The Green Dragon No 7, Summer 1998

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Editor's Introduction

Ireland 1798 - 1998

An Ireland transformed by the Good Friday Agreement and its endorsement by the people of Ireland, north and south, in the referendums on Friday 22 May, now reflects on the outcome of the elections to the new Northern Ireland Assembly on 25 June. Both sides have been sinned against but a majority has begun to forgive, if not to forget, the pain and hurt of centuries.

On 26 May 1798 the United Irishmen, recovering from the arrest of their leaders a few months previously and unable to wait any longer for French help, launched their Great Rebellion. It soon collapsed in Dublin and the hoped-for all Ireland revolution fizzled out in confusion and despair. However, in N.E. Ulster a Presbyterian factory owner, Henry Joy McCracken, led an armed uprising and in Wexford Ireland’s first Republic was proclaimed. Wexford’s story is told elsewhere in this magazine. However, it is a remarkable coincidence that, as we remember those who launched that heroic but doomed enterprise, their ideal of an Ireland where everyone, Protestant, Dissenter and Catholic, would rejoice in the common name of Irishmen has been brought “baby steps” (John Hume’s expression) nearer by the remarkable 70% + support by voters in the referendums and in the election of 25 June.

Despite the ‘No’ alliance winning about 30 of the 108 seats in the new Northern Ireland Assembly we dare to hope and believe that something very special, something none of us could have expected when the Wales Famine Forum was launched in 1995, has taken place. We congratulate everyone, Unionist and Nationalist, British and Irish, who together have made so much happen as when, how and where it did.

Meanwhile, back in Drumcree, as High Noon approaches the Garvaghy Road yet again, we may well wonder, with W.B.Yeats, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”


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Contents

1. Diet, Politics and Disaster : The Great Irish Famine
©: Dr. Joseph McPartlin, Department of Clinical Medicine, Sir Patrick Duns Trinity College Laboratory, Central Pathology, St James Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland. This item was delivered as the Plenary Invited Lecture during the Summer Meeting of the Nutrition Society at the University of Ulster, Coleraine in June 1996, and subsequently published in the Proceedings of the © Nutrition Society (1997), 56, 211-223.

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2. The Great Famine in Finland, 1867 – 1869
©: Panu Petteri Höglund. This article was sent to us from Finland in Irish because the author felt that his English was not good enough for publication.

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3. Wexford in 1798
This is a shortened version of the keynote lecture delivered during a Study Day, ‘Visions of National Identity’, at the Temple of Peace, Cardiff, on Saturday 28 February, 1998 by © Brian Ó Cléirigh, himself from County Wexford, is a translator attached to Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament in Dublin.

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4. Dunraven – a Welsh/Irish Estate in Glamorgan
Former RAF member, retired librarian and President of the Bridgend Local History Society, © David J. Pearce, the author of this article, now devotes much of his time to aviation history.

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5. Three Poems:
i. Prophecy of Celtic ancients revisited
ii. Both not Yesterdays
iii. October to March in Sahel

©: Patrick James of Dún Laoghaire, the author of the three poems above, describes himself as “a young Dublin poet who has just turned twenty-four years old.”

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6. Two Poems:
i. Navvy
ii. George

© : Lynne Walsh, of North Cornelly near Bridgend, South Wales, the author of the two poems above, is married to a Wexfordman. One of her grandparents came from County Galway.

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7. Poem : You're not from these parts…
©: Iwan Llwyd, the author of this poem of exile in one's own country is from Bangor in Gwynedd. It appeared in the Summer, 1998 edition of the Welsh language magazine Y Faner Newydd. It is reproduced with the kind permission of the author and the editor.
Text in Welsh with a translation into English by the Wales Famine Forum.

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8. Two Englyns:
i. Michael Collins
ii. Mother Teresa

The above 'englyns' (four line epigrammatic verses in Welsh), the former ©: John Glyn Jones and the latter © : Arthur Thomas appeared in the May / June 1998 edition of the Welsh poetry magazine, Barddas.
Texts in Welsh with translations into English by the Wales Famine Forum.

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9. Poem : Recalling the Churches of Normandy
©: Patrick Egan, from Westmeath, formerly based in Cardiff, now lives in Ireland. A fluent Irish speaker, he was one of the founders of Comhluadar Caerdydd, the Cardiff Irish Language Group which launched the Wales Famine Forum.

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10. The Mystery of an old Farming Magazine
This account of a farming magazine in Welsh published in Ireland in the early years of this century was written Handel Jones and published in Fferm a Thyddyn, No. 19, May Day, 1997.

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11. The Breach of Promise
© Patrick Cleary, Skibbereen, joint author (with Philip O’Regan) of the famine history Dear Old Skibbereen.

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12. From Brú Lao to Cardiff
This short piece, translated by the Editor {whose father, born in Brú Lao, about 4 miles from Rosscarbery, is now dead and buried in Cardiff}, is from the book Seanchas ó Chairbre (‘Lore from Carbery’), published in 1985 by University College, Dublin. That book in Irish – 660 pages long – contains the recollections of Seán ‘Hamit’ Ó hAo (Hayes), of Cregg, not far from Brú Lao, based on interviews and recordings made in 1939 by Seán Ó Cróinín. ‘Hamit’ was born in 1861 when almost everyone in the area spoke Irish and died in 1946 when everyone spoke English.

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13. St. Patrick's Day in the Klondike
Taken from The Hard Road to Klondike by Michael MacGowan, translated from the Irish by © Valentine Iremonger and published by © Kegan Paul International, London and New York, 1962.

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14. High Mass in Kerry
© : Paul Buttle of Keswick in Cumbria, writes and publishes his own books on hill walking. He has been learning Irish for a number of years.

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15. The Good Friday Peace

16. The Belfast Agreement

17. After the Referendums

The three articles above have been written by Sam H. Boyd of Cwmbran, Gwent, South Wales, who grew up in Presbyterian working class East Belfast.

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18. The year 2000 - a Year of Jubilee
Joan Pettifor, Director of the Jubilee 2000 Coalition, PO Box 100, London SE1 7RT. Reprinted, with permission, from © Far East (The magazine of the Columban Missionaries), January / February 1998.

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19. Till the last Beat of the Samba
©: J.B.Polk, Dublin. Born in Poland in 1964 of German parents. She is married to a Chilean and lives with him and their two children in Dublin. Her tragic story is set in a shanty town in Brazil.

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20. The Day of my First Communion
©: Máirtín Ó Direáin (1910 - 1988) was born in the Aran Islands and grew up to become one of the great poets in Irish this century. When he was a child Catholics were required to go without all food and drink from midnight before receiving Communion. This item was included in his book, Feamainn Bhealtaine ('Seaweed in May'), published in 1961 by © Clóchomhar Teoranta, Dublin.

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21. The Wales National Great Famine Memorial
A statement otlining the plan that comes to fruition with the dedication and unveiling of the Memorial in Cardiff on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1999.

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22. The Wales National Eisteddfod, Bridgend
An announcement of a series of four lectures in Welsh on Wales – Ireland links arranged by the Wales Famine Forum to be delivered during the principal cultural event in Wales in early August, 1998.

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23. Irish Consul for Wales
An early announcement of what is now an esblished fact with the arrival of diplomat Conor O'Riordan in Cardiff.

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24. Our Fair Ladies
An article on the young ladies shortlisted for the South Wales Final of the Rose of Tralee competition.
©: John O'Sullivan, a freelance journalist based in Cardiff.

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