The Green Dragon No 1, December 1996

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This is a scanned version of the original, including all of the illustrations.
In preparing it some spelling errors have been corrected and some changes made to the original text.


Editor's Introduction


Oh! make her a grave where the sunbeams rest
When they promise a glorious morrow;
They’ll shine o’ er her sleep, like a smile from the west,
From her own loved island of sorrow.


When Thomas Moore (1779 - 1852), the first great Irish songwriter to use English, wrote these poignant words of farewell he could not have known that he was destined to live long enough to see the horror and devastation visited on “the island of sorrow” during the most dreadful years in Irish history since the curse of Cromwell. The brief period between 1845 and 1850 saw about one million people die and a further two million leave Ireland for ever as the Great Famine stalked the land.

Following the final collapse of the last native Irish armies in 1691 the ‘Lords of misrule’, those who legislated in the subordinate Irish Parliament in Dublin and in the sovereign Parliament in London, pursued a policy of confiscation and exploitation which resulted in almost 3 million out of the 8 million living in Ireland in 1845 being so poor that they were wholly dependent for survival on what food they could grow themselves on tiny smallholdings which they rented with no security of tenure whatever. Their principal food, the potato, normally a nourishing, high yield, easily cooked staple crop, rotted before their tear-filled eyes when the great blight destroyed them in 1845, 1846, 1847, 1848......

The Wales Famine Forum, publishers of this little magazine, was formed in Cardiff in February, 1995, in order to remember these things and to try to ensure that those who died without honour or dignity or were driven into impoverished exile are remembered at last, with prayer and with compassion. We also call for the lessons learned from Ireland’'s years of death to be applied to our fellow human beings who are forced to die (over 30,000 each day) of hunger and thirst in other parts of the world because of the unjust world order that supports our way of life.


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Contents

1. Ireland : Hunger and Distress in 1831
From The Cambrian (Swansea) on Saturday, June 4, 1831.

2. Death at Christmas,
Skibbereen, 1846 / 47.
© Patrick Cleary, joint author of Dear old Skibbereen, a book on Skibbereen during the famine.

3. The Irish Famine in Skibbereen and Cardiff.
© John Sweeney, Chairman, Wales Famine Forum

4. Famine Facts
Reproduced, with permission, from the leaflet entitled Famine 150 - Famine Facts produced by Teagasc, the Food and Development Authority, Head Office:. Teagasc, Oak Park, Carlow, Ireland; Tel: +353 59 917 0200; Fax: +353 59 918 2097; Email: info@teagasc.ie. .

5. President Mary Robinson at Grosse Ile, Quebec, August, 1994
Text of a notable speech by the then President of Ireland at the grave of 15,000 victims of Ireland's Great Famine.

6. The Great Famine: A Church of Ireland Account
Sermon preached by the © Very Revd. Dr. Robert MacCarthy, Provost of Tuam, representing the Church of Ireland, during the Civic Memorial Service in memory of the victims of the Great Famine arranged by the Wales Famine Forum and held at Saint John the Baptist's Church in Wales, Trinity Street, Cardiff, on Saturday 26 October, 1996.
The Memorial Service was taken by the Vicar, the Revd. Malcolm Ellis, in the presence of the then Lord Mayor and the Lady Mayoress of Cardiff, Councillor John Phillips and Mrs. R. Phillips.

7. The Famine and the Faith in Wales
©: Bishop Daniel Mullins, Bishop of Menevia (Swansea and South West Wales).
This sermon was preached, in the absence due to illness of Bishop Mullins, by His Grace J. Aloysius Ward, O.F.M.Cap., the then Archbishop of Cardiff, during the Great Famine Memorial Mass at Saint David’s Cathedral, Cardiff on Sunday 19 November, 1995.

8. The Voyage of ‘The Wanderer’
From the Monmouthshire Merlin of February 6, 1847 comes this report of the arrival in Newport, Gwent, on February 1 that year, of a ship carrying several hundred refugees from the famine in Ireland.
The vessel had set sail with its hapless passengers on Christmas Eve, 1846.

9. Potato Famine in the Hebrides
©: John Angus McLeod
The author of this account of famine in the Hebrides in the late 1840's was born on the island of Harris.
A retired chemist, he has taught his native Gaelic to adults and is an adjudicator in the Mod.

10. The Irish in Cardiff
© Owen John Thomas, a well-known member of the Wales National Party, Plaid Cymru, a former teacher in a Cardiff primary school, a local historian and a member of the National Assembly of Wales.
This article is based on the address that he delivered in both Welsh and English during a Service of Commemoration and Reconciliation in memory of Ireland's Great Famine and its victims in Tabernacl Caerdydd, the Welsh Baptists' place of Worship in the Hayes, Cardiff, since 1825, on Friday evening, 18 October, 1996.

11. An incomplete History of an Irish Family
This is an account of his roots in famine-stricken Cork and Waterford.
© John Sweeney, Chairman, The Wales Famine Forum.

12. The Burns Family of Newtown
© Julia Burns, now Head of Welsh in a Catholic Secondary school in Cardiff, traces her family story back to Clonakilty, County Cork, during the Great Famine.

13. 'Little Ireland' R.I.P.
This tribute by the Cardiff South Wales Echo columnist, Dan O’Neill, to Newtown, the city's best-known Irish district, was first published in that paper on Monday, November 25, 1996.
We are grateful to the author and to the newspaper for allowing us to copy.

14. The Irish in Wrexham 1845 -1852
The author, Maureen Thomas, lives in Wrexham, North Wales.

15. Ireland: 1845 to 1996 – from Catastrophe to Confidence
© Mr. Ted Barrington, the then Irish Ambassador, speaking during the ‘Service of Commemoration and Reconciliation’ in memory of Ireland's Great Famine conducted by the Minister, the Reverend Denzil John, at ‘Tabernacl Caerdydd’, the Welsh Baptists’ Church in the Hayes, Cardiff, on Friday evening 18 October, 1996.

16. Nicaragua - Christianity on Trial
This punchy critique was translated from Welsh by The Wales Famine Forum.
© The Reverend Denzil John, Minister of Tabernacl Caerdydd, the Welsh Baptists' place of worship in The Hayes, Cardiff, since 1825

17. Do we Know it's Christmas?
Translated from Welsh by The Wales Famine Forum.
© The Reverend Denzil John, Minister of Tabernacl Caerdydd.

18. Jimeen and the Gander
From Jimín Mháire Thadhg, the classic story for children by Pádraig Ó Siochfradha, better known as An Seabhac ('The Hawk'), who grew up in County Kerry.
The story was first published about 70 years ago.
Translated from Irish by The Wales Famine Forum.

19. The Handball Court at Nelson
© Joe Moore (from Armagh, Treasurer, Wales Famine Forum) this is an account of the last playable handball court (sometimes called a 'handball alley') in South Wales.

20. Michael Collins – The Movie
© Einion Wyn Thomas, then archivist at Gwynedd County Archives, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, North Wales.

21. John Breese, 1925 - 1994
A tribute to Machynlleth-born John Breese who for a number of years hosted weekly gatherings of Irish speakers at his home in Cardiff.

22. Irish Life in Cardiff
A look at Cardiff's Irish pubs etc.

23. Poem : The Wind that Shakes the Barley
A memorable look at Ireland's landscape by Katherine Tynan (1861 - 1931).

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