NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE
We are still attempting to locate rare footage of inter-Celtic involvement in the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising has come to light. This year’s 100th anniversary gives it a new impetus.
The Easter Rising had an influence however far beyond Ireland and indeed the other Celtic countries as Australian historian Daniel Leach recorded in an article some years ago. He said:
“For militant nationalists in the minority regions of Western Europe the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 exercised a powerful and enduring influence. Not only had the insurrection itself provided dramatic inspiration to an entire generation of such nationalists in the years before the Second World War, but its veneration in various nationalist literatures had also installed Irish figures such as Patrick Pearse and James Connolly in equally (and sometimes more) exalted positions as indigenous heroes.
“In Brittany, for example, a young Fańch Debauvais excitedly daubed the walls of his native Rennes with the words “Vive l’Irlande!” during the Rising, and his colleague Olier Mordrel would later write of how the idea of staging their own gallant last stand, as at the General Post Office in Dublin, stirred the passions of Breton nationalists:
“A thousand times we went to sleep dreaming of being in combat at the Hôtel des Postes in Rennes, transformed into a blockhaus, and we slept happily.”
“These two nationalist leaders later devoted an entire issue of their journal Breiz Atao (Brittany Forever) to a celebration of the Rising, and Lun Fask (Easter Monday) remains a key date in the calendar of radical Breton separatists.
“Yet the inspirational example of the Rising was not confined to Celtic Brittany. Basques in the 1930s adopted Easter Sunday as their Aberri Eguna (Fatherland Day), which was selected to venerate the twin inspirations of devout Catholicism and the sacrifice of Irish rebels.
“In equally devout Flanders, Fr. Jules Callewaert, a Flemish nationalist and priest, lauded Sinn Féin as “good Catholics and heroes without equal,” and praised Ireland as “a civilisational model of self-sacrifice and as an ideal Catholicism.”
“Despite the predominant Protestantism of the Welsh and the Scots, the celebration of that week of insurrection in Dublin also exercised a unique allure for Celtic movements in the United Kingdom. The Irish rebels of Easter 1916 had taught kindred Celtic peoples, in the words of Plaid Cymru (Party of Wales) leader Gwynfor Evans (himself a pacifist), that “their subjection to England and France was neither inevitable nor permanent.”
(Quotes from: “Repaying a Debt of Gratitude”: Foreign Minority Nationalists and the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Easter Rising in 1966. by Daniel Leach)
Note: Other sources ascribe the significance of Aberri Eguna (Basque fatherland day) to a much earlier period and the concept of political Basque nationalism as put forward by Sabino Arana in 1882
The brief item of news we are trying to locate and which was accessible for a time some years ago on the RTE website shows the Manx and Welsh contingents, part of a crowd of several hundred, which took part in an event organized in 1966 by the Republican Sponsored National Commemoration Committee. Following the official parades at the GPO building in O’Connell Street, which was the focus of the Rising, the Republican parade marched from the Custom House to Glasnevin Cemetery.
Among their numbers was Joe Clarke an 85-year-old veteran of 1916 who together with other Irish republicans accompanied members of Celtic groups from Wales, Brittany, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Cornwall.
The event is recorded by the Welsh Republican leader of the Free Wales Army the late Julian ‘Cayo’ Evans in Roy Clews book “To Dream of Freedom – The Struggle of MAC and the Free Wales Army” by Row Clews – Lolfa Press
”The actual march was one of the proudest moments of my life. Scores of our boys from all over Wales had managed to get to Dublin. There were two big separate parades. The Free State parade, which the Plaid Cymru delegation marched with, routed for the Kilmainham Jail; and our parade, the Republican. The Flag parties of each contingent led, with the rank and file following the massed banners. I felt tremendously proud to be carrying the Red Dragon that day. The Irish Republican
Army with their pipe band and the old veterans headed the procession. We came behind them and had a terrific reception from the crowds of spectators when they saw the Welsh flag. The Breton Liberation Movement followed us with their black and white flags, then the Flemish, the Vac (sic) Mannin (Manx Independence movement), Irish Americans, Cornish Republicans of the Ebon Kernow (Sons of Cornwall),. French Canadians, Scottish Liberation Army, there seemed to be dozens of different groups on parade”.
The Party marched from the Docks near the Custom House where the Manx Party, headed by Doug Faragher can be seen forming up, to Glasnevin Cemetery where National flags being carried are dipped in homage to the dead of 1916.
Photograph; The official commemoration at the GPO in Dublin.
Issued by: The Celtic News
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