James Connolly’s last words

To the Field General Court Martial, held at Dublin Castle, on May 9th, 1916: I do not wish to make any defence except against charges of wanton cruelty to prisoners. These trifling allegations that have been made, if they record facts that really happened deal only with the almost unavoidable incidents of a hurried uprising against long established authority, and nowhere show evidence of set purpose to wantonly injure unarmed persons. We went out to break the connection between this country and the British Empire, and to establish an Irish Republic. We believed that the call we then issued to … Continue reading

James Connolly: Socialism and nationalism

In Ireland at the present time there are at work a variety of agencies seeking to preserve the national sentiment in the hearts of the people. These agencies, whether Irish Language movements, Literary Societies or Commemoration Committees, are undoubtedly doing a work of lasting benefit to this country in helping to save from extinction the precious racial and national history, language and characteristics of our people. Nevertheless, there is a danger that by too strict an adherence to their present methods of propaganda, and consequent neglect of vital living issues, they may only succeed in stereotyping our historical studies into … Continue reading

WB Yeats: Easter, 1916

I have met them at close of day Coming with vivid faces From counter or desk among grey Eighteenth-century houses. I have passed with a nod of the head Or polite meaningless words, Or have lingered awhile and said Polite meaningless words, And thought before I had done Of a mocking tale or a gibe To please a companion Around the fire at the club, Being certain that they and I But lived where motley is worn: All changed, changed utterly: A terrible beauty is born. That woman’s days were spent In ignorant good-will, Her nights in argument Until her … Continue reading