Centennial of Pearse’s oration at O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral

One of the seminal events of Irish republican history marks its 100th anniversary 1 August: the Dublin funeral of Fenian leader O’Donovan Rossa. As the Irish Independent recalls, “it was a brilliantly choreographed pageant of separatist propaganda.”

Rossa died 29 June 1915 in New York. The revolutionary’s body was returned to Ireland a month later for five days of public viewings. The political highlight was the masterful graveside panegyric delivered by writer and poet Pádraic Pearse, with its stirring climax:

“They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but the fools, the fools, the fools! – they have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

The entire speech is read aloud in the video below by an unknown narrator. It contains actual footage from 1915 funeral, plus images from the Easter Rising, which occurred nine months later.