Tag Archives: County Wicklow

No Easter Rising without the Irish in America

There would have been no 1916 Easter Rising without Irish America.

That’s a frequent theme in the research and writings of New York University Professor Joe Lee. He lectured on the topic 24 March for Irish Network-DC.

Lee noted that home rule champion John Redmond’s 20 September 1914 speech at Woodenbridge, County Wicklow, “stuck in the craw” of John Devoy and other Fenians in America.

Redmond supported Britain in the Great War, infamously expressed by his urging Irish soldiers to go “wherever the fighting line extends.” This created a backlash in still neutral America, Lee said, that shifted opinion away from home rule and toward militant Irish nationalism.

Support came immediately in the form of “a colossal amount of money” to fund an Irish rebellion, most of it raised in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

“Irish America was ahead of Ireland,” Lee said.

The Proclamation of an Irish Republic read outside the General Post Office on Easter Monday 1916 noted that Ireland was “supported by her exiled children in America.” But Lee said this “grossly understates American contributions” to Irish freedom.

Lee engaged in a little speculation about what what might have happened if the Irish rebels had been able to last longer against British troops, generating more attention in America heading into the 1916 presidential campaign. Home rule, passed by Parliament in 1914 but suspended at the outbreak of World War I, was still on the table, Lee noted. Devoy and his followers might have been able to exert more pressure on Woodrow Wilson to make a deal for Irish independence as Britain worked to bring America into the war.

It didn’t work out that way, of course, just as the plans for the Rising didn’t unfold according to plan. Here’s a recent piece by Lee in the Irish Examiner about what might have happened in April 1916 if they had.


Ireland’s Olympic haul

Alright, we knew that the United States would have a big haul of Olympic medals in London. And congratulations to all of those athletes who won gold, silver and bronze.

But we were happy to see Ireland have its best Games since 1956, according to Reuters, taking home five medals, four in boxing and one in show jumping.

The big story was the gold won by women’s lightweight boxer Katie Taylor of Bray. Today she got a hero’s welcome home, with some 20,000 turning out in the County Wicklow town, The Irish Times reported.

Taylor has a humble and devout personality. “I had a whole nation of people praying for me,” she said. “I just felt the presence of God in that stadium.”

The story continues: Not one for over-elaboration, she departed the stage a few minutes later. Taylor said she wanted some sleep and to visit her 80-year-old grandmother Kathleen Cranley, who she has not seen for weeks.”

Reuters noted, “The strong Olympic showing comes after a disappointing European Championship soccer tournament, in which the Irish team lost all three matches, and at a time when the country is struggling to recover from economic recession.”