America’s Gift of Toys (January 1915)

Taken in Limerick City (1917) Source: Imperial War Museum

from the Limerick Chronicle (16th January 1915)

“There was an unusual scene in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall on the morning of Thursday, January 14th, when, by the kind permission of the Mayor of Limerick, and in his presence, nearly 400 wives of soldiers and sailors serving at the front, with the Fleet, or in training, assembled to receive gifts for their children from the children of the United States of America, and from Limerick friends.

The gifts from America had been sent from the Local Government Board, Dublin, to the Mayor and by his approval had been sorted and parceled by the Committee of the Soldiers and Sailors Families Association, Limerick Division, and the following ladies were present to circulate them – Mrs Tidmarsh, Vice President; Mrs Abbott, Miss Barrington, Mrs Cleeve, Mrs de Courcy, Mrs J Egan, Mrs Hamilton, Miss Loughry, Miss Mickie, Mrs McDonnell, Mrs O’Connor, Mrs O’Malley, Miss Betty Russell, Lady Nash and Mrs Bunbury, Hon Secretaries.

Mr Ludlow, the American Consul, came with the Mayor, and both took the kindliest interest in the proceedings, which opened with a few words from the Mayor. He said that the children of the United States had had such a great and generous wish to send such Christmas presents to the children of killed, missing and serving men of all the fighting armies of Europe. That those presents had come across the seas to thousands of towns and millions of children. That 250 had come to Limerick city, and that their Limerick friends had added 756, so that no children of the 1,056 qualified should be disappointed.

The distribution was then systematically and quickly done, the women gratefully accepting the parcels, and leaving in succession.

A cablegram was sent from the Hon Secs. S.S.F.A. through Mr Ludlow to the Chicago Herald  saying that the gifts had been distributed in the Town Hall. The Mayor presiding and the children of Limerick sending grateful thanks.

The gifts to the children in the County of Limerick are also being supplemented, and will be sent to them next week.”

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Francis Sheehy-Skeffington on WW1 and Irish Independence (February 1916)

A Forgotten Small Nationality

Ireland and the War

By Francis Sheehy-Skeffington

(Century Magazine, 1916)people_sheehy_skeffington

England has so successfully hypnotised the world into regarding the neighbouring conquered island as an integral part of Great Britain that even Americans gasp at the mention of Irish independence. Home rule they understand, but independence! “How could Ireland maintain an independent existence?” they ask. “How could you defend yourselves against all the great nations?” I do not feel under any obligation to answer this question, because that objection, if recognised as valid, would make an end of the existence of any small nationality whatever. All of them, from their very nature, are subject to the perils and disadvantages of independent sovereignty. I neither deny nor minimise these. Continue reading “Francis Sheehy-Skeffington on WW1 and Irish Independence (February 1916)”

Father Fitzgerald vs. John Redmond (Sept 1914)

Father Fitzgerald vs. John Redmond (Sept 1914)

On Friday 27 September 1914 the West Limerick Executive of the United Irish League held a meeting at the Carnegie Hall in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick. The meeting dealt with some cases of evicted tenants before the President of the Executive, Rev. Fitzgerald, made a remarkable speech that denounced both John Redmond‘s call for the Irish Volunteers to join the British Army and the entire plausibility of the effective enactment of Home Rule. What follows is a transcription of his speech that was recorded in the Limerick Leader on the 30th September 1914, and I’ve changed it from third person (as reported) to first person with edits.

I suppose the present state of affairs in the political arena called for a few words…the opinions I am about to express are my own – I do not think that they will coincide with those of the other members present. However, at this meeting we are all free lances and every man is entitled to speak out his own mind. The vital question before us at present- a question which we had so often discussed at previous meetings of the Executive – was the attainment of our National rights, which meant the opening of a native Parliament in Dublin. As we are all aware the Home Rule Bill had received the Royal Assent and had been placed on the Statute Book of England.

That, of course, would be all very fine and would meet with the desires of the Irish race, for, although the Home Rule Bill was not up to our expectations, at the same time it gave us substantially what we had been looking for. But there was a danger in the whole situation, and the danger was the Amending Bill. Of course the situation would not be all bad if we only knew what the Amending Bill was, but we did not know, and, perhaps, it might tear the original Bill to shreds. What they did know was from statements that had been made by prominent Ministers of the Government, and by members of the Opposition Party. Carson and his crowd declared that they would not have Home Rule at all, and, on the other hand, Mr. Asquith and other members of the Government, said they would not force the Bill by force of arms on Ulster, or coerce that province into submission to the Act.

Continue reading “Father Fitzgerald vs. John Redmond (Sept 1914)”

Tom Kettle Lectures in Limerick (May 1912)

Tom Kettle delivered a lecture entitled The Foundation of Industrial Peace in the Athenaeum in Limerick City on the 10th May 1912. He was invited to speak by the Limerick Industrial Association.

Advert in the Limerick Chronicle
Advert in the Limerick Chronicle

Who was Tom Kettle? He was a journalist, barrister, writer, poet, essayist, economist and Home Rule politician. In 1912 he was serving as a Professor of Economics at University College Dublin. Tom also had a Limerick connection. He was married to Mary Sheehy, who was a daughter of David Sheehy of Dromcollogher, Co. Limerick. Mary Sheehy was a sister of the social reformer Hanna Sheehy Skeffington. Kettle’s friends and contemporaries at UCD included Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Oliver St. John Gogarty and James Joyce. He clashed with Joyce on more than one occasion. Joyce once opined “A holy Hegelian Kettle Has faith which we cannot unsettle.”

Continue reading “Tom Kettle Lectures in Limerick (May 1912)”