James Connolly, the British soldier.

This may come as a shock to many people but James Connolly, the revolutionary socialist and republican, had served in the British army (but then, so many Irish people did join up, it’s hardly a surprise). This post looks at some of what we know about Connolly the British soldier. James Connolly’s legend appears toContinue reading “James Connolly, the British soldier.”

How to replace the peace lines with the River Farset

Imagine we could replace the fifty year old peace line by re-opening the River Farset? That isn’t as fanciful as it sounds. A significant section of the river along the northern side of Cupar Street (much of it open ground today) while the peace line runs on its southern side. So it would certainly beContinue reading “How to replace the peace lines with the River Farset”

Ethna Carbery and the disappearance of many Northern cultural figures from the literary history of Ireland

Last weekend the Irish Times published a map showing some of the locations where it believed we should be considering erecting monuments to honour the achievements of various outstanding Irish women. Since it only included very few in the north, I’m suggesting one, Anna Johnston, who should be near the top of any such list. In 2002,Continue reading “Ethna Carbery and the disappearance of many Northern cultural figures from the literary history of Ireland”

Where, oh where, is our James Connolly: #Connolly150

One of the remarkable things about James Connolly is how his life provides an intersection with so many long-standing themes: immigration, poverty and disadvantage, Irish-British relations, the Irish in Scotland, class politics, imperialism, socialism and Irish republicanism. Another critical area, in which so many of these issues, and others, converge is in service in theContinue reading “Where, oh where, is our James Connolly: #Connolly150”

James Connolly 150th anniversary

The 5th June 2018 will mark the 150th anniversary of James Connolly’s birth in Edinburgh of Monaghan parents. I’m sure the year will include various events and discussions of Connolly, his life and legacy. One area that interests me and, I think, seems wholly under-explored, is Connolly’s time as a British soldier. Not just inContinue reading “James Connolly 150th anniversary”

The Manchester Martyrs centenary and echoes of the 1969 split in the IRA

Up to the Easter Rising, one of the key annual events in the republican calendar was the commemoration of the ‘Manchester Martyrs’,¬†William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O’Brien, the IRB members who were publicly hanged in front of a crowd of 8-10,000 outside Salford Gaol on 23rd November 1867. They were hung for theContinue reading “The Manchester Martyrs centenary and echoes of the 1969 split in the IRA”

Learn all he can and put his training to the best advantage: Irish republicans in the British Army

It is probably not coincidental that the passing of the very last of the generation who fought in the first world war has coincided with a rise in overt nationalism centred around displays of the poppy as a symbol of British military commemoration. With the second world war generation, too, now dwindling rapidly, an aggressivelyContinue reading “Learn all he can and put his training to the best advantage: Irish republicans in the British Army”

William Harbinson: a New Lodge ‘Fenian’

September 11th 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the death of William Harbinson in Crumlin Road prison. On the evening of his death, Harbinson was found dead in his cell and the coroners inquiry heard he had an unexplained head wound but did not establish if it occurred prior to his death. The Head CentreContinue reading “William Harbinson: a New Lodge ‘Fenian’”

James Connolly’s time as a British soldier, some new evidence

James Connolly, signatory of the 1916 proclamation, is widely accepted to have served as a British soldier in Ireland. Remarkably little is known about this period of his life and its impact on his political formation and views. It is assumed that he joined the King’s Liverpool Regiment, although direct documentary proof has yet toContinue reading “James Connolly’s time as a British soldier, some new evidence”

Belfast Fenian leader, William Harbinson

In July 1867 Belfast IRB leader William Harbinson was brought up on charges of treason felony. He died in Belfast prison in September 1867 before he was brought to trial. While his name was given to the original republican plot in Milltown and his funeral was attended by over 40,000 people (in defiance of opposition from the CatholicContinue reading “Belfast Fenian leader, William Harbinson”