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Dublin University OTC and the 1916 Easter Uprising

HE117

LE
I realise this is a bit late Gravebelly, but during my time at our old Alma Mater, whenever we had a Pipe Band enngagement at Murrayfield, we also used to stop off at Musselburgh on our way back to Dunblane. Although I must confess, it was for a meal of fish and chips and not oysters and white wine!
How do you manage to get to Musselburgh on a route from Murrayfield to Dunblane...?
Did you forget to wind up you compass that morning?

Sorry - just thought about this again - Pipers/Murrayfield/McEwans - Alles Klar!
You carry on son!

It's the Haldane on Friday - so gawd knows where I will end up on Saturday...
 
How do you manage to get to Musselburgh on a route from Murrayfield to Dunblane...?
Did you forget to wind up you compass that morning?

Sorry - just thought about this again - Pipers/Murrayfield/McEwans - Alles Klar!
You carry on son!

It's the Haldane on Friday - so gawd knows where I will end up on Saturday...

Our Drum Major-Ex Scots Guards did the map reading and was permanently pissed
 
Definitely designed to provoke, but elements of truth in it. The main point to appreciate is that like all other history the Post Office issue has been rewritten by the victors, and in this case that's the victors of the Irish internal arguments after independence, to mean what they wanted it to.

I agree that the article is indeed provocative but it debateable as to how much ‘truth’ it contains.

According to the headline, the writer’s claim that the Rising was “Immoral” is a sweeping statement especially in the context of the time. The Easter Rising took place not too long after the first reported use of Phosgene gas by German forces on the Western Front and the BEF was moving into place for the planned Summer offensive. Is the writer claiming that all ‘Risings’ against governments, legitimate or otherwise, “Immoral”?

Secondly, describing the Easter Rising as “Undemocratic” is a tad spurious. Democracy as a concept didn’t exist in the world of 1916, universal suffrage didn’t arrive in Ireland until two years after the Rising. Ironically a significant number of those inside the GPO would probably have been ineligible to vote in the 1918 General Election as only men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30 could vote.

It would be correct though to assume that the majority of the population in Ireland wanted some form of change to the administration of the island of Ireland as the Irish Home Rule Party did return the largest number of MP’s to Westminster. There was also a vocal and well-armed minority who didn’t who were content with the way things were.

Padraig Pearse was a useful asset to the IRB in planning the Rising in that he recognised the symbolic value of Catholic iconography in anti-British propaganda. His graveside oration at the funeral of the old Fenian O’Donovan Rossa has been credited as the ‘first shot’ of the 1916 Rising. The choice of Easter was deliberate at it chimed with the concept of death and resurrection, familiar to a largely Catholic population. However it wasn’t simply a matter of religious identity, the population on the island of Ireland was already very politicised following the Land War that lasted from 1870 to 1903 and the recent Pro/Anti Home Rule campaigns, there was a receptive audience that could be swayed to the new idea of a Republic.

Pearse’s personal interest in the concept of ‘blood sacrifice’ is well known and written about. His father was from Birmingham and his claim to an Irish identity has something of a desperation about it. However his notion of ‘Irish identity’ was an elitist, idealised and exclusive as he regarded most ordinary Irish people with contempt, something he shared with another well-known ‘Irish’ writer of the day W.B. Yeats.

I disagree that the history following the melee around the GPO was written by the victors simply because it is difficult to identify any victors from the event. Instead I would say that it was written by the propagandists, each with their own end in mind.

It started the moment the smell of the cordite began to fade when the British press labelled it the “Sinn Fein Rising” probably as a consequence of having to call it something. The Easter Rising did catch the British Administration by surprise and it was a significant failure in Intelligence on their part and I think the British Government was quite content to let the press lead the way rather than step in and correct any factual inaccuracies. If they did move to correct the press, then this would have led to the inevitable questions of “Who did organise it?”; “Did the Intelligence services know anything about it?”; “Why didn’t they prevent it from happening?”.

One of the most active propagandists after the Rising was Padraig Pearse’s mother, Margaret. She lost two sons following the Rising, both Padraig and William were executed by firing squad. Her vigils outside Kilmainham Jail, swathed in black handing out pictures of her sons began to sway public opinion very quickly against the British authorities but not necessarily in favour of the actions of the rebels. She joined the rebranded Sinn Féin led by de Valera for the 1918 General Election and won a seat in Dublin for the party. It is probably due to her single-minded efforts that Padraig Pearse was elevated to iconic status in the years subsequent to the Rising, but isn’t that typical of all Irish mammies!!?

The article also claims:
"It should have come as no surprise then that the outcome of such ill-thought-out unilateral violence was two sectarian states on this island, a Protestant state for a Protestant people and a Catholic state for a Catholic people."

Again I think this is deliberately provocative and wholly inaccurate. The Government of Ireland Act, granting Home Rule to Ireland, was passed with Royal assent in September 1914 but with a provision for the possible exclusion for some counties in Ulster. The partition of Ireland was already an accepted concept by the end of 1914, the only issues that remained to be clarified if and when Home Rule was enforced was whether that partition would be temporary or not and which counties would be included/excluded.

Your comment relating to the victors of
the Irish internal arguments after independence
is simplistic as the “internal arguments” south of the border are very distinct from those north of the border and should not be regarded as identical.

In the ROI as it exists today most “internal arguments” stemmed from positions regarding the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921. This led to the bitter and destructive Irish Civil War won by the Pro-Treaty side. The victors in this case were the middle ground dominated by the pragmatic Middle Classes far removed from the motley collection of idealistic Nationalists, Social Revolutionaries, Radical Feminists, Leftist Anarchists and so on that packed the inside of the GPO six years earlier.

North of the border “internal arguments” arose from the toxic mix of a restricted voting franchise; economic deprivation and poverty; gerrymandering; religious affiliation and identity; perceived advantages and disadvantages of the ‘other’; overt and covert discrimination presided over by a privileged and fossilised oligarchy, permitted by an indifferent Westminster government.
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
@Aul_Wan You can square that "Like".
 
According to the headline, the writer’s claim that the Rising was “Immoral” is a sweeping statement especially in the context of the time.

I like your post but here's my tuppence worth. The question of the morality of war depends on your chance of winning it. The leaders of the Rising knew that they stood no chance of winning and indeed the purpose of Pearse (at least) was to sacrifice his life. Given that they couldn't win and were deliberately sacrificing the lives of the Volunteers, the Rising can of itself be termed immoral. The counter argument to the morality argument is that the 1916 Rising led to the War of Independence which the Free State Government could claim they won.

Another factor to be kept in mind is that Pearse led the Rising but wasn’t the leader of the Irish Volunteers. That post belonged to Eoin MacNeill (who had no qualification to lead troops anyway). MacNeill cancelled the planned Rising a few days before it was due to begin. Pearse decided to disobey the orders of his commanding officer and went ahead with the Rising on Easter Monday (it had been supposed to start on the Sunday in line with the Christian iconography. Jesus didn’t rise from the dead on the Bank Holiday).

Pearse was also a mole in the Irish Volunteers, which were formed in 1913 to fight for Home Rule against the Ulster Volunteers. Pearse’s loyalty was to the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the descendants of the Fenians. So Pearse also acted immorally in subverting the Volunteers on behalf of another organisation.

Secondly, describing the Easter Rising as “Undemocratic” is a tad spurious.

Not in he least. The 1910 General Election left the Irish Parliamentary Party the third largest party in Westminster with 74 seats. The IPP was determined to obtain Home Rule, and succeeded in doing so, by democratic means. By fomenting rebellion, Pearse and co effectively gave two fingers to the Irish electorate, as limited as that electorate may have been.
 
...whenever we had a Pipe Band engagement at Murrayfield, we also used to stop off at Musselburgh on our way back to Dunblane.

For us, Linlithgow...

And on one memorable occasion, the problems caused when two of our younger and dafter pipers decided to purchase a quarter-bottle of vodka between them and consume all of it on the remaining 45 minutes of the journey. To put it in perspective, they were 13 or 14, looked every bit their age, and had a body mass of less than 40kg... (hey, it was the early 80s)
 

Mr_Fingerz

LE
Book Reviewer
@Gravelbelly 40Kg each or between them?

1980's Scotland - hard to tell.
 
It's the Haldane on Friday - so gawd knows where I will end up on Saturday...

I had to do PMC one year, so the briefing on the training night before was the opportunity to remind the assembled mass of students about how to behave at a dinner night*. Due to being in Plan C for childcare (my beloved being trapped halfway down the M8 - plan B had been "I have to be there, so I'll take him to the TAC, you can pick him up before training starts"), I did the whole training night, including an hour-long lesson, with a thankfully-quiet one-year-old on my shoulder.

My closing warning to the assembled mass of hormone-riddled teenagers was to point to the rugrat on my left hip "and remember, if you can't be good, be careful"

*Don't worry, achievable aims - "be polite to the official guests, wait until they leave before you hit full-on party mode, don't be an arse, look out for your drunken mates, breakages or harrassment will incur crucifixion, and Let No Cadet Drown In Their Own Vomit"
 
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How do you manage to get to Musselburgh on a route from Murrayfield to Dunblane...?
Did you forget to wind up you compass that morning?

Sorry - just thought about this again - Pipers/Murrayfield/McEwans - Alles Klar!
You carry on son!

It's the Haldane on Friday - so gawd knows where I will end up on Saturday...

Further to my last, just checked and Musselburgh is only about 6-8 miles outside Edinburgh so Silva Compass was working.
 
@Gary Cooper

We seem to be in agreement about most but differ on a few small points.

The morality or otherwise of the Rising is very complex especially in the context of its time. The morality of armed conflict I suppose, is guided by the Geneva Convention and the righteousness of its objectives but that’s a whole other debate entirely.

Pearse was part of the IRB inner circle that was actively planning an insurrection against the British administration in Ireland while MacNeill was the leader of the Irish Volunteers. It was MacNeill who cancelled ‘manoeuvres’ on Easter Sunday because the shipment of weapons from Germany was now resting at the bottom of Cobh Harbour on board the Aud. True, Pearse and his fanatical friends decided to go ahead with the Rising anyway on Monday.

Was it immoral leading a minority of the Irish Volunteers who swore to fight for Home Rule to a likely death for the vague notion of a Republic? Was Redmond also immoral in encouraging the majority of the Irish Volunteers to enlist in the British Army and a likely death for Home Rule?

I’m uncomfortable about applying modern ideas and practices to historical events where such ideas were non-existent. I cannot accept a statement that the “Rising was undemocratic” when there is no evidence to support it.

I did point out:

“It would be correct though to assume that the majority of the population in Ireland wanted some form of change to the administration of the island of Ireland as the Irish Home Rule Party did return the largest number of MP’s to Westminster. There was also a vocal and well-armed minority who didn’t who were content with the way things were.”

Likewise, you mentioned the 1910 General Election and are correct in asserting that the Irish Parliamentary Party was successful in achieving Home Rule by peaceful means. However I would question the use of the term “Democratic”. Barely 10% of the Irish population voted in the 1910 General Election and of those just under half voted for Redmond’s party, that’s hardly a democratic mandate.

I would acknowledge that the Easter Rising was not widely supported by people on the island of Ireland of all political hues. Most were concerned for the welfare of their menfolk fighting overseas and the possible retaliation of the British authorities. That initial negativity was squandered by the British authorities when they lost the battle for ‘hearts and minds’. However I would agree with you in that if there was any ‘victor’ as such from the 1916 to 1922 period of history, it was the Free State government.
 

HE117

LE
Further to my last, just checked and Musselburgh is only about 6-8 miles outside Edinburgh so Silva Compass was working.

Yeah.. but about 180 degrees out from the Murriefield - Dunblane route!
 
Yeah.. but about 180 degrees out from the Murriefield - Dunblane route!

But whoever said that we always took the direct route from Dunblane to Murrayfield after all it was a day out for us
 

HE117

LE
But whoever said that we always took the direct route from Dunblane to Murrayfield after all it was a day out for us
Apologies.. I have a mate called Murrie, and he gets a dog on if I spell it Murray..

Anyhoo.. your driver must have been a choppa from Joppa to take you that route.. there is the square route of F all out that direction..!
 
Apologies.. I have a mate called Murrie, and he gets a dog on if I spell it Murray..

Anyhoo.. your driver must have been a choppa from Joppa to take you that route.. there is the square route of F all out that direction..!

But we are talking fifty years ago!
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Apologies.. I have a mate called Murrie, and he gets a dog on if I spell it Murray..

Anyhoo.. your driver must have been a choppa from Joppa to take you that route.. there is the square route of F all out that direction..!
Oy, nowt wrong with Musselburgh, The Honest Toun! Some fine upstanding members of ARRSE hail from there! (Well one at least,).
 
Your comment relating to the victors of
the Irish internal arguments after independence
is simplistic as the “internal arguments” south of the border are very distinct from those north of the border and should not be regarded as identical..
You're quite right I should have written "the Irish Republics internal arguments after independence". Since your view of proceedings differs from some other sources I've read or listened to I think my main point stands, the Post Office incident has been and will continue to be interpreted to suit the interpreter.
 
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You're quite right I should have written "the Irish Republics internal arguments after independence". Since your view of proceedings differs from some other sources I've read or listened to I think my main point stands, the Post Office incident has been and will continue to be interpreted to suit the interpreter.

Interpretation of any historic event is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

However I think the centenary of the Easter Rising has prompted a more objective and less emotive appraisal of it.

Times and international relations have changed and there is an appetite now (or tolerance?) for honesty that didn't exist before.
 
Interpretation of any historic event is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.

However I think the centenary of the Easter Rising has prompted a more objective and less emotive appraisal of it.

Times and international relations have changed and there is an appetite now (or tolerance?) for honesty that didn't exist before.
Well it could be argued that in the year of Verdun and the Somme an objective view would be that it was irrelevant, but maybe that's a bit more honesty than some would yet be tolerant enough to swallow. You are of course correct that all history is interpretation, but I find certain areas like gaining national independence are particularly prone to over emphasis.
 
Yesterday a man was nearly killed. A life thrown on the line and for what? A Historical "Celebration". Killing should never be celebrated.
 
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