The Green Dragon No 4, Autumn 1997

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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

New Readers Start Here!

This is the fourth edition of this little magazine. It is published by The Wales Famine Forum, a small voluntary group and a Registered Charity (Reg. No. 1057587), set up in Cardiff in February, 1995 in order to ensure the the 150th.anniversary of the Great Famine in Ireland (1845 – 50) should not pass unnoticed and, at the same time, to remind ourselves that another ‘Great Famine’ still goes on here and now. We are told that every day over 30,000 people die as a direct result of thirst, hunger and inhuman poverty in what we like to call the ‘Third World’. Yet, it should take no more than a few moment’s reflection to realise that we all live in what is really one world in which resources, opportunities and wealth are grotesquely mismanaged and very unfairly divided.

In our ‘global village’ the press, radio, television and the internet ensure that we are now very uncomfortably aware of these facts – we can no longer honestly say, “Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or sick or in prison and did not minister to thee? (Matthew 25: 44).

Most of the material in this, in previous and in future editions of The Green Dragon concerns the history and lives of the Irish people in Wales and of their kin in Ireland since about 1800 but there has been and will continue to be references to the plight of our less fortunate fellow human beings who endure their own ‘Great Famine’ in this day and age. We do not believe that we can very well consider the story of Ireland’s most tragic event and of its impact here in Wales without seeing the obvious parallels in Africa, South America and other places as we come to the end of the twentieth century and prepare to enter into the Third Millennium of what we may still, with some guarded optimism, call the Christian era.

We go to press in the aftermath of three deaths. The death of the Princess of Wales on 31 August was quickly followed by that of her mentor and friend, Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Then, Wales lost George Thomas, Viscount Tonypandy, ‘Mr. Speaker’, an admired politician, lay preacher and philanthropist, a few days after the ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum on the Welsh Assembly. In life as in death Diana and Teresa touched and changed all our lives. George Thomas became known far from his native Wales and ended his days admired even by some of his political opponents.


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Contents

1. The Curse from the Sky
Describing the horror of the overnight blighting of the flourishing potato crop this is an excerpt from the novel, Ó Mhuir go Sliabh (‘From Sea to Mountain’) by © ‘Máire’ ( Séamus Ó Grianna, 1889 - 1969) set in Irish-speaking Donegal in the 1840s.

It was published in 1961 by An Gúm (the government publications office), Dublin. Translation : The Wales Famine Forum.

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2. Poem: The Famine Year
The author, Lady Wilde, was the mother of Oscar Wilde.

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3. Poem: A Lay of the Famine

An anonymous ballad from the 19th century.

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4. Demographic Impact of the Famine in Co. Waterford
Jack Burtchael, Waterford.
First published in the book, Teacht na bPrátaí Dubha: The Famine in Waterford, 1845–50, published in 1995 by Geography Publications, Dublin.

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5. Priests and Ministers Remembered in West Waterford
Compiled from information supplied by Mr. John Kiely, Dungarvan, and from the book, Desperate Haven – the Poor Law, Famine and Aftermath in the Dungarvan Union by William Fraher and others. Dungarvan Museum Society, 1996.

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6. Pádraig Ó Miléadha, a Poet of Ireland and of Wales
An account of the Welsh life of the County Waterford poet and songwriter.

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7. Poem: Three Irish Generations :The Third Generation
That part of Pádraig Ó Miléadha's long autobiographical work,Trí Glúine Gaedhal (Three Generations of Irish people), Dublin, 1953, which deals with his life in Wales.
Translation : Wales Famine Forum.

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8. Cardinal Vaughan at the opening of St. Paul's Church, Tyndall Street, Cardiff.
An anonymous account of the ceremony in August, 1893.

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9. St. Mary's, Newport
Local historian Eddie Curran relates the story of St. Mary's R.C. church in Newport, Gwent, South Wales.

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10. Not the Apprentice Boys
Belfastman Sam Boyd recalls his apprenticeship in the mid 1930s.

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11. Frongoch – Whiskey Makers and Prisoners of War
Welsh poet : Elwyn Edwards looks at the story of Frongoch, where Michael Collins and others were detained following the Easter Rising in Dublin, 1916.
Translation: The Wales Famine Forum.

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12. Martin the Pedlar
From the book Y Pentre Gwyn ('The White Village'), published in 1909. the author Anthropos (Robert David Rowland), minister, journalist and poet, was born near Corwen, North Wales, in 1853.
Translation : The Wales Famine Forum.

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13. The Hawker
From the anonymous work, Franciscan Missions among the Colliers and Ironworkers of Monmouthshire, published in London in 1876 by Burns and Oates.

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14. Poem: Pererin / Pilgrim
Vernon Jones, a journalist in Aberystwyth, included this elegy in his book of poems, Llwch Oged, (‘Harrow Dust’) published in 1968. We are grateful to the him for permission to reproduce it here.
Translation : The Wales Famine Forum.

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15. Obituaries: Mother Teresa, Princess Diana and Viscount Tonypandy
: John O’Sullivan, a freelance journalist and writer based in Cardiff. His Irish forebears came from County Cork.

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16. The Lie of Famine
Don Mullan, Dublin. From Derry and a witness/survivor of the Bloody Sunday in January, 1972, he is one of Ireland’s leading campaigners for human rights worldwide.

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17. Poem: Iarsholas / Afterglow
This poem by Mícheál Davitt is a poetic tribute in Irish and English to former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, as she prepared to leave Ireland to become the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Translation : The Wales Famine Forum.

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