Die De Valera Hide In Mona’s Wardrobe

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin and I’ve been researching how previous commemorations have been celebrated in Man.

In 1966 a large colour party of Mec Vannin attended the March in Dublin. We are still trying to locate the RTE TV news footage that was made of their involvement which was available online until a few years ago.

1991 Marked the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising and Carn produced a special edition with articles compiled by a number of writers from the Celtic countries. For Man ‘Shorys y Creayrie’ (Dr George Broderick) compiled an article on the Easter period and its influence thereafter on some in Man. In particular (see below) he recounted an interesting story of Mona Douglas and her experiences in Dublin at that time:

“The political message of 1916 and thereafter, namely that it was possible for a Celtic country to break away from England’s grip, inspired no mass movement for something similar in Man, but nevertheless evidently awakened a small number within the cultural movement to the notion that something in that direction could and should be undertaken by whatever means. One of those so awakened was Mona Douglas who in 1916 published a poem in three stanzas entitled ‘The Manx Call to Arms — and the Answer’. It is carefully worded, yet the message is clear:

Honour calls! and can we falter?
We, the sons of Gorry’s band
Who, in many anancient battle
Firmly took their stand
Where the war-rose reddest bloomed
There the sword-clould thickest loomed;
Glory-winning, or death-doomed!

Ellan Vannin! calls though England
Rules us we are yet half-free
Holding scathless through the ages
Laws and liberty
Gorry’s Tynwald, Still it stands –
Guarded now by alien hands
Yet held steadfast ‘mid the lands

Freedom calls! and we are ready
Each his summons to obey
Mann sends forth her sons with gladness
To the watch and fray
Ere our freedom can be won
There is fighting to be done –
And whenever rings the warcry we arise
and follow on!

It is difficult to assess the impact of this poem (produced in a double broad-sheet) on the Manx public at that time, but it was evidently not Mona Douglas’s last excursion into the political area. Mona Douglas spent some time in Ireland during the War of Independence under the auspices of one of those prominent in Irish language revival circles and in the Celtic Congress, Una Ni Fhaircheallailaigh. She apparently came across some of the political figures of the period. She herself related a story of those times to her close friend of the post second world war decades, Eibhlin Ni Chathailriabhaigh. While staying in the Shelbourne Hotel one time it was raided by a party of Black and Tans searching for the President of the proclaimed Irish Republic, Eamon de Valera. They failed to find him as (he) was apparently safely hidden away in a wardrobe in Mona’s room!”
Carn No 76 Winter 91/92 30th Special Edition ‘The Ripples in the Celtic Tide’

Full copy of the Carn with this article in full and the supplement can be accessed in pdf at this link:

https://www.celticleague.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Carn%2076%20Winter%201991_2%2030th%20year%20Special%20with%20supplement.pdf

Whatever Mona’s Irish escapades her poem still rings very true today!

Anyway apologies if there are any textual errors but you can read the original and the articles from the other contributors to the commemorative edition at the link.

Pic: A young Mona Douglas.
BERNARD MOFFATT
Issued by: The Celtic News

23/12/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

Hafan

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