A Report from the Irish History Circle by Brian Gillespie
The first meeting of the renewed Irish History Circle for 2017 was held on Level Two of the Celtic Club on Monday March 20th.
An excellent turnout of history buffs were treated to two presentations.
First was a talk from Brian Gillespie on whom he felt had the greatest influence on Ireland or put another way, which person had left the greatest legacy.
After considering a short list of patriots (he canvassed Wolf Tone, Eamonn de Valera, Michael Collins, Mary Robinson), Brian settled on Saint Patrick.
Arguing that his influence in founding 300 churches and converting the masses to Christianity has shaped not only the country as we know it 1600 years later, but also many other places around the world. Ireland became known as the Island of Saints and Scholars and retained its faith through the Dark Ages when so much of Europe fell away. In recent centuries emigrants have taken the name of Saint Patrick all over the world.
Churchs, Colleges, Organisations, Places etc. all bear his name. Boston started the tradition of celebrating the date of his death (March 17th) with a parade in 1737. Today Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated wherever there are Irish connections.
As well as in Southern and Northern Ireland, this day is celebrated as a Public Holiday in Montserrat in the Caribbean (where the inhabitants are known as ‘The Black Irish’) and the province of Newfoundland in Canada.
The main presentation for the evening came from Maeve O’Leary on the history of Moore Street, Dublin.
Moore Street is held dear in many Irish hearts for its charm and atmosphere as a colourful trading destination for many Dubliners. Stall holders have handed down their business from generation to generation. Maeve’s passion for her subject was very evident and was supplemented with great visuals of the street through time.
Her grandparents were active in the 1916 rebellion where Moore Street played a pivotal part during the evacuation of the GPO as it burned to the ground. Running battles along Moore Street and its lanes have led it to be called ‘Ireland’s Alamo’. It was here that The O’Rahilly was killed.
Maeve ended with the story of Moore Street today where a different type of battle is being fought. As more and more of the city centre gets redeveloped the Traders are being squeezed out and historical buildings are under threat. Many protests have taken place and pressure is being brought to bear on the Government to step in and save this iconic street. It is a battle that continues…..
The Irish History Circle meets on the third Monday of the month at the Celtic Club.
Next meeting is on March 20th. at 7.30pm. The meeting will be on the third level.
Principal Speaker will be Jim Cusack
Topic: John Mitchel – The most vexing Fenian.
Revolutionary and Conservative – Impossible to love; Impossible to hate.
Opening Speaker will be Colin Ryan
Topic : The Irish Language – Urban versus Traditional