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Paul Fleming & James Langton who organised the History Night in the Belvedere on Sat Oct 20th, on their right Gerry O'Connell Society Hon. Sec. and a guest speaker on the night being introduced by Paul Fleming.
Jim Higgins MEP was a guest speaker at the Galway Branch launch in the Menlo Hotel on Fri Oct 19th. He is flanked by Cllr Frank Fahy and Enda Howley members of the organising committee. On their right are the 'Three Organisers" Tomás O Cadhain, newly appointed for Galway, Martin Dunne Birmingham & UK with Bill Martin National.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our US members, family and friends even after Hurricane Sandy, Jack sent me some photo's of the devastation in this url - paste to your Browser - Regards Bill
Pics of Normandy Beach, post Sandy... taken by our Landlord's son, who stayed.
Prayer book given to Michael Collins by a priest during a Passionist mission in Greystones, Co Wicklow, on the eve of Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations in 1921, goes on sale in a Dublin auction
Michael Collins’s prayer book has come to light in France 90 years after his death in Béal na Bláth.
The book, entitled" The Christian Armed against the Seductions of the World and the Illusions Of His Own Heart", contains prayers and meditations and was found among his belongings in Portobello Barracks, Rathmines, following his death in August 1922.
After it was returned to the Collins family, the prayer book was given, as a gift, to a nun – Sr Aloysius at the Convent of Mercy in Cappoquin, Co Waterford, in November 1922 .
The leather-bound book, with gilt-edged pages, was eventually inherited by an Irish woman, who now lives in southern France. She has decided to sell it, along with a letter from a priest, Fr Ignatius of the Passionist Order, who had given the book to Collins.
The prayer book contains “instructions for meditation” on 31 topics (“maxims”) such as: “Time is precious; the loss of it is irreparable”; and, “The number is small of those who are saved” .
Other chapters include morning and evening prayers and a “Consideration on the Passions of Jesus Christ”.
The book has a single black-and-white illustration of Jesus carrying the cross and a quote from St Luke’s Gospel: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”.
Collins clearly had a profound impact on the nun. Sr Aloysius’s notes, written into the prayer book, refer to Michael Collins as “Ireland’s idol”; “her Joan of Arc”; and “her greatest hero and leader”.
She said the book was her “best-loved and greatest treasure and will be preserved and cherished for all time”.
The prayer book and the priest’s letter will be auctioned as one lot by Mealy’s, the rare books auctioneers, in Dublin next month, with a pre-sale estimate of € 1,200-€1,800.
In the letter, sent to Collins’s sister after her brother’s death, Fr Ignatius reveals that he gave the prayer book to Collins during a mission at Greystones, Co Wicklow, in 1921, which Collins had attended before departing for London to negotiate the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Fr Ignatius recalled Collins, despite “being busy in Dublin, worked and worried almost beyond endurance”, had returned to the Grand Hotel in Greystones “one night very late and very tired on the eve of his departure to London re the pact”.
The priest continued: “He got up the next morning as early as 5.30am, came to the church and made a glorious general Confession and received Holy Communion.
“He said to me after Confession: ‘Say the Mass for Ireland and God bless you Father!’ He crossed an hour or so later to London.”
Fr Ignatius wrote: “There is not a man in a million would have done what Michael did that he might get to Confession and Holy Communion.”
Crucially for collectors of memorabilia, the letter confirms that he had given Collins the prayer book “in memory of the mission”.
THE ATTACK ON THE FOUR COURTS
I would like to comment on the article 'Four Courts Still In Headlines 90 Years After Attack' by Mark Hennessy Opinion and Analysis, Page 14, Irish Times, 5/11/1012. The article itself, although impressive in its narrative still fails to offer proof that British troops were involved in the bombardment of the Four Courts, but more to discusses the 'Minutes of British Debates and Offers' to the Provisional Government at this time.
I find the opening line of his article very misleading as if the article proves beyond any doubt that the claim is 100% fact, but is a twisted version included to mean something else. In fact, it was the shells and not the guns (Howitzers) that were called into question. The shells that were supplied were shrapnel shells unsuitable for use against heavy masonry. It was Emmet Dalton, one of the few Officers on the Pro Treaty side who knew how to fire the guns. Apart altogether from the deficiencies in the calibre of the shells, Macready delayed sending them to Collins, to such an extent that Collins cabled Churchill himself directly on the 29th, stating, and I quote, “Hampered by the continued lack of material...promised...but not available... Essential that action be taken immediatly, otherwise situation will become impossible”.
If the Provisional Government accepted the use of a 60 Pounder gun, may I enquire where exactly the 60 pounder was positioned ? Photographic evidence, which I have, clearly shows 18 Pound Howitzers directing their frontal assault on the Four Courts from Bridge Street and Winetavern Street junctions. Col Anthony Lawlor, (1898-1989) who commanded these posts was born in Co Dublin; son of a journalist; Pilot, RAF (1917-18); OC Athlone, NA (1922-23); and OC MCWS (1939-45). Lawlor served as a pilot in the RAF in World War I. In 1922 he was training a gun crew with an obsolete, horse-drawn 15-pounder gun in Athlone that the British had left behind. As a result he was called up to command the National Army artillery in the Battle of Dublin. He used two 18-pounder guns from the British to shell the south side of the Four Courts over the Liffey and opened a breach in the wall.
The gun battery, positioned in and around the Chancery Lane/Street area was manned by an inexperienced gunner. It was during this attack that Emmet Dalton recieved an urgent order to proceed to Macready's HQ at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, as they thought they were under attack due to shells landing there. When he arrived, he witnessed himself, shells exploding within the grounds. Dalton hurried back to the Four Courts to find that the gunner was firing the 18 Pounder at a sniper on the roof of the courts and that the shells were passing right through the dome. Dalton makes reference to this on the RTE documentary 'The Shadow of BealnaBlath' 1989. The Church Street/Hammond lane battery was where the wall was breached and commanded by Col Padraig (Paddy) O'Connor or Pádraig Ó Conchobhair: (1919-21) a member of the Dublin Guards, IRA (1921-22). He was Commdt of Beggar’s Bush Barracks, NA (1922-23). Paddy O’Connor was a member of the ASU under Michael Collins, . After the Tan War he was promoted commander of Beggar Bush Barracks. He assaulted the Four Courts from the western side as MacManus attacked from the south. According to a relative of his, Diarmuid O'Connor, author of 'Sleep Soldier Sleep' to whom I spoke to about these latest allegations that he was in no doubt that had Padraig seen British soldiers approach the Four Courts that day, he would have turned the guns on them.
Another experienced Soldier on the Free State side was Maj-Gen Dermot MacManus aka Diarmuid Mac Maghnuis. He was educated at Trinity College Dublin and was a journalist and author. He was Captain of the 10th (Irish) Division (1914-18); Gallipoli (1915); Director of Training, Dublin Guards, IRA and GOC Limerick, NA (1922); Provost Marshall, Southern Command, NA (1922-23); and Asst-Gov of Mountjoy Prison, NA (1923). Like many Home-Rulers Dermot MacManus joined the British Army in 1914. He fought at Gallipoli and rose to the rank of captain. After the war he studied at Trinity College, where he joined Sinn Féin. By 1922 he was Director of Training in the Dublin Guards and with his valuable combat experience he was promoted to Commandant General.
When the Four Courts was attacked he opened fire with small arms from Pheonix Park as the shelling began. He took over the attack from the wounded Joe Leonard and stormed the breach to take the area.
Are we expected to believe, that the National Army, at the time of this major assault, with high ranking men such as the above mentioned on site and within its ranks with impeccable military records, were depending on Percy Creek and his experience to attack the Four Courts? having walked from Fermanagh!. The debates Mr Hennessy mentions where nothing more than debates, and, as he states himself. “Lord Cavan, chief of the imperial general staff thought it was a great pity that the provisional government had not asked the imperial troops to carry out the task for them,” the minutes also record that Lord Cavan reported that a Royal Artillery officer “had, at the request of the provisional government giving its forces advice on how to use 18-pounder guns. However, 18-pounders “were not of much value for this kind of fighting” and “heavier ordnance” that was needed “against such solid buildings”.Michael Collins, was “not willing to employ it, apparently because the use of such material would require the employment of the regular (ie British) troops”.
A note on the 60 Pound Howitzers: The 60-pounder Howitzer was a medium class 5 inch howitzer designed by the British in 1904. This weapon was a mainstay of British and Empire medium artillery during the First World War, being operated by batteries of the Royal Garrison Artillery (in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, units equipped with the 60-pounder were termed "Heavy" Artillery Batteries). During WWI it took 12 horses to pull one of these monsters and had a range of 6 miles. (I can supply a photo if needed)
Percy Creek's account is certainly not backed in any form by the British Cabinet debates. As for this referred to memoir deposited in the Imperial War Museum purportedly ‘discovered’ by the Open University historian Dr William Sheehan , This factually flawed memoir details Royal Field Artillery Lance Bombardier Percy Creek’s supposed involvement in the National Army’s attack on the IRA occupied Four Courts. Unfortunately Dr Sheehan did not update himself with advances in the historiography on the ‘Irish Revolution.’ If any historian deserves belated recognition for disclosing the memoir’s contents it is Dr Joost Augusteijn, now lecturing at Leiden University. Dr Augusteijn cited the memoir in his perceptive chapter ‘Motivation: Why did they Fight for Ireland? The Motivation of Volunteers in the Revolution,’ in the book (which he also edited), ‘The Irish Revolution, 1913-1923’ (Palgrave, 2002). Creek’s overrated memoir is in the public domain for a decade and is certainly not the startling revelation Dr William Sheehan or other credulous media outlets, namely the BBC and Irish Times, claim it to be.
The following pages are scans of the original handwritten account of the attack on the 'Four Courts' by Col Padraig O'Connor or Pádraig Ó Conchobhair: (1919-21) a member of the Dublin Guards, IRA (1921-22). They were kindly given to James Langton for publication by Diarmuid O'Connor author of "Sleep Soldier Sleep".