insult to injury the Irish title is spelt incorrectly

The wall is titled Éirí Amach na Cásca but the word Éirí meaning Rising appears with a fada on the first i, instead of on the E.

Then we also have Volunteer Andrew Cunningham listed as a civilian.


1. EWI - April 3, 2016

The disgraceful Glasnevin Cemetery committee have confirmed that yes, the Black and Tans and such will be going up on that wall, alongside their victims. In a year with tough competition, its emerged as the front-runner for post-colonial cringe, begging for the approval of our betters in London.

I will applaud the first person to take a sledge-hammer to it, which I can’t imagine will take long.

Liked by 1 person

gendjinn - April 4, 2016

Jesus. The stomach doth fornicately churn most viciously.

I’ve got many of my own family in Glasnevin, and I know a couple that will be right up out of their graves to take care of this nonsense. Forthwith.


2. CL - April 3, 2016

“Come all you staunch revisionists
And listen to my song,
It’s short and it’s unusual
And it won’t detain you long.
It’s all about a soldier
Who has carried history’s can,
Who dodged Tom Barry and Dan Breen
The gentle Black and Tan…

Croke Park and Bloody Sunday
Was our hero’s greatest test.
The spectators on the terraces
Nigh impossible to miss.
With salt tears his eyes were blinded
And down his cheeks they ran,
So he only shot Mick Hogan
The gentle Black and Tan.”


3. Dr.Nightdub - April 4, 2016

Been arguing this one all day on Twitter so I may’s well re-hash it here.

This Remembrance Wall is intended, with future additions, to encompass all the deaths of the 1916-23 period. In itself, that has endless possibilities for all sorts of ructions but I look at it as a potential counterpoint to the CAIN Index of Deaths during the more recent Troubles – a simple, straightforward listing of who died and when.

It’s when you get into the question of why people died it starts getting messy.

Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, IRA (post-1919) – so far, so un-contentious. But the inclusion of civilians opens up the can of worms. They were non-combatants, fighting for nothing more than to stay alive. The British killed innocent civilians in North King Street. An Irish Volunteer shot a woman civilian in the face outside the Jacob’s garrison. Many other civilians were killed in crossfire during the Rising and responsibility for their deaths cannot be attributed to either side.

So do you only include the civilians that “they” killed and leave out the ones that “we” killed? Roll that forward to later in the decade that’s being commemorated, as this wall is intended to do. Do you include the McMahon family, slaughtered by the RIC murder gang in Belfast in March 1922? But if you include them, do you gloss over the people killed when the IRA threw bombs onto trams in central Belfast in November 1921? Do you include the catholic civilians butchered by the RIC and Specials in Arnon St in Belfast in April 1922 but exclude the protestant civilians killed in their homes in the Bandon Valley also in April 1922? Do you leave out the protestant civilians killed in Altnaveigh as they were “only unionists”?

And then you run up against the Civil War. Are the Free State Army soldiers who died during the Civil War less worthy of inclusion than those of the anti-Treaty IRA? Four FS soldiers under my granda’s command were killed by anti-Treaty forces in Donegal in May 1922, before the Civil War had even officially started, their families certainly thought they’d died for Ireland.

I met yesterday with the grand-nephew of a FS Army officer who was killed in March 1923. His relative’s killing led directly to the execution of the Drumboe Martyrs.They could not have been responsible as they’d been captured three months earlier – my granda had sat on their court-martial. They were shot for something they had no part in, Capt Cannon was shot by persons unknown, yet they have a commemoration ceremony every year and he’s forgotten. How does that work?

The alternative to having a hierarchy of the dead, some good, some not so good, is that the people at Glasnevin just list everybody that died, without commentary. A massive part of me finds it repugnant that Black & Tans, Auxiliaries or B-Specials would be included. But if you don’t include everyone, black, white and grey, you turn it into a purely republican roll of honour and we have plenty of those already.

So compromises are necessary. We already have the Garden of Remembrance to commemorate those who fought for Irish freedom. We have the Memorial Garden in Islandbridge to commemorate those who fought the in the British Army in WW1, regardless of whether they were right, wrong or deluded. Some did both e.g Sean McCartney from Belfast who was killed when his flying column was ambushed in Cavan in June 1921.

I think we’ve come far enough to simply enumerate those who died, whether they fought with us, against us, or weren’t fighting at all.


gendjinn - April 4, 2016

Once in Boston I came upon a bronze plaque detailing the deaths of 3 or 4 redcoats on that spot during the American WoI.

I do think you raise welcomingly uncomfortable questions and some valid points.

It does have this in it’s favour, it would certainly be a first in the world.

But then my mind turns towards 21 November 1920 in Croke Park and 31 murdered. And I want the Black & Tans on a separate stone, low down, slanted, with a drain, so we can all piss on the fuckers. Which is probably why that plaque in Boston is high up on the wall.


rockroots - April 4, 2016

Compromises for what purpose though? Who exactly are we supposed to be reconciling with? Do we imagine that the British government will give a crap whether or not the Irish state is sufficiently honouring the black-and-tans? Or that if the Republic is apologetic enough for the all the trouble we caused that maybe unionists will decide they want ‘in’ after all? Frankly, we’ve had decades of relative peace and stability here which do not warrant such craven displays of angst. If it needed to commemorated at all then surely it could have been done in a less blunt and tasteless way. Analogies are flying around today, but here’s a few more – perhaps Armenians should forgive the Turkish massacres since a century has passed, and I think Benedict Arnold and Guy Fawkes are long overdue some rehabilitation.

Liked by 2 people

benmadigan - April 4, 2016

totally agree about Guy fawkes – symbolically that poor man has been publically burnt for 400 odd years.
“Burning people in effigy is a clear statement of a desire to be able to burn and lynch people.The fact that they don’t actually go out and do just that is not some kind of justification for their expression of the desire to do it“.



EWI - April 4, 2016

“come far enough”

The cliché runs, and the cliché happens to be true, that by commemorating everyone you commemorate no-one. Captain Wilson Lee, who stripped Tom Clarke and other 1916 leaders naked at gunpoint and humiliated them that night at the Rotunda is going right up on that wall of commemoration alongside Clarke (and the others who died for high principle).

Glasnevin had a perfectly good option open to them not to do anything at all (albeit this too, would probably be regarded as a win by the so-called revisionists) – God knows that there’re better things they could’ve put the money towards, like making their records free to access – but instead deliberately chose to make a statement by lumping in revolutionaries, civilians and agents of the colonial power.

The memorials, existing or planned, in Dublin to the Crown forces who died in the 1916 Rising and in WWI do not list any of their opponents. The presence yesterday of the likes of John Bruton (who you can be sure will be right along to the Somme events, unlike what he did with the 1916 parade) shows exactly whose agenda is behind this attempt to obliterate the effort and sacrifice of so many people to establish this State. Who is to honour those people, if we refuse to do it?

Liked by 1 person

1798Mike - April 4, 2016

I believe you are right. During the war of independence and in the civil war, the violence was also used as a cover for vendettas to be pursued, old scores paid off and general gangsterism. Also innocent people were accused of being informers & summarily dispatched with little evidence.
As far as families are concerned, there is no hierarchy in the death of loved ones.
For example, Collins ordered that the accountant Alan Bell should be killed because he was employed to track the movement of Sinn Fein funds. I would like to see Bell’s name on a memorial just above that of Collins!


EWI - April 4, 2016

Bell wasn’t an accountant, any more than the Auxiliaries were actually police. He was a former British intelligence agent brought out of retirement (as an RM) and tasked with tracking and seizing Dáil funds. He had supposedly a prominent part in the British ‘dirty tricks’ intelligence campaign during the Land War.


1798Mike - April 4, 2016

He may have been former intelligence agent but he was an accountant according to the sources I have read. One way or another, it didn’t make him less dead or less of a statistic like Collins, in the mayhem in the period 1919-1923.


EWI - April 4, 2016
oconnorlysaght - April 4, 2016

Fact: such personal feuding is an inevitable, albeit sad, part of all revolutions. Alan Bell was no more an accountant than I am Eoin Harris; the depiction of him as non-combattant is long-lasting piece of Brit propaganda.
A final point: ask a French national (outside the FN) whether those who fell fighting for the old regime should be remembered alongside the revolutionary heroes of Valmy etc., and see what answer you’ll get.


4. 1798Mike - April 4, 2016

An omission: my comment is a reply to Dr. NIghtdub.


5. Joe - April 4, 2016

“I think we’ve come far enough to simply enumerate those who died, whether they fought with us, against us, or weren’t fighting at all.”

I agree.


6. John O'Neill - April 4, 2016

Aye, and the ANC should list all the South African soldiers/militia/paramilitary police that died on their commemoration monument to freedom…


1798Mike - April 4, 2016

You miss the point. The Glasnevin Wall is a wall listing the dead. It is not a memorial to those who died in the struggle to gain a fully independent Ireland. It would certainly be inappropriate to include all names on such memorials.
It is not a memorial to the 1916 leaders, to the Citizen Army, the Volunteers, Cumann na mBan or Fianna Eireann.
I think people should stop pretending that the Glasnevin wall is some profound insult to some invented nationalist sensibilities.
It is simply a permanent public record in stone of all who died and this to my mind is important to have.
Regrettably, when it comes to the appalling, brutal and needless Civil War, we probably do not have a fully accurate list of those who were murdered or ‘disappeared’ !


EWI - April 4, 2016

I think people should stop pretending that the Glasnevin wall is some profound insult to some invented nationalist sensibilities.

And yet, you will note, quite a lot of people actually are profoundly offended by this. Maybe instead of throwing more wood on the fire, you might instead take the time to reflect on and acknowledge this reality.

It is simply a permanent public record in stone of all who died and this to my mind is important to have.

This is the 21st century. A ‘permanent public record’is called a website or, if you want to be old-fashioned, publishing a book.

This is clearly a memorial. And I didn’t notice Glasnevin putting any references to Irish rebels or civilians on that big WWI cross commemorating the British Army, two years ago.

Regrettably, when it comes to the appalling, brutal and needless Civil War, we probably do not have a fully accurate list of those who were murdered or ‘disappeared’ !

This going to be like that time you were confidently telling us that British intelligence agent Alan Bell was just an everyday ordinary accountant, guv’nor?

Liked by 1 person

1798Mike - April 4, 2016

A ‘website’ ! A ‘book’ ! Worthy permanent statements in your view.
Forgive my lack of profound knowledge about Alan Bell. I’m probably a worthy subject for your sarcasm. I only know what I have read.
Forgive me as well for moving on from the trite nationalist flag-waving simplicities and certainties I grew up with.
One thing is sure: the maggots and worms see no distinction between corpses. They all became equal in the grave.


EWI - April 5, 2016

One thing is sure: the maggots and worms see no distinction between corpses. They all became equal in the grave.

Honestly, dude; if I was looking for bad poetry or bad prose, I’d be reading through the Irish Times not the CLR.


7. CL - April 4, 2016

Many years have gone by since the unpleasantness at Drogheda and yet in the ROI part of The Island there is as yet no public memorial to Oliver Cromwell.
True, in many a Big House Cromwell is honoured with a portrait and he is rightly held in esteem in such quarters as a benefactor.
But now in this time of remembrance and reconciliation a more public tribute would surely be appropriate. Perhaps a statue in Stephens Green?


rockroots - April 4, 2016

Funnily enough, the leaders of 1798 were fans of Cromwell. They regarded him as the founder of modern republicanism, the man who beheaded a king and put manners on the aristocracy and their Catholic royalist supporters. Oh well.


8. fergal - April 4, 2016

Oliver Cromwell Bond as in the flats- the Bond!


rockroots - April 4, 2016

Yes! Although that was probably a nick-name given to him by pro-British tabloids. (I had to do a bit of research on this as a tour guide last year.)


9. Brian Hanley - April 4, 2016

In 1933 the Irish News warned Catholic voters in west Belfast that ‘Oliver Cromwell was the first republican to come to Ireland and we know what his record against the Church was’. They were urging a vote for Joe Devlin against an IRA-backed candidate. An Phoblacht carried a few articles on the theme of Cromwell’s republicanism in the 1970s.


EWI - April 4, 2016

Devlin was of course, the head of the Catholic sectarian A.O.H. and John Redmond’s muscle in taking over the Irish Party/U.I.L. (the Baton Convention) and general thuggery, a long time before 1916 and all that.


10. roddy - April 4, 2016

I remember the Irish news openly canvassing in an editorial for Joe Devlin’s successors in the SDLP ,with “perhaps a second preference for the alliance party”.This was in the 80’s but West Belfast did not oblige .


11. CL - April 5, 2016

The Taoiseach has described three English soldiers, shot dead for refusing to join Cromwell’s forces in Ireland, as “friends of Ireland, in an age when there were few”. Mr Ahern made his remarks as the people of Burford, Oxfordshire, where the men were executed, prepare to celebrate Levellers Day today….
Mr Ahern paid tribute to the men – Corporal Perkins, Corporal John Church and Cornet Thompson – in a message of support to the Mayor of Burford, Cllr Keith Davies, and the Levellers Day committee, which commemorates the men’s sacrifice each year and is supported by the Connolly Association in Britain.


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