Tag Archives: 1916

Remembering Easter Monday 1916

2016: an invigorating walk up and around Cumnor Hill ( Oxfordshire) was so energising that when I got back I poured myself a glass of champagne, added some orange juice and sat down at my newly decluttered desk to watch again Tom Hiddleston play Henry V (Harry) in the BBC’s marvellous Hollow Crown series. Meanwhile,in Dublin, the first shots in the 1916 Easter Rising are being remembered on Irish television. Within a few days, the ring leaders would be  shot and their coffinless bodies buried in lime.

Would that Harry had been on the rebels’ side in 1916: they might then not have been executed with such haste: “Use them with mercy” Henry V instructed his soldiers of the citizens of Harfleur after he had taken the port by force. Though that compassion may have been Shakespeare’s and not that of the real Henry V.


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What the irish ambassador had to say about 1916

Oxford. February 12 2016

Last night, the Irish ambassador to Great Britain, Daniel Mulhall, spoke at a gathering to mark the Bodleian’s exhibition entitled Easter Rising 1916.
It was an interesting speech in which he highlighted a few points:
The age of the leaders of the Rising tended to be much younger than people like Parnellite John Redmond of the Irish Parliamentary Party who was 62 in 1916 while people like Pearse were 37 and Eamonn Ceannt 25.
He felt the Rising could not have taken place were it not for the fact that WW1 was already happening. And following on from that, he quoted a German commentator (I missed the name) who was of the opinion that had Britain not been so distracted by Irish affairs in 1914, there was a chance that she and Germany might have entered into talks that could have averted the war. (I’m not convinced of that.)
He later touched on the legacy for Ireland of 1916 one of which was the stability that followed it all and gave as an example: William Cosgrave held the post of Taoiseach for 10 years. De Valera was President for 21 years.

( I relate this to the Good Friday Agreement which resulted in a form of power-sharing which is still in place eighteen years on, though Jonathan Powell makes the point, in his book Talking to Terrorists, that power sharing has it downsides: “You can’t get rid of the bastards,” as one person said.)

At the end of his very positive talk, the ambassador pressed the little red button on his desk and up came on the wall screen information on the Bodleian’s very new Easter Rising 1916 Web Archive. Try it: http://www.webarchive.org.uk/easter¬_rising/bodleian.html

There was a big crowd at this excellent event and the icing on the cherry was that the ambassador’s talk was followed by a glass or three of wine.

Congratulations to the Bodleian for continuing to be such a generous host and to its ongoing contribution to research into 1916.

You can read Daniel Mulhall’s speech when it goes up, in a few days, on the Irish Embassy website http://www.embassyofireland.co.uk

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Dublin celebrates Rosie Hackett on International Women’s Day.

Rosie Hackett – if you don’t know who she was then you will after International Women’s Day. The new bridge across the Liffey is to be named after her and her involvement in the Dublin 1913 Lockout will be celebrated at Liberty Hall on Saturday March 8 from 7pm onwards. Rosie, an inspiring trade unionist throughout her long life, died in 1976.

 Earlier in the day, there is a marvellous walk through Dublin marking the various points in the city where women played an important role in bringing about better living and working conditions in places such as Jacobs Biscuit Factory, where Rosie was a teenage trade union organiser.


 I did part of this walk last week and was stunned by the amount of information we got. Jacobs, an employer better than many, paid their female workers a pittance though paid a loyalty gift of one shilling to those who returned to the factory when the Lockout ended. Needless to say, Rosie didn’t get her shilling.

 At the Royal College of Surgeons ( HQ for that part of Dublin during 1916 ) Countess Markewicz (spelling!)was second in command and, in 1922 was appointed a government minister – the first woman to get such a post.

We were asked who we thought was the second and – no, we didn’t know. Do you? Not surprising if you don’t as a woman minister wasn’t appointed for another 57 years and I’m not telling you who it was because that would spoil the walk for you.

    There’s lots more on this walk – Tom Clark’s widow, the Quaker in Buswells, why Hannah Skeffington lost her job – and to sustain you on the walk there are delicious fig rolls.


 Places are limited to 24. The walk is free though donations are welcome. Book or  put your name on the waiting list by contacting 


Walk starts at 11am at DIT Aungier Street, takes 90 – 120 minutes and finishes at Liberty Hall.

The whole Rosie Hackett evening at Liberty Hall on March 8th starts at 7pm and runs till late – with readings and music.

Here’s the link https://www.facebook.com/events/350599758413788/

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