I was a “tabula rasa” when I put my hand to the plough of research that over the next five years yielded the harvest of my first novel, which sowed the seeds for my second, going back through a century of Irish history and culture. And as I left ignorance behind, these are the exact conclusions that I came to. Thank you, Arran Henderson, for this excellent introduction to the truth that must be told.
In August and September 1914, John Redmond, leader of the Irish Party, and its MPs at Westminster, made speeches, notably the speech at Maryborough, now Port Laois, where he exhorted party members, and specifically members present from the 150,000-strong Irish Volunteer movement, to join the Allied and British war effort, effectively to volunteer for military service fighting for Britain.
Redmond argued from a position of strength, not weakness. The Irish Party stood at an historic crossroads, having earlier that year attained what both Daniel O’Connell and (their own former leader) Charles Stuart Parnell had failed to achieve, the Holy Grail of Home Rule for Ireland, a large measure of autonomy with an Irish Parliament, governing Ireland, from Dublin.
C.S. Parnell. 1841-1891.
They’d now finally it after an intense, almost epic political struggle of over 30 years, after two previous Home Rule Bills defeated (1886, and 1893) and in the face…
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